The Damage

What is the true cost of the CFA program?

At the time I signed up, I saw on the CFA Institute website that it would be about $1000 for Level 1 and about $600 each for Levels 2 and 3. Estimated grand total: $2200, because of course I was gonna pass all those puppies on the first try!

And no way would I be ponying up for Schweser or Stalla to make life easier like those cake-eating lesser candidates. Cheating McCheatFaces!

Below is my actual grand total…

The Damage…

There were other expenditures on CR-2032 batteries and gas whose receipts I lost long ago. And that diet Red Bull was dashed expensive!

In any case, almost 3x the price tag I originally pitched to my wife.

8 thoughts on “The Damage”

  1. Your ‘true’ cost should include the opportunity cost of your time.

    I could have taken a job stacking shelves at the local supermarket and made: $20 x 300hrs x 4 exams = $24,000 or $16,000 after tax.

    But from the perspective of my girlfriend (and I bet your wife) our time is worth a great deal more that $20/hr.

  2. The opportunity cost of time is awful … so far 2 spring seasons of my life that I won’t ever get back:( I entered the program to show myself “I can do it” and the confidence boost alone can be worth a lot of $$$ later, even outside of the finance proffesion. But I guess there are cheaper ways to do this – like rock climbing or solving puzzles … ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. aussie – correct, sir. it’s my “accounting” cost, but not my “economic” one, unless I would have spent my ~1100 study hours buying & drinking that expensive imported beer you kept re-stocking at the supermarket.

    CFA – thanks, Flying Spaghetti Monster did indeed smile upon me. the only way i could make the OC palatable was to spend 1 hr per day max on CFA, until exam time neared when i would ramp up. (surely why it took me 5 yrs instead of 3).

    the confidence boost of completing the challenge is great. of all such challenges i’ve participated in, completing my one and only skydiving jump is still #1. I was convinced I was going to die and 16 years later I still have dreams that I mistakenly signed up and will have to jump again.

  4. Lumi,

    Was $6K worth it in the end?

    I am an engineer like you that finished all 3 exams .. whew .. ๐Ÿ™‚ and now wondering how to capitalize on the success .. apart from my personal investing. How to finish 4 years of investment professional experience? I do not know if I need to get this 4 years experience within any time period, but I will check with the institute.. Let me know what thoughts you have about this .. I will totally understand if you do not want to answer this. But I am just looking for avenues to get those 4 years experience. Thanks,


  5. Sam – congrats on finishing! From what I remember, there isn’t a time frame on the 4 yrs. As far as whether the $6K was worth it, that sounds like an excellent topic for an upcoming post, because I don’t think the answer is short. I’ll try to get to that soon. ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. Just added another $350 for CFAI (and local society) membership. However, I’m on the hook for this every year so its more like PV= $6,000 (n=35, i=5%, pmt=350) not including the reduced rate retirement years.

    Have to say, it certaintly feels good to finally have those letters after my name…

    Aussie, CFA

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