Actuaries

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    Jan 01, 2009 2:22 AM GMT
    I'd like to know if anyone here is an actuary... I'm thinking about becoming one, but I haven't found a lot of information about the profession on Internet.. So if you are an actuary, can you talk a bit about your job and if you like or not and why.. Thank you!
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    Jan 01, 2009 2:25 AM GMT
    You can discover all their is to know about Actuaries and their tattoos from John Hodgman's The Areas of my Expertise.
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    Jan 01, 2009 2:34 AM GMT
    I'd say forget about earning money and do something interesting.

    I found that after college all the really dull people went into banking and insurance, while all the interesting and original people went on to earn no money whatsoever.

    Just a few sweeping stereotypes for you bud!
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    Jan 01, 2009 2:42 AM GMT
    Lost_In_The_Mail saidI'd say forget about earning money and do something interesting.

    I found that after college all the really dull people went into banking and insurance, while all the interesting and original people earn no money.

    Just a few sweeping stereotypes for you bud!


    I know what you mean.. I have dreams.. and there are a lot of things I like.. and I want some passion in my life... but at the same time I'm scared about not being able to have a good income.. I mean, I don't wanna struggle with money all my life and there are so many things I won't be able to do if I don't have money... dude sometimes life sucks icon_cry.gif
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    Jan 01, 2009 2:48 AM GMT
    Everyone will just give you contradictory advice based on their own life experiences.

    It's really hard figuring out what you value and what you want to do - so best of luck.

    My personal view is that being wealthy doesn't matter very much, although only an idiot will tell you money doesn't matter at all.

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    Jan 01, 2009 5:41 AM GMT
    First of all, anyone who thinks insurance and/or the actuarial profession is necessarily dull is seriously misinformed.

    Actuaries come in several flavors nowadays. Life actuaries tend to be back-room numbers crunchers, but actuaries who work for consulting firms are often polished and interesting people, who work for large companies on a contract basis solving any number of fascinating business issues for them.

    Likewise, the men and women who sell whole life policies across your kitchen table do not have fascinating careers, but a top commercial insurance broker, writing property and casualty insurance for large companies, has to know as much about the industry he or she writes coverage for as anyone in the industry itself; these people often jump the fence (so to speak) and go to work in high executive positions in the companies they used to write coverage for. The largest international insurance brokerages--Willis/HRH, Aon, and Marsh, can send you to any one of their worldwide offices, depending on the clients you wind up working for, and the life is both high-flying and exceedingly well-compensated.

    Actuaries have a number of exams they need to pass to become full members ("fellows") of the Society of Actuaries. The number used to be 10, I think it is more like 12 now. When the first five (or six) are passed, you become an Associate of the SOA. The people who rise to the very top of the field are all FSA (fellows), but this is not easy. Actuaries study six months for each exam taken, and several often have to be re-taken as passing is difficult. The average age for people who pass all their exams is somewhere in the mid-30s, I think. The press of family pressures and sheer discouragement lead a lot of actuaries to give up after attaining ASA, but as I said, to get to the very top you need to do the whole program.
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    Jan 01, 2009 5:45 AM GMT
    it's so hot when you get all smart and stuff! ;)
    you never cease to amaze me with your depth of knowledge. seriously!icon_biggrin.gif
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    Jan 01, 2009 5:48 AM GMT
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Actuaries
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    Jan 01, 2009 6:56 AM GMT
    Thanks to all of you for responding icon_wink.gif
    I'm also thinking about going in Finance or marketing.. what do you guys think about that?
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    Jan 01, 2009 4:37 PM GMT
    I am not an actuarist (sp?), but I do have a network of friends working in the finance industry.

    actuaries has a lot of math in it, you'll need to like math a lot, otherwise it would be a nightmare for you.


    Compare to finance, actuary is very specific, its more like a niche market when it comes to finding a job. the first a few years, you dont actually make a lot of money in as an "asistant actuarist" (normal pay, but reasonable working hours), after gaining a few years of work experience and you will need to sit a test. then only after that you are a qualified actuarist. Your salary then goes up from there.

    Finance offers a broader and more flexiblecareer choices, the working condition varies depend on what you do. I am not so sure about marketing, but my impression is employment prospect is not as good as finance.

    The finance industry in general is going to be much more regulated after the current crisis, thus a lot less profitable. The financial reward in this industry may not as attractive as it was two years ago when you are looking for a job, it really depends on what you want and why you want it.

    The thing with finance is it offer the basics of what you need to get a job, once you get a proper job, on-site training/learning is a lot more important than what you learn from the textbook. I know quite a few people starting off in a finance major than worked as an actuarist later on, and their employ sponsored them to go to an actuary school

    If I were to choose an uni course again, I would choose mechanical engineering, this is the most flexible course ever, you can end up becoming an engineer,researcher, management consultant, as well as working in finance (investment banking). its the best course if you are not sure what you want to do and to keep your options open.

    in the end, if you want be very wealthy, a salary paying job wont get you anywhere, you are alway the one being exploited, noone will hire you unless you are making more money for them than you are paid for. It is really important to acquire experiences and skills to be independent as soon as possible.
  • Koaa2

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    Jan 01, 2009 6:18 PM GMT
    Get a good education, whatever you do. Don't take any short cuts, as it will only catch up with you later on in life.
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    Jan 01, 2009 10:04 PM GMT
    I'm sure you've heard this a thousand times before: find your passion and follow it.

    If you are genuinely enthralled by probability and statistics, etc then actuarial science might be for you. I had a buddy in college who fell in love with stats, joined an insurance company right away, qualified as an actuary and is now at the top of the field. He makes a ton of money and loves his work. Had he not really loved the science, then I doubt he would have lasted ten years at it.

    In my junior year of college I traveled in India for a few months with a friend who was there studying ayurvedic medicine and realized that whatever I did, I wanted to work in Asia or Africa When I got back to the States I interviewed with a bank that did all of its business in Africa, I got turned down and joined a US bank. I hated it, quit after a year to go to grad school. When I graduated I joined a small bank in Hong Kong. I LOVED it. Seventeen years later - after working and living in eight amazing countries and being part of making the bank one of the biggest and best in the world, life as a nomadic super banker lost its buzz.

    So I took some time to figure out what would re-ignite me. I invested a couple of years sharpening my skills as an animal (which I had played at since high school). I now earn a fraction of what I did as a banker, but I once again love what I do. I think the real test is whether what you do feels like work or something you're privileged to do.

    Two resources I can recommend are the old standby: "What Color is Your Parachute" (just make sure you actually DO the exercises that are in it. Another really neat way to try out some remarkable careers is a company called Vocation Vacations Hhttp://www.vocationvacations.com.

    VV doesn't have experiences for more "traditional" occupations like actuary, banker etc. But in my experience, people love talking about what they do and will usually be very frank. So call some alum from your school or look for people in careers that might interest you on here among friends, etc. If you find something that seems to interest you the information will probably help you figure out which firms to apply to etc and you'll have great info when you interview. One thing that helped a lot at my interviews out of grad school was that I had been in touch with someone who had quit from that bank. I knew that the stuff that drove him crazy wouldn't phase me and I think that really helped at the interviews.

    Best of luck. Feel free to email me if I can be of any help.

    Peace,

    David
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    Jan 01, 2009 10:13 PM GMT
    wizer1989 saidThanks to all of you for responding icon_wink.gif
    I'm also thinking about going in Finance or marketing.. what do you guys think about that?


    Both are good career paths. It depends on your personality and what you like to do or work with. I have always liked analyzing numbers so I gravitated towards finance. I actually found marketing easier because of my Psychology degree. But I could not see myself working in Marketing trying to sell something I did not believe in.

    Whatever you do don't let other people influence your decision too much. What you enjoy others might find as exciting as watching paint dry, and vice-versa. It is your life not theirs!
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    Jan 02, 2009 12:36 AM GMT
    uh ... you have to be good at math and take a lot of courses.
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    Feb 22, 2009 8:57 PM GMT
    I also want to be an actuary, luckily I love the stuff anyway so I'm pretty sure I'll like the career.
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    Feb 22, 2009 9:33 PM GMT
    I'm an actuary. I specialize in property/casualty pricing, and work for an insurance company.

    Trust me, unlike what people have said, we are not all boring. Last night, I just had 20 plus people over from work for a poker party, and we're often going out/playing games. I am super social, and I think that is how most are at my company. Yes, actuaries have been portrayed in a negative light in terms of personalities...but I think that has changed drastically in the past ten years or so. In addition to statistical modeling, i have done some actual modeling, and used to be a professional singer/performer. So, yeah, stereotypes are great, thanks icon_razz.gif

    Hit me up if you want more information, as I also do some recruiting work for my company, so I have a great idea of what companies are looking for.
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    Feb 22, 2009 9:37 PM GMT
    oh, and about salaries - you still make a great salary even without exams. starting is usually around 50k...I have only been full-time for two and a half years, and without going into details, mine is much higher. granted, i have 5 out of the 9 exams complete...but a lot of the information people have posted so far is not really all that accurate.

    check out dwsimpson for salary surveys for actuaries.

    also check out beanactuary, soa.org and casact.org for more information...but like i said, you can just ask me directly too...
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    Mar 24, 2010 1:32 AM GMT
    I am a senior majoring in Actuarial Science. I'm currently looking for a full-time position. However, I am an international student - hence need a visa sponsorship. As for exam progress, I passed exam P, FM, MFE. I had an accounting internship with KPMG in Asia. Also, I had an internship with a P&C insurance company here in the States (performed rate indication, reserving, a little of predictive modeling and reinsurance).
    Any professionals here know about entry-level opportunities?
  • barriehomeboy

    Posts: 2475

    Mar 24, 2010 1:46 AM GMT
    Yeah like they all said, follow your dreams, as long as you can make a living at it. Why did up pick actuarial science? Did that sound like something you could pick up chics in a bar with? God help you if it did. I
  • barriehomeboy

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    Mar 24, 2010 1:47 AM GMT
    oops guys in a gay bar...I forgot this wasn't one of the str8 guy sites I go molesting on he he he