As software becomes better, more and more actuaries will be going under the bus. It takes very few US CS wizards to oversee an outsourced team of developers. Data crunching scales well.
This is so true. I've been hearing of tons of job difficulties in the insurance/math sort of field. I am also somewhat of a CS wizard who has been replacing jobs with computers. All it takes is a few good algorithms to often replicate the work of an entire employee.
Senior Member - 2K
posted: Apr. 27, 2012 @ 9:41p
Having passed the first 3 exams while in undergrad, it took one summer internship at a large insurer to make me realize this (actuary) was not the profession for me. <insert one of many actuary jokes here - most of which are generalizations based on loose truths> I instead went into finance. We would never hire an actuary who wanted to transition into finance. It's the absolute wrong entry point; perhaps an accountant or auditor, but not an actuary.
Senior Member - 9K
posted: Apr. 27, 2012 @ 10:17p
BEEFjerKAY said: dshibb said: From what I've heard the last test for actuary is one of the hardest tests administered for any profession. If you somehow turnout to be a math genius and manage to pass it you will get more money than you know what to do with. That said some of the smartest math minds out there frequently take it and fail. So unless your almost a savant then don't count on passing it.
1. True. 2. Perhaps, the money is good, but hardly compares with Wall Street. 3. True, in great part because it's not exclusively about math 4. Not true.
Of course I could be wrong. I'm not basing my statements on what I've heard. Only on what I've personally seen and done.Someone here once told an actuary joke... started with "a man is told by his doctor that he only has six months to live..."
posted: Apr. 27, 2012 @ 10:48p
Timely thread...I just took my final Actuarial Exam today (assuming I passed, which I feel good about...I've only failed to pass once in seven attempts).
The pay is good, especially if you are good at math exams (as it seems you are...for example I got perfect math scores on SAT, ACT, GRE, and GMAT). Started at about $50k with two exams and no experience out of college right when the economy was collapsing. Not even three years later, with all the exam raises that are standard for U.S. Actuarial employers, I'm pushing $90k and will be well into six figures once I get my FSA, hopefully later this year.
We have several actuaries at my company who have gone the math teacher to actuary route, and I'd say they all seem quite happy with the decision. Just be aware that competition for entry-level positions is high; many entry-level actuaries get their foot in the door via an internship during their last year or two of undergraduate studies. And I don't worry too much about the advancements of computing power taking over our jobs...the actuarial profession is expanding well-beyond its traditional mathematics role to areas such as enterprise risk management, etc. We also have several actuaries at our company who work in areas such as marketing, contracting, and even the CFO.
posted: Apr. 27, 2012 @ 11:17p
I work for a large benefits consulting firm, so I can give you a little more perspective on that side of the business (the casualty / life insurance side is above). I chose the consulting route as I thought it would have more "business exposure" than I I'd have in an insurance company. Unfortunately, the pension side of the business is in a slow decline so I probably wouldn't recommend that you get into that space now, although the healthcare consulting side is still doing pretty well. I mostly work with medium and large companies, and I really like the client interaction -- my favorite days are the days I have client meetings.
As other's have pointed out above, the tests are very challenging -- I never, ever, ever failed any test until I got to the 3rd actuarial exam, and I failed a couple of more along the way. It took me about 10 years to get through all of the exams (there were more than 8 when I took them, although each covered less material), and I slowed down towards the end as I was busy with other work/family obligations. 20 years ago when I started my career, one exam was the expectation out of college -- now it seems like it is 2 or 3 exams to get a good number of interviews for an entry level position.
Although more people have heard the word actuary in recent years, most people still have no idea what they do. So be prepared to explain (in layman's terms) what you do for a living, and be prepared that no matter how you present it that it won't make for a great pickup line.
Good luck if you pursue the career path -- just be prepared for the exams. But if you put in the 300-400 hours for each, you should have a fairly high pass rate (but I have yet to meet anyone who's never failed at least one).
Senior Member - 2K
posted: Apr. 28, 2012 @ 10:02p
My SOA colleagues at my insurance internship used to say anything but a 6 means you studies too hard.
posted: Apr. 30, 2012 @ 4:11p
Hi Ben - I also used to be a high school math teacher. I passed the first 2 actuarial exams before getting an entry level actuarial job. I ended up working in an actuarial pension consulting firm. The work is not bad at all, but pension consulting is diminishing so I would suggest to look into either insurance companies or property and casualty field. For me, the biggest struggle is passing the exams since corporate hours is longer than academic hours. It's hard to find time to study, unless you give up all your weekend and just dedicate it to studying.
Also, passing at least one exam will help you land in an entry level job easily.
Here's the ave actuary salary http://www.dwsimpson.com/salary.html
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