I was born/grew up in: Raised in Windsor Ontario, lived here my whole life.
I now live in: Windsor Ontario
I completed my training/education at: Studied physics at the University of Windsor but to become an actuary I self-taught myself the required knowledge for the exams to gain credentials.
Describe what you do at work.
Actuaries use math and statistics to predict what might happen in the future. We are the people who turn numbers in to knowledge! Actuaries work in many different areas from financial planning, to health care, environmental planning to risk management and pensions. In the insurance industry, we use the information we get to set proper rates to make sure people are protected in case of loss.
Working in the pensions area, I analyze pension plans to make sure they have enough funds to pay members when needed. I will check the present value of benefits owed from the plan based on a number of assumptions. For example, the most obvious thing is to check the value of the pension plan using current interest rates. But we also look at such things as the age makeup of the plan members, the probability of plan members dying, how many are expected to retire, and even how many people might be fired from, or leave, their current job. The pension plan is affected by how many people are paying into it and how many are drawing benefits from it after they retire. We do calculations using the different possible conditions and report these back to the stakeholders as required by the different business and government requirements.
When I was a student I enjoyed:
How does your job affect people’s lives?
Many employers have begun to move away from defined benefit pension plans where the employer agrees to pay a certain amount to an employee when they retire. This is based on a number of things including such things as the amount the person pays into the plan, how much they earn, and how long they work. We work with our clients to help them decide which changes to make, and if they make changes, how to do it effectively. We aim to act in the best interest of our clients as well as their current and future retirees.
What motivates you in your career?
I am highly motivated by the potential for career growth and strong financial security. A job in consulting makes it so that every single day is very different from the one before. So things are always interesting. The level of financial and economic stability from this job help make it right for me.
When I was a student, I would have described myself as someone who:
Describe your career path to this career.
I didn't know what I wanted to do until my 4th year of university. I liked science and math in school so I started to do a physics degree at university. But after I was into the program, I didn’t see any direct career opportunities. So I decided not to proceed with physics because I wanted to jumpstart a career. A friend told me about careers in the actuary area. I checked into it and thought it would be a good fit with my interest and ability in math.
While you can follow an actuarial degree program at university, I didn’t go that route. To start my actuarial career I began studying on my own for the series of exams to get the necessary credentials. To be qualified as an actuary you have to complete several exams. People who pass these exams are highly sought after by actuarial firms. I started with my company as an intern in 2015 and was hired on full time that fall and I love what I am doing!
What activities do you like to do outside of work?
I enjoy playing team sports (volleyball, ultimate frisbee) and lifting weights at the gym. I also enjoy playing a significant amount of video games with friends in my spare time. Most actuarial firms are team dependent and provide opportunities for free company team sports so I play on several sports teams paid for and supported by the company.
What advice or encouragement would you give others seeking a similar career?
Start studying for the actuarial exams now and make sure you are able to be persistent with the credential seeking.