Here’s one of our most recent Chartered Financial Planners, sharing his experience of getting behind the goals.

”I’ve known John for many years now and have great memories of touring the depths of Beds, Bucks and Herts with him talking to advisers about everything pensions when we both work for one of the large insurance companies. What I always liked about John was his straight talking nature and how was able to get across technical matters in a simple, clear manner.

When I started planning my journey to Chartered at the end of 2015 I decided to tackle AF3 first, my thought process was to get the hard one out of the way first and obtain my permissions to become a Pension Transfer Specialist. This was to be my first Advanced Diploma exam and I knew I would need help to pass and the obvious person to contact was John and the Expert Pension Team. After a chat with John I was signed up, study material downloaded and in the hangover of the Christmas festivities my studying began in earnest. For anyone that has used John’s study material you will know that the syllabus is broken into weekly modules with a mix of study text, videos, quizzes and assignments. This helps you ensure that you have taken on board the main points and you are making sure by taking specimen questions that the learning has gone in. After three months of hard work exam time was around the corner and I signed up for a two day workshop. This was the icing on the cake, I left with mock exams, more questions to practice and with John’s words of now is the time to practice.

The next few weeks were spent testing my knowledge and as I walked out of the exam, although uncertain on how it went I was confident that I answered every question as best as I could on the day. Then the long wait for the results and I was pleased to have passed first time, I didn’t sail through but a pass is a pass.

Next on the list was AF4 and again I contacted John and signed up to the study materials and workshop. I sat the exam and didn’t feel confident at all, I felt that three months of study had been wasted. I heard John talk about PCIAM, dropped him a line and it seemed to make sense to use all my learning from AF4 and go for the winter 2016 exam. It’s an interesting exam, very different from the CII way of things and I really enjoyed it especially the essay question. A week before the exam I had my result from AF4 with a pass and went into the exam feeling confident and was pleased to hear that I had passed when the results were released in January.

That was 90 credits obtained and 30 left with AF5 planned for April.

Again with John’s help I planned for AF5, however this didn’t go according to plan. On the Monday morning before the exam I went down with a sickness bug (I blamed the kids) and I went into the exam on the Wednesday still not feeling 100%. I gave it my best shot but unfortunately I had failed. I was gutted, I was hoping that I would have got the required 120 credits for my Chartered Status in just over a year of exams, but it wasn’t meant to be. My feedback highlighted one thing, state the obvious and I missed out by 5 marks by not stating such simple things such as ‘Kim is a basic rate tax payer’! Lesson learnt.

Exam re booked for October 2017 and on results day in December I was pleased to have passed AF5 with 104, my Advanced Diploma passed and a phone call to the CII I had achieved my goal of Chartered Financial Planner status.

It’s been an emotional roller coaster over the past two years and I am certain that without the help of John and the team at Expert Pensions I would not be able to call myself a Chartered Financial Planner.

See you behind the goals.