AFC Student Blog Series Part 6: Preparing for Exams

After completing the reading materials for the AFC course, I am now ready to start the review.  With practice questions and answers included in the back of the books, I can conveniently test my knowledge. And although the reading is in depth, the tools for studying are very straightforward.

While some students start the quiz section using an open book, I like to challenge myself and answer each section with my book closed.  And, as it turns out, I do pretty well! Once I’ve scored my quiz, I then go back to the questions that were wrong and figure out what I did not understand. By the time I reach the third section of the review, I find myself doing better and better and I’m  becoming more comfortable with the material.

Everyone studies differently and everyone learns differently, and this is why I enjoy the self-study AFC program.  The study material is written in a way that suits all learning styles. Most importantly, I find it rewarding because it has allowed me to examine my own personal financial situation and think about where I want to be in five years.

Have you thought about it?

Nadia Marquez, Master of Science Student in Personal Financial Planning at Texas Tech University
AFC® University program student

May 9, 2014 at 4:30 pm, by admin | No Comments | Category General

AFC Student Blog Series Part 5

It’s understandable that many of us do not like to engage in estate planning—it can be a little overwhelming. However, it is important to “nip it in the bud” and start the preparation early so that when the unfortunate time comes, there is a reduction of conflict and a smoother process for all involved.

Studying for the AFC® has helped me realize the importance of this topic and all that needs to be done to settle an estate in advance. I, myself, plan on having an estate one day, don’t you? If not, you will likely have clients with estates – and as an AFC, I hope to practice financial counseling and planning with people from all levels of wealth.

In a nutshell, the AFC provides me with the skills that so many people want to attain but, either due to lack of time or of knowledge, they fall short in organizing their finances.   This makes me a valuable resource to them and gives me the opportunity to make a living out of helping others.

The sky is the limit for me and it can be for you too!

Nadia Marquez, Master of Science Student in Personal Financial Planning at Texas Tech University
AFC® University program student

May 2, 2014 at 11:10 am, by admin | No Comments | Category General

AFC Student Blog Series Part 4

As I progress in my studies for the AFC®, I realize just how valuable a budget is and that it really is the foundation to having your finances in order.

This is especially evident as I read through the chapter focused on investments. In order to invest, I need to accumulate the money, which starts by adjusting my budget based on my current lifestyle and goals.

This brings up the idea of opportunity costs, and an important question: what am I willing to do without so that I can realize my financial goals? Perhaps that question gets you thinking about what is most important in your life now and in the future. This is also important because one must know where they are now (point A) in order to reach point B.

As I read through this chapter, I find myself going back over my budget and making necessary adjustments as I learn creative strategies that will make my money grow. I also found helpful links to compare interest rates, such as This helps me determine which strategy suits me best.

As a result of preparing for certification exams, I am indirectly managing my personal finances and have increased my level of confidence.

I cannot emphasize enough how easy it is to gain control of your financial situation with proper education, provided in tangible, logical steps. Studying for the AFC turns what feels like an impossible task into a very rewarding experience. Becoming an AFC takes away the intimidation that comes with dealing with your own finances, and that of others.

Nadia Marquez, Master of Science Student in Personal Financial Planning at Texas Tech University
AFC® University program student

April 25, 2014 at 7:41 am, by admin | No Comments | Category General

AFCPE Symposium: Value to Education and Career

As I have pursued degrees in Personal Financial Planning, first from the University of Missouri and now from Texas Tech University, each fall I have made an effort to go to at least one of a variety of conferences.  It was always a balancing act between getting out to meet professionals in different areas of the industry and figuring out how to fund my travel.  Last fall I was unexpectedly awarded a scholarship to attend the AFCPE Annual Symposium.

I had been to other conferences and expected to have a very similar experience: good but not life changing.  What I found was a different environment with an energy and focus that resonated with me and my career goals.   I found myself surrounded with professionals that were working in an area I had been told was difficult to break into and even impossible to make a living.  I was able to network with people that had been through the process of finding a career in Financial Counseling and had answers to my questions.  The relationships I developed during those few days have lasted beyond the symposium as I have had continued communication with several people, including discussions about potential job opportunities.

While the Symposium in general was a great experience, one of the highlights was the President’s reception – a casual, relaxed, evening event after the normal sessions of the day.  During that reception I was able to meet with present and past board members of the association and get to know them on more of a personal basis.  I gained valuable perspective into the career field and different ways I could go about building my career.  What stuck out most was that everyone was genuinely interested in me and my career goals and openly offered advice to assist me on that path.

What I had expected from the scholarship was an expense paid trip to a conference.  What I got was an experience that changed the trajectory of my career.  I will forever be grateful for that scholarship which provided much more value than simply the dollars that paid my way.

Thomas A. Duffany III, M.S. Candidate, Personal Financial Planning, Texas Tech University

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April 24, 2014 at 12:36 pm, by admin | No Comments | Category General

AFC Student Blog Series Part 3

I enjoy studying for the AFC® because so many topics hit close to home. My reading is constantly distracted because I am looking over my bank account and credit card statements to make sure my debt is under control. My favorite tool so far from the text is the credit utilization ratio. It indicates if I am nearing serious debt or not with my credit card. Fortunately my debt is under control based on the table in the book.

The information I am learning is so applicable and beneficial to real life issues which makes it that much easier to absorb the information. I encourage others to pursue the AFC designation because you not only learn about your own financial situation, but you can also help others to get on track with their finances.

It is so exciting to me that I can make sense of my finances and do the same for others. The material is easy to learn because the jargon is broken down to everyday language and shows the steps involved in the math, and the concept behind the numbers.

Overall, I would rather know the truth of where I stand with my finances than to avoid knowing. Avoidance is actually a symptom of carrying on too much debt, as the textbook explains. Like so many things in life, the imagination tends to blow an issue out of proportion. When the math is done, it really isn’t as bad as it seemed.

Wouldn’t you want to know your own financial truth rather than fearing it?

Nadia Marquez, Master of Science Student in Personal Financial Planning at Texas Tech University
AFC® University program student

April 18, 2014 at 8:00 am, by admin | No Comments | Category General