Path to the CFA

Yup, I’m burning I burned the midnight oil in an attempt to earn my Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation.

Midnight OilI’m an electrical engineer by training and currently doing that gig as an independent contractor.

As far as investing goes, my education is all informal. I’ve read about a dozen of the most popular investing books and Dummies Guides and have successfully put a lot of that material to practice in the stock market since 2002.

But given that my intrigue with investing has proven to be more than just a passing interest, I thought I’d make a bid for the CFA to fill in knowledge gaps and, who knows, one day maybe manage money instead, or alongside of, my engineering work.

I’m blogging about my experiences along the way…

Countdown to the Level One Exam:
T-minus 265 days: One Small Step
T-minus 264 days: While You Are Waiting
T-minus 259 days: What’s in the Box
T-minus 257 days: Oh, and One More Thing
T-minus 255 days: 93% Ethical, 93% Professional
T-minus 253 days: Do Yourself a Favor
T-minus 250 days: I Call Errata
T-minus 243 days: Four Thousand Splendid Suns
T-minus 237 days: Annuity Baffles Area Man!
T-minus 234 days: CFA or MBA?
T-minus 227 days: Stochastic Thoughts
T-minus 216 days: Go Preppy?
T-minus 206 days: Crossover Potential
T-minus 200 days: I Love My Problems
T-minus 191 days: Prospectin’
T-minus 186 days: Not Treading Lightly
T-minus 161 days: Speed Bumped
T-minus 150 days: Diermeier on the CFA Program
T-minus 128 days: Delayed Launch?
T-minus 103 days: Oh the Humanity!
T-minus 094 days: Half and Half
T-minus 039 days: Not Dead Yet
T-minus 003 days: Ill Omen
T-plus 014 days: Exam Day Experience
T-plus 052 days: I AM KING OF THE WORLD!

Countdown to the Level Two Exam:
T-minus 285 days: Hot Shot! Part Deux
T-minus 259 days: Level Two Study Strategy
T-minus 229 days: The Paradox and the Lifeboat
T-minus 208 days: Now It Begins
T-minus 156 days: Valuing the Future
T-minus 108 days: Two Quotes
T-minus 77 days: Scythians and Psyche 77
T-minus 31 days: Desperately Seeking Problems
T-minus 10 days: Path to the RIA?
T-plus 6 days: CFA Level Two Exam Day Experience
T-plus 73 days: Level II Purgatory

Countdown to the Level Two Exam (Again):
T-minus 287 days: Track of the Pack
T-minus 216 days: What’s in the Schweser Box
T-minus 184 days: New Beginnings
T-minus 3 days: Here Goes Something
T-plus 1 day: Part Deux Re-deux
T-plus 51 days: CFA Level II Exam Results

Countdown to the Level III Exam:
T-minus 301 days: A Thin Three
T-minus 236 days: Conan Barbarian, CFA
T-minus 93 days: Finish Line?
T-plus 1 day: Say Hallo to Summer!
T-plus 57 days: Engineers and the CFA Program
T-plus 73 days: None Shall Pass
T-plus 74 days: Perspective, Probabilities, and Price

Countdown to the Level III Exam (Again):
T-minus 217 days: Opportunity Cost
T-minus 108 days: Talking to Myself
T-minus 35 days: One Simple Thing
T-minus 1 day: Dog Says
T-plus 40 days: Trying, Trying Again
T-plus 66 days: Blue Skies

Post Exams:
The Damage
CAIA vs CFA
CFA Salaries
The Cross Section of Expected CFA Exam Results

My eBook About the Program
Reminiscences of a Candidate Analyst

UPDATE: August 7, 2012 (5 years later)
I’ve now passed all the exams, but will only be eligible to put those 3 letters after my name if I also get 4 years of relevant full-time work experience too. The opportunities to do so started appearing after I passed Level 1, but so far the work-life balance of part-time freelancing as a financial analyst has won out. Maybe one day I’ll go full time and become an “official CFA”. Regardless, I achieved my goals of getting a crash course in academic investment theory, having something to put on the resume, switching careers, and testing myself.

9 thoughts on “Path to the CFA”

  1. Hi Harry,

    In addition to passing all the exams as you probably know you also need 4 yrs full time investing work experience to get the charter. I’ve had offers for full-time employment that would enable me to fulfill that, but I’ve chosen to remain an independent consultant working for myself. Only part of my paid work relates to investing so I don’t think the CFA Institute would allow me to count the time.

    Maybe one day…

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