31 year old without experience

I am 31 years old and planning to take the three Levels of the CFA in 2-3 years. I presently work in a minimum wage job. I have a degree in Biology but have no experience related to it nor in finance. My question is after passing the level 3 exams, to get experience will I be able to get a junior role that will pay at least £20,000 a year at age 34? Am I too old to be considered for this positions? I am a realist so the truth is welcomed, I can always learn on mooc to develop myself if this would not work. I find it interesting and yes I have wasted my years and degree and so on. I already know that . Thank you

To be frank, you’re better off staying in biology.

Do you mean that you’re going to take the exams now and finish in 2 - 3 years or you’re going to begin in 2 -3 years. Keep in mind you’ll need 48 months of approved experienced to receive the charter.

Either way, if you’re in a minimum wage job, what have you got to lose except many hours of your life studying?

NETWORK NETWORK NETWORK cfa will be useless for you

He said “I have a degree in Biology but have no experience related to it nor in finance”.

OP, I am curious which industry are you in now?

Become a private biology teacher, tuition gives tons of cash.

If you want to pursue professional qualification to get that kind of pay, you might look for ACCA / CFP. CA is better but requires a degree in accounting iirc.

Unless you are in the top 5% in finance, a career in biology will be more rewarding intellectually and financially.

Oh, I got it. Did you mean he should find a junior role in biology instead of trying to break in finance?

And I agree with you on the above comment! My guy works in biotechnology and he has no difficulty in finding a decent job

I dunno about that… I know quite a few biology majors (got a minor in biology myself) and they are having a really tough time finding jobs. You gotta go up to masters/phd level to get anywhere in the field.

Thank you all for your reply, I have a degree in Biology and I presently work in Retail. I am not interested in either and I only had to as it was the jobs available. I am on £25,000 before tax but I am very minimalistic and I have been lucky investing for over 12 years. Like Nassim Taleb would say ’ a lucky fool’. :slight_smile:

I intend to complete the course in 2-3 years; I will be 33/34 years old when I do. My question is that I would be willing to settle for a less paying job in a junior role, because I enjoy it.

Of course doing something for fun is different from doing it as a job, I am not being delusional. I think getting £5,000 less with ready information and access and the company of people would be more beneficial to me.

Is it unrealistic for a 34 year old to get a junior role in asset management?

PS: How much I get paid is not as important to me as the possibility. I feel unsatisfied and hence why I want to do this, it is not solely based on the money. I live on £6,000 a year at the moment.

Thank you again.

Well, 25K is not exactly a minimum wage for UK.

There are graduate roles for well under 20K, even in finance (not IB obviously).

I think you could try some sales jobs in finance - like selling information, tons of information providers there with financially clueless employees who get some basic training. Not sure how satisfying this could be if you do not enjoy retail.

I really see not how CFA can help you.

How can you assume now that in the next 2-3 yrs you will clear all 3 levels . And moreover you plan to start your finance career after clearing all levels . By the time you are 34 you will not have experience in finance . Furthermore , You will take another 4 yrs. to get your charter because of mandatory requirement . So we think you are better off in Biology rather than change your career at this point in time.

Second point is salary you are assuming , It is better you donot assume any figure right now . You will get to know about this when you actually get offer based upon situation then.

I hope it works…

Hi. I don’t think your situation is all that bad. Certainly far from hopeless. You have a degree and a reasonably well paying job at the moment. It seems like you have no debts and are able to live on your current wage.

I’m interested when you say that you have a good track record investing for the past few years. Have you been buying individual stocks? Do you do any analysis or research?

What I advise is this: If you are interested in a career in finance then why not at least try to go for it? You are young and could have another 40 years working the way retirement ages are ever increasing. Forget about taking the 3 levels of CFA and then applying for a job. Apply for entry level positions right now and also sign up for level 1 at the same time. On your CV emphasise your academic record, the fact that you are interested in investing and have a PA account with a good track record and that you are a level 1 candidate. You should be able to fit your CV onto one page. At an absolute maximum 2. You will need a strong cover letter explaining your situation and why you now want to switch into finance. Make it a good story! But again short and sweet and to the point.

To get your foot in the door, you will be looking at entry level positions. Apply for any and all graduates programmes you can find from UK banks and other financial instiutions. Go and speak with one or two specialist recruiters in the finance sector and see if they have anything going. If you have any sort of a network through school, family etc now is the time to tap it.

Good luck!

I would also add that as opposed to going for one of the large financial institutions via one of their graduate programmes try some of the smaller AM firms or other buy side ones. With the big names there is an insane amount of competition getting in and you will be up against a lot fresh graduates. You will be surprised at how many buy side firms there are in London. Its basically the main AM centre in the world.

Would also go with some of the other recommendations as to not wait until you have all three levels, but starting looking soon and maybe register on the side for the dec 2014 exam

And networking with a bunch of finance BSD’s will probably be a lot more useful. (Because finance BSD’s love chit-chatting with a 30-something biology major in a minimum-wage job.)

Here is a story.

When you are 21 years old, 31 feels like an old person. When you are 31, you reset your bar, and suddenly the other thirtysomethings around you seem young and 40 becomes the new threshold for “old.” This continual movement in your perception continues until you die, as I have asked this of people much older than me. It seems to be the case that people define new “eras” of their lives that have moving windows about a decade or so in front of where they are now.

What’s the point? You are 31. You know how you look back at 21 now? Like, gosh, if I had those 10 years back, I would do x, y, z differently? Well, you are going to feel like that when you are 41 looking back at this very moment. And you know what? When you are 41, more or less, you’re still going to feel pretty damn young and that there is a bunch of time left still in front of you.

Forget the naysayers. If you are interested in investments, go down that path. Human beings, once they put themselves in environmental situations that are different, tend to find ways to make it work and make a living out of it. So if you are never a hot young all-star working in IB, who cares? There are plenty of rewarding analytical positions in asset management, consulting…the list goes on. And you have 10 years in front of you to make this all happen before your next life milestone.

My old business professor used to say, “jump off the cliff first and worry about building your wings on the way down.” I have lived my life in this fashion so far and have been fairly successful with this mentality (knock on wood). Good luck to you.

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It doesn’t really matter if you’re willing to work for a pittance. I think the fact is–no finance degree, no experience, mid-30’s–all leads to the same place. No job–especially when there are 25 year-olds with three years’ experience and a finance major applying to the same job.

It’s a strange catch-22. You need experience to get a job, but you have to get a job to get experience.


This could definitely be something to go at if you start talking to people in the area.

Has there been any strategy to your investing ie. how did you research and analyse your stocks? I would try avoid saying it is related to luck since people in AM love talking about their stock picking skills

Leaning with Greenman specifically towards the side that you missed your opportunity and the competition is stacked against you. The wise man does at the beggining what the fool does in the end. But to each his own. Do you. My advice is to do retail. If you can sell, well you’ll do well.


If you can sell, then do the CFP and go the retail route.

If you can’t, go back to school and do whatever you need to do to take the CPA exam. If you’re a CPA, you can certainly get a job somewhere doing something.