Balancing Parenting With CFA Prep
Discover Nathan Feld's journey to earning his CFA charter. Nathan has a busy career and two kids, so it's especially important that Salt Solutions make efficient use of his CFA exam prep time.
In this interview, we speak with Nathan Feld, a Sr. Investment Associate who was recently hired at a multi-family office in St. Louis, Missouri. Nathan shares more about his current role and discusses his motivation for earning his CFA charter, his dreams for his career, and the obstacles he has faced while studying. Nathan explains how he's balancing parenting with studying for the CFA exams and how Salt Solutions has helped him efficiently manage his time! We appreciate Nathan sharing his story with the Salt Solutions team.
Could you describe your career right now?
I was recently hired as a Sr. Investment Associate at a multi-family office in St. Louis, Missouri. Most of what I do is meeting prep for client reviews, which includes running performance reports and maintaining private equity (PE) data for our clients. I’m still getting acclimated, but the work is interesting and I'll be able to study for my [CFA charter] while getting exposure to a broad array of assets (stocks, bonds, PE, restricted entity, venture capital, etc.)
How will your CFA studies inform your daily work?
A lot of what we do in preparing client presentations requires us to verify asset performance and measure that across various benchmarks. We are constantly asking if the numbers "make sense"—having my charter will allow me to properly model these performance metrics in a manner that not only makes sense but allows us to offer the best advice to our clients. Ultimately, we want to help our clients assess whether or not they are on pace to meet their goals, so they can make the best decisions moving forward.
I initially tried studying on my own with some older books, but it was hard to stay on track and I didn't have the tools or support to ensure I was learning the material properly
What is your motivation for earning your CFA charter?
I want to pursue roles as a Derivatives Analyst/Trader and I believe earning my CFA charter will open up more of those opportunities. I enjoy trading options in my free time and I would love to combine that passion with the knowledge I would earn with the CFA to pursue a career around derivative-centric strategies. I want to learn more about implementing derivative strategies at an institutional level because I believe it would lead to a challenging but exciting (and rewarding) career.
What obstacles have you already faced in earning your CFA charter and taking the CFA exams?
I initially tried studying on my own with some older books, but it was hard to stay on track and I didn't have the tools or support to really ensure I was learning the material properly (no practice exams, quizzes, etc.). Without a proper study plan or guidance, it never felt like I was making any progress and I didn't know if I was focusing on what I truly needed to pass the exams.
Considering I have two young kids, I need to be as efficient with my time as possible, so I needed something that would allow me to focus on the most important material and keep me on pace. On top of that, the cost has been fairly prohibitive between registration, exams, and study material, so I needed something that would provide all of the above at a reasonable price.
Considering I have two young kids, I need to be as efficient with my time as possible ... [Salt Solutions can help me] learn at a reasonable pace, retain the knowledge, and, ultimately, pass the exams
If you were to explain to your kids why you're earning your charter, what explanation would you give?
Currently, my kids are a little too young to understand what's going on. However, if my oldest got to a point where he was wondering why I was studying so much, I'd simply let him know because daddy wants to ensure he can provide the things he and his brother need for the future, not just for today.
As they get older and they're considering what to do with their lives, I'd sit down with them and tell them the story of how their father struggled to find his next career (after the Marine Corps), but once he did, he knew how important earning his CFA charter was. I'd share with them that in spite of the many hurdles I had to overcome (considering the stage of my life or career on top of the difficulty and demands of the exam), I was still able to accomplish this incredibly difficult task.
I want to be able to show them that regardless of where they are now in their lives and careers, with enough patience and dedication, they can overcome any obstacle, achieve any goal, and create the lifestyle of their dreams.
How have you managed to fit your studies in with all your other responsibilities? Especially parenting!
It hasn't been easy. It's more important than ever for me to not only create a proper study plan but stick to it. I needed a plan that allowed me to be as efficient as possible with my time so that I can learn as much as possible in my scheduled study allotments. Thankfully, Salt Solutions allows me to do just that! With the relatively short readings and videos, I'm able to make as much of my studies without sacrificing too much time with my kids.
I'd share with my sons that, in spite of the many hurdles I had to overcome, I was still able to accomplish this incredibly difficult task
What made you decide that Salt Solutions was your best choice for CFA exam preparation?
I had a lot of needs in regard to flexibility, cost, action plan, and accountability. Salt Solutions offered everything I needed at the best price. There is a lot to learn for each of the CFA exams, but I feel confident Salt Solutions will be as efficient with my time as possible so that I can learn at a reasonable pace, retain the knowledge, and, ultimately, pass the exams!
What advice would you give to others earning their charter?
Make a study schedule and stick to it. I'd also say don't just buy big-name study materials because of what someone else used or because of brand recognition. You're going to spend hundreds of hours with these materials so find something that you feel will give you the best chance at truly understanding the material and passing the exam.