A recent post on the LinkedIn forum is asking how people with children are finding time to study for the exams. We can all relate to the time constraint to some degree but I have a ton of respect for the candidates able to do it while caring for young children.
I worked a full-time job throughout my studies and was married while studying for the third exam but never had to juggle studying with the full-time job of raising a young child.
So I researched some time saving tips online and came up with this list…
1) Is it a coincidence an enlistment in the military and the average time to pass all four CFA exams is four years? I say it’s time to teach the kids the importance of serving their country. Never too young!
2) The average person spends more than 23,000 hours washing clothes and over 300,000 hours getting dressed! Save the time, go naked!
3) Instead of calling your name while making love, ask your lover to call out formulas from the curriculum!
Real Ways to Find Time
Joking aside, there are ways to find time to study even with a full work schedule and kids. It really comes down to time management. We all have to do it, you will just need to sacrifice more and manage your time more efficiently if you have more commitments.
1) Start earlier – You know that it takes an average of 300 hours of studying to accumulate the knowledge to pass any given level of the CFA exams. This doesn’t change whether you have four hours a week or 40 hours a week to study. There are approximately 36 weeks left to the June 2014 exams. That means about eight hours a week studying, a fairly manageable goal even with kids.
2) Take longer – Everyone is laser-focused on passing the exams each year but there is nothing that says you cannot take two years per exam. The curriculum doesn’t really change much from year to year. You should be able to find a recent year’s curriculum through another candidate, the local CFA society or the library. That allows you to study for free until you are confident you can register for and pass the next exam. Just make sure you check the readings in the older curriculum against the Institute’s current year curriculum.
3) Who needs TV anyway – It’s not only TV but we all have little things that we spend time on that could easily be sacrificed. Budget your time carefully and you should be able to find a couple of hours per week.
4) Your support system is everything – Friends and family are a great resource for support and help with time. Can they help watch the kids a couple of hours per week? Can they help run some errands that might save you a couple of hours? Don’t be afraid to ask, they care about you and want you to succeed. That’s why they are your friends.
You are taking the exams for a reason. You are highly motivated and ambitious. Don’t let the lack of a few hours per week keep you from achieving your goals.
‘til next time, happy studyin’
Joseph Hogue, CFA