Adventures in Financial Analysis is about my journey into the world of finance.  I am currently a soldier with less than 3 years until retirement as of July 2014. With my military retirement fast approaching, I started seriously contemplating what I would do next.

Peddle energy drinks? Be a hot dog man? Nope, not for me.

A career in finance was my natural first choice, I love finance. I finished my BS in finance at University of Maryland, University College in 2013. I quite enjoyed the subject, which is probably why I chose it in 2007.  Yes, it took me 6 years to finish my bachelor’s degree. It gets worse though. I had already completed my AA degree in 2003! So it took me 6 years to finish 2 years of school. I could point to my busy life as a soldier as an excuse, but instead I will now refer you to Malcolm Gladwell’s story, “Late Bloomers“.  See, there is still hope that I won’t have to deliver pizzas for a living after the Army.

When I finished my undergraduate degree I had about four years until retirement. What was I going to do with all of the extra time that I used to spend going to school?

I could just relax, enjoying my remaining time in the military. I was stationed in Germany after all, and there is much to see and do. I already had my BS in finance with cum laude honors to boot. That would be good enough when the time came to transition, right?

Maybe, but it would be more likely I would have forgotten what WACC and NPV were and I would be trying to make it to your house in 30 minutes or less.

So I started looking for something else to give me an edge. Something that would better prepare me for my transition from Army to analyst. I looked at master degrees and MBA programs. I spoke with some of my recently transitioned friends and mentors. One of them mentioned the CFA designation.

“What is a CFA?” I asked, not knowing at the time, that the CFA designation should never be used as a noun – it’s unethical.

“The CFA program is the Ranger school of finance. If you can pass the tests, you know your stuff and you will have some credibility”, I was informed.

This conversation started me on my current course.

I just sat for the CFA level I exam on June 7th, 2014. I will get the results on July 29th. Hopefully I don’t chew my fingernails completely off and lose all of my hair while I wait….., and wait…., and wait for my results.

I am also roughly half way through Creighton University’s, Master of Security Analysis and Portfolio Management. I love the program, but the name leads to some confusion. Invariably, when it comes up that I am in a masters degree program, the conversation goes something like this:

Them: “So, you are getting a masters degree?”

Me: “yes”

Them: “Where are you going?”

Me: “Creighton University”

Them (with a puzzled look on their face because they have never heard this word “Creighton” before): “What is your degree in?”

Me: “Security Analysis and Portfolio Management.”

Them: “Oh, you’re planning on working for Homeland Security or the TSA when you retire”

Me: “What? No. Finance, it’s finance.”