How Long Does It Take To Prepare For the Series 7 Certification?

andrew hallam

andrew hallam

I’m a financial columnist for Canada’s national paper, The Globe and Mail, as well as for AssetBuilder, a financial service firm based in Texas. I’m also the author of Millionaire Teacher: The Nine Rules of Wealth You Should Have Learned in School (Wiley 2011) and The Global Expatriate’s Guide To Investing: From Millionaire Teacher to Millionaire Expat (Wiley 2015). My mission is to educate, motivate and inspire people on basic retirement planning and best practices for investing, using evidence-based strategies. I'm happy to comment on your questions. However, please read the Terms of Use.

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13 Responses

  1. DIY Investor says:

    They should be required to take the additional courses but they won't be- especially the last one. The cost issue is big. Sometimes I think the industry goes out of its way to make sure the cost issue is swept under the rug so they are able to hire reps who are clueless. Bernstein's table showing typical fund costs is something the industry doesn't want to get around.

    I am very interested in how the requirement of 401ks in the U.S. to disclose all costs to participants works out.

  2. Hey DIY Investor (aka Robert)

    When the costs are disclosed, I wonder if the meaning of those costs will fly over most people's heads. I mean, a 2% annual cost doesn't sound like much, until the investor compounds how damaging a 2% annual fee can be over an investment lifetime.

  3. pgreensoup says:

    The only people who are "confused" are the people that willingly overpay "qualified" people to manage their money. Full disclosure: I was formerly "confused", but was shown they light. Thanks, Andrew.

  4. Hey P Green Soup:

    If everyone knew how minimal the educational standards were for most financial sales reps, we'd all be a bit more skeptical. And considering the industry's conflict of interest (in most cases) it's sad that cognizance of such a thing isn't more widely spread. That said, thanks for thanking me. I'm glad I could help.

  5. The Dividend Ninja says:

    Hey Andrew,

    Good post! The financial industry (specifically the mutual fund sales industry) is a well oiled machine. It's based on a foundation of deception, aggressive sales techniques, and ultimately poor investments for it's clients. Commissions, trailer fees, and incentives – the list goes on!

    People assume that when they see a mutual fund or investment dealer they are sitting across from a financial professional – but nothing could be further from the truth. I'm sure some of these people are well educated and do have their client's interests at heart, but I doubt most do.

    But then again the point of selling investments is sales, right? I wonder what the certification is here in Canada – probably much of the same. If at least one reader sees this post and goes to a fee only planner instead of a commision based mutual fund dealer – then your work is done!

  6. Jason Navallo says:

    I passed the Series 7 examination when I was 18 with only a couple weeks of studying and I scored way above the 80% mark.

  7. Hey Jason,

    Thanks for sharing that.

    Without knowing it, when giving a presentation at a recent conference, I metaphorically stabbed a financial saleswoman where it hurts, when I suggested that a Series 7 exam could be passed after just 3 weeks of studying. I didn't even know she was there, or I may not have said it. I don't want to be hurtful, after all.

    I realized, later, why she was so struck by what I said, and keen to lash out a bit. She brandishes her Series 7 certification to teachers where I work— as if it's a PhD in personal financial management.

    And you passed the Series 7 as an 18 year old after studying for just 2 weeks? Sweet!!

    Thanks again for sharing that!

  8. Hey Ninja,

    I found out later that one of the financial sales reps who attended the session speaks very highly of her status as a Series 7 professional. It's no wonder I ruffled her feathers! Her clients–who probably think her Series 7 certification is equivalent to some kind of degree—certainly wouldn't want to hear how insignificant it is.

  9. Tony says:

    Only thing Series 7 does is make a used car salesman suddenly qualified to sell securities. Those types of tests are pure memorization – no thinking required. Go over the question banks a few times, and then on the test a lot of the questions are the same, just with answers switched around.

    Licensing exams are the lowest bars the industry sets up. They're more for show than anything else.

  10. Muhammad Saeed says:

    I have a bachelors degree in Business and would like to take the Series 7 exam. I have recently relocated to Toronto from Dubai where I used to work as a Financial Application Support Analyst at Thomson Reuters. I have no sponsor to back me. Can you please advise what are the pre-requisites for Series 7.


    Muhammad Saeed

  11. Dave says:

    I want to take the Series 7 for the purpose of positioning myself to get into the financial advisory business sometime within the next 2 years but I’m not ready make the jump quite yet. Does anyone know of an organization that will sponsor forward thinking folks like me who don’t want to sign-on to work in the industry just yet?

  12. JDB says:

    @Dave. You have to be in the employ of a broker/dealer to get your series 7. You can’t just be sponsored. And Truth is right. The Series 7 is a difficult test. Obviously it’s not impossibly hard, but it will take more than 3 weeks of study to pass. What I do isn’t some clip out of Wold of Wall Street. My clients stay with me because I bring them value and I make more than a lot of Americans because I put in more time and effort than a lot of Americans are willing to. Andrew is a teacher. I like teachers. But if u want to talk about easy, becoming a teacher is easy. Not 1 test I took getting my bachelor’s degree was as difficult as the series 7… and a bachelor’s is a prerequisite at most firms before you get hired and take the 7.

  13. Paul Alexandander says:

    Good post! I want to take the Series 7, can anyone tell me anyone tell me about this Series 7 exam

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