Techniques, you must learn before you sign up for the CFA exams.
I recently passed the CFA level 3 exam and soon after I received the CFA charter. I must say it was a big accomplishment. I felt a lot of praise and love around me when the news was announced. It wasn't an easy journey and when people say the CFA exams are hard, believe them.
Today, I want to share some mindset techniques for anyone wanting to start with their CFA journey and give you the right tools for the right attitude.
1. The right mindset
First and foremost, do you want to study for the CFA program? If the answer is yes, well done for making that decision, but before you act on it, did you think thoroughly if you are willing to commit the time and hard work to study for each of the exams?
I have met a lot of people during the CFA program, some that commenced on the journey and gave up halfway before writing the level, some who gave up after failing a level, and some others who never showed up for any of the exams, One thing I can tell you is that if you want to start on this journey, you will need to be SELF- MOTIVATED, COMMITTED and SELF - DISCIPLINED. You need to think of yourself as a warrior who is willing to go against anything at any cost to conquer the charter. You can't start off on the right foot if your mind is not willing to go through all the sacrifices. A lot of your time will be dedicated to studying and only studying, so you have to be ready to be willing to do that.
2. Your time will be focused on STUDYING
When you are taking the CFA exams, each of the years will be solely focused on studying. Your leisure time and your social life will be greatly reduced unless you have great time management skills. Especially if you are working full time and you have other personal commitments, the number of hours that you will be available will be less and less. So make sure to allocate each hour of the day accordingly without slacking too much between distractions. According to the CFA institute, each charter holder goes over over 1000 hours of studies which is true, but I think the threshold is much higher than 1000. So be ready to commit this amount of time.
3. Setting Boundaries
I think the biggest obstacle that many people won't understand is the dedication and time commitment that comes with the CFA exams. Those around you will never understand the sacrifices and the sweats that it takes to prepare for the exams. You will have these same people convincing you to join them for a movie night, a party, or some family events. It is in these moments, that you will need to set important BOUNDARIES: saying no when necessary, putting yourself first, and communicating your priorities.
This is essential that you have to put in place because someone will come and always try to break this boundary.
4. Remember your WHY
During your journey toward studying for the exams, you will have many moments of frustration, exhaustion, and anger. You will have moments where you want to just throw your books out of the window because you can't solve a problem or you are so sleep-deprived that you want to pull the plug and give up on achieving this goal. In these moments, always go back to your WHY and why you have started this journey. It is easy to get side track while walking towards your destination but get back on track by remembering why you started. Have mantras, quotations, and vision boards to help you to stay grounded.
5. Enjoy the Journey
Last but not least, which to my advice, not many people focus on enough is you must enjoy the process. I believe that we should have a passion for everything we do. Some choose a career path for the sake of it, and some pursue a degree for the sake of it, but none of them choose/do something because they want to. Sometimes the choices we make are dictated by society or our families. It is important that when you decide to embark on anything, you want to enjoy every bit of it. Studying and practicing for the CFA exams can be tiring, but you can make the journey much more fun by seeing how you can apply the concepts to real-life problems. You can listen to finance podcasts or watch finance movies. You will see how much of the CFA materials is so much related to real life. The CFA program is about enjoying the ride.