Should I enroll in the CFA program?

OK Dope, the past month or so has been an interesting time. I finished university, I got my first (non-military, non-fast food) job, and for the first time in my life, put on a suit in the morning and went to work downtown. I’m a (dandanDAAN) Commercial Property Tax Analyst. It is fun and challenging and pays reasonably well.

Now, with no school, I need a new hobby to keep myself out of the drunk tank/crack den. My roommate here just finished his CFA LVL 1 and thinks it would be a good idea to try it. Few questions:

  1. How exactly does the work experience thing work? Does my current job count as “involved in the investment decision making process”? I think it does and can write whatever you want to justify it, but how much leeway is there?

  2. Is it worth all the trouble? My degree is in business finance and I’m not above changing careers every once in a while, so the more letters behind my name the better, but jeeze, $1500+ just to get started?

  3. Anything else I should consider? Hi Opal?

This is probably more of an IMHO question but I’ll snwer here and let the mods move it.

Let me say that a good place to ask this would be at Lots more charterholders out there than here. Unfortunately with questions like this, you often have to wade through a lot of idiotic answers before you get to something that makes sense.

  1. Wouldn’t worry too much right now. Work experience is flexible. I was actually unsure of my work experience when I started on the exam, but it got through. And it really only hurts you if CFAI decides to do a work experience audit. I can’t say how deep they investigate. After you pass LIII, your boss has to be one of your sponsors and your boss can say that you have a role in the investment decision making process.

  2. The money should be the least of your concerns. I would worry more about the study time you have to put in. LI isn’t too bad but LII really puts the screws to you. (Since LII went to all multiple choice, I am not sure how true that is anymore). I wouldn’t characterize this as something you just decide to ‘try out’. Its a minimum of 3 years and the average person will fail at least once and often a second time. If you just want something to get some letters behind your name, there are easier ways of doing it.

  3. Depends what you want the letters for. If its just to have letters, why not the CIDA (Certified Investments and Derivatives Auditor)? I know guys who couldn’t tell the difference between a put and a call that passed that. Give the LIFA (Licensed International Financial Analyst) a shot. I don’t know if its easy but its really cheap. And they offer it any business day rather than one Saturday in June.

Thanks for the answers.

I see. My main concern is that I’d feel scuzzy about doing all the exams and then having to work 4 years somewhere for minimum wage just to get the work experience. I like my current job. OTOH, I’d have to run things past my boss to see if he’ll front me for the decision making process thing. Can I ask my local chapterhouse for a straight answer? I looked on their sites already but it all seems somewhat vague.

Meh, the average person needs six years to finish a university degree. I don’t like to think in those terms.

Well, it’s sort of like the difference between a regular econobox car and a European sports coupe, isn’t it? I’d be willing to put in the time and effort to pass these things if it grants me the divine right to double park, cut people off, and generally act like an asshole. :slight_smile:
Seriously, I’d like to expand my horizons a bit, and the CFA is supposedly a big thing in China, somewhere I might one day like to work, but it’s starting to look more and more inconvenient.

Well that’s the only reason I would suggest the LIFA. You can’ try it out’ and it doesn’t cost you serious dollars. If you do fail, you can work on what you missed and take it again without waiting a year.