When I set up Magical Penny in 2010, I had a strong interest in personal finance but I didn’t think it would be become my career only a few years later.
The inspiration behind the site was an assertion that investing is not the reserve of the very rich, but a way for everyone to save today to grow their wealth for their families tomorrow. Magical Penny remains a place to both teach and inspire those who wish to have their dreams of financial freedom realised.
The site began as a passion project after first seeing small but consistent contributions into the financial markets grow over time. It was 2007, only months before the world-wide ‘Credit Crunch’. The ensuing months were a transformative experience that fostered a passion for helping people achieve financial empowerment on their own terms.
But as the site grew I received more and more requests for financial advice, from both friends and complete strangers.
I felt stuck.
I could only share what had worked for me, and a lot of the problems I encountered I didn’t have a good answer to help. I resolved to get ‘legit’ and start learning about financial planning.
I decided to pursue a Diploma in Regulated Financial Planning – the benchmark qualification to become a financial adviser in the UK.
Two years later and I have achieved a pass in my final exam, R06 Financial Planning Practices, so I have been awarded my Diploma in Regulated Financial Planning!
How Long Did It Take?
When I first heard about the Diploma I was told it could be achieved in as quick as 9 months. My plan was to get the exams done within a year. My journey took a little longer, just a couple of months shy of the 2 year mark, but I also found employment during that time with a Chartered Financial Planning firm which has provided me with valuable ‘real-world’ experience.
The Diploma consists of 6 exams.
R01 – FINANCIAL SERVICES, REGULATION & ETHICS
This module is to develop knowledge and understanding of the financial services industry, including regulation, legislation and the Code of Ethics. I managed to pass the exam with just reading the book, no revision aids or extra study.
R02 – INVESTMENT PRINCIPLES AND RISK
This module is to develop knowledge and understanding of investment products and the application of the investment advice process. The exam has formulae and mathematical concepts to get your head around but it’s not too difficult though -roughly GCSE level as far as I remember. I had worked in a quantitative field in my previous career but I wouldn’t say I’m particularly gifted at maths. I still managed to pass this exam on my first attempt. The consensus online says this is the hardest exam of the R0s but I found the subject matter interesting so perhaps my enthusiasm for the content made studying easier and got me over the line.
R03 – PERSONAL TAXATION
This module is deceptively difficult. The textbook is written to inform exam candidates about the UK taxation system, and give readers the ability to analyse the taxation treatment of individuals and trusts during the investment advice process. So a lot to cover.
This is the exam that took me off course for getting the Diploma within a year, which was my original time-scale. Working to get this exam passed tested my resolve but also made me more sure than ever that this path was what I wanted, and I got there in the end.
R04 – PENSIONS AND RETIREMENT PLANNING
This exam tests knowledge and understanding of and ability to analyse pension and retirement planning issues. It was around the time of sitting R04 that I finally found a financial planning business to join, to learn the practical side of financial planning.
R05 – PROTECTION
I felt I was on the final straight by the time I was sitting this exam. This module is on insurance, an area that was new to me, but a very important aspect of financial planning.
R06 – FINANCIAL PLANNING
This is a 3 hour written exam answering financial questions about 2 case studies. I left the exam with a smile on my face which is always a good sign, and I was thankful for the pass which concluded my journey to Diploma level.
I am delighted to have achieved the benchmark qualification to be a financial adviser and planner in the UK. And more importantly, I’m excited about the future of Magical Penny too…because I now officially know what I’m talking about! 🙂
I’m looking forward to sharing new information and relaunching Magical Penny: watch this space!