Thu 16 Sep. 2021

John Markham - My journey to Fellowship (FPFS)


My journey started back in 2013 where I had left the security of employment to start my own business and I felt that I had to take greater responsibility for my future and the path of getting there. The more I started to read the ‘trade press’ and the more I looked at the some of the ‘leading lights’ and ‘cover stars’ of my profession, the more I realized that most were Chartered and/or Certified - some were even Fellow’s.

Thus, I set myself the target of becoming Chartered, CFPTM and Fellow. My reasons revolved around giving myself a bit of a USP from a marketing perspective, as well as extra knowledge, greater confidence and a sense of professional pride. Not a terrible list of reasons, I thought.

Doctor A or Doctor B?

Imagine you require surgery and you have a choice between two surgeons.

Doctor A has spent hundreds of additional hours studying, revising and being tested on his craft, far beyond the average or minimum level of qualifications. Doctor B is qualified to do the operation, but only holds the minimum level of required qualifications and has not shown any further interest in his profession beyond what is required by the professional body for him to practice.

Which doctor do you choose?

Nothing worthwhile is easy.

Let’s not sugar-coat things: the road is a long, hard one to become Chartered, let alone attain Fellowship. If you are anything like me, you will experience moments when you question fundamentally why you ever decided to pursue this and you decide that you want to quit. When you fail your exams after spending hours at evenings/weekends studying, it’s not going to feel so great! As with most things worthwhile in life, they require perseverance and resilience to achieve.

Hints and Tips

You don’t have to be a born academic or the smartest person in the world. You just really need to commit to dedicating the time and effort it takes to succeed and not give up! I somehow managed to work toward these qualifications whilst starting a family, starting a business and moving house – you just find the time to fit studying into your routine. If I can do it, you definitely can.

Also, get yourself some professional support and training. Initially, I took a slightly stubborn approach to studying, “I can do this on my own and don’t need any help.” Whilst that may have been true, it also made it a lot more difficult and was costing me time and energy that I could have spent elsewhere in my life. By investing in external support, it helps to make the process a lot more enjoyable and gets you there quicker, I promise.

Good luck to anyone who is considering starting on their journey or is already on their way to Chartered and Fellowship. In my opinion, there really is no downside to gaining extra qualifications, whatever they are, other than the unavoidable fact that you have to invest the time and money upfront to get there. It is an investment though, not a sunk cost.

If you want to have a chat about anything in more detail, please feel to get in touch.

John Markham - Future Financial Planning Ltd.