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CFA L1 strategy, with baby

I am registered for the CFA level 1 in December, first time taker. My wife is also pregnant with our first child, due in October. I'm looking for advice on how to balance both. I want to pass my exam, but I also want to be there for my family, especially at the start.

I don't really see much discussion about parenthood in CFA forums, I'm guessing they are younger. In advice for new parents, obviously no one talks about how to handle 'baby and CFA'. The advice of 'get family to help' is not an option for us unfortunately.

My wife and I both work in risk management, although she's due to take her maternity holiday from September.

Anyone with previous experience, please help! In particular:
- any advice on studying around a baby
- when to start studying
- how much study & parental leave I would need for the exam? I can take 2 weeks study leave and up to 3 months parental leave, but ideally would like as much of that AFTER CFA. But will take what is necessary to pass obviously.

Comments

  • I can give a bit of advice. I have two young children and still in the CFA process, although my timing is not exactly the same as yours.

    There is no predictability with a newborn, but it should be possible with your timeline. As you're the dad, you do have the flexibility of setting some kind of schedule. At the start, mommy will need a lot of rest in between so I would take some of your parental leave then.

    Set a schedule that works for you and your wife, where a few hours a day you're studying (and perhaps be on call for feeding etc so that mommy can also get some rest).

    Newborns sleep a lot so you should be able to study OK for the first three months of baby's life (which brings you to December exam day).

    Your baby will be 5-8 months old for CFA June 2020. That will also be a challenge, maybe even more than this exam cycle. There is A LOT of different ways and beliefs in bringing up a baby so your mileage may vary. No judgment as everyone is entitled to their own way as long as baby is happy. I am a firm believer in routine and sleep training to make sure I have time to study, so if you want to go down that route make sure you start training baby now to set yourself up well for June 2020.
  • Not me, but a friend of mine had to study for the CFA when his wife was pregnant / giving birth. He pretty much had to be 'light touch' until he was done with the exam, his wife took that on board.
  • Thanks for the advice guyes! jenova that is super detailed advice and very helpful, thanks very much. I will try and set a schedule.

    However, just wondering would it make sense to try and 'front-load' the work and be ready for the exam before the baby comes?
  • janpeter said:

    However, just wondering would it make sense to try and 'front-load' the work and be ready for the exam before the baby comes?
    I don't think there would be a point to that. If you get 'exam-ready' by october you would have fully forgotten everything by december.

    You WILL have to study through your kid's first few months of life, but they really do sleep a lot at the start so you might be lucky and not have too much difference.

    One important tip that I forgot to mention though, is housework. The baby will take up much of yours and your wife's time so make sure you cook a ton and freeze (or prepare to do a lot of takeaways), and either don't bother about things like tidying up or have someone come regularly to maintain.
    kalalah
  • I recommend front loading as much as possible.  If you follow a study method that results in forgetting the material, you should alter your method.  Don’t forget, a lot of this information could be useful to actually know for your career.  If you’re interested in a happy wife and family, plan to never have to tell your wife, “I really have to study so I can’t.”  You have to sit for the exam on exam day.  Everything else is your choice that can and will be used against you after sleep deprivation sets in.  Be prepared for the unexpected.  

    If this is your 1st child, use every spare moment now.  Most of it will disappear after.

    Finally, the main reason to prepare before the baby arrives, you might want to experience some time with the baby making it harder to focus on CFA material.

    If you pass level 1 in December, don’t rush level 2 in June.  The toddler stage is a lot of fun.
    janpeter
  • Thanks. I think it is good advice to try and get everything done by due date. I'm aiming to finish by October with one 'round' of review done, and whatever review I can get done after October up to exam day. Whatever will be will be, but as you say I will hopefully be able to be there for my wife and baby as much as possible.
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