Do I have a chance?

Honest opinions are needed here. Prior to 2005, I had been working in financial services for the last ten years, mostly middle market sales and trading. I left the business three years ago to pursue life in Corporate Treasury. The job is pretty cushy, good quality of life, great pay, etc. I manage the balance sheet cash, advise of the retirement plans and help define the investment strategy for the firm. I graduated with my MBA in 2003, and took level 1 in 2005 to no avail. Seeing as it has been some time since school, and I’ve since gotten married and have two small kids, am I kidding myself thinking I can do this? Having done it once, I know the time commitment required. I’ve talked it over with the wife, and she rolls her eyes at me every time I bring it up, but is supportive. I’ve been thinking about going back to school to take an accounting and statistics course to brush up on the material before diving back in. Any advice would be much appreciated. Cheers!

I think you can do it but at what cost are you willing to pay. Not in dollars but quality of life at home? Would it change your career any or is it more for self? I would not put my family between the two but if your wife is supportive… dust those books off. Good luck.

Let’s see. How long does it take to play 18 holes? This may not be a choice between family and CFA…

I wish it was that easy. My golf game has been going down hill for a couple of years. I’m actually working more hours now that when I was on the sell side. It’s just a different kind of work and pace. The big challenge will be managing family time. I’m sure that there are people here that are doing it, but with young children I’m dead by 9pm and that doesn’t leave much time for study. I’m planning on taking a couple of courses at the local university to test the waters. If the wife can deal with class/study, I think I’ll give it a shot.

Would you be willing to spend 1 hour a day, every day, for the next 5 years to get the CFA? If you wouldn’t be willing to make that deal right now, I would not suggest going for the CFA. You should not plan on spending fewer than 300 hours on each level of the exam, and given an L1 failure already it could easily take you 5 years to pass it all. Thinking about the consequences of giving up 1 hour a day for 5 years of your life is much easier to think about than some amorphous amount of studying.

I agree that the tradeoff between time and obtaining the CFA designation is an easy one to make. I would gladly give one hour a day. In fact, my employer has said that he’d give me the hour! I guess I have a little bit of self doubt, given the previous attempt at level 1. I consider myself a bright person, I do have a MBA from a good university (small private college, top 50). But my focus in school was econ and math, not accounting. Frankly, I find accounting to be dreadful. But as I move higher up the ranks, it has become apparent that I need the additional education. Thanks for the input. Hit’m long and straight!

If learning accounting is your goal, just grab a book and read it. Heck, google and read accounting stuff online. CFA covers way more than just accounting and don’t you think it is not a good use of time given what you want? Try spending time and enjoy what you already have.

I hate accounting, and had an economics focus in undergrad. My school didn’t even offer an accounting class at the undergrad level, believe it or not. I only used the texts and readings provided to prepare for the exams. I didn’t find it necessary to take a course. I’d think this would be a waste of your time, personally. Seriously, just get your hands on a textbook and do some reading. I know the pre-test given for the exams suggests you have some accounting experience, but it’s really not necessary.

One of my colleagues got up at 5am and studied for two hours. The kids would wake up, he did what he had to do and went to work. At night he did *nothing*, at least not as far as his study was concerned. Got to bed on time. He passed, his wife still loves him and the kids are still eager to play ball when he comes home. Don’t know if he plays golf, though.

Thanks for the post. I’m planning on sitting for the December exam. In the mean time, I’m going to find a couple of good accounting books and get started. Cheers!

try half priced books… I pick up a lot of old high school and college test books to use… I picked up a high school algebra book to help on my gmat prep