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Reflection – My CFA Journey

February 04, 2022
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I’m so excited to announce that I got my pass email from the CFA Institute informing me that I have passed Level III of the CFA exam!  There has been so much work that has gone into getting to this point, and with all of the snow and ice making things dreary here, I thought I’d use this time to reflect a bit, as well as give some of you that don’t know me well a bit of my personal history.

The Beginning

I still remember where it started.  Back in late 2014, I remember sitting down to dinner with my wife (girlfriend at the time) in our apartment in Troy, Ohio, and I mentioned that I wanted to go back to school.  I had attempted to go to college out of high school, but I didn’t have the structure or self-discipline necessary to be successful, and quickly dropped out after a year of no progress.  My wife stood behind me and believed in me, and my journey began at Wright State University in Dayton, OH.  My first class was a personal finance class, and the professor I had was instrumental in starting me on this path.  My original intention was to work for a mutual fund or money management company, and he suggested I look into obtaining my CFA once I completed my finance degree.  I met several amazing mentors during my time there, including Dr. Fall Ainina, Dr. Marlena Akhbari, and Matthew Ingram.  These individuals helped me prepare to take the first exam, which I would be allowed to take once I completed my undergraduate degree.  I ended up studying for the Level 1 exam for just under 300 hours, and successfully passed it on my first attempt in June 2018.

Graduation and a New Challenge

About a month before I graduated from Wright State, I received word that I had been accepted into the MBA program at The Ohio State University.  This is a top 10 nationally ranked business professional MBA program nationally, and I was elated to have the chance to work alongside some very brilliant professionals, but it would create a massive workload burden on me.  I quickly set out to work with all of the things on my plate at the time: a new career in wealth management with a firm in Dayton, a commute to Columbus, OH for class, the burden of the MBA and meeting my priorities in a very group-oriented and team-focused learning process, in addition to studying for Level II.  I met so many amazing individuals I had classes with and got to know as friends, as well as learning from some incredible professors and professionals in the Columbus, OH area that gave me some great wisdom and advice.  Jay Wellman, Royce West, and Stephen Stuckwisch are just a few that helped shape my journey.  After another 350 hours spent studying for Level 2, I learned that I had passed on my first attempt in July of 2019, and quickly started to prepare for the last hurdle, Level 3.

Overcoming Adversity

To this point in the process, I felt like everything was going according to plan.  My grades were great in the MBA program, and I was on track to graduate 6 months ahead of schedule.  I had passed the first two levels of the CFA with plenty of room to spare and felt very prepared to take the Level 3 exam in May of 2020.  Then, COVID changed everyone’s plans.  The exams were deferred, and I had to move my scheduled date to October of that year.  I had to completely review the entire testable material for the exam again.  Then in August, the firm I was working with forced everyone to work 70-80 weeks to complete an audit the firm was being administered by the CFA.  Despite being assured that accommodations were in place for me to continue my MBA and CFA pursuits, they broke their word to me, and I was forced to defer my exam again, to May of 2021.  This would mean a third trip through the curriculum.  During that study period, in January the same firm informed me that due to business challenges my position was being eliminated.  In addition to that study, I was forced to conduct a career search in the middle of it.  After another 350 hours of study, I found out that I had not passed Level 3 by a very close margin.  I reset myself, connected with the professionals here at Resolute Wealth Management, Bob Montavon and Tom Schwab, who provide me great support and guidance as well as an opportunity to continue my career with this firm, and prepared to sit the exam for the second time.

Closing Thoughts

This exam has taken center stage for the better part of 4 years of my post-graduation life.  It has forced me to push beyond what I thought I was capable of and created a lot of personal challenges.  I feel very proud, but also so grateful to the individuals along the way that have given me inspiration, encouraged me, and believed in my success.  I believe now, more than ever, that no matter what a person’s goal is, if they commit to the process, surround themselves with positive energy from others, and keep pushing for that success in small doses, they can reach whatever goal they set!  Learning from this experience will help me coach and counsel others who may think their financial goals can’t be met.  It’s shown me that the process is often the same.

Thanks for taking the time to read the blog this week!  I would love the opportunity to sit down and discuss how I can help you improve your financial picture and reach your goals.  I specialize in creating focused, interactive plans for clients building wealth for retirement as well as managing those retirement plans to make sure my clients enjoy their retirement years to the fullest.  I also work with a variety of other financial issues!  If you would like to schedule a free consultation, please call the office at the number below, or click the link to schedule a virtual or in-person meeting (or phone call) by setting a time that works for you!  I would love to hear from you!  Enjoy the rest of your week!

Best wishes,

Mitch Bodenmiller

(937) 424-3269

To Schedule a Meeting: Visit my Calendar and set a time!

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