CFA L3 candidate married to a CFA L3 candidate...not as smooth ride as I thought it would be...

Very female oriented sob story but male input is surely welcome. My fellow CFA candidates on this forum usually give valuable advice for anyone in any situation.

So my husband & I both failed CFA L3 exam last year and then we just got married few months back. After honeymoon period, we ended up registering for CFA again!

I am not working currently and he is crazy busy with work. At the same time, we both are stressed about exam (of course!) For me, job is replaced by household responsibilities and in laws responsibilities. And I am new to both of these set of responsibililities.

His father had surgery few weeks back and I was the one helping them out while my husband was on his business travel. His parents are living with us and it is putting a bit of a brunt on me. Initially I was happy because MIL was taking care of household responsibilities and because she had seen her son studying for CFA exam before I thought she will be perfectly understanding of my intense study requirements. Unfortunately, it is not working out as smoothly. She is being very critical of the way I am handling everything and she doesn’t care that much about me studying either (though she is contributing majorly in household stuff). I can not complain to husband because situation is a bit sensitive (his father had surgery, he is the only child of theirs, and he is stressed about work+studies). I am not getting to study properly due to bit of complexity of the situation. I feel I am v v behind my study schedule. And yet like any other candidate I don’t want to have any chance of failure. There is no one I can vent to or talk about it.

Any practical tips on the studying part? Yeah I know since I am not working I do have lots of ample time to study. But I still haven’t been able to establish a proper routine. I do wish to use the mornings or late nights since that is the time I will not be disturbed/distracted by in laws. But I am not a morning person surely! And a good night sleep is important too! What to do?

I usually don’t feel this weak. I have had even more challenging situation than this (a decade back, my mother passed away when I was studying for A"levels and yet I topped my batch). I guess being newly married is making me and the situation more sensitive and clueless.

McDonalds is open 24 hours and has free wifi and free coffee refills. That might be a good place to go. I’m also going to be working there on weekends.

Other than that, hard to expect others to make sacrifices for you. You have to sacrifice and adjust. Isn’t that the whole point of these exams?

I have not got married so I might not fully understand your situation but I can imagine what are going on there when living with in laws. Here are my two cents:

  • Morning: go to a public library to study. You can get up a little bit earlier to prepare everything ready for cooking lunch if you feel that way will share houseworks with your mother in law.

  • Afternoon: continue to study at the library and come back home around 5pm to help her with houseworks.

  • Evening: spend some time chatting to your MIL or/and your husband after dinner before getting back to study.

Although your husband is crazy busy, I do believe it’s not too difficult finding 15-20 minutes to discuss the situation. The good thing is he knows how intense the studying requires, so he will support you either by talking to his mom if necessary or at least understanding more how your situation is going on and you need supports from the whole family.

Your MIL is always critical on the way you handle things? Okay, do it the way she likes. Do not debate with her if you don’t want the conversation goes on and on !!! Even you disagree with her, do not talk back or say “No” immediately, just say “Yes” and gradually do things in your way (in some cases).

Being a woman is already a disadvantage !!! Being a married woman who studies for CFA exam level 3 while takes care houseworks is even more disadvantageous !! The bright side is you haven’t got kids and you have no full time job at the moment. So, just need to adjust yourself and your time a little bit !

Good luck !!!


"Being a woman is already a disadvantage !!! Being a married woman who studies for CFA exam level 3 while takes care houseworks is even more disadvantageous !! "

And being a woman in the east living with in laws is even way more disadvantageous. There is too much pressure to project a good image and be caring towards the whole family.

Nice advices. BUT unfortunately I live in a country where public libraries are non existent. There are college libraries but you need special permission to access them. Really don’t want to go through that hassle.

And nothing is open 24 hours here.

Yes I do exactly that with MIL. She is usually fine and I can not disregard how helping she has been in the household stuff. But at times the comments I get are not always easy to handle especially being newly married. Ruins my mood and whatever limited study hours I get.

I am under extra pressure to get done with L3 now because I can see the family will not be that supportive as time goes on.

I think Schweser has audio books for their notes, you can use those to study and to block out the noise from your inlaws, ftw!

blush This makes me surprised !!! No public library there? How do they encourage children and adults to read books?

I have a full time job that is busy and frequently stressful. A couple of times at the end of the day I realized that I had not drunk any water because I was too busy crying. But I have a rule that is : no matter how bad my day at work is, once I get out of the office I leave everything behind and enjoy my evening time or focus on study (if I study). And vice versa, I leave my family’s issues (if not too serious) behind once I arrive in the office. During my pre for level 1, I told myself that “hey, I have only 3 hours left tonight, do not waste them”.

So, learn to take things easy, at least until the exam finishes ! Do not let her comments affect your studying. When I was in university, a classmate of mine had to deal with family violence and divorce issues but she managed to finish her disseration and final courses with high grades. Seeing her determination and efforts made me feel my problems were tiny …

P/s: I have been hanging out AF these days because I am on holiday laugh

I sympathize with your situation but unfortunately have no real advice. I was hesitant to post earlier when I read this because you are in Saudi and also a woman… this must be very difficult especially when you live with your in-laws and may be bound by customs of the land.

Have a chat with your husband and I hope he is supportive of your career goals and life vision. Hopefully you have had his support since you did decide to marry him and I am assuming nowhere in the marriage proposal did you agree to be a housewife. Stay positive and try to be a team player with the in-laws and slowly ramp up studying. If you are confused and overwhelmed all the time, the sharks will come to feed. Good luck, you are a L3 candidate so I am sure you are more than capable of managing these situations. Be confident in yourself and bide your time!

Well well. I have to agree that when you have suddenly more free time (you were working before your marriage) time is just poring out of your hands and you are not able to manage your time properly.

I was in the same situation, I was unemployed for a few months (we moved to Canada from Europe) and I thought I was gonna study efficiently 6-8 hours per day. (True that I graduated from university 19 years ago, so I had 18 years of study gap so been out of practice). But the pressure of not finding a job, being abroad (having household responsibilities suddenly) all pulled away my strength.

Try and focus on the positive things:

  1. You already gave the Level III exam so the material is not brand new to you.

  2. You still have more time as compared to work and/or having kids.

  3. In laws will NEVER understand why you need to study. When my Mother (not my MIL) asks me what I’m doing in the weekend and why not visit them again, and I answer I study she asks “Why? Do you not have a job?” So just ignore this.

  4. Mornings: just set your clock. I’m so not a morning person that on Saturdays I sleep until noon. But on weekdays I get up at 5 to study until 6. Because I’m tired in the evening (I’m 40 I’m an elderly ha-ha!)

So just compose yourself and do it. Four months. I wish I was a Level III candidate!

I’ve seen a 8 month pregnant woman show up at the exam. Now that’s hardcore.

Yep. You men have no idea how lucky you are. :-))

Oh yes I was certainly managing better when I was working and studying. Studying at home back fired last year too. I guess being at home do laze me out and naturaly I end up getting dragged into household chores and family dramas as well.

I am having sleep issues too. It is taking me 2-3 hours to get to sleep at night. Anxiety, I suppose. I tried breathing exercise last night but it didn’t work. So, I really can’t concentrate in the mornings after sleeping late. In any case I do end up getting at 7-7.30ish to prepare breakfast. Then, I take a late morning nap and after that I start my day properly. Obviously few hours go to waste there unneccessarily.

Yes, he surely is supportive. I am chosing not to work currently. I didn’t want to over stress my early married days with work+CFA+household chores.

Inspiring story!

I did mention that I didn’t feel weak like this past decade. I have gone through my mother’s demise while I was at high school and then multiple personal problems throughout college life and work life. Need to find the same courage.

I understand and empathize with your situation. Long story short I think you will have to adjust your body clock to be able to study more during nights when there are less distractions. Try calling it off from in-laws/family around 9 pm’ish and focus then on what you want to do i.e. CFA. Study 4 to 4.5 hours before going to sleep. If u r getting up at 7’ish then it should be okay to sleep around 1 AM’ish and yet not be sleep deprived. You can top up your studies by stealing out another 2 to 3 hours during day time hopefully. This way you will be able to manage. I wish you good luck and lots of positive energy. You can do it…

I’m sorry to hear all this. I’m afraid your problem is not CFA related. Still it’s a big problem.

It will not make your situation better but MANY people have sleeping disorders in this world and they still have to be at their workplaces each morning to support their family.

Still, as I went through something similar I understand you. Is is not possible to do some part-time work which would give some discipline in your day, and keep you away from home from under the eyes of your MIL who (understandably for her) would wish you to be a full time house wife. In may case it has worked out better since I went back working (true the house is not cleaned every day, and meal is not put in front of my husband each evening, and I don’t read books, I go less to the gym). But I regained my self respect since I’ve been working again.

You have too many things on your mind when you get to bed.

Getting a routine is important. You need to reset your body’s natural clock… your body is not naturally exhausted at the end of the day, maybe work out for an hour to help compensate.

That said, what always worked for me was reading a few pages of CFAI before bed. That always made me hop into bed within 10minutes.

That never fails, especially ethics.

I couldn’t help myself from returning back to this story. It has parallels with my life and though the situation is serious, it is just so inspiring. My suggestion for night time studying might seem daunting but it is possible - I have had to do it in past due to multiple family issues while pursuing my high school studies and later on MBA. Like someone stated in an earlier post leave office behind once you step out of it and leave family issues behind when you enter office. This is the strategy that needs to be applied consistently. Studying at night time gets more challenging because the mind tries to recall the experiences of the day. At the end of the day when you sit down to study you might be feeling upset about something that happened over the day with MIL et al but that’s where the strength of the mind to control it will have to be applied. Your situation is challenging but with concentration it can be overcome and you do know that because as you stated you have done it in the past. Good Luck.

Agree! Follow his advice ! Some work out will do you good.

I also have got sleeping issues in the past 10 days though I am on my holiday, free from work and studying. Tomorrow I will be back to work and the first step to adjust my natural clock was to go for gym this afternoon :). Hope I will have a good sleep tonight :).

Good luck with your exam and family issues !