Dean Kinder
Dean Kinder
Hometown: Seymour, Ind.
Age: 46
Was: Engineering manager

Why I did it: "Investments are a passion," says Kinder. "I saw lots of things happen to people, such as getting into debt, so I wanted to help."

Thinking he might do planning on the side, he started taking courses. Then he was laid off last year.

"With severance pay to help bridge us, I dove 100% into studying."

How I did it: With online classes, Kinder could work at his own pace, which was "turbo mode," he recalls. "I spent less than three months studying -- I probably studied 14 hours a day, every day."

He passed his CFP exam last November and is finishing his work requirement to be fully certified.

Why I love it: "Engineering was satisfying, but financial planning is more rewarding because I get to help people personally. I also love numbers and trends. Investing to me is like a big mathematical puzzle."

Last updated October 11 2011: 5:07 PM ET
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