Veterans, please help here!!

Guys need some help… so i cleared level 3 but now i am learning it the hard way that it will not help me :frowning: I heard this all along but my ego kept coming in my way. After completeing level 1, i read that CFA wouldn’ help, luckily i found back office job and though ok, now i can work my way. So i took the 2nd one and luckily passed, but by that time i knew that CFA will really not help in moving even to mid office. Something just told me to keep on going and so i took level 3 with no motivation and luckily passed it. But now i feel like i may have wasted 3 precious years. Now i am thinking of switching to IT. I will be happy with the median salary they make there. Friends whom i helped pass their exams in college are making more than me, while i just bluff at them at what a wonderful life i have.

But i find that my ego is still coming in the way. Even after passing level 3 and doing financial modeling, i dont even get interview calls for entry level positions. (worst feeling ever)

Question 1. Being 27yrs old, and having passed level 3 with back office experience, is it still worth trying to break in? or am i just wasting my time? Saying good bye to a career just hurts a lot but i feel like time is not on my side here. All i want is to make an average salary and do what i like (researching companies)

Question 2. Make the switch to IT, and just take the pain or wasting 3 yrs and a lot of hard work. (Toughest part is to face my friends and asking them for leads after going through so much).

If you were in my place, what would you do?


I assume you have a degree? From a good school? What exactly is your back office job?

If it is what you really WANT to do, don’t give up. Model out tons of companies, get your portfolio built and network like hell to get a shot somewhere.

I am in somewhat similar situation except with a wife and kid and in my 30’s. Although I do work on the investment side, just not security analysis - which is where I want to be.

I’ll keep applying until I am 40, then call it quits and accept that I missed the boat.

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No, small school, didn’t have the guidance that a hot school mattered. (immigrant so wasn’t very social) back office job (investment accounting) aka data entry. I am married to so that adds pressure, and i feel like a looser not to be able to afford the normal luxuries of life…

When you say networking, please elaborate, how is that possible if you have no one you know if this field? Yike the more i talk the more i feel depressed! I am modelling out more companies to have something tangible with the hopes that it will work.

If I see one more person misspell “loser” I am going to go nuts.

Can you put CFA by your name yet? I am guessing you might not be able to because of work experience. That sucks but saying you passed level 3 on your resume is helpful.

I dunno, I suck at networking too, but local CFA society events would be a good place to start.

What do you mean by “normal luxuries of life”? And when you say normal luxuries of life - does your wife work? I assume you live together. Assuming she makes an ok wage and you make an ok wage and you DON’T live in NYC, you should be fine.

What branch of service? did you enlist right out of high school?

Wife works, but something what i mean is that even buying something like a house involves cutting down on other things (and i live a pretty frugal life). But our combined salary is below the mean of what people make around the aread i live and definately below the means of what my friends make.

No i didn’t enlist righ out of school, had to work for 4 years before doing so since i was the only one bringing the money.

oh, so your worked, enlisted, finsihed your degree in or shortly after the military and now have back office job - is that correct? did you get married and have kids young or something?

A house takes alot of savings. we are going to buy next spring in an expensive area and have been saving for years. Look into a VA loan - you can pay far less down and get a better interest rate.

Ask your friends for advice on how to break out if they are in finance. They should help you if you helped them.

also - don’t always compare yourself to others salaries. There is always someone else you know your age making more than you. You made your choices and they made theirs.

I had friends exiting undergrad college with me and making $150,000 first year.

When itera comments, i feel like a retard…!!! 150K, right after college is unheard of on my radar…well lucky them and kudos to them

itera likes making people feel like retards. probably makes him/her feel better to make other people feel worse. his/her comment helps you in no way. I never heard of that either, don’t sweat it.

You know, there are things in life which you can change and there are things in life which you have to accept and move forward. Like in that prayer.

There are many more careers lying in front of you. In most of them you will have to make a fresh start. For me it sounds ridiculous that everyone wants to be in security analysis. It’s nothing more that going with the herd or following the pop trend aka ‘on wall street they make money’. Or succumbing to some other rhetoric, eg hacksaw BS.

Don’t get brainwashed.

^ Respect.

@ kevman

I don’t think it was solely your ‘ego’, considering your background it was more of a desperate wish to change your status and hoping against all hopes that clearing the CFA exams will get you there that compelled you to complete CFA. Now that you are not getting what you thought will be automatically yours on completion of CFA levels you have turned antagonistic and feeling crestfallen. No one, repeat no one, has ever wasted any years in studying for any professional (or even a simple non-certification) course /programme, what to say of a difficult and strongly focussed programme like CFA. No learning and knowledge is ever a waste. No doubt those 3 years were precious but certainly not wasted. Why you are comparing with friends only in terms of money they are making, do compare, if you wish, with those who are struggling with 3rd, 4th or even 5th attempt to just clear Level 2, with those who could not get entry level jobs even after CFA for much longer despite trying their best period than you (and gave up trying!), compare with those who despite having intelligence and capability to clear CFA could not enrol for it simply because they can not afford it (being in US you may not be able to understand the soreness but being an immigrant may give you some idea!). Why do you want to be sorry / sad/ dejected and feel like loser and waste (this is real waste compared to doing CFA) your precious time and energy to make yourself miserable and lose confidence. If thinking of friends and comparing yourself with their earning and the luxuries they can afford is the only measure available to you to gauge your success and personal growth – then you are a misfit by all means and urgently need to transform your thoughts to increase your self-respect (which seems to be low). Wake up. Look at the positive aspects of your life and existence. You have done CFA (which is no mean feat by any standard), you have a supporting wife (which again is not the most common case), you have a job which may not be giving you the luxuries you are aspiring for but it is saving you from being unemployed or being on dole (which by no means is a joyful situation !), you supported you family after school when no one else was there to do so (which shows you are a committed person in life) – so what are you so depressed about. You have just embarked on your journey for change and if you feel defeated so soon either stop aspiring for a better future (including all luxuries of life and a house!) or strengthen your resolve to go where you wish to and start by taking the cue from some of most valuable suggestions made above by AFers. Do a self-SWOT analysis and exploit your strengths and explore the opportunities rather than being overpowered by the weaknesses and threats. Now, if you think of switching to IT before you have explored all the avenues currently available within your competency and capabilities you may later on equally regret being in IT as you are regretting being in finance/investment now. In no field the success is meant for week kneed and those who feel as losers even before they have played the game fully. Stop being negative and enjoy your gifts of life. Best wishes for a brighter future…

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^ Mad Respect.

FYI, I know tons of people who completed all 3 levels of CFA, only to completely decide to leave finance and go into the technology side. Not only is the tech industry booming and will continue to grow, but the salary has gone up tremendously as well.

@mygos - Wow & Thanks, i really needed some positivity and thanks for giving some. I have printed this and will be reading it regularly if the negativity comes back…

I was just thinking that finance has fundamentally changed. I am in the process of exhausting all my options, once that happens, i will contemplate on career change. But you have definately changed my way of thinking and thanks for that!


You are welcome. Happy to know you will be more positive in your thoughts and value your achievments more (you deserve it).

Yes, finance has changed at least in terms of career scopes and stability of growth. But often in the struggle to settle in a career path one misses the best by a whisker, so my plea that don’t give up on it till you can say decisively to yourself , “it is no longer possible to stick to it for career growth and family’s sake”. Once that happens you will be more prepared to face the initial toil of field like IT and will be certainly much more resolute in your trials and tribulations that may be necessary. That is life.

Since you are already in an investment firm, why don’t you send an email to the head of research or something. Tell him/her you are interested and why you are a good fit. Keep it short and simple, ask for a meeting or guidance.

27 is not too old by any means. I broke in at 34.

Hey man mind if I PM you - I’m trying to break in at 34.

You can PM me Pistol. I may have few posts on these forums, but I have read a lot of your posts as well as other big contributors in the last two years so I am somewhat familiar with your story.