Help!! Should I start CFA at the age of 33?

Hello, Hope I am coming to the right place for this question, which bothered me for months. I am 33, had been in finance industry for 3 +years, but engaged in retail and corporate investment advisor. I had been considering starting CFA for career development. However, my career has now 5 yrs of break for family reasons, I again want to start and willing to join equity research in USA as i live here now, but my old experience is in Asia, Would it be too late? Is it possible for career change even at this age and with that long break? BTW, english is not my native language, but there shall not be a big issue for languages since i had already done bachelor in commerce and MBA in Finance from one of the Asian Universities. Many thanks,

I wouldn’t do it.

I’m 33 and a family man myself. And a native English speaker.

I think that you will find that most companies want a young person, because it’s easier to work them 12-15 hours a day, and they can travel on a moment’s notice. No thinking about wives/kids involved. Or they want somebody who is experienced. Right now, you don’t fit either bill.

Don’t underestimate how much the exam will take away from your family. You’ll spend ~1000 hours prepping for a test that will probably have zero benefit to you. Better that you spend that working on your existing career or vacationing with your family.

Here’s a couple of links that may help you make the right decision:



Good luck in your decision.

I wouldn’t do it. It’s a steep uphill climb.

Wait… Have u looked at Claritas?

^ Wooohooo

I think if you have experience in Asia you may have some luck in the states, if they are looking for equity analyst for asia pacific regions??

It’s hard to say for sure, but it may work to your advantage.

I don’t think 33 is too old, but i think you should definitely think about time commitment and keep networking to see what kind of role suits you best.

good luck!!! :slight_smile:

33 is not too old; however the bigger question is whether you can get to a part of the industry that will value these exams. The exams can help in a number of ways, but they are unlikley to be enough on their own.

If your network from your fomer work is good enough to get you there or a decent shot, then don’t let the starting age be a big issue. The CFA exams were intended as mid-career professionalization, which most people do in their late twenties or early thirties.

In any case, it can’t hurt to get started on Level 1 just to see if this stuff appeals to you and get a taste of how much work the thing is going to be.

I started Level I at 34.

I at 38.

If you already have a job lined up in Equity Research, then it makes sense to enroll.

However, if you are hoping that passing CFA exams will land you a job in ER, then I would advise against it. The exams are a lot of hard work and there is no gurantee that it will help you to break in to ER. There are already lots of Level 1 and 2 passed folks who are much younger than you looking to get in to the field.

Alternatively, you can try passing going for Level 1 exam and see if that along with your work experience helps you get a job. If Level 1 can’t get you a job, then there is only a marginally better chance that Level 2 and 3 will help you get one.

The bottom line is getting a job should be your first priority. CFA only helps to boost credentials if you are already in the field. Trying to break in by passing the exams is a highly risky and uncertain strategy and simply not worth the pain.

Thanks everybody for your inputs

I am simply sitting at home from Aug 2008 ( family reasons) though I have all degrees i.e. bachelors & masters in commerce and MBA in Finance, I did jobs in financial institutions as a Investment Advisor but after a gap of 5 yrs I am not feeling confident to start again my career with these credentials.

It’s true I am enrolling to CFA for getting job in equity research and I am really confused where to start…how to enter in equity research world???

pls help me!!

A 64 year old woman swam from Cuba to Florida, without a cage in shark-infested waters. After failing to succeed the previous 3 times. If you really want to, I’m sure you can handle passing 3 exams at 33. In other words, age is not the issue here.

And by doing that, she accomplished…what, exactly? I guess she got a sense of accomplishment out of it.

If you’re doing it for intangible reasons (e.g. pride), then that’s one thing. If you’re doing it to get a monetary or economic benefit, you should think twice. (Note–doing it for pride or self-esteem reasons is not a bad thing. That’s probably half the reason I did it.)

And may have inspired two or three people to continue to pursue their goals after the odd setback or two.

What would you be doing with your time otherwise? If instead of studying youd be sitting around watching tv and doing next to nothing, then there is literally no drawback of at least giving it a shot in my eyes other than the fees associated with taking the exam. Put in as much time you can and if it works out, great, having your charter couldnt ever really make you LESS marketable, if it doesnt at least you know that its not for you.

And by writing the CFA exams you’re accomplishing…what, exactly? Your “sense of accomplishment” (or whatever “good” reason you have) still doesn’t ultimately mean anything. You’ll still wind up as dead and forgotten as all the other hundreds of millions of people who have died - wether they were unemployed losers or rich money men. She probably did it because she wanted to prove to herself that she could. When people asked him why he wanted to climb Everest, Greg Mallory said “because it’s there”. And if that’s not a good enough reason for you, well then why should we care?

in other news, a man shoved 400 straws in his mouth for 10 seconds and earned a place in world records.

Not sure how that correlates to getting a job in ER.

Probably a higher correlation to getting a job in HR.

My favorite part of that story is from fallon (or leno, can’t remember) - “Suuuure, cause she’s the first one to make that swim without a cage…”