Wiegers Financial & Benefits provides expert financial planning services to business owners and individuals like you. Our role is to help you make the most of your assets to efficiently achieve short- and long-term goals. In our latest article, Colton Wiegers shares his journey to become a Chartered Financial Analyst.
What is a Chartered Financial Analyst?
A Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA®) charter is a professional designation for finance and investment experts, offered by the CFA Institute. To become a CFA charterholder, individuals must pass a series of intense exams that cover a broad range of topics, including ethics, investment tools, portfolio management, and financial analysis. The CFA designation is globally recognized and signifies a high level of expertise in the field of finance. Becoming a charterholder is a defining moment for many investment professionals and exemplifies a strong understanding of advanced investment analysis and real-world portfolio management skills.
The CFA Program is a three-part exam that tests the fundamentals of investment tools, valuing assets, portfolio management, and wealth planning. The CFA Program is typically completed by those with backgrounds in finance, accounting, economics, or business. CFA charterholders earn the right to use the CFA designation after program completion, application, and acceptance by CFA Institute. CFA charterholders are qualified to work in senior and executive positions in investment management, risk management, asset management, and more.
Colton’s Experience on Becoming a Chartered Financial Analyst
Well, it was just about seven years in the making, but I am very pleased and excited to share this! The CFA community might be small in Saskatchewan, but I can certainly say it’s incredibly generous and helpful. Between that group, coworkers, supporting friends, and spouse, I have a lot of people to give some thanks to. My uncle Vincent Wiegers was the only person I was close with when I first wrote who had any experience and was a significant support. I’ve shared parts of the story with people along the way, but keep reading if you want to hear the full story on becoming a chartered financial analyst.
I started the CFA exams pretty quickly after university, thinking I’d do it while things were still fresh. It definitely helped a lot having some stats and economics still in my head, but this is different from your average university test. With this type of exam, it isn’t just about getting above 50%. It’s about being in the top percentile of all writers AROUND THE WORLD. I had to fly to Calgary to write level 1, and even though they don’t give you an official grade, I am sure I bombed spectacularly. Luckily, on the next try, the drive was just to Regina, and I passed L1 on my second try. The thing that wore on you when writing was just how much of your life it took up. I’d wait a whole year, pass or fail, before getting to write again. The morning of L2, I clearly needed more on my mind and rear-ended someone on the drive to the center. Thankfully, there was no damage, and the person was a saint and made it quick. Luck was with me that day, and I passed L2’s first attempt.
In 2019, I tried L3 and sadly didn’t make the cut. I went to write again in June 2020… and it was canceled due to Covid. You could reschedule for Dec, but it was a nightmare with many centers closing due to Covid waves.
I wrote in May 2021, 2 years after my last try, and it was the first year they changed the testing centers and went with a computer-based exam. Covid definitely pushed the digital movement, and it was well worth it because the testing experience, for me at least, was much better. The part I haven’t mentioned yet is that it takes up to two months to get your results. This isn’t the worst since you’re forced to take a break when you don’t know if you passed or failed. In July, the results for L1 come, and then L2. It was not an enjoyable experience reading about how both of these ended up with the lowest or 2nd lowest pass rates in over a decade. I was sweating waiting for mine. I received my email three days after I got married and the day before the honeymoon. If you know me, you know, I’m far too curious to leave that unopened, and thankfully, it brought a wedding miracle with a pass!
Fast forward to today, and I have completed and submitted the working hours to finish getting my designation. It was a long long journey but something that did really stretch me past areas, academically, that I would certainly have not thought possible and it feels good to have finished!
Wiegers Financial and Benefits is more than just a financial planning and benefits consulting firm; it’s a business with that cares about making a difference in people’s lives. The personalized service, expertise, and community involvement set them apart from the competition. Their dedication to understanding the unique needs of their clients and building long-lasting relationships makes them a trusted partner in securing financial futures. Talk to one of our financial planners about your financial future today.