I am a civil servant, and my job does not involve much of the world outside. I am unhappy with my job and am building an escape plan. I figured that I want to go into finance – and if I can’t secure a job in the finance industry, at least I’ve learnt how to invest my money. While digging through the classics, I came to respect this book titled ‘Security Analysis’ by the late Benjamin Graham. I’ve subsequently found out that he pioneered the CFA program to improve investment standard in the industry.
I have no finance background, and I thought that in place of pursuing an expensive degree, any levels of CFA attainment would demonstrate to my prospective employee that I have some foundational grounding in business, and that I have the ability to self-educate.
I used a combination of tools – Schweser, PrepSmarter, CFA textbooks, CFA e-learning platform. The process of studying for CFA taught me that I actually need to refine the way I approach self-education. I wasn’t systematic about studying, and after I went through all the Schweser notes, I realized I actually forgot almost everything! I couldn’t remember how I did those practice questions that I’ve done before. I came across PrepSmarter as I was constantly on the go, and looking for a mobile version of the CFA online study quiz. I needed an app that has (1) clean interface; (2) spaced repetition; (3) practice by topic; (4) question bank relevance (difficulty similar and relevant to what was in the books); (5) competitively priced. The PrepSmarter app fulfilled my needs perfectly.
I had two key discoveries that worked:
- To invest time to refine my own studying technique – being thorough about a topic, using paper and pen, and connecting as many dots as possible.
- No single tool fits everyone and a combination should be used.
What didn’t work:
Always thinking that there’s a better study material out there.
I am mulling whether to take CFA Level 2. I embarked on this journey, thinking that having passed the CFA Level 1 would distinguish me from those people who did not have a business or finance background. I could either use the time to pursue CFA, or to develop a niche in another investment instrument. Both are great options! I love studying finance.
I want to thank the team for developing PrepSmarter, it is a wonderful product with fine quality questions with reviewing feature to track performance. I purchased the CFA level 1 subscription less than a week into the exams, so I must say I didn’t fully utilize it. Had I discovered it sooner I would! (Perhaps for CFA Level 2, if I decide to do so)