Oh, and One More Thing

So you’ve seen the CFA Institute’s Getting Started Guildelines that say it generally takes a minimum of 250 hours to prepare for a CFA exam.

But a very wise man once said, …and one more thing.

If you’re not coming from a financial background, like me, you have more than just the curriculum to become acquainted with. You have to learn to use one of these.

Technicolor HP-12C

But it’s just a calculator, you say! And this particular one came out in 1981! How hard can it be?

Well, I’m still a newbie with it. And so far, so good – but it’s just worth noting that it is taking extra reading and practice – time away from my CFA study guides – to work through the manual to learn how to use it to full capacity.

The point is, don’t forget to allocate a few extra hours for this if you’re also coming to the investment profession from out of left field.

So far, using it is giving me flashbacks to my assembly language course for programming the 8086. You know, storing values in your handful of available registers, concept of a stack, and so forth.

It turns out that there’s a reason its been in continual production since 1981 – it’s good at what it does. If you’re interested, check out its history. Scroll down to the entry on the 12C.

And of course the 12C isn’t the only calculator that is exam-approved. Just the one I picked.