This journey of five months and seventeen hours began with an important discovery- how to use a financial calculator. It was akin to writing with a pen for the first time, and I experienced the same sense of awe and wonder and grown-up-ness as I dusted off the calculator, coughed, and slid back the cover with a satisfying click.
I was poring over the FRA book, looking at a solved example on how to calculate the present value of a bond. Try as I may, I just couldn't figure out how in the world that stupid bulky montrosity of a calculator could help me obtain PMT. I furiously jabbed the PMT button a number of times (the manual did mention durable keys), but to no avail. I texted a couple of friends, whose instructions weren't of much help. I entered various values, and then realized that the values had to be entered first, and then the related buttons had to be punched in. I was making some progress, yay! I alternately punched in the CMPT button and the PMT button, but to no avail. So much for trying to follow instructions from SchweserNotes, I thought bitterly.
This was my moment of epiphany, the golden hour when I was meant to shout Eureka and prance about the room as if I was high on Red Bull. However, my happiness was short-lived. After tackling a bunch of questions dealing with present value, I realized that I also needed to know how to calculate IRR for a series of cashflows. Using the darned financial calculator. Blegh. So much for pretending that figuring out the financial calculator was like getting neuroscience.