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The Actuary The magazine of the Institute & Faculty of Actuaries

Anything For love?

We actuarial students are wonderful, right? But does your partner agree? Matthew Welsh finds out what’s really in it for the ‘other half’


Sitting opposite me is the partner of an actuarial student. Jacqueline Holms* takes a sip of tea from the mug that has been slowly cooling beside her and we begin to explore what ‘love actuary’ means.

MW: Thanks for agreeing to meet me today. Was Simon* ok with us talking about him in this manner?

JH: Yes, it’s fine. He’s studying today anyway.

MW: So, I suppose the first thing to ask is whether you met each other before Simon started training to qualify as an actuary?

JH: Yes, we met at university in our second year. We’ve now been together four years and he has been doing his actuarial studies for two of these.

MW: Right. Are you studying anything yourself?

JH: No, I work full-time, but the hours are fairly standard – nine to five.

MW: Ok, so let’s get to the core of this. What is it like living with an actuarial student?

JH: It’s definitely got its highs and lows. For me, one of the best things about being a working adult with no children is that you can get cheap holiday deals if you take them in September when the weather is still quite good. However, that’s thwarted by the actuarial exam season.

Last year we went on holiday with a few friends. Simon was very reluctant to go and needed some serious persuasion. Even then, he brought his notes with him and spent the whole time saying how he thought he should be studying. It got to be too much so we agreed not to do that again. It means we’re more limited in when we can take holidays, but I suppose it is bearable [hmm, remind me to upload that one to #firstworldproblems].

MW: So, the inflexibility of the study period is a bit of a nuisance?

JH: Yes. It also happens that my birthday is in the last week of September, so we never get to go out and really celebrate that either.

MW: Are you saying that you’d prefer it if he wasn’t studying for his exams?

JH: Well… [thinks for a few moments] …I suppose it would be easier if he wasn’t. It is a bit sad when we can’t go out much during the weekends in April and September if the weather is nice. When the exams are over and we go out for a drink, it’s usually with his actuary friends and all they talk about is the exams they have just done. But I can see how hard he works and can tell that it is important to him. Sometimes, I like to gently remind him that he should perhaps be studying more, so I guess I can’t complain too much!

MW: Well, there must be some things that benefit you because he’s an actuarial student. Can you think of anything?

JH: Well, it means he is at home during the day, so it can be handy for organising deliveries and things like that. And, if it is still early in the study period, he will often make dinner and put a little more effort in than is usual, as he finds that not commuting on those days gives him an energy boost. Oh, and he can run the occasional errand. I once got cross with him, though, when it turned out that he’d met up with a friend to go bowling in the afternoon instead. To be fair to him, he did pass his exams on that sitting, but it makes me a little jealous when he has more leeway in how he can sort out his week. And that he can have a lie in on a weekday!

MW: I think it’s safe to say that every student takes at least one study day as ‘holiday in lieu of studying at weekends’.

JH: Probably. I doubt that I’d be any different!

MW: So what one piece of advice do you have for student actuaries with partners?

JH: I would say, remember that we’re there with you, looking after you at exam time however it goes. Also, if you get a pay rise, you should buy us a present!  

MW: Thanks, Jacqueline. Student actuaries, take note!

*Name has been changed.