My Journey Toward Achieving the Chartered Financial Analyst® (CFA®) Charter

World MapWhy I’m Pursuing the CFA Charter

We’ve all had those moments in our life where we set a new major goal for ourselves; when we point to a place on life’s map and say, “I want reach this destination”. 

Maybe for you it was a fitness goal like running a six-minute mile.  Maybe it was a goal of learning to play an instrument like the piano.  Or maybe it was a goal of learning a second language.  Whatever it was for you, I’ve found that if it’s something you’re really excited about achieving very often it takes years of hard work and practice to get there.  The other thing I’ve noticed is that very often, these major goals are not only about reaching the destination; they’re also about the journey.

When I was younger and after I had learned to play to the piano I was inspired by some of my favorite bands and artists to want to learn to play the guitar.  That was my goal, my destination.  As I started out I knew what I wanted to sound like but it took years of dedicated practice and repetition to get there.  It was a lot of hard work getting good at the guitar but at the same time that journey was, and continues to be, so much fun! 

That’s why I’m excited to announce this new endeavor-I am officially a 2013 Level I Candidate in the CFA Program!

What is the CFA Charter?

First, “CFA” stands for “Chartered Financial Analyst”.  Here’s a description of the CFA Program from CFA Institute’s website:

The CFA Program is a globally recognized, graduate level curriculum that provides a strong foundation of real-world investment analysis and portfolio management skills along with the practical knowledge you need in today’s investment industry. It also emphasizes the highest ethical and professional standards.

Additionally, on August 13, 2010 the Financial Times said, “Among the countless finance degrees around the world, the Chartered Financial Analyst qualification has become the gold standard.”

What is Required for a Financial Advisor to Achieve the CFA Charter

One part of earning the CFA charter is sequentially passing three Levels of rigorous exams (e.g. you can’t move on to Level II until you pass Level I, etc.).  Level I is offered in December and June but Levels II and III are only offered once a year in June.  So, if you fail Level II or III you have to wait an entire year before getting the opportunity to sit for it again! 

For most candidates it takes about 3-4 years to complete usually takes about 300 hours of study each of those years.

The other requirements of the program are a bachelor’s degree, four years of specific work experience, and adherence to a code of ethics.

Why Working With a CFA Charterholder is Important

There are several reasons I decided to pursue the CFA charter but the most important one is for my clients and prospective clients.

Additionally, I want to obtain the highest set of credentials in the global investment management industry so that I can better serve our clients and prospective clients. 

Here are the 3 ways working with a CFA charterholder will benefit you:

  1. Successfully attaining the CFA charter will enable me to demonstrate a mastery of a comprehensive body of knowledge1 directly related to the on-going activities Shepherd Wealth & Retirement performs on your behalf as a client.   
  2. Successfully attaining the CFA charter will give me access to continuing education and lifelong learning resources1 to help me stay up-to-date with investing and wealth planning in ever-changing financial markets.
  3. Successfully attaining the CFA charter will connect me to a network of more than 100,000 investment professionals in more than 100 countries1 which will also help stay current with global investment management trends and changes relevant to the service and resources Shepherd Wealth & Retirement provides you as a client.


No doubt, this is going to be quite a journey.  I’m excited to embark on it and excited to have the privilege to share the announcement with you!

(Learn more about the CFA charter and CFA Program)

CFA and Chartered Financial Analyst are registered trademarks owned by CFA Institute.


Investment Advice offered through Shepherd Wealth Group, a registered investment adviser doing business as Shepherd Wealth & Retirement.

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About David W. Shepherd, Jr., CFP®

David is the Chief Investment Officer for Shepherd Wealth & Retirement and a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ practitioner. Have a financial question? Click Here to contact David W. Shepherd, Jr.

Investment advice offered through Shepherd Wealth Group, a Registered Investment Adviser doing business as Shepherd Wealth & Retirement.

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