Typically the shorter the URL the better. If I had a choice I would go with option #1.
Although, keywords in the URL help, the benefit they provide is much less than it used to be, so I would focus on creating a URL that can be easily remembered and like you said reflects the structure of the site and makes sense to a user.
It would depend on what your site basically provides. If it provides only the articles then you need not have the articles category and therefore you could go with option #1. In case your site has something more than articles in finance, then you could possibly go with option #2. So it depends on how do you create your information architecture and how do you lay your priorities.
Perhaps yes. But then if your site is all about the articles, then “articles” cannot be the subordinate category. In that case you would have to use finance as the subordinate. If otherwise, articles can be the subordinate. I would rather suggest that you ignore the articles category unless until you something else to put up in “finance” category.
To start with, almost all content on my site will be articles, but my intent is to have other forms of content, e.g. Interviews, Case-Studies, Surveys/Survey Results, Charts, Bios, Top-10 Lists, Company Rankings, etc.
That is why I am thinking that I want the main Section in my Top Menu to follow my domain like…
Actually, there are two point of views. One is search engine point of view and the other is user point of view.
Search engines are almost tracking the user point of view sort of options and making the search user friendly. So, when an article is under the category “Finance” it is good to have the following format:
I would suggest selecting any one of the above formats. To be precise if you want to let users know that the section is from the category Finance and type Article, then go with the second type. If not just mention the category and then the article title.