I love lifelong learning and I always want to keep learning something new, for as long as I live.

One of the downsides of being an ambitious learner, is sometimes biting off more than you can chew. This happened to me when I signed up for the full CFA program. I was working a full-time job and working part-time on iValueInvesting as a small business start-up. But I thought I could also make the time for studying for the CFA Charter, while still having a social life and enjoying some hobbies. I was wrong. It all turned out to be too much and I couldn’t balance everything. Something had to give, and I decided that the CFA charter could wait.

But I knew I wanted to keep learning in some way. So at the end of last year I signed up for the CFA Investment Foundations Certificate. This is effectively an introduction to the CFA syllabus. It still covers the program, but without the full depth of the charter and Level 1-3 exams. There is an exam for the certificate, but it’s a simpler one lasting 2 hours.

Here’s the current syllabus:

  1. Industry overview
  2. Ethics and regulation
  3. Inputs and tools
  4. Investment instruments
  5. Industry structure
  6. Serving client needs
  7. Industry controls

As I studied, I realized that this was exactly what I needed. I’ve been focusing so much on stocks that I’ve neglected learning about the investment services industry as a whole. This course makes you think about the entire industry, everyone in it, and how it’s all connected.

The exam is multiple-choice. You don’t need to perform any complex calculations. This was a huge relief for me, as I did a BSc in Finance at University and I’ve often felt tired of math.

In conclusion, I’m 100% happy that I studied for this, completed the exam and got the certificate. I can heartily recommend it to anyone considering it. I don’t get payment of any kind from the CFA Institute for saying that, so it’s a free recommendation. If you were thinking about an investing course and looking for one, this is the one I recommend.