Fourteen Pounds, and What Do You Get?

(with apologies to Tennessee Ernie Ford on the title… my Grandpa met him when “Eighteen Wheels” was hot.)

One thing I never thought I’d have to do in life is become a broker. (My mom, my first teacher in investments, always gave me negative impressions of brokers, calling them “order-takers.”) Yes, I am studying for the Series 7 exam. Today a 14-pound box showed up at my door, with six books inside it — study materials for the series 7 exam. Four inches thick in all. Ouch.

Then again, I have passed the actuarial (in 5 years) and CFA exams (in 3 years). Funny story: when I was taking the first CFA exam, for some reason, I was 10 years older than everyone else in the room. During a break, one of the young guys with an attitude said to me, “Hey old-timer, what are you doing here?”

I blinked and said that as an actuary, I was trying to round out my skills. He said, “But what advantage does that give you in taking these exams; you’re out of your field.”

I was a little annoyed, so I said, “I guess you’re right. I am relatively old here. But I have passed a battery of exams far tougher than these, and have expertise in test-taking, compound interest math, statistics, economics, investments, accounting, and we have our own ethics code. If you think you can run rings around me because of your youth, go ahead and try.” Now he blinked, and turned away.

As I look at the pile of books, there is a summary book and a book of practice tests, in addition to more comprehensive volumes. I’m 10% through the summary book, and once I am done there, I will take a practice test. If I score better than 85% (pass rate is 70%), I will just go and take the exam. On practice tests on the web, without study, I am at the 70% level now. But if I can’t do the 85%, I will sit down and study, learning obscure bits of the securities markets. Being the nerd that I am, that could be fun, but it wouldn’t be the best use of my time if I can avoid it.

I’ll keep you posted on how I do. 🙂