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Bridge career RFI - CFA/CFP/PMPs
Old 05-02-2018, 02:01 PM   #1
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Bridge career RFI - CFA/CFP/PMPs

My background story, due for an update soon, is here.

I plan to retire from the Navy in 18 mos at age 42. I think I still have more to give to a career path about which I am passionate, which is no longer my current one. Finances are in good shape; between my pension, our savings and my wife's continued income, there's no financial need for me to work, simply a desire to try my hand at something new. Thus, I'm considering a bridge career. (Side advantage: additional income from me could help DW and I achieve some "brass ring" dreams).

I'm kicking around a lot of options, from coaching runners and triathletes (high passion, low income, may be a side hustle anyway), to project management or certified financial planner/analyst. My background is a BS in Aerospace Eng., Master of Engineering Mgmt (kind of an MBA-lite with more systems eng/technical stuff and less econ/finance). Project mgmt probably falls more in line with my education and relevant work experience, but finance and specifically personal finance have long been interests of mine, hence why I'm on this forum and Bogleheads and read books on this stuff as often as I can.

So, to the question: any advice from CFP/CFAs or PMPs out there given a notional 7-10 year horizon for working? I'm not looking to invest six years in furthering education via Masters or PhD (being an actuary sounds really interesting, but I don't think I want to invest the time into the education under the circumstances), but am willing to go through coursework for additional certifications. PMP is a more direct path as my education directly translates, but it doesn't excite me that much. Income prospects are about the same in the long run, but PMP would be more lucrative early on and thus a better ROI.

I'm leaning CFP because even if I don't directly use it in a bridge career, it's something that helps me/us in the future.

Interested in any informed opinions. "Just retire, dude" thoughts are already there, and so need not apply to this thread.
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Old 05-02-2018, 02:28 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nash031 View Post
Project mgmt probably falls more in line with my education and relevant work experience, but finance and specifically personal finance have long been interests of mine, hence why I'm on this forum and Bogleheads and read books on this stuff as often as I can.

So, to the question: any advice from CFP/CFAs or PMPs out there given a notional 7-10 year horizon for working? I'm not looking to invest six years in furthering education via Masters or PhD (being an actuary sounds really interesting, but I don't think I want to invest the time into the education under the circumstances), but am willing to go through coursework for additional certifications. PMP is a more direct path as my education directly translates, but it doesn't excite me that much. Income prospects are about the same in the long run, but PMP would be more lucrative early on and thus a better ROI.
In my megacorp PMP is passe`, everything is Agile now. Also, as I understand the requirements for certification, you need a lot of hours, or credits, to qualify, so it might be harder to achieve PMP certification if you're not already working in that field? But, my views are surely colored by the fact that my current job role is in project management for a megacorp, so I can't imagine any scenario where I would consider it as a bridge career to full retirement. I am not PMP certified.

Regarding the CFA/CFP option, I've read a few threads here where folks have thought about it, but been turned off by the selling aspect, especially if they sign on with a financial services company to cover the costs of the training. I thought about it for a while too as I was learning, but then I learned that I did not want to be responsible for anyone else's financial happiness!

Gee, not sure if me posting the things that I don't want to do is helpful or not. Let's talk about marathon training instead!
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Old 05-02-2018, 02:47 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nash031 View Post
My background story, due for an update soon, is here.

I plan to retire from the Navy in 18 mos at age 42. I think I still have more to give to a career path about which I am passionate, which is no longer my current one. Finances are in good shape; between my pension, our savings and my wife's continued income, there's no financial need for me to work, simply a desire to try my hand at something new. Thus, I'm considering a bridge career. (Side advantage: additional income from me could help DW and I achieve some "brass ring" dreams).

I'm kicking around a lot of options, from coaching runners and triathletes (high passion, low income, may be a side hustle anyway), to project management or certified financial planner/analyst. My background is a BS in Aerospace Eng., Master of Engineering Mgmt (kind of an MBA-lite with more systems eng/technical stuff and less econ/finance). Project mgmt probably falls more in line with my education and relevant work experience, but finance and specifically personal finance have long been interests of mine, hence why I'm on this forum and Bogleheads and read books on this stuff as often as I can.

So, to the question: any advice from CFP/CFAs or PMPs out there given a notional 7-10 year horizon for working? I'm not looking to invest six years in furthering education via Masters or PhD (being an actuary sounds really interesting, but I don't think I want to invest the time into the education under the circumstances), but am willing to go through coursework for additional certifications. PMP is a more direct path as my education directly translates, but it doesn't excite me that much. Income prospects are about the same in the long run, but PMP would be more lucrative early on and thus a better ROI.

I'm leaning CFP because even if I don't directly use it in a bridge career, it's something that helps me/us in the future.

Interested in any informed opinions. "Just retire, dude" thoughts are already there, and so need not apply to this thread.
Try to get a job in project management or marketing at a Defense/Aerospace company. That would seem like the most logical transition given your background.
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Old 05-02-2018, 02:54 PM   #4
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I was in a similar position. Maybe you would want a lower stress route (and likely lower income). Get the AFC designation from AFCPE and be a military personal financial counselor. Give back to the community while doing something (personal finance) that you love. Typical pay in this field is 40 to 60K a year. If you work for non-profits often considerably less. I am doing this now, although currently on the veteran side of it rather than active duty and I very much enjoy it.
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Old 05-02-2018, 05:22 PM   #5
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In my megacorp PMP is passe`, everything is Agile now. Also, as I understand the requirements for certification, you need a lot of hours, or credits, to qualify, so it might be harder to achieve PMP certification if you're not already working in that field? But, my views are surely colored by the fact that my current job role is in project management for a megacorp, so I can't imagine any scenario where I would consider it as a bridge career to full retirement. I am not PMP certified.

Regarding the CFA/CFP option, I've read a few threads here where folks have thought about it, but been turned off by the selling aspect, especially if they sign on with a financial services company to cover the costs of the training. I thought about it for a while too as I was learning, but then I learned that I did not want to be responsible for anyone else's financial happiness!

Gee, not sure if me posting the things that I don't want to do is helpful or not. Let's talk about marathon training instead!
Thanks! I have some relevant experience on my resume managing projects within DON coupled with some formal education in PM, so it is a logical transition. I'm just not sure it's all that inspiring to me. Agile is probably outside my swim lane, as software development is but one of a number of fields that value(d?) PMs, as I'm sure you know. I appreciate the feedback!
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Old 05-05-2018, 08:42 PM   #6
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I was in a similar position. Maybe you would want a lower stress route (and likely lower income). Get the AFC designation from AFCPE and be a military personal financial counselor. Give back to the community while doing something (personal finance) that you love. Typical pay in this field is 40 to 60K a year. If you work for non-profits often considerably less. I am doing this now, although currently on the veteran side of it rather than active duty and I very much enjoy it.
Nash, AFC is a nice intermediate step instead of spending the money to go full CFP. I know several military vets who've taken that route and either work on base (in the financial office of the family support center) or teach transition classes in financial literacy. Out in a civilian community you'd be the guy getting freelance speaking gigs to teach audiences about "retirement planning" or "revocable living trusts" or "VA mortgage seminars" for the sales funnels of the lawyers or mortgage brokers.

Last month I was doing a military personal finance seminar for a friend's command, and we were in the military base's family support center. The person with the key to the seminar room is an AFC in their financial office, and when she was locking up she said "Are you... Nords?!? We have your book in our office!" I had a job offer on the spot, with the understanding that they'd pay for me to get my AFC within the first two years in their office.

Another AFC option is freelancing. Roger Wohlner (a career CFP) tired of the client hustle and went freelance.
https://thechicagofinancialplanner.com/
The letters after his name give him the credibility to get responses to his pitches, and then he just builds the relationship into regular writing projects. An AFC (let alone a CFP) would get you regular columns with Military .com or MOAA.

If you do decide to dig into the CFP route, you could contact Forrest Baumhover of Westchase Financial Planning or Daniel Kopp of MilitaryLifePlanning. One's a retiree, the other separated after seven years, both are starting their own CFP businesses. Forrest, in particular, is discovering a gold mine in helping realtors in his local city with their personal finances.
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Old 05-06-2018, 08:48 AM   #7
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CFA is a 5 year commitment, so forget it. As for CFP, the critical skill is sales, not financial planning. How good are you at drumming up business? I am not, so it never worked for me as a career path.
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Old 05-06-2018, 09:15 AM   #8
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Not directly answering your question, but your fastest and highest paying option is almost certainly to go to work for a Navy contractor where your expertise can be put directly to work. If you want to explore this, I would suggest using the network of contractors that you and your Navy friends know, not pre-judging the kind of work you are looking for. For example, a large project will have a program manager and several program management staff people. I ran one big project where I had eight associate program managers. Many of those jobs were inward-facing, but a person like yourself might find yourself outward-facing, working with Navy customers on requirements, project reviews, T&E, etc. or possibly a more people-oriented job like working the Hill or being a company rep at a Navy facility.
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Old 05-06-2018, 10:09 AM   #9
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DWs cousin retired from the USAF, where he was a C130 pilot. His second career started by running a ROTC program for a local high school then later teaching and education admin. He is currently running a areospace program in a local tech school.
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Old 05-06-2018, 10:50 AM   #10
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I'm kicking around a lot of options, from coaching runners and triathletes (high passion, low income, may be a side hustle anyway), to project management or certified financial planner/analyst.

So, to the question: any advice from CFP/CFAs or PMPs out there given a notional 7-10 year horizon for working? I'm not looking to invest six years in furthering education via Masters or PhD (being an actuary sounds really interesting, but I don't think I want to invest the time into the education under the circumstances), but am willing to go through coursework for additional certifications.

I'm leaning CFP because even if I don't directly use it in a bridge career, it's something that helps me/us in the future.
In your situation, you should do something you will really enjoy (since it doesn't need to be as lucative).

If that's CFP, prepare to spend about 2 years of coursework, then some additional months studying to pass the exams in addition to 2 or so years of apprenticeship.
I would have guessed you would go the coaching route due to your "high passion". I'm not sure why you reject that as your main job.
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Old 05-06-2018, 03:16 PM   #11
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CFA is a 5 year commitment, so forget it. As for CFP, the critical skill is sales, not financial planning. How good are you at drumming up business? I am not, so it never worked for me as a career path.
This is my largest concern about CFP, and I've already more or less dismissed CFA. The topical areas are interesting. I'd be fine taking the seven courses and even trying my hand for 3 years to earn the letters, but the sales aspect of it is not something I'm particularly warm to. I may look into Nords' suggestion.
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Old 05-06-2018, 03:21 PM   #12
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In your situation, you should do something you will really enjoy (since it doesn't need to be as lucative).

If that's CFP, prepare to spend about 2 years of coursework, then some additional months studying to pass the exams in addition to 2 or so years of apprenticeship.
I would have guessed you would go the coaching route due to your "high passion". I'm not sure why you reject that as your main job.
I may still - it's definitely a front-burner option. Yet another path is a bridge career not to full ER, but to full-time coaching. I could find work to bring in income while building my coaching business, earning certifications to that end, and gaining further experience through volunteerism with local clubs/teams. I think coaching/fitting bikes/etc. would bring in a steady, albeit small, stream of income for a couple of decades because I think I would stay with that for a while regardless of income need or not.

Still, there's a big part of me that wants to try my hand at the "real world" for a while. As above, maybe there's a way to do both.
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Old 05-06-2018, 04:38 PM   #13
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I play a lot of duplicate bridge as a second career.
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