Actuary Career - Thoughts Please

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LPSpecial
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Actuary Career - Thoughts Please

Post by LPSpecial »

Hello,
My daughter will be a senior this coming school year and she is investigating various career options. She is quite good with math, science, and English. She took a career aptitude test recently and received numerous career choices that might be a good fit. One of the careers that she thought sounded interesting is an actuary. If anyone has experience in this field and could comment on this career choice I would really appreciate it.

Thank you and best regards,

LPSpecial :)
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macaroon
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Re: Actuary Career - Thoughts Please

Post by macaroon »

No experience myself, but when my son was considering it as a career, he found this site very helpful. It answered a lot of his questions.
http://www.beanactuary.org/
b42
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Re: Actuary Career - Thoughts Please

Post by b42 »

I went to college to get a degree in Actuarial Science, and I threw in Economics after I found out it was only 5 extra classes (still haven't used that part yet!). Some colleges/universities offer a degree in Actuarial Science and others do something more like a Mathematics degree with a concentration in Actuarial Science. Either way, the actual "Actuarial Science" degree doesn't mean as much as actually passing exams to become accredited by a major actuarial organization, but it is useful to get classes that will prepare you for the work.

I would check out beanactuary.org, or the soa.org website. There are a few organizations in the USA and Canada (Society of Actuaries, Casualty Actuary Society, etc.) with their own requirements, but they do jointly sponsor some exams.

I'm working towards an ASA (Associate of the Society of Actuaries) accreditation with the SOA, which requires a series of 5 exams and some additional courses and training. Note that the exam structure changes every few years, with the next one occurring in 2018. But in general there are five main exams offered at various times during the year. They will most likely be the most difficult exams you'll ever have to take (pass marks usually hover around 60-70%, with about 35-45% of test takers actually passing). Currently I would still be considered an "actuarial student" as I have 3 of the 5 exams passed.

If your daughter is interested, she could look up some of the exam materials (see exam P or FM, which are the first two) and see if she's up to learning the material in college. Most colleges that have the major offer prep courses for the exams, which are extremely useful. But there is a ton of self-directed study needed. The rule of thumb is 100 hours of study for every hour of the exam (and exams are usually 3-4 hours).

The good news is that all my actuarial-science related friends have good jobs with companies in my area. Most corporations have great internship programs, and even my friends who decided to switch majors ended up going to similar fields such as mathematics or economics.

In terms of what I actually do, I work at a mid-sized actuarial firm that specializes in employee benefit consulting. Our actuaries and analysts work primarily on pensions, defined benefit and contribution plans, healthcare consulting, valuations of all sorts, and an investments branch. I spend a lot of time analyzing data and number crunching. If you daughter is interested in solving problems, or dealing with complex situations that may not necessarily have a "right" answer, it is a great field to get into and is set to keep growing over the next 10-15 years.
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Edie
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Re: Actuary Career - Thoughts Please

Post by Edie »

If everything has come easy to her thus far, she will have a much harder time with the exams than someone who has had to study to understand the material and get good grades.

I had 4.0+ GPA throughout high school and college (10+ years between the two educational stints) with very little effort, and studying for exams is the bane of my existence.

I love my job (I work in health (switched from life a couple years back)), I get to work on interesting problems, but OMG do I hate studying with a burning passion.

I would highly recommend a mathematics degree over an actuarial science degree, if she isn't sure. It's much easier to pivot from a math degree than an actuarial science degree if she decides she hates it (before or after finishing college). Disclaimer: I have a B.S. in Math, with a minor in Economics (it was a couple extra classes, still haven't used it, like b42 :)).

In addition to the websites mentioned previously, there is also a subreddit, as well as the AO (actuarial outpost), but in both places, you're likely to run across trolls (I really love bogleheads for the excellent moderation on top of the excellent advice!)

It is a very small profession, I think the last number I remember seeing was about 28,000 in the US.
Vanguard Fan 1367
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Re: Actuary Career - Thoughts Please

Post by Vanguard Fan 1367 »

I know that one of my patients recommended actuary as a career. It is pretty hard for employers to find qualified employees if the job requires certain skills. I would expect math and science folks to be in better shape while applying for a job than history majors.
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d0gerz
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Re: Actuary Career - Thoughts Please

Post by d0gerz »

Edie wrote:It is a very small profession, I think the last number I remember seeing was about 28,000 in the US.
I was at a conference recently where the president of the SOA was speaking. He said current job growth for actuaries is around 4-5% per year while growth in graduates in Actuarial Science is at around 8% per year. This does not bode well for the industry long term. One way the SOA could address this is by making it tougher/take more time to complete the accreditation exams. Some changes to this effect seem to be on the horizon starting next year.

Because of this increase in supply it is becoming more and more difficult for people to get entry level jobs. It used to be that one exam and some internship experience was usually enough to get a full time position. Now a lot of people are graduating university with 3-4 even 5 exams already under their belt. So entry level standards and requirements are getting tougher. At least that's what I see in my industry (life insurance) and region (northeast), maybe it is different in other industries and areas.
carolinaman
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Re: Actuary Career - Thoughts Please

Post by carolinaman »

b42 wrote:

In terms of what I actually do, I work at a mid-sized actuarial firm that specializes in employee benefit consulting. Our actuaries and analysts work primarily on pensions, defined benefit and contribution plans, healthcare consulting, valuations of all sorts, and an investments branch. I spend a lot of time analyzing data and number crunching. If you daughter is interested in solving problems, or dealing with complex situations that may not necessarily have a "right" answer, it is a great field to get into and is set to keep growing over the next 10-15 years.
My only knowledge of actuaries is their work on pensions for our state provided pension system. Given the decline in DB pensions which seems to be trending forward, first in private sector and now starting to occur in public sector, I would think there would be less demand for actuaries in the future, at least on this segment of things they do.
smitcat
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Re: Actuary Career - Thoughts Please

Post by smitcat »

According to this recent article it sounds like a great career move if someone likes that type of work (best chance for employment)....

https://www.msn.com/en-us/money/careers ... =BBCHmu2|2
Valuethinker
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Re: Actuary Career - Thoughts Please

Post by Valuethinker »

LPSpecial wrote:Hello,
My daughter will be a senior this coming school year and she is investigating various career options. She is quite good with math, science, and English. She took a career aptitude test recently and received numerous career choices that might be a good fit. One of the careers that she thought sounded interesting is an actuary. If anyone has experience in this field and could comment on this career choice I would really appreciate it.

Thank you and best regards,

LPSpecial :)
There is a huge gap between "good in math" and the math you do in university. Even an applied degree like Actuarial Science. Lots of people are "good in math" but don't make it thru the major. Crunch time is in 1st/ 2nd year in my experience. Note also that finding that out can be emotionally pretty soul destroying-- you are taking the top 2% of say high school classes, say, and shrinking that down to the top 1% of those (or less).

I am actually more of a fan of a Statistics & Applied Math degree, because that is more general-- can also lead into Data Science, Economics etc. Data Science right now is a "hot topic" but I presume with the growth in data from social media, that the demand for Data Scientists is not just going to go away.

Actuarial Science is more or less the toughest professional exams there are (from an intellectual standpoint). On another plane in both volume & difficulty from say, the CFA (which is no slouch itself).

I knew a lot of actuaries who either dropped out without finishing and went into another career, or who did finish, and left the career. They wished that they had studied for the ACA (CA in Canada) = CPA in USA. Because it's a more general business degree, with wider applications.

The combination of being good at math *and* understanding accounting is a fairly powerful one in business. Lot of roles that leads to.

So to summarize:

- Actuary is hard, really hard, even for people good at math and stats, as opposed to us ordinary mortals. I don't know what the dropout rate is, but I suspect it's very high

- the careers you can do as an Actuary are fairly limited - and you have to choose whether you are a pensions actuary or a life insurance actuary or a Property & Casualty actuary. You have to specialize

- thus it's a lucrative profession, high barriers to entry HOWEVER (and this I don't know) I imagine the growth of "Artificial Intelligence" might make some actuaries redundant (that's true of all white collar jobs and professions, though)

- I would try to keep my options open, by choosing a major (like Applied Math & Stats, or Applied Math & Economics) that in undergrad would still let me go down the Actuarial Science route, but means I have other options if that doesn't appeal. Nobody can predict what will interest her in her Junior Year.
b42
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Re: Actuary Career - Thoughts Please

Post by b42 »

carolinaman wrote:
b42 wrote:

In terms of what I actually do, I work at a mid-sized actuarial firm that specializes in employee benefit consulting. Our actuaries and analysts work primarily on pensions, defined benefit and contribution plans, healthcare consulting, valuations of all sorts, and an investments branch. I spend a lot of time analyzing data and number crunching. If you daughter is interested in solving problems, or dealing with complex situations that may not necessarily have a "right" answer, it is a great field to get into and is set to keep growing over the next 10-15 years.
My only knowledge of actuaries is their work on pensions for our state provided pension system. Given the decline in DB pensions which seems to be trending forward, first in private sector and now starting to occur in public sector, I would think there would be less demand for actuaries in the future, at least on this segment of things they do.
Definitely true, I don't see a renaissance of new pension plans any time soon, so it is a known concern at the company that future growth won't come from this sector. However, unlike private pensions which can be frozen or ended over a relatively short period of time (a few years), many public and government pensions would have much greater difficulty doing this, or are set up in such a way to essentially go on forever, so there is still a need to maintain these plans.

Due to this, I can already see a big marketing push by the actuarial organizations to branch out. Recently they started a new "Chartered Enterprise Risk Analysis" credential, and going from an ASA to an FSA has different tracks available (such as Corporate Finance and ERM, Individual Life and Annuities, Retirement, Group Health, etc.). I think they are definitely trying to shed the old image of "oh you are an actuary, so you just value pensions!".
imareal1
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Re: Actuary Career - Thoughts Please

Post by imareal1 »

I majored in Act Sci and have been working as an actuarial analyst for a year now in group health insurance.

It is a challenging but rewarding career. If you're considering an actuarial career, just try to pass an exam. That will give you a feel of what it takes to be an actuary. If the first one proved to be a bad time, know that you need to do that 4-7 more times, even harder, to be a certified actuary.

I'm currently doing a lot of number crunching but there's also guesswork and assumptions involved which is what I find interesting. That's expected of entry level analysts, though.

The job market is SUPER saturated right now for entry level students. So if you're not a top tier student, you will have a tough time finding a position, especially in high COL areas like NYC.
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Re: Actuary Career - Thoughts Please

Post by DartThrower »

I got a master's in stat and then came into the actuarial field in the 80s. Since around 2000 I moved on to do healthcare statistics on the clinical side.

I do agree with how the previous posts characterize the actuarial field and so I will try to add a new perspective and not just echo theirs. Back in the 90s the first several exams were math based and had some theory, but as you move up in the exams they were less about math and more about allied topics such as insurance law and the structure of insurance products. The actual work also involves little math such as derivations and proofs etc. It's lots of straightforward applied math and computer programming. If she really likes working out elegant equations and doing problems in a classroom setting this field might not be for her.

There is a great sense of camaraderie among students because everyone is studying at the same time of year and everyone takes their exam around the same time. Thus even though the studying is difficult there are plenty of others you know who are going through the same thing. And the rewards on the other side are excellent! I still to this day have lots of friends who are actuaries.

From my own personal point of view I felt kind of locked into the actuarial field and wanted to do something different. Fortunately the subject of statistics is so general that it allowed me to jump into another area rather easily. Therefore I am glad I did not commit to actuarial work while in college.

One thing about where I work now is that everyone around me has little interest in math, but when I did actuarial work everyone around me was super "into" math. I could learn a lot from the person down the hall or even in the next cube. Where I work now I am considered the "expert", but no one wants to do much other than simple summaries of data. They don't know what they don't know and they're perfectly happy that way. :oops:

Another observation I have is that when I started out the personal computer was in its infancy (yeah, I'm old :wink: ). Much of what the low level actuarial students did was to get computers working and deal with the logistics of working with ever larger data sets. Much of that drudgery is now gone and students should be free to do more interesting and insightful work. I would think that actuarial work is more interesting than it's ever been.
After one has played a vast quantity of notes and more notes, it is simplicity that emerges as the crowning reward of art. Chopin
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LPSpecial
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Re: Actuary Career - Thoughts Please

Post by LPSpecial »

Thank you all for the thoughtful replies.

LPSpecial :happy
imblake3
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Re: Actuary Career - Thoughts Please

Post by imblake3 »

Others have already added great perspective on the actuarial field, but I'll reinforce two sentiments: actuarial science can be a great career, but not necessarily a great major. I graduated with a degree in statistics in 2012 and worked as an actuarial statistician for a couple years before moving into management. A degree in computer science, math, statistics, or economics will offer many more career options as well as some "future-proofing." And as someone hiring actuaries now, I can attest that hiring managers would actually prefer one of those degrees. The caveat is that passing exams is expected either way.

Companies are moving towards using much more advanced machine learning methods in actuarial calculations. A degree in statistics, math, or computer science will help your daughter immensely. Many actuarial science programs now offer classes in R or Python, but having an advanced skillset in either would separate her from the pack.

Plus with one of these other degrees, if she decides the actuarial exam life isn't for her, she can go into an even more lucrative field - data science!
Valuethinker
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Re: Actuary Career - Thoughts Please

Post by Valuethinker »

imblake3 wrote:Others have already added great perspective on the actuarial field, but I'll reinforce two sentiments: actuarial science can be a great career, but not necessarily a great major. I graduated with a degree in statistics in 2012 and worked as an actuarial statistician for a couple years before moving into management. A degree in computer science, math, statistics, or economics will offer many more career options as well as some "future-proofing." And as someone hiring actuaries now, I can attest that hiring managers would actually prefer one of those degrees. The caveat is that passing exams is expected either way.

Companies are moving towards using much more advanced machine learning methods in actuarial calculations. A degree in statistics, math, or computer science will help your daughter immensely. Many actuarial science programs now offer classes in R or Python, but having an advanced skillset in either would separate her from the pack.
From everything I have heard, can't stress this enough. Granted, things change over time. But you need to know how to do the data analysis-- write the programmes (or at least adapt the pre written ones).
Plus with one of these other degrees, if she decides the actuarial exam life isn't for her, she can go into an even more lucrative field - data science!
Yes. Although in 5-10 years time, the job market will be different. But degrees with a really good foundation in mathematics and statistics, plus some programming skills (and I would add some economics) never seem to go out of fashion. You've got the ability to handle the theory, but also to apply it.
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F150HD
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Re: Actuary Career - Thoughts Please

Post by F150HD »

The rule of thumb is 100 hours of study for every hour of the exam (and exams are usually 3-4 hours).
thats a lot of study time.
Long is the way and hard, that out of Hell leads up to light.
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Edie
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Re: Actuary Career - Thoughts Please

Post by Edie »

F150HD wrote:
The rule of thumb is 100 hours of study for every hour of the exam (and exams are usually 3-4 hours).
thats a lot of study time.
You missed this part.
b42 wrote: They will most likely be the most difficult exams you'll ever have to take (pass marks usually hover around 60-70%, with about 35-45% of test takers actually passing).
It's not just a lot of study time, it's a lot of study time and people still regularly fail (55-65% failure rate if you flip the above).

No one outside the profession "gets it" either. I have an incredibly supportive spouse, but even he's sick of me by the time exam day rolls around. My kids give up on me a couple months in, but they're all teenagers, so that might happen even if I weren't studying.

I highly recommend the profession, it's awesome, but there's no sugarcoating the exam process, it's brutal.
alex_686
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Re: Actuary Career - Thoughts Please

Post by alex_686 »

b42 wrote:Definitely true, I don't see a renaissance of new pension plans any time soon, so it is a known concern at the company that future growth won't come from this sector.
I would slightly disagree. With the decline of pension plans there has been a rise in life insurance and annuities, which requires actuary work. Plus, state regulations are always getting more complex so the amount of work that needs to be done for a policy has increased. There are other insurance jobs out there that requires actuaries skills that are not in life insurance.

I have worked for actuaries and would generally give a thumbs up. It can be challenging, rewarding work. It pays wells. On the flip side it is very much a 8 to 5 type of job. While demanding, it is not stressful. Emergency, 80 hour work week situations just don't come up that often, if every. So it can offer a very good work / life balance.
Former brokerage operations & mutual fund accountant. I hate risk, which is why I study and embrace it.
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F150HD
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Re: Actuary Career - Thoughts Please

Post by F150HD »

Edie wrote:
F150HD wrote:
The rule of thumb is 100 hours of study for every hour of the exam (and exams are usually 3-4 hours).
thats a lot of study time.
You missed this part.
b42 wrote: They will most likely be the most difficult exams you'll ever have to take (pass marks usually hover around 60-70%, with about 35-45% of test takers actually passing).
It's not just a lot of study time, it's a lot of study time and people still regularly fail (55-65% failure rate if you flip the above).

No one outside the profession "gets it" either. I have an incredibly supportive spouse, but even he's sick of me by the time exam day rolls around. My kids give up on me a couple months in, but they're all teenagers, so that might happen even if I weren't studying.

I highly recommend the profession, it's awesome, but there's no sugarcoating the exam process, it's brutal.
why is the failure rate so high? do most just not study enough? (haven't read into details, sorry)

links to example tests & questions would be appreciate when/if you have them handy just to browse.
Long is the way and hard, that out of Hell leads up to light.
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Edie
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Re: Actuary Career - Thoughts Please

Post by Edie »

F150HD wrote:why is the failure rate so high? do most just not study enough? (haven't read into details, sorry)
Some don't study enough, but there's what's called an effective pass rate, which is where those that score low enough that it's obvious they shouldn't have been taking the test are just dropped out of the denominator, and the effective pass rate is still low.

Here's one way I've seen someone describe how to explain that you've failed an actuarial exam.
Tell them you're taking a graduate-level course and:

1. There is no teacher.
2. You never have class.
3. Your classmates are some of the top analytical minds in the world.
4. There is only one exam.
5. 60% of the class will fail.
6. The class is only offered once a year. This is thankfully not true any more for most of the preliminary exams.
7. Repeat that very same process 10 times.
8. Oh, and you're competing against the top 40% from the previous class.
There's a great website called actuarial-lookup that has all sorts of statistics, which you can use to punish yourself as an exam taker :twisted: by looking at your exam sitting to see if it was easier or harder than normal, but it also has historical pass rates if you're interested :) http://www.actuarial-lookup.com/pass-rates
F150HD wrote:links to example tests & questions would be appreciate when/if you have them handy just to browse.
Here's a link to sample exams for the first two actuarial exams (the "easy" ones (the only one I've failed was the first one I took, and it was because I didn't take my first attempt seriously. I haven't failed one since... *knock on wood* but I am definitely in the camp of over-preparers (more than 400 hours per exam), I just can't stand the idea of studying the same material that many hours more than once!))
https://www.soa.org/Education/Exam-Req/ ... ample.aspx

Previously released exams can be found here (they don't release exams P, FM, MFE, C and Exam GIINT, but they do offer sample question sets for those).
https://www.soa.org/Education/Exam-Req/ ... -exam.aspx

Sample questions for exam P
https://www.soa.org/Files/Edu/edu-exam- ... -quest.pdf
Sample questions for exam FM
https://www.soa.org/files/pdf/FM-09-05ques.pdf
Sample questions for exam MFE
https://www.soa.org/files/edu/edu-exam- ... -quest.pdf
Sample questions for exam C
https://www.soa.org/files/edu/edu-exam- ... -quest.pdf

Some of the above may have solutions in the file, I know C does not (since that's what I'm taking in October, my -last- one for associate credentials), there's a separate file for those. Just google soa sample exam "letter" solutions should get you to the solution files if they're not in the pdf.

I've only listed SOA exams since that's what I am working towards. There are different exams for CAS students, but several of the preliminary exams are the same.
P&C actuary
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Re: Actuary Career - Thoughts Please

Post by P&C actuary »

I work in the Property and Casualty Insurance industry. Life or Health or Pension are more predictable than P&C. P&C covers Homeowners, Auto, Workers compensation, professional liability, general liability, and more. There is more variety in P&C.

On the CAS website, look for the Future Fellows section, which targets actuarial students.

As others have mentioned, the exam process is a long road. Exams are graded on a curve. You are competing with the other exam takers. Look for review courses and study guides.

Agree that you don't need to major in actuarial science, although it might help in passing some exams. Don't need to be math major either, but need strong analytical skills. Casualty exams include non-math topics like insurance accounting, tort law, and economics. Business classes help with those.
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Re: Actuary Career - Thoughts Please

Post by mtwistercapitalist »

d0gerz wrote: Thu Jun 22, 2017 8:23 pm
Edie wrote:It is a very small profession, I think the last number I remember seeing was about 28,000 in the US.
I was at a conference recently where the president of the SOA was speaking. He said current job growth for actuaries is around 4-5% per year while growth in graduates in Actuarial Science is at around 8% per year. This does not bode well for the industry long term. One way the SOA could address this is by making it tougher/take more time to complete the accreditation exams. Some changes to this effect seem to be on the horizon starting next year.

Because of this increase in supply it is becoming more and more difficult for people to get entry level jobs. It used to be that one exam and some internship experience was usually enough to get a full time position. Now a lot of people are graduating university with 3-4 even 5 exams already under their belt. So entry level standards and requirements are getting tougher. At least that's what I see in my industry (life insurance) and region (northeast), maybe it is different in other industries and areas.
Is the case with the actuarial sciences being oversaturated as a career path still true?
Chardo
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Re: Actuary Career - Thoughts Please

Post by Chardo »

You resurrected a 7 year old thread.

Demand for actuaries is still higher than supply.
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Re: Actuary Career - Thoughts Please

Post by Stinky »

mtwistercapitalist wrote: Sun Jul 07, 2024 8:58 pm
Is the case with the actuarial sciences being oversaturated as a career path still true?
This is a seven year old thread.

Actuarial science remains a very well paid field where an advanced degree is absolutely not required for success.

Well prepared candidates can average $80k per year directly out of undergraduate college and $200k per year at 5 years, with average salaries marching upwards thereafter.
Retired life insurance company financial executive who sincerely believes that ”It’s a GREAT day to be alive!”
PoorPlumber
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Re: Actuary Career - Thoughts Please

Post by PoorPlumber »

And now that AI is sentient, will actuaries even be needed in the next 5 years?
CloseEnough
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Post by CloseEnough »

PoorPlumber wrote: Mon Jul 08, 2024 8:54 am And now that AI is sentient, will actuaries even be needed in the next 5 years?
That may be true of many white collar jobs. AI cannot pull a wire through a wall, or, as I guess you would know, install pipes for a new sink.
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Re: Actuary Career - Thoughts Please

Post by IowaFarmBoy »

The rule of thumb is 100 hours of study for every hour of the exam (and exams are usually 3-4 hours).
Many companies allow you about this much study time "on the clock". DD #1 is an actuary and I worked writing software that P&C actuaries used. We were at different companies and both allowed time to study on the job.

Exams are hard. DD passed all of them on the first try with the minimum score (6 or 7?) on the first try until the last one. It took three tries but the first try he company sent her to work in Paris for a year and was newly married so I don't think she put in the study hours she normally did.
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Re: Actuary Career - Thoughts Please

Post by Chardo »

PoorPlumber wrote: Mon Jul 08, 2024 8:54 am And now that AI is sentient, will actuaries even be needed in the next 5 years?
A lot of what actuaries do is compliance with regulatory requirements. I don't foresee the regulators allowing AI to replace that function anytime soon.
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Re: Actuary Career - Thoughts Please

Post by Chardo »

IowaFarmBoy wrote: Mon Jul 08, 2024 9:20 am
The rule of thumb is 100 hours of study for every hour of the exam (and exams are usually 3-4 hours).

Exams are hard.
That's an understatement.

Arguably the hardest professional exams that exist. And you have to pass about 10 of them. Most actuaries take 7 to 10 years to pass them all. I know one who took 24 years.
Valuethinker
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Re: Actuary Career - Thoughts Please

Post by Valuethinker »

Chardo wrote: Mon Jul 08, 2024 10:57 am
IowaFarmBoy wrote: Mon Jul 08, 2024 9:20 am
The rule of thumb is 100 hours of study for every hour of the exam (and exams are usually 3-4 hours).

Exams are hard.
That's an understatement.

Arguably the hardest professional exams that exist. And you have to pass about 10 of them. Most actuaries take 7 to 10 years to pass them all. I know one who took 24 years.
100 hours per exam?

I would guess more like 1000 hours?
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Re: Actuary Career - Thoughts Please

Post by Stinky »

Valuethinker wrote: Mon Jul 08, 2024 1:08 pm
Chardo wrote: Mon Jul 08, 2024 10:57 am
IowaFarmBoy wrote: Mon Jul 08, 2024 9:20 am
The rule of thumb is 100 hours of study for every hour of the exam (and exams are usually 3-4 hours).

Exams are hard.
That's an understatement.

Arguably the hardest professional exams that exist. And you have to pass about 10 of them. Most actuaries take 7 to 10 years to pass them all. I know one who took 24 years.
100 hours per exam?

I would guess more like 1000 hours?
100 hours of study per hour of exam. So for a four hour exam, budget 400 hours of study.

That’s 20 hours of study per week for 20 weeks prior to the exam, take the exam, take 6 weeks off studying, then start all over again.
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Re: Actuary Career - Thoughts Please

Post by Chardo »

Stinky wrote: Mon Jul 08, 2024 1:23 pm
Valuethinker wrote: Mon Jul 08, 2024 1:08 pm
Chardo wrote: Mon Jul 08, 2024 10:57 am
IowaFarmBoy wrote: Mon Jul 08, 2024 9:20 am
The rule of thumb is 100 hours of study for every hour of the exam (and exams are usually 3-4 hours).

Exams are hard.
That's an understatement.

Arguably the hardest professional exams that exist. And you have to pass about 10 of them. Most actuaries take 7 to 10 years to pass them all. I know one who took 24 years.
100 hours per exam?

I would guess more like 1000 hours?
100 hours of study per hour of exam. So for a four hour exam, budget 400 hours of study.

That’s 20 hours of study per week for 20 weeks prior to the exam, take the exam, take 6 weeks off studying, then start all over again.
In addition to your day job.
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yankees60
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Re: Actuary Career - Thoughts Please

Post by yankees60 »

LPSpecial wrote: Thu Jun 22, 2017 6:38 pm Hello,
My daughter will be a senior this coming school year and she is investigating various career options. She is quite good with math, science, and English. She took a career aptitude test recently and received numerous career choices that might be a good fit. One of the careers that she thought sounded interesting is an actuary. If anyone has experience in this field and could comment on this career choice I would really appreciate it.

Thank you and best regards,

LPSpecial :)
That is quite the combination to be good at. Not the usual but should lead to high SAT scores.

I saw a list 1 time that had Actuaries as being in the top 10 of least stressful jobs.
Above provided by: Vinny, who always says: "I only regret that I have but one lap to give to my cats." AND "I'm a more-is-more person."
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Re: Actuary Career - Thoughts Please

Post by popoki »

yankees60 wrote: Mon Jul 08, 2024 4:51 pm
LPSpecial wrote: Thu Jun 22, 2017 6:38 pm Hello,
My daughter will be a senior this coming school year and she is investigating various career options. She is quite good with math, science, and English. She took a career aptitude test recently and received numerous career choices that might be a good fit. One of the careers that she thought sounded interesting is an actuary. If anyone has experience in this field and could comment on this career choice I would really appreciate it.

Thank you and best regards,

LPSpecial :)
That is quite the combination to be good at. Not the usual but should lead to high SAT scores.

I saw a list 1 time that had Actuaries as being in the top 10 of least stressful jobs.
Daughter probably graduated college in 2022, and maybe has a master's by now. This is a really old post.
Gray doesn't matter.
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yankees60
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Re: Actuary Career - Thoughts Please

Post by yankees60 »

Stinky wrote: Mon Jul 08, 2024 1:23 pm
Valuethinker wrote: Mon Jul 08, 2024 1:08 pm
Chardo wrote: Mon Jul 08, 2024 10:57 am
IowaFarmBoy wrote: Mon Jul 08, 2024 9:20 am
The rule of thumb is 100 hours of study for every hour of the exam (and exams are usually 3-4 hours).

Exams are hard.
That's an understatement.

Arguably the hardest professional exams that exist. And you have to pass about 10 of them. Most actuaries take 7 to 10 years to pass them all. I know one who took 24 years.
100 hours per exam?

I would guess more like 1000 hours?
100 hours of study per hour of exam. So for a four hour exam, budget 400 hours of study.

That’s 20 hours of study per week for 20 weeks prior to the exam, take the exam, take 6 weeks off studying, then start all over again.
That is an super incredible amount of study time.

For 2 of my accounting classes I would study 20 hours over Saturday Sunday Monday for a 3 hour exam on Monday night. I thought that was extreme. But there is only 3 exams each semester.

For A professional certification I had to take 6 exams Each lasting about 3 hours. I'd like to study about 70 hours for each 1 of those exams.

Again I thought that was extreme particularly when 1 person before the exam said that she had to study for 2 days for this 1Make it sound like that was a big deal.

However all my Examples are like nothing compared to what you describe!
Above provided by: Vinny, who always says: "I only regret that I have but one lap to give to my cats." AND "I'm a more-is-more person."
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Re: Actuary Career - Thoughts Please

Post by SevenBridgesRoad »

I see this is an old thread, revived.

I'm strangely fascinated by the actuary exam discussion. In my profession as an MD, there are challenging certification and recertification exams, but physicians don't talk about board exams in every conversation about their job. And the pass rate in medical and surgical specialities is much higher than cited here for actuaries. What is the explanation for such an unbelievably difficult exam regime for actuaries? This is truly asked from curiosity and not in any way suggesting a high level of competence isn't absolutely necessary for actuaries.
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Re: Actuary Career - Thoughts Please

Post by mtwistercapitalist »

Chardo wrote: Sun Jul 07, 2024 9:35 pm You resurrected a 7 year old thread.

Demand for actuaries is still higher than supply.
Are you an actuary yourself? If so, would you be open to an informational interview via a separate bogglehead public thread?
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Re: Actuary Career - Thoughts Please

Post by muffins14 »

LPSpecial wrote: Thu Jun 22, 2017 6:38 pm Hello,
My daughter will be a senior this coming school year and she is investigating various career options. She is quite good with math, science, and English. She took a career aptitude test recently and received numerous career choices that might be a good fit. One of the careers that she thought sounded interesting is an actuary. If anyone has experience in this field and could comment on this career choice I would really appreciate it.

Thank you and best regards,

LPSpecial :)
I don’t have experience, but I would think for such a person a degree in statistics, computer science, machine learning, or economics may be more interesting than actuarial science.

Perhaps even a degree in physics or math
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Re: Actuary Career - Thoughts Please

Post by jimmo »

SevenBridgesRoad wrote: Mon Jul 08, 2024 6:08 pm I see this is an old thread, revived.

I'm strangely fascinated by the actuary exam discussion. In my profession as an MD, there are challenging certification and recertification exams, but physicians don't talk about board exams in every conversation about their job. And the pass rate in medical and surgical specialities is much higher than cited here for actuaries. What is the explanation for such an unbelievably difficult exam regime for actuaries? This is truly asked from curiosity and not in any way suggesting a high level of competence isn't absolutely necessary for actuaries.
I'd say the reason for the difficult and long exam process is that it serves as the primary barrier to entry (much in the same way med school does for doctors).

Actuaries don't have to get graduate level degrees, but the exam process serves the same purpose.

I'm 15 years into the career and have been done with exams for quite some time, so don't think much about them anymore besides empathizing with my direct reports going through the process. It's a big part of your first 5+ years in the profession until you get credentialed (or burn out trying), and then normal work and life stuff fills that 600-800 hours a year it was sucking up.
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Re: Actuary Career - Thoughts Please

Post by SevenBridgesRoad »

jimmo wrote: Mon Jul 08, 2024 7:53 pm
SevenBridgesRoad wrote: Mon Jul 08, 2024 6:08 pm I see this is an old thread, revived.

I'm strangely fascinated by the actuary exam discussion. In my profession as an MD, there are challenging certification and recertification exams, but physicians don't talk about board exams in every conversation about their job. And the pass rate in medical and surgical specialities is much higher than cited here for actuaries. What is the explanation for such an unbelievably difficult exam regime for actuaries? This is truly asked from curiosity and not in any way suggesting a high level of competence isn't absolutely necessary for actuaries.
I'd say the reason for the difficult and long exam process is that it serves as the primary barrier to entry (much in the same way med school does for doctors).

Actuaries don't have to get graduate level degrees, but the exam process serves the same purpose.

I'm 15 years into the career and have been done with exams for quite some time, so don't think much about them anymore besides empathizing with my direct reports going through the process. It's a big part of your first 5+ years in the profession until you get credentialed (or burn out trying), and then normal work and life stuff fills that 600-800 hours a year it was sucking up.
I hadn’t thought of the barrier to entry idea. That makes sense. Thanks.
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Re: Actuary Career - Thoughts Please

Post by Chardo »

mtwistercapitalist wrote: Mon Jul 08, 2024 7:13 pm
Chardo wrote: Sun Jul 07, 2024 9:35 pm You resurrected a 7 year old thread.

Demand for actuaries is still higher than supply.
Are you an actuary yourself? If so, would you be open to an informational interview via a separate bogglehead public thread?
I'm not an actuary. I married one. Talk about taking a risk...
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Re: Actuary Career - Thoughts Please

Post by mtwistercapitalist »

Chardo wrote: Mon Jul 08, 2024 9:35 pm
mtwistercapitalist wrote: Mon Jul 08, 2024 7:13 pm
Chardo wrote: Sun Jul 07, 2024 9:35 pm You resurrected a 7 year old thread.

Demand for actuaries is still higher than supply.
Are you an actuary yourself? If so, would you be open to an informational interview via a separate bogglehead public thread?
I'm not an actuary. I married one. Talk about taking a risk...
LOL :sharebeer
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Re: Actuary Career - Thoughts Please

Post by yankees60 »

Chardo wrote: Mon Jul 08, 2024 9:35 pm
mtwistercapitalist wrote: Mon Jul 08, 2024 7:13 pm
Chardo wrote: Sun Jul 07, 2024 9:35 pm You resurrected a 7 year old thread.

Demand for actuaries is still higher than supply.
Are you an actuary yourself? If so, would you be open to an informational interview via a separate bogglehead public thread?
I'm not an actuary. I married one. Talk about taking a risk...
!!!!!!!!!
Above provided by: Vinny, who always says: "I only regret that I have but one lap to give to my cats." AND "I'm a more-is-more person."
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