Archive | March, 2010

Another One Bites The Dust

24 Mar

In case you didn’t catch my announcement on twitter

I passed the 3rd section of the CPA Exam!

Actually, I didn’t just pass it…I owned it.  Check the score:

REG Score

I couldn’t believe it when I saw a 90 pop up on my screen!  I received an 80 and an 81 on the first two tests, so this was a pleasant surprise!

ONE MORE TEST TO GO!!!

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Things to look forward to:  after the tests, I will move this blog over to a new blog with a different blog name so I don’t have to live by the pen name of “Carrie” forever.  Back in January, I said I was going to reveal myself and I probably will, but I’m still debating that issue.  I’m also going to be starting up a weight lifting/healthy living blog after the tests as well!  <rant> Although, I’m still maintaining my workouts, they are not at the frequency, length, or quality that they were before the CPA took over.  I’ve gained about 5 –8 pounds.  It doesn’t seem like much, but my pants are starting to get snug and I do NOT enjoy that feeling.  I cannot wait to get back to normalcy in my workouts after this damn test is over with!  </end rant>

Big changes are comin’!

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Life, Goals, Study Plan, and Q&As

7 Mar

Hey guys!

I just wanted to do a quick update on how my exam went on Friday.  The good news?  I’m pretty sure I passed!  The bad news?  Wow, that exam was KILLER!  I was so tense for the three hours of the exam, that I left and my leg muscles were sore!

That was by far the hardest CPA test I’ve taken out of the 3.  We were only allotted three hours and we really should have been given closer to 4 hours.  There are 5 “testlets” or sections in the exam.  The first three are multiple choice and the last two are “simulations”.  The simulations are killer and involve 5-6 tabs of writing memos, filling out tax forms, complex calculations & analysis, and researching professional literature.  I OWNED the multiple choice sections, but my simulations were TORTURE!  My first simulation was pretty straightforward, but the calculations killed me.  My second simulation was beyond hard and just ridiculous.  I laughed out loud and almost cried when I saw what they were asking of me.  Luckily, I finished with 45 seconds left, but I don’t think I did very well on the last section!

Hopefully that test is behind me…for GOOD.  That night, Lloyd and I went out for fondue to celebrate.  Yum!

If I passed that test, that will mean that the NEXT test I take will be my LAST test!!!  *happy dance!*  Please keep your fingers crossed for me!  I should get the results in mid to late March!

Moving on…

So, here’s the new study schedule for my next test:

Disclaimer: this is an INTENSE study schedule.  I’ve taken 2-3 months to prepare for the last two tests and they encompassed half of the information on this upcoming test.  However, I am SUPER  motivated since it’s my last test.  I want my life back!  With this study schedule, I will be studying everyday over lunch (~45 minutes), 2-4 hours per night (OMG, *cries*), and 4-5 hours on Saturday and Sunday.  There is a chance that I might start this study plan and not be able to keep up and have to extend my test into July (since we can’t test in June).  Fingers crossed I can stay super focused over the next two months (which means less posting…)!

FAR Study Schedule

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Ask Me Anything!

Keep those questions coming over on my formspring account.  I love answering them!  I think there is a question sitting in my inbox right now, but I’m trying to figure out how to respond, so sorry for the delay!

Here are some fun questions:

Do you invest in the stock market (outside of retirement accounts)? Do you have an IRA (Roth or Traditional?)

Heh. I suck at investing. I don’t understand it and actually don’t care to. Isn’t that sad? It is the one area of personal finance that I could care LESS about. I just started a Roth IRA this year and have no idea how to invest it. I’m gonna have to do some research. LOL.

You’re so lucky that you can save so much money each month! What do you have in mind for your savings goals after your current ones are met?

Hmmm, well after we buy our house, we want to build a home gym and buy a doggie ASAP. So I’ll start saving for those things after I have the down payment for the house.  After that, we will throw every extra penny towards our house. Savings goals after that? Probably kids and retirement for the most part. As you can see, I think of more of the “big picture”. I guess I could say I’m going to save for a new computer, but that just doesn’t work for me. (That is TOTALLY how Lloyd saves though…so we’ll have to mesh at some point.)
LOL, I’m very blessed at this point in my life to make good money and not have any dependents. I say if you want to make a lot of money, go into accounting or medicine or architecture, or something like that. Or pro-sports. Now, those guys can probably save a lot of money. 😛

Do you have any other savings accounts aside from the ones posted on your blog? (Like for travel)

Nope. If I end up booking a trip to Mexico over the next several months, I’ll just use my paycheck to fund it and I won’t save any money that month. I know that lots of bloggers have various funds, but it doesn’t work for me. It’s all one big pot of money and I don’t really want to separate it out unless it’s a huge goal (like 20,000).

That is a lot of personal information you have put out on the net, do you ever worry about it?

The only information I have on my blog that I wouldn’t tell my friends or family is some stats about my net worth and my savings accounts. I don’t think I’ve ever even listed where I save my money at….so, no, I’m not worried. I have written a couple posts about friends that I ended up taking down because I wouldn’t want to ruin friendships over my blog.

How often do you get your hair cut?

Hmmm…truthfully, only when it starts to get split-ends, feel unhealthy, or look bad. My last hair cut was 3 months ago. I normally have really long hair and got it cut above my shoulders in December and I’m enjoying not having to get it cut as much. 🙂 I also used to highlight my hair a lot, but sort of stopped because it’s hard to maintain and expensive. But that doesn’t mean I’ll stop forever… 🙂

I’ve been hearing about a lot of accountants who have terrible debt and awful personal finance habits. As somebody who chooses a profession related to finance, doesn’t this seed odd? But, you had some debt of your own. Any insight?

Hmm, that’s sort of like seeing a doctor who’s overweight or a smoker, huh? Yeah, I never got that.
To be honest, true accounting has nothing to do with finances. So I think those regular old accountants (and there are a lot and I’m one of them right now) really get a “bye”. Those types of accountants don’t have clients that are looking at their finances and wondering if they want this guy doing their taxes. However…if you’re a CPA or other financial expert, in my humble opinion, you better have your finances together – especially if you want to keep your clients.
As far as my situation, I came out of college as a staff accountant at a big company and I didn’t have clients (still don’t). “Personal Finance” is not in the college curriculum for accounting, so I had to teach myself the ways of PF after college. But, I think having knowledge of business and accounting does make PF that much easier for me to understand.
Success in personal finance is more about self-control than it is about knowledge.

What will passing all the CPA exams mean for your career? A promotion, raise, or finding a new job?

I decided to take the CPA Exam for a jazillion reasons (it’s a word, ha):
– I truly love my current FT job. However, my brain has been stagnant at work for several years. I haven’t learned anything new. At first, this was great. My job was on cruise control. But then, I started to get worried. An idle mind is never a good thing. I want to stimulate my brain so I didn’t become, well, an idiot and I wanted to obtain more skills to set me apart from others.
– With an accounting degree, there are many options for you in your career. With a CPA + an accounting degree, the options are truly ENDLESS. I wanted more options in case I needed them.
– Job security.
– To be better than those entry level accountants around me.
– Possible promotions.
– Possibility of being my own boss.
– Personal challenge.
I wanted to get this done before I was married and had kids, too. I am SO happy I am doing this. I am ALREADY seeing doors open for me and I’m only halfway through the tests. I highly recommend getting your CPA right out of college if you’re an accounting major.

Go HERE to ask me anything!

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Don’t forget – I’m still posting weekly over at Money Under 30.  Make sure to check out those posts and consider adding Money Under 30 to your feed reader!  I’ll be posting weekly until it gets close to my next test and will probably take another two weeks off during that time.

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Have a great week, guys!

It’s Almost Go Time

3 Mar

Well, kids, on Friday night at this time, I will have my third CPA Exam under my belt.  Whether or not I pass that exam…well, we won’t know that until mid-to-late March when the scores are released.

Studying for this exam has been killer for me.  For the other two exams, I studied for 2-3 months before going to battle with confidence.  However, as you can see, I haven’t taken an exam in over 6 months.

What happened?  Well, for one thing, I got distracted.  On top of that, life happened.  Weddings and birthdays and Thanksgiving and Christmas got in the way.  By the time January got here, I had studied maybe 1 or 2 chapters in my CPA book.  I had vowed to myself that I would have all the tests passed by May so I could enjoy my favorite season of them all – summer.

But now, May is two months away and I still have to pass two tests.

There’s good news though.  I’m in massive, hardcore study mode these days.  I’ve literally given up everything I love over the past few months – including the gym, family/friends, and blogging, it’s depressing – and studied every free moment.

I am sure you readers are so sick of me going on and on about the exam.  Trust me, I am sick of it, too! :)  I had no idea what I was getting into when I signed up for this exam.  When I’m not doing calculations in my head, I daydream about all the future plans I have for the blog!  I am super excited as to where this blog is headed after I pass the CPA Exam. I plan to make blogging my new full-time hobby after the tests. So, watch out. 🙂

I just took my practice exam and I scored a cumulative percentage of 82%.  I scored only 73% on the practice exam for my last exam and I still passed.  Even with a fairly good practice score, I still don’t feel confident.  What the heck!

Anyways, bear with me readers, I’m almost done.  Can you believe it?!  If I pass this test, I will be 3/4 of the way done with the CPA Exam!  Fingers crossed…

Send me good vibes on Friday afternoon!  I really need them!

Have a fabulous week!

P.S. I would heart you all if you happened over to the Plutus Awards and voted for me in the Best-Kept Secret Personal Finance Blog.  I can’t believe I was even nominated – I feel so lucky!