Author Topic: Career and Relocation Dilemma (Financial Industry)  (Read 2554 times)

blackomen

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Career and Relocation Dilemma (Financial Industry)
« on: August 02, 2014, 08:27:19 PM »
First of all, my goal is to be financially independent as fast as possible.  My current situation is summarized as follows:

Yearly income: $45,000/yr base.
Net worth (not including house): $65,000.
Age: 31.
Industry: Finance (Front Office, Investment Management).
Geographic Area: Los Angeles metro.

Summary of my Dilemma

Yes, I know..  my salary is probably in the bottom 1% of my industry.  But unfortunately, I've not had much luck finding other opportunities in my industry here.  It's been disheartening reaching out to people and sending out resumes left and right to be ignored and rejected for over a year.  In addition, the vast majority of job leads I've found through networking are on the East Coast, not my local area.

HOWEVER, I've been receiving quite a bit of interest from recruiters based on the East Coast (NYC and surrounding areas.)  They've been initiating contact with me over LinkedIn from time to time so there's a great indication that the employment prospects for my career are much better there.  (I have 4+ years of experience and a Masters in Finance.)

I'm also engaged and getting married early next year.  My fiancee is studying for her PhD in Biology and will be graduating in 2016 earliest.  She's also supportive of the idea if I need to relocate to the east coast temporarily if it'll further my career.

I also bought a house (300K) only a few months ago..  actually, it's kinda complicated..  my fiancee paid the downpayment of $100K and is depending on me to to make my share of the mortgage payments.  We're considering renting out part of the house if I relocate and the entire house if she comes with me eventually (instead of selling it outright.)

Ultimately, FIRE is my goal but it's not gonna be possible on my current income, at least not in a timely manner.  Also, I've received advanced warning that my company will be shutting down its office in LA and my job will be eliminated in around 1 year, so staying at the current company indefinitely is NOT an option (not that I want to anyways with this severely below market salary.)

Some options explored

(Note: some of the details of what I discuss may not make much sense except to those with some understanding of the Financial industry)

Option 1 - Just apply to Finance jobs everywhere in the greater Los Angeles area:  Even though I'm currently working in the Front Office in Finance, I'd be open to Back Office positions that pay higher so I can save more money and reach my FIRE goals faster.  (Rather than be selective about my next job being a great fit.)

Option 2 - Relocate to the East Coast for a (hopefully) very high paying job, save money like a miser, and come back: Even if I land a solid 6-figure job (quite unlikely), it still won't be realistic to save enough for FIRE in a few years.  My future wife is willing to relocate to the east coast as well considering that there are plenty of universities and biotech companies where she can start her career after her PhD.

What do you think?  Would relocating to New York or the East Coast to further my career be a better choice or just hanging around LA and taking whatever mediocre opportunities arise since I plan to FIRE in a decade or two anyways?

(If you're also in Finance, I may be able to provide you with more details about my situation.)
« Last Edit: August 02, 2014, 08:34:51 PM by blackomen »

mozar

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Re: Career and Relocation Dilemma (Financial Industry)
« Reply #1 on: August 02, 2014, 08:58:39 PM »
Can you get a certificate that will help you stand out in LA?
The salaries in NYC are higher because of cost of living. You can't even buy a studio for 300k in NYC.
Buying the house really complicates everything. With a house you don't want to both be unemployed.

blackomen

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Re: Career and Relocation Dilemma (Financial Industry)
« Reply #2 on: August 02, 2014, 09:03:52 PM »
Can you get a certificate that will help you stand out in LA?
The salaries in NYC are higher because of cost of living. You can't even buy a studio for 300k in NYC.
Buying the house really complicates everything. With a house you don't want to both be unemployed.

I passed level 2 of the CFA exam..  will find out in 10 days if I passed level 3, and if so, I'll have my certificate (CFA charter) soon.

mxt0133

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Re: Career and Relocation Dilemma (Financial Industry)
« Reply #3 on: August 03, 2014, 12:23:47 AM »
Don't give up!  There are plenty of financial institutions in your area.  I work for a financial services firm and know lots of people that come from the LA metro area.  I think moving away to the east coast should be your last option.  The bay area should be your second to last option.  I know FI is important to you but being separated from your wife and doubling your expenses is probably not worth the move.

I think your prospects will improve once you get your CFA charter but even if that doesn't happen do your best to stay where you are.  Keep networking and talking to recruiters.  Do not let rejection discourage you, try to learn from every job interview you don't get.  What are they looking for?  What areas did they have a concern with or felt was your weakness?  If you can't improve on them at your current job then try improving them outside of your work environment.

For a front office position it's all about attitude and presentation.  I sense a lack of confidence in your post and it might be showing during your interviews. 

CDP45

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Re: Career and Relocation Dilemma (Financial Industry)
« Reply #4 on: August 03, 2014, 12:30:45 AM »
Ouch that hurts to be 31 and only make $45k in a super high cost of living area, I'd recommend a lot of reflection and learning about how to network and interview and start asking your boss and coworkers for help on how to advance in the industry.

You're a smart guy if you can pass two CFA tests, apply your skills as making yourself money instead of just your employer ;)

blackomen

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Re: Career and Relocation Dilemma (Financial Industry)
« Reply #5 on: August 04, 2014, 09:43:19 AM »
Don't give up!  There are plenty of financial institutions in your area.  I work for a financial services firm and know lots of people that come from the LA metro area.  I think moving away to the east coast should be your last option.  The bay area should be your second to last option.  I know FI is important to you but being separated from your wife and doubling your expenses is probably not worth the move.

I think your prospects will improve once you get your CFA charter but even if that doesn't happen do your best to stay where you are.  Keep networking and talking to recruiters.  Do not let rejection discourage you, try to learn from every job interview you don't get.  What are they looking for?  What areas did they have a concern with or felt was your weakness?  If you can't improve on them at your current job then try improving them outside of your work environment.

For a front office position it's all about attitude and presentation.  I sense a lack of confidence in your post and it might be showing during your interviews.



One of the biggest concerns was the relative isolation of my workplace..  basically, my only coworker is my supervisor..  it's just been the two of us in the office ever since my other coworker was fired a little over 2 years ago and the company hasn't been able to afford another worker ever since.  (This company has more than 2 employees but this is the only office in the LA area.)  Apart from finding another position (which is the problem all along), there has been little I can do about this so it doesn't really register in my circle of control.

Another issue that I may have more control over is the potential employer's concern that I may be overqualified, due to my front office experience and extensive education.  Due to my special circumstances, the position I'm "overqualified" for actually pay considerably more than my current position (which others may believe pays 2-3 times as much as my actual salary.)

Fyi, my employer runs several hedge funds which have all been consecutively in the red from 2010 (when I joined) to 2012 and is in the process of winding down and settling redemptions especially after the rebound in the last 18 months.

Now that I've actually written a post with my thoughts, it's been clearer than ever that increasing efforts in networking is key to escaping from this rut, considering the "isolation" in the last 2 years.

As for relocating to the east coast, my wife to be actually felt restricted by the career options available to her in the LA area after graduation and gladly welcomes my openness to consider relocating to the East Coast, whether in a year or in 5 years.
« Last Edit: August 04, 2014, 09:47:32 AM by blackomen »

mozar

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Re: Career and Relocation Dilemma (Financial Industry)
« Reply #6 on: August 04, 2014, 05:33:34 PM »
Since your wife is finishing a PhD, it is common for PhD's to search the entire country for a job. Your career is more flexible. Consider relocating to wherever she gets a job.
Also find out from networking what your salary should be, and stick to it during negotiations.