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CFA Level II hiatus

Ok this may be my first post, I have been lurking for a couple of years.  Why haven’t I posted, well I guess because I have been studying CFA so much for 3 years.  I have a question for the senior members or members that have completed the CFA program or anyone who might have any worthwhile insight for that matter. 

Have you, or do you know of anyone who worked diligently on their CFA and at some point due to work, personal reasons, or lets be frank “burn out” stepped away from the CFA table for a year and was able to recharge and get back on track to successfully completing the program and achieving the coveted CFA Charter?

Just a little back ground on my question, I am a middle aged father, in my 40’s.  It took me 2 shots at Level 1.  The first year, I was a deer in head lights and hadn’t been faced with the volume of financial information or intensive study for years.  I also was coaching basketball that whole year, so it was a pretty desperate effort in that I was managing work, coaching, and CFA studies.  I ended up band 8.  The next year I put in another 400 hrs. and passed.  This year, I was motivated and put in another 500 hrs. and did not test well, got about a 50%, practice tests were 55% to 60%.  There were some difficult areas, I spent much time on that were not tested.  Then there were the areas that didn’t have time and risked not being tested.  I studied very hard, majority of the curriculum was covered.  It was a noble effort.  Understanding the way these financial pieces fit and their purpose of application, “big picture” comes easy to me.  Also, have very strong capacity to put in time to focus on something I want, “work ethic”.  My weakness is memorizing little details and nuances, so it is what it is. 

Here is the crux, my boys are 10 and 15, and although I always prioritize my time with family; to juggle CFA, work and family has finally gotten to me.  I can pass this, I know it!  The foundation is there, crank Questions and start Mock/practice tests early the mission can be completed as I feel that although the result was a no pass, the foundation is there.

The problem is, I don’t think I have the drive to do it this year.  I am think of getting Meldrum Level 2 for maintenance (4 to 5 hrs a week) to cement core topics and then a year from now starting my last shot at Level 2.

Any thoughts, experiences, or opinions?

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So did you take level 2 this year? I was confused on your part about studying for 500 hours after passing level 1. I took level 1 in Dec of 2016 and passed but then due to taking a new job that January I skipped the Level II (Jun 2017) and took it for the first time in 2018 (passed 2nd attempt this year). While its doable to stop then start the info you have gained studying level 1 I assume can be quite helpful if you register for level 2 right after getting level 1 results. With that said, even after waiting a year (I started level 2 studying in Jan of 18) its interesting to see what you still remember; I was shocked to see that I remembered quite a lot from a high level stand point. So its definitely possible but the added momentum of going from L1 to L2 right away is def a big help in my opinion. 

Thx, I have taken Level 1 2x’s and then I just failed Level 2 (500 hrs) for this year, so I have L1 and L2 foundation, and been at it for 3 years., that’s pretty much the the jist. So it looks like you took off about about 24 months and still managed to get back into it after L1. (passed in Dec 2016 and started studying L2 Jan 2018?), but then gave it another go, interesting. I’m don’t think it’s a big deal, I have some colleagues saying I will lose momentum, and think I am being weak about it.  But, they don’t understand (they have no CFA experience), What they don’t see is I need to catch some wind before I tackle this hill again and want to recharge and have the right mindset when I get to it.  I also want to spend some time with my kids…

It was about a full year. I got my results Jan of 17, got a new job in a different sector of the market (corporate trading to MBS trading) so i needed time to learn the ropes. I started studying for my first go around of L2 in Jan of 2018. Even after the gap the foundation of a lot of the material was still there like Quant, PM and luckily I work with swaps so Deriv and FI was strong. I struggled with FRA and Corp Fin the first time but all in all it wasnt a huge issue waiting. 

Well congratulations on Level 2 success! to me it doesn’t seem like a big deal, but it’s still interesting to hear any thoughts and opinions on this.  I am an Investment Advisor, so as long as I can grab this by the time I am 50, there is still time to leverage the charter to snag some big fish.  So, I don’t know I am in the long game, too many people have this Kamikaze mentality.  Of course you have to work hard to achieve tough goals but a wiseman knows when timing just doesn’t seem right.  I appreciate the feedback rlax333, and good luck on L3!

Good luck.   My wife is not allowing me to study and I always look at this program as a marathon not a sprint.    Figure out what your goals are.    I am thinking this CFA program in Canada is over valued.   But for me it is a designation I have always wanted….good luck on your journey…

No worries a little jeering is understandable,  Pbonura “…good luck on your journey…”

My journey will end if I fail L2 2x’s.  That is why my concern is that after running 3 marathons, I better sit one out if I even want to have a chance at passing.  It’s just a gut thing. 

Pbonura, if you don’t mind, what do you mean your wife won’t let you study.  She is distracting you, or just cutting your off from the program.  How long have you been at it?  After all of this I don’t see how the CFA Charter wouldn’t be worth it.   I think it’s currency is going up rapidly, which is why so many people want it.

Wife says I do not spend time with kids.   In Canada there are a lot of CFA candidates and very little jobs.   I am a CPA already but would like to get into investments closer to retirement..I would study at night after kids go to bed.   

I know someone that took L1 like 6 years ago and came back for L2 this year.. hes is also a middle aged father with a full time job. Not sure if he passed L2 though, but he came back now to continue to pursue it & I think he is commited to see it all the way this time. 

I passed level 1 16 years ago.  I passed level 2 in June at age 41 with a full time job, a wife that works more than me and 2 children under 4.  You can do it just make sure you give yourself plenty of time.  I recommend the Schweser basic package which is what I used.

Baldanders wrote:

I passed level 1 16 years ago.  I passed level 2 in June at age 41 with a full time job, a wife that works more than me and 2 children under 4.  You can do it just make sure you give yourself plenty of time.  I recommend the Schweser basic package which is what I used.

hell yeah! good job.

This is great to hear! I passed Level 1 as I was exiting grad school in 2011. After launching my own firm and getting the CFP, I’m heading back for Level 2.

it really isnt about the amount of hours, but more about the quality and how long it takes for you to get it. I started studying mid- Jan and passed this year with probably no more than 300 hours. Key is to start drilling as much problems as you can. the more you get stuff wrong and review the better you get the concepts and retain. index cards and an organized study guide where you can quickly review are very important, especially index cards since there are so many formulas to remember. take the week off work before the exam and dont lose confidence if your mock exam scores are low, i probably did 3 or 4 and scored from 50s to highest score of 62.

I’m in a similar life situation. And I realize everyone is different. I’m a single mother of 2 teens and I’m in my early 40s. My perspective was more about getting some kind of return on this investment for time and effort. Compared to everyone doing this in their 20s, I felt (for me) if I was going to wait or draw this out any longer it may not be worth it. 

In order to not sacrifice too much time with my kids I did the bulk of my studying in the early morning (woke up at 4am to get in a solid 2 hours each weekday). I ended up doing the Dec 18 level 1 and the June 19 level 2 (again mostly because I feel I’m already late to the game). Doing the 2 exams in 6 months ended up being better for me because I retained a lot of information from the level 1 to the 2. But that’s just me.. because the memory is not what it use to be I was afraid waiting until 2020 to take the level 2 would be like starting from scratch.

Just sharing the thoughts I had for my own situation when making these decisions, but everyone’s situation is different.

Wow !!! impressive progress with sounds like lots of responsibilities handling alone. Your experience with 3rd party material/mocks etc?

I did L1 exam dec 15 then took a year to do 3 x CA subjects in 2016. I then signed up and did CFA l2 and a CA exam; failed cfa level 2 so did FRM level 1 in Nov for 2017. 2018 passed cfa level 2, last CA subject and FRM level 2. 2019 cfa level 3. Now I’m like Jason Bourne amongst my friends with CA CFA and FRM…

Throughout that time I started two other jobs…

You wanna talk burnout, I can totally relate. I also gained some weight and have some white hairs shooting through. Now I’m trying to go to the gym and work on my neck that’s sore from being at a desk or studying all day. I was studying 40+ weeks and weekends a year. If I can do it, then so can the masses. 

Peace out

CA, CFA, FRM

asb84 wrote:

Wow !!! impressive progress with sounds like lots of responsibilities handling alone. Your experience with 3rd party material/mocks etc?

I used Kaplan for level 1 and 2. Liked Kaplan for level 1 but I didn’t feel it was as  good for level 2. I was panicking the last 6 weeks because I felt there were some areas not covered as well I would have liked. I’m using MM and the CFAI material for level 3 but I also bought Kaplan since my work pays for it. We’ll see how that goes. So far MM videos seem pretty good  but only time (and results) will tell. I do have a grad degree in finance that helped. Most all of the level 1 topics were concepts I had knowledge of from school as was Quant and Corp Fin from level 2. 

At 33, I probably qualify as a ‘senior’ member of the forum. Good luck to the OP and the lurkers out there. I’ll be attempting Level 2 in 2020 and plan on a slow and steady approach. Between fatherhood and work demands, I know I can realistically only study an hour each morning and maybe 30 minutes for lunch. I’ll take a few days of PTO for mocks leading up to the exam. That still gets me to 400 hours. It won’t be easy, but thousands of other parents have made it work.