Signing a year of my life away...?

So my employer will cover my full CFA expenses, which is close to $2000 for level 1, but I have to sign a form that I’ll stay around for another 12 months or else have to pay that money back. I’m just curious if, as I am actively applying to other jobs, potential employers would be turned off of my application if I asked them to buy me out of that? I’m no baller so $2000 is a lot of money.

It usually doesn’t hurt to ask, but I personally wouldn’t. If you’re the one proactively looking for other jobs, it doesn’t look good to ask them to handle your laundry from your existing employer. $2,000 is a lot of money but probably not worth sacrificing social capital / goodwill. If you’re concerned about the extra cash, you’re better off trying to ask for something like a sign-on or relocation bonus but don’t mention anything specific about the CFA expenses.

If you are looking to change jobs, hopefully, $2k will not make a difference in your decision. If you interview somewhere else, don’t bring that up - seriously.

Anyway, I don’t see why you would not take the money. If you stay in your job, you keep the money. If you quit, it’s like you never took the money in the first place.

Yeah I’ve already signed on for the money, I’m more just wondering how to get that back if I manage to get an offer before next January. Never really thought about just wording it as a signing bonus type deal, but that’s a whole new ball game. I have no idea how to ask for them to pay me up front for a job I really, really want in the first place.

You probably can’t. Consider it an opportunity cost. It’s life. Don’t bother to ask.

^ agreed. Don’t go for it. It makes you look petty

^ Same as above, but also consider it an investment in your career. Lots of places don’t pay for it at all. I paid both L1 and L2 out of pocket.

Think of it like this, the new job op. should be good enough so that you are not worried about paying back the 2k. If you’re making a move, make sure its worth it.

I wouldnt ask a new employer to help me out paying back a debt to my old employer, but I would ask if they would be willing to pick up the tab on my future exams.

good luck.

You must really be in a pickle if the most difficult decision in your life is whether or not to take free money. I would either:

  • Take the money and stay with the employer, (This is really not that bad of a deal),
  • Take the money and leave, expecting to pay it back afterwards, (They may not ask you for it–if not, all the better for you), or
  • Refuse the money and leave.

The one thing I would NOT do is ask my new employer to foot the bill. I think that would be bad for your potential career advancement.


I know you didn’t ask for it, but I want to give you my take on paying for exams:

I paid for my own CPA exam out of pocket. I was working for the state government at the time, and they decided that taking the CPA exam was “not part of my present duties”, so they did not pay for the exam fees. All the exam fees (including the application fee, the “look at my transcript and see if I qualify” fee, the test fees, and the ID fee, whatever that is) was about $1700.

Most people get their employers to also buy them a review course. Becker is regarded as the best, with a price tag of about $3,000. Kaplan’s is about $1,600, I think. I bought a year-old CD-based question bank from a friend for $300, and supplemented it with used textbooks and old material that I found in used bookstores. (Yes–CPA exam material changes every year, too.) Even at a relative disadvantage, I was still able to take the test and pass all levels within nine months (average is 15).

Then I moved straight into my CFA exam. I used my very scant savings, along with some money gifted to me by my in-laws to pay for the test fees. I bought used, two-year old Schweser materials. When I took Level 2, I used my tax refund to pay for the exam, and again bought last-year’s used Schweser materials. Now I’m taking Level 3, again with my own money, and again with last-year’s used Schweser materials.

Between my CPA and CFA exams (not including my MBA), I’ve probably spent about $5,000 of my own money on tests. The only reason the figure isn’t approaching $12-15,000 is because I bought used materials.

Forgive me if I don’t pity you for having to make such a hard decision.

^ for the record, the question was never if should I take the money as I’d already filed the expenses when I posted this

So it sounds like you’ve already registered and paid for the exam and study materials on the company dime. Is that right?

If so, then it sounds like you’ve already answred your question.

How big is the firm? If you leave within the year are they really going to come after you for the 2k? They will probably forget they even reimburesed you.