When is it too late, age-wise?

I’m 22 years old, a complete outsider with no finance/business background whatsover, and have been wanting to break into finance I’m from Toronto (I already know it has the highest number of CFA per capita in the world). I’ve been told that I’m too old to break into finance, especially when there are tons and tons of CFAs in the city and a never-ending supply of high-calibre finance kids graduating each year. Is it really impossible to break into finance? Should I look into CPA instead and give up already? I wanted to register for CFA so many times but kept logging off remembering what I heard and read everywhere.

No it’s not too late, especially if you have reasonable expectations. while you probably won’t be able to get the highly coveted entry levels jobs at large well know institutions you can certainly get a good finance job, although you might need a quick grad school reset so you can recruit as a student.

But before grad school learn what you can with free/cheap online stuff so if your grilled in an interview you can answer questions.

also keep in mind a CPA (and many other professional designations) require specific degrees, so it’s going to require an extra investment even before it comes to testing.

Also don’t forget the vast majority of people with successful careers had some bumps, so at 22 don’t think you have already missed out on life, you have a long way to go

never too late mate. Give it 100%.

the important thing is to trust yourself that you will reach your goals.

For me it’s very strange question. I read that 30 years is an average age of CFA charterholders and many people not only without financial education but with English as a second language pursue the opportunity. It’s all about your desire if you want it then do it right now or leave it at all. A friend of mine registered for level 1, dec. 2015, paid $1,500 but even not sit for the exam. Try to start your preparation by reading some free available materials.

I would say after 65 is getting up there.

You’re just trolling. Asking if age 22 is “too late”? Stfu

Nope I’m not trolling. I have actually been told I’m too old. I couldn’t believe it, but apparently it’s because I have zero background in finance. Like absolutely none. I’ve thought about taking some courses before registering for CFA to get familiar with the subject and to find out if it’s something I want to do for sure. But for the most part, I’ve been told it’s pretty much impossible to break into finance as an outsider with zero experience. Maybe I’m just surrounded by finance graduates who failed to break into the field?

By the way, I feel a little encouraged after reading your comment. I’m not being sarcastic.

There are many layers in finance, and depending where you want to be it may well be “too late.” For example, if you’re talking about private equity or investment banking, I’d say you’re actaully too late to break into those areas of finance. Even with CFA and a top tier MBA, without a prior experience, it’s quite tough to get in.

Now, if you’re talking about a back office role and transitioning gradually towards some kind of middle/front office function, I wouldn’t say you’re too late to do it, especially with a CFA. But you have to realize there are tons of people who want to transition from back office to front office, so just be realistic when setting your goals and such.

It is probably too late for many finance jobs. You might have missed the regular IB recruiting track, for instance. Anyway, on top of that, it really depends on the person. If you have a 4.00 GPA from Caltech and just dropped out of your physics PhD program at MIT from boredom, that is different from if you’re just some random guy.

^^ those type of people rarely if ever take the CFA exam. At least from my exp while working, living, networking in NYC. Very few who take the proper route like some posters on this thread suggest - IB after ivy ugrad to either top15 MBA or to HF/PE - take the CFA exams. They are already in front office and have the networks and experience to get the job done. In the time they spend on learning/brushing up on deferred tax liability, standard deviation, CAPM, or Dupont…they would rather be working, networking or something.

Again it may be different from asset mgmt world but when we hire analysts out of IB or from other funds, we rarely rarely see CFA charters or candidates.

In that sense just slay the GMAT 4 years down the road. In the meantime volunteer, donate, and get some promotions.

? I didn’t mention CFA exams, and I don’t even think those exams are a good differentiator between candidates with any sort of background in the first place. It’s just an exam you take in your free time.

I was just saying that the window of opportunity is much wider for impressive people. Someone who is talented and has credentials to prove this might be able to jump to a different field later in life. On the other hand, someone who is less impressive will have a lower chance if they did not take all the “proper steps” earlier in life. OP did not provide any details on this background. Thus the question is impossible to answer.

The question to me is not “is it too late”, but “do I have the right credentials” in general.

I started taking my CFA exams when I was 29 and broke into the invesment field at the same time from a non-related field. Now work on the buy-side as an equity analyst in my mid-30’s. Right where I want to be. Took 3-5 years to get there but I got there.

You are NOT too old in your 20’s. Anyone who tells you that doesn’t know shit.

It is not hard to ‘break into’ finance. Especially at your age. It is hard to get the perfect job you want right away. If that means you start at a back office job, pass your CFA, then move to front office, so be it. But it is not that hard. Just hard to start at the top. Have to start at the bottom.

On the other hand, my mortgage lender buddy inquired about breaking into the “investment world” after he saw my income for a mortgage I was applying for. He was 39 and lazy as F**k. Yes, for him it is probably too late, and will always be.

nice man! Finally there is a positive, go getter post!

My hope is to start from the very bottom, even if it means accepting a crappy wage. My goal is to slowly work my way to the real finance, who knows how long that would take. I’m not daydreaming about breaking into Wall Street, IB, hedge funds, or anything like that. But I do want to know how realistic it is to break into the bottom of finance, given that I have no background in finance. I had excellent grades in university, but my major is completely unrelated to finance or mathematics. So to be completely honest I don’t have even a smidgen of background in finance. Absolutely zero.

How’s 22 too old? Is this a joke post? So you just graduated college and asking if you are too old? Many people in investment field come from totally unrelated majors to finance. As long as you are likeable and have a demonstrated interest in finance someone will give you a shot.

Des Control. You got this old man.

Yeah, just go do your CPA. wink

Quite seriously, stop procrastinating and sign up for level 1. The investment isn’t that large and L1 is so broad it’s a good way for you to determine if finance is really for you. For some clarity though OP, you say that you are aiming to break into the ‘bottom’ of finance (which is what nigh on everybody needs to do…), but what area of finance are you going for? There are plenty of sh*t kicker back office jobs related to finance that wouldn’t be too hard to get into, breaking into the front office isn’t as easy (FWIW I started back office and made the move to front over the course of a few years).