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  #1  
Old 02-11-2019, 10:44 PM
actuarymama212 actuarymama212 is offline
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Default From SAHM to actuary

I graduated college with a BS in actuarial science and an exam passed about two years ago. Then I got married, started a family and am currently a stay at home mom. Once my children are all in school full time I would love to start my career as an actuary since I will be in my late 20s. I had a few questions as to how to go about this. Is it better to pass exams now or should I wait until closer to the time I will be entering the work force? I know the exams do not expire, but will companies see this as too much time in between passing exams and starting to work? Also, about how many exams should I have passed, I have always been told not to pass too many, is this true? Lastly, is this career a mom friendly career with flexibility?
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Old 02-11-2019, 11:05 PM
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PeppermintPatty PeppermintPatty is offline
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Entry-level employees have more exams than in the past. 2-4 is probably the sweet spot. I think you are right that a recently-passed exam would help your case, but I think ONE recently passed exam would be plenty. There are a lot of different types of actuarial roles, and yes, the field can be very parent-friendly. There's a lot of work that needs to be done, but 10 tonight is as good as 4 this afternoon.
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Old 02-11-2019, 11:31 PM
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El Actuario El Actuario is offline
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Welcome!

When it comes to exams, now is almost always better than later. You’re not too far out of college, so the material should still be somewhat familiar. I would recommend cranking out a few more before you’re ready to start working. 3 seems to be the sweet spot - not too few, not too many - though some may disagree with that.

Flexibility will really depend on the company culture (consulting probably isn’t a good fit). Most EL jobs in insurance will be 40 hours / week with moderately flexible hours. Part-time and remote work opportunities are still pretty rare in this field. Some roles can be rigid during specific periods (e.g. financial reporting), while others have a more consistent flow. You’ll have to decide what works for you.

Overall, I’d say that actuarial jobs are mom friendly, but the actuarial career path can be tough when you factor in the exam process. Balancing full-time work + exams + kids + life is no easy feat! If you can manage that though, I think you’ll find a pretty rewarding career on the other side.

Good luck!
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Old 02-12-2019, 10:41 AM
Locrian Locrian is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by actuarymama212 View Post
Lastly, is this career a mom friendly career with flexibility?
It's a mom friendly career. How flexible it is depends on what you mean by that.
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  #5  
Old 02-12-2019, 11:16 AM
Dr T Non-Fan Dr T Non-Fan is offline
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Welcome! I have numerated your post for ease of answering:
Quote:
Originally Posted by actuarymama212 View Post
...
I had a few questions as to how to go about this.

1. Is it better to pass exams now or should I wait until closer to the time I will be entering the work force?
2. I know the exams do not expire, but will companies see this as too much time in between passing exams and starting to work?
3. Also, about how many exams should I have passed, (?)
4. I have always been told not to pass too many, is this true?
5. Lastly, is this career a mom friendly career with flexibility?
1. Pass them anywhen you like. When you have time to do so.
2. Some will, some won't, so what?
3. As many as you are physically able to. NEVER MAKE EXCUSES FOR BEING SMART AND RESOURCEFUL!! (Or, call it a "weakness" when asked.)
4. No. It is not. Anyone who told you that, NEVER TAKE THEIR ADVICE AGAIN on the actuarial profession. Given that, again, some will, some won't, so what?
5. No absolute answers in this profession. Some companies will allow you whatever flexibility you require. I know several moms in my office who drop off kids and pick up kids and do another couple hours of work from home. But that's my company. Other companies might not be so flexible, requiring a 9-to-5 presence at an office building. It will be up to you to find the right company and/or manager, and not for them to change for you. Because, there are other candidates who do not require flexibility, and you are in competition with them.

Enjoy your children!

Meanwhile, you can network by stalking the spouses of local hiring managers and hanging out with them, letting them get to know you so when the time comes, you have someone who owns the ear of the hiring manager. better to get hired by someone who knows you well enough to want to work with your special requests than finding a random hiring actuary with 100 résumés of candidates without special requests.
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Last edited by Dr T Non-Fan; 02-12-2019 at 11:20 AM..
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Old 02-20-2019, 02:23 PM
actuarymama212 actuarymama212 is offline
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Thank you for all the advice. By flexibility I mean I would love to be able to pick my children up from school and put in another couple hours while they are at their activities whether that be I drop them off and work at a nearby coffee shop or I just work from the car. I would even be open to starting my day at the office earlier in order to leave earlier if that is a possibility since my husbands job allows him to drop them off at school. I am thinking of passing FM this year, MLC hopefully the next year or early into the year after. Then I would study for C and either take it right before I enter workforce or be prepared to take it once I do enter depending on when it is offered and when I enter. Thoughts on this game plan?
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Old 02-20-2019, 02:28 PM
Dr T Non-Fan Dr T Non-Fan is offline
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I already answered that question: Pass as many exams as you can.
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  #8  
Old 02-20-2019, 02:57 PM
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ShundayBloodyShunday ShundayBloodyShunday is offline
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Once you pass an Exam, I'd get your resume out there.

Once you pass another Exam, update your resume and resend.

Or find something more manageable on when you update/resend.

Exams are generally structured so that you can sit for 2 each year (I believe with the Computer Based Testing, you can possibly get a third in).
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Old 02-20-2019, 03:11 PM
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Maine-iac Maine-iac is offline
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Pass as many as you can as soon as you can. You probably will not pass them all on your first attempt, so it's not all that likely that you will have accumulated an excessive number before trying to join the work force.

While the career can be parent friendly, particularly in certain roles, working+studying+fulfilling family responsibilities is a VERY difficult combination until you complete the exams. The more exams you can get in when you only have two of those going, the better.
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Old 02-20-2019, 04:49 PM
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Helena Lake Helena Lake is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr T Non-Fan View Post
3. As many as you are physically able to. NEVER MAKE EXCUSES FOR BEING SMART AND RESOURCEFUL!! (Or, call it a "weakness" when asked.)
4. No. It is not. Anyone who told you that, NEVER TAKE THEIR ADVICE AGAIN on the actuarial profession. Given that, again, some will, some won't, so what?
I agree with everything else you said, but I think these two might vary by practice. I know that my employers have been very leery of hiring people with a lot of exams passed and no work experience. The actuarial department at both my last and my current employer will absolutely not hire an ASA or near-ASA without practical experience.

That might be something limited to health though. There's a lot of the pre-ASA exam material that is more applicable to life/pension than to health, and a lot of the stuff that is directly applicable to health doesn't show up until the FSA exams. I mean, as health actuary, I pretty much never use any of the actuarial mathematics that I had to learn pre-ASA, nor have I used ruin models or pension valuations, or annuity pricing. The appropriate type of reserving, evaluating the impact of intervention programs, and well/loosely managed systems, network impact on pricing etc. doesn't come up until the FSA exams.

At least, that's how it was when I took exams. Maybe it's changed.
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