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  #1  
Old 06-01-2020, 06:54 PM
MarkovChains MarkovChains is offline
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Default Is stopping at ASA bad for my career?

Long story short, I graduated 3.5 years ago, accumulated a significant experience close to 3 years. I have only PA left to get my ASA. I am feeling really burned out by these exams and highly considering stopping at ASA. I have other more important goals in life and was wondering if it could negatively impact my career? Do you know someone at the companies you worked for in this situation but still has a good career out of it?
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Old 06-01-2020, 07:00 PM
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It's quite bad for your career, but that doesn't mean you won't have a good career. Career ASA's make a lot more than median wage. In my company they generally make 6 figures, and become managers. They don't usually get to be directors and above.

Also life is long. You could put it off for 15 years, and then be more in the mood.
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Old 06-01-2020, 07:17 PM
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Need significantly more detail. What specialty? What are your career goals? What are your actual skills? Most CEOs (even of insurance companies) are not actuaries, so the answer is ... it depends.
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Old 06-01-2020, 08:24 PM
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If you want to stay as an actuary, FSA is pretty important. But many people have other skills and actuary is a stepping stone to doing something else anyway - later they do FP&A or something else using similar skills, or even something actuary-adjacent, like actuarial software.

I had a number of years where I didn't take an exam before I went back and got my fellowship, but if you make plans for that, be aware that life has a way of surprising you with other things.
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Old 06-01-2020, 10:00 PM
Dr T Non-Fan Dr T Non-Fan is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkovChains View Post
Long story short, I graduated 3.5 years ago, accumulated a significant experience close to 3 years. I have only PA left to get my ASA. I am feeling really burned out by these exams and highly considering stopping at ASA.
1. I have other more important goals in life and was wondering if it could negatively impact my career?
2. Do you know someone at the companies you worked for in this situation but still has a good career out of it?
1. Maybe. It depends solely on how good other people think you are at your job. (Not you.)
2. Only me, but my experience is 20+ years out-of-date. Most people I know who've gone as far as you press on just a few more years if they have the data storage and CPU to retrieve and write down lists quickly, and are able to figure out problems they've never seen before without fail.

Supposing you're around 25-28ish, if you think your other important goals in life need to be finished by, say, 30-33, then certainly, they are important to you. Finish that bucket list.
But, if you can hold off on those more important goals in life until 30-33, you should probably just bear down and get the exams done, THEN tackle your bucket list.
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Old 06-02-2020, 10:19 AM
MarkovChains MarkovChains is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sredni Vashtar View Post
It's quite bad for your career, but that doesn't mean you won't have a good career. Career ASA's make a lot more than median wage. In my company they generally make 6 figures, and become managers. They don't usually get to be directors and above.

Also life is long. You could put it off for 15 years, and then be more in the mood.
Maybe that's a break that I need or something. Those exams are exhausting.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Kenny View Post
Need significantly more detail. What specialty? What are your career goals? What are your actual skills? Most CEOs (even of insurance companies) are not actuaries, so the answer is ... it depends.
I work in Life if that changes anything. I have good technical skills such as programming. My goal is to at least get my ASA and manage a small team in a few years.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Westley View Post
If you want to stay as an actuary, FSA is pretty important. But many people have other skills and actuary is a stepping stone to doing something else anyway - later they do FP&A or something else using similar skills, or even something actuary-adjacent, like actuarial software.

I had a number of years where I didn't take an exam before I went back and got my fellowship, but if you make plans for that, be aware that life has a way of surprising you with other things.
Yes that makes sense. I can't even imagine returning to sitting for exams after a break. My first manager told me to never take a break or else I will end up like him.

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Originally Posted by Dr T Non-Fan View Post
1. Maybe. It depends solely on how good other people think you are at your job. (Not you.)
2. Only me, but my experience is 20+ years out-of-date. Most people I know who've gone as far as you press on just a few more years if they have the data storage and CPU to retrieve and write down lists quickly, and are able to figure out problems they've never seen before without fail.

Supposing you're around 25-28ish, if you think your other important goals in life need to be finished by, say, 30-33, then certainly, they are important to you. Finish that bucket list.
But, if you can hold off on those more important goals in life until 30-33, you should probably just bear down and get the exams done, THEN tackle your bucket list.
I just have that fear of never coming back to the field if I take an exam break.
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  #7  
Old 06-02-2020, 10:32 AM
Dr T Non-Fan Dr T Non-Fan is online now
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See Answer #1, and it depends on your company's "Actuarial Study Program" policy. Look it up.

It could say that if you stop, you are subject to losing your job. So, that's the worst that could happen.
It could say that if you stop then start up again, you are not part of the program and you'll get no (official) study time, not be reimbursed for supplies or exam fees. That's, what, $1000+, plus more of your own time studying?

Read your company' policies, then weigh "taking a break" against your more important goals in life. Most actuaries when faced with a decision do this: simply write the pro's and cons on whatever people use these days. I still use pen and paper.
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Old 06-02-2020, 11:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkovChains View Post
Long story short, I graduated 3.5 years ago, accumulated a significant experience close to 3 years. I have only PA left to get my ASA. I am feeling really burned out by these exams and highly considering stopping at ASA. I have other more important goals in life and was wondering if it could negatively impact my career? Do you know someone at the companies you worked for in this situation but still has a good career out of it?
How much money do you need to live the life that you want?

Once you answer that question, you need to figure out if you really want any extra money and the trade-offs that they come with (more hours worked, more stress, etc.).
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  #9  
Old 06-02-2020, 11:13 AM
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I gave serious thought to being a career ASA. I was 32 when I got ASA and already had 2 kids.

It would have been nice to take my foot off the gas and enjoy my life more. But my career goals were above what I could do with just ASA. I knew I would max out and eventually be disappointed with my ceiling. Anyone that knows me IRL knows what I say: 'we spell actuary with an F now'. That is even more true in big life.

So I kept going. Chipping away at modules and taking FSA exams. Slowing moving towards, and maybe actually getting that F. When studying now I just keep thinking 'I cant believe I am still doing this'.

Think about your career goals, life goals, and where you are in life. If you are in your 20's without kids, I would encourage you to keep going.

and enjoy that ASA when you get it. That is no small accomplishment.

there was a good Car ASA thread a year or 2 ago. See if you can search it out.
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  #10  
Old 06-02-2020, 11:17 AM
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John S. Mill John S. Mill is offline
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most successful career ASAs are successful at something else, which made them deem the FSA designation not worth their time.
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