Hello dear reader! My name is Aidan.
I started out my career as a corporate finance analyst. But the journey there wasn’t a conventional one.
How it started
I was wrapped up in a blanket, shivering against the harsh cold of a New Zealand winter.
The rain pounded heavily against my parent’s home.
I sat alone on the sofa in their living room. It was all dark inside except for the glow of the TV.
Everyone was out at work, or school.
Everyone, but me.
Truth was, I was back home to visit my folks. I had just finished a two-year stint in the military and was supposed to be figuring out where I’d go from here. But nothing seemed to catch my interest.
My time in the military was tough, to say the least. As an infantry officer, I had been in charge of a platoon. Being in charge of their welfare and discipline was stressful, yet fulfilling.
It was a challenge that I was glad to have gone through. And honestly, I was more than relieved to have served out my conscription.
Now though, I had my whole life ahead of me. And all I could see was a black hole.
I had only an arts degree and had dropped out of law school. I had sent out a dozen copies of my resume in a scatter gun approach. Potential employers probably caught on and just weren’t calling me back.
So there I was – an unemployed bum in my parents’ house watching afternoon TV.
Boy, I felt like a loser alright.
That’s when the ad came on that changed my life.
“Take the CFA program. The gold standard in investment designations.”
(I don’t exactly remember what it said, but it was something to that effect.)
I sat up in my seat.
I had always watched traders and brokers in movies with great admiration. They always had “ideas”, and it always seemed to make them money.
A quick Google search revealed that the CFA exams was the “toughest exam in the world” and the “Mount Everest of Finance”.
The more I read, the more I wanted to do it.
This would be my new challenge, I thought to myself. This would give me a foot in the door with employers!
Taking the Exams
I practically tore open the box when my text books arrived. For the next 6 months, I dedicated my days and nights to studying for the exam.
I studied till my vision got blurry and my back ached from hunching over the books.
It was tough going for someone without a finance background. Financial statements, economics – man, my head was about to explode. But I felt so fulfilled.
The night before the exams, I didn’t sleep a wink. I was so nervous.
I remember walking into the exam hall thinking that I was among giants. That I was a fraud.
Among me were seasoned finance professionals with real finance jobs! And here I was a nobody without a finance background.
(Admittedly, my situation had improved a little since my bum days. I wasn’t technically a nobody – I had landed a part time job as a Subway “sandwich artist” earning minimum wage. Haha)
The 6 hour exam went by in a blur.
As the candidates left the exam room, I looked around and counted.
1, 2, 3.
1, 2, 3.
Only 30% of people who every start the CFA program end up with the designation.
Out of every three people, only one got through. Could I really be one of them?
That’s all I read in the results email from the CFA Institute. I had done it.
I had passed the first level of the CFA exams!
Soon after that, I landed an internship in a corporate finance consultancy. And soon after that I became a fully fledged corporate finance analyst.
Looking back, it was silly to think that I was somehow a lot more qualified for a finance role just because I had passed Level 1. I was soon put to the test in my new role. I failed a lot, but I also learnt a lot.
Subsequently, I passed the Level 2 and Level 3 exams on my first try and I’ve continued to enjoy my financial journey immensely.
(I actually danced around and played “Started from the bottom” on repeat when I got my Level 2 results)
So why this blog?
I’ve found that an understanding of finance, business and personal finance is invaluable. It is incredibly rewarding to feel like you understand money – the lifeblood of businesses and economies.
I’m still learning, and would like to impart my knowledge and experience in this blog.
You’ll find that the blog is divided into distinct sections:
If words like “net exports of goods and services” and “diluted EPS” makes your head spin, then this section is for you! It contains numerous useful financial definitions and ideas that are essential to investment analysis. We try to provide as much information as possible. In fact, we think that we’re even more comprehensive that Investopedia in some cases! Check out our Financial Definitions category now!
What started off as coverage of oil and gas deals in Canada has expanded to all areas of investing in the wider North American and European region. From foreign exchange to commodities and Exchange Traded Funds, find our opinions, news and analysis in this section. Check out our Investing category now!
We’re not just investors, we’re individuals with jobs, mortgages and student loans just like you! That’s why we strive to keep our personal finances in check and want to encourage and guide you to do the same! Here we talk about our experiences in Insurance, Mortgages, Credit Repair, Student Loans and more. Check out our Personal Finance category now!
A large portion of our readership are business owners or just individuals interested in business. We occasionally get expert advice on best business practices and their opinions based on years of business experience. In this section you can find advice on best practices, latest developments, and business news. Have a read of our Business category now!
Where ever a certain topic doesn’t fall into once of the business and finance-related categories above, you can expect to find it here. We recall hilarious anecdotes, give life advice and just gripe about our first world problems. Join us and our stories in the Life category now!