Recently, Sophie offered some sound advice for parents who are studying for CFA exams. As someone with a certain amount of expertise on this topic and who has learned many lessons the hard way, I can say that, whatever else happens, your experience as a CFA candidate will not define your relationship with your children. Studying for the CFA exam may seem like an all-encompassing challenge (largely because it is), but it is just one of life’s many challenges.
Does studying for the CFA exams demand more time and energy than, for example, helping a parent or spouse cope with a serious illness? Perhaps, or perhaps not, but having to deal with either of these challenges – or any other challenge – does not allow you to stop being a parent.
The objective is not perfection
As Margaret Mitchell wrote in Gone with the Wind, “Life’s under no obligation to give us what we expect.” If you are under the impression that this period of study is an aberration and that life to go back to “normal” after you finish writing exams, you are bound to be disappointed. In fact, given that the ultimate objective of pursuing this designation is career advancement, it is likely that the demands on your time will only increase once you come out on the other side.
You will adapt
Because I am part of the CFA Prep Industrial Complex, my work that day involved trying to find a way to explain a particularly dense part of the curriculum. I found a table in the playground’s café, which offered little refuge from the screams of dozens of children set loose in a confined area. As I was working, another parent who recognized the CFA textbook that I was reading came up to me and expressed her amazement that I could to concentrate on the curriculum while “Lord of the Flies” played out next to us. I smiled and told her that this sort of experience had become normal for me. Being a parent and being immersed in the CFA curriculum are just facts of my life and I have found a way to accommodate both.
Think about how you will be remembered
On the other hand, if the sight of a CFA textbook makes my children think about how their father didn’t shy away from challenges and found genuine enjoyment in a career that provided for them, that will be very much due to a conscious effort on my part. Your experience as a candidate can be an opportunity as well as a burden (although it will largely be a burden).
It is absolutely possible to complete the CFA program and be a good parent during the process. Making the effort to prepare for an exam that can significantly improve your career prospects is not the worst thing that you will do as a parent. Children have forgiven much worse offences and they will be there waiting for you when you come home after writing the exam. The challenge is, and will always be, to be the kind of parent who is worth waiting for.
If you’re looking for more tips as a CFA candidate parent, you can read Sophie’s article here.