Author Topic: Considering a Possible Career Change  (Read 5728 times)

Pooperman

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Considering a Possible Career Change
« on: November 09, 2014, 05:58:12 AM »
Let me lay out a bit of the ground work before I ask your thoughts.

I'm young (24). I have a well paying job (60k/yr). I have a SO (8k/yr). My monthly expenses should be in the range of 2250/mo, but we just moved so we'll see if that's true in December. When I was young, I had a goal: do well in school. Motivation? Being a show-off. Never did homework, aced tests, you get the idea. Come junior year in high school, I start thinking about what to do after high school. Parents pushed me towards engineering where I would have preferred physics. Over the summer, I took a class at the local community college (and did throughout senior year as well). I would always come early to class (like 30 mins early), even though I knew how long it took to get there. Super anxiety about being late, fucking up, etc. I just snapped one day because I couldn't take that pressure, but snapping meant I lost whatever drive I had at the time.

Why mention this? It's to explain that I've spent 7 years without drive. I had college paid for me, my career path initially decided for me and I didn't speak up. I was too afraid to fail. I dragged myself through college at the expensive school as opposed to the state school I had 3/4 scholarship in because I wasn't paying for it and the expensive school was the same one my mother had gone to. So I graduated with a BS EP in 2011 (3.5 years, 2.85 gpa).

No work to be found, but not really motivated to find work, kind of lost (still). Accidentally got a job through my cousin in IT consulting doing stuff I never even considered or knew anything about. Company culture kinda sucked and I got fired 'cause I didn't fit in (boss didn't like me basically). Got a new higher paying position as a rival firm with a better culture and better people. Still felt lost. I want to have a job with a purpose, and I have no purpose being here. It pays the bills and then some (thanks forum), but I don't work as hard as I would if I felt like I was actually helping people. Reality is, companies come to my firm to build new IT systems for thousands of dollars for a 0.5% edge over the competition and to hire less people. What I do hurts more people than it helps IMO.

I talked to a couple friends from my old job, and they pushed me to take a long think about what I wanted to do in life. There is where I encountered problem #1. I love too many things. Far too much interest me, and I couldnt out one thing ahead of another in any great sense. My goal, like everyone else here, is to be financially secure. That isn't a purpose to work, though. I could do retail and survive just fine with far less stress and hours and all of the trappings of professional life.

I hate to lose, so I kept thinking. I thought about a lot of things, and I came to thinking about this forum. I thought about MMM and his story. I know I can do what he did, if not in his way. Finance and money matters have always interested me. I love to plan, to find a way to do something even if it seems impossible. I was able to kill my expenditures from nearly 3500/mo to 2250/mo, so I know personally that it is possible.

I know I can be financially independent by 40 at my current career path. But when I am 40, do I want to look back and say 'wtf was I going?' Of course not. I want to do something I can look back on and be proud of it or at least happy I spent those years doing what I did. I do not want to be financially independent through misery. Stoicism has its uses, yes. One may even apply it to this situation, but realistically, if money were no object, what would I do? I would think about money and make plans (classic INJT). It's what I'm good at, it's what I enjoy.

Surprisingly (or not), this job exists. Even more surprisingly, it's called 'financial planning'.

So here's the main part if you are skimming. Have any fellow mustachian said had similar stories to this, and if so, what did you do? Do you continue for high pay or head out into the unknown while fearing failure. For mustachians in the field of financial advisor, cpa, financial planner, etc, how the hell would one start down this path in the firs place? I see forests but no trees at this point. What are some resources to at least leave me with a better informed decision?

Sorry for this long-winded blog post, but I want to work with purpose instead of doing the bare minimum as I tend to do otherwise. Any thoughts/comments/help appreciated.
« Last Edit: November 09, 2014, 06:13:06 AM by Pooperman »

Thegoblinchief

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Re: Considering a Possible Career Change
« Reply #1 on: November 09, 2014, 06:10:23 AM »
I don't have specific advice, but we're positioning ourselves to take the "unknown" but with kids the necessary safety net needs to be bigger.

1. We're miserable with one of us working every day. Even though it gives us an income haircut, I will be quitting my weekend job next year once we retire some debt to improve our cashflow enough to live safely on just DWs income.

2. The plan from there on is to aggressively save until we have a large FU stash where one of us could work PT and we could survive on that indefinitely. My wife will probably end up doing contract work or consulting, but that's a big question mark in terms of income stability. Having the FU stash will let her take the leap.

I'd say, have 1-2 years of expenses in cash or taxable investments then take the plunge. Relocate if necessary. Life's too short to be miserable.

Of course, the counter argument is that all jobs are miserable to some extent. I'd read the "job experience" series by Dr. Doom at livingafi.wordpress.com if you haven't already. Be warned: long ass read, but quite entertaining and illuminating.

deborah

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Re: Considering a Possible Career Change
« Reply #2 on: November 09, 2014, 06:24:09 AM »
Many people fall into their job by accident - not really planning to get there, but one thing leads to another. For instance, I was good at maths, so I was going to be a maths teacher. In first year university, I needed an extra subject in third term, and chose the beginners IT course (at that stage, IT was not a full year course in first year), liked it, and chose to major in IT. When I left uni, I was going to be a programmer, but I became involved in the hardware/software interface, and gradually shifted to jobs in that area. Pure accident, but what I really liked doing.

I once went on a course about job progression. You looked at your personality, and our core values - the things that mean a lot to you. Then we looked at our jobs, and to what extent these core values were met in our current jobs, the next job on the rung, the ultimate job we were aiming for, and our "dream" job. For some, the job progression would mean a gradually happier person, because our core values were increasingly being met. For others, the current job and the ultimate job met core values, but the middle one wouldn't. And upon examination, almost everyone's "dream" job wouldn't actually meet their core values. If you are in a job where your core values aren't met, you aren't satisfied, and you aren't very good at it.

You need to see if financial planning does actually meet your needs - or whether it is just a "dream" job. Perhaps you could volunteer with a local financial aid charity, and find out. It would be a pity if you changed your job, and then found out it wasn't for you after all.

Pooperman

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Re: Considering a Possible Career Change
« Reply #3 on: November 09, 2014, 06:29:00 AM »
Many people fall into their job by accident - not really planning to get there, but one thing leads to another. For instance, I was good at maths, so I was going to be a maths teacher. In first year university, I needed an extra subject in third term, and chose the beginners IT course (at that stage, IT was not a full year course in first year), liked it, and chose to major in IT. When I left uni, I was going to be a programmer, but I became involved in the hardware/software interface, and gradually shifted to jobs in that area. Pure accident, but what I really liked doing.

I once went on a course about job progression. You looked at your personality, and our core values - the things that mean a lot to you. Then we looked at our jobs, and to what extent these core values were met in our current jobs, the next job on the rung, the ultimate job we were aiming for, and our "dream" job. For some, the job progression would mean a gradually happier person, because our core values were increasingly being met. For others, the current job and the ultimate job met core values, but the middle one wouldn't. And upon examination, almost everyone's "dream" job wouldn't actually meet their core values. If you are in a job where your core values aren't met, you aren't satisfied, and you aren't very good at it.

You need to see if financial planning does actually meet your needs - or whether it is just a "dream" job. Perhaps you could volunteer with a local financial aid charity, and find out. It would be a pity if you changed your job, and then found out it wasn't for you after all.

Thanks! I was thinking something similar, but as stated above, I just don't know where to start on this kind of thing. I'll certainly take a look at local volunteering opportunities.

Gray Matter

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Re: Considering a Possible Career Change
« Reply #4 on: November 09, 2014, 06:45:26 AM »
I agree on the importance of volunteering and otherwise doing your homework.  When I was considering a career change, I actually created a spreadsheet of people to talk to, things to read, events to go to, groups to join, etc.  I approached it like a legitimate project, almost like school (I even took a class in a field I was considering going into!).  And, it was through volunteering that I got my current job, leaving (ironically) the financial services to move to the non-profit world.  It's still early days (5 months in), and the transition has been hard at times, but I think the move was a good one. 

thedayisbrave

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Re: Considering a Possible Career Change
« Reply #5 on: November 09, 2014, 01:44:25 PM »
I am in an extremely similar boat as you, Pooperman.  I'm also 24, and actually the field I'm going into is finance-related (there is a financial planning department).  While I truly love finance, I also am having so many questions about whether this is what I am meant to do.  It fits my intellectual curiousities, but I'm beginning to question whether being locked into a 9-5 is something that will provide a thriving environment for me.  I'm thinking not, but I have no way of knowing for sure unless I try.  My heart wants to go into real estate... both brokerage and investing.  Honestly I am a workaholic and capable of working 10-12 hour days regularly... but that flexibility is crucial because I do have so many outside pursuits as well (most of which have broaded my social network considerably, thus potentially feeding into a real estate career). 

You're definitely not alone and I think this is totally normal.  I would suggest similar to what others have said... explore that career as much as possible to make sure you are familiar with it, so you can make a more informed decision.  To me, networking is huge... do you know any financial planners that you can talk to? Sort of like an informational interview? This is what I'm trying to do now... and it helps because its both networking *and* talking to someone about their experience in the industry... you can get a lot of really good info from this... though of course its all anecdotal. 

Another question is... are you willing to sacrifice pay in the beginning to get your foot in the door? For example, I know of some financial firms that hire straight out of college without requiring a finance degree - they will take anything as long as you've graduated.  They put you on the phones/customer service for a year or two as a way of sort of vetting you out.  If you do well in this position, you can move up.  But it requires kind of proving your mettle, so to speak.  Along the way they usually offer training and advancement opportunities so you can start earning some certifications and the like.  For someone who didn't study finance in school, this is probably the route with least barriers to entry. 


mozar

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Re: Considering a Possible Career Change
« Reply #6 on: November 09, 2014, 05:12:16 PM »
You can do a cost benefit analysis. Is is worth it to you to start at the bottom again, make nothing for 3-5 years while you get established and take longer to get to FIRE? IT is so hot right now I would consider getting a raise or moving to another company to get a raise. If you can get a 15% raise, that could cut 5 years from your FIRE date.

There is no such thing as being "found" unfortunately. People who I know working in jobs with a purpose (non-profits) make peanuts. I think it's better to suck it up and then do whatever you feel like (including helping people, which you could do for free after you retire). Jobs in this country are unpleasant for most, which is why a lot of us want to FIRE.

Pooperman

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Re: Considering a Possible Career Change
« Reply #7 on: November 10, 2014, 03:54:23 AM »
After thinking about this for a while, I've decided to get more information and start this as sort of as side job to some of my friends and start the networking from there. If I find that I'm getting so much work that I can't keep up on weekends, I will consider quitting my day job at that point. The hours rate should be a bunch higher than what I get now in this circumstance. As well, if I have clients over 3 years, I'll be able to take some of the exams for certification so that to me seems the most cautious and least likely to fail approach.

Where many of you are workaholics, I want 9-5. I want separation between work and home. In my current field, I am pushing myself somewhat consciously towards project manager because that set of skills is transferable to pretty much any field and represents fairly good hiring security down the road (government positions would open up for me I think). Thedayisbrave, check out Salesforce consulting if you wanna work hours, or really any kind of consulting.

freki

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Re: Considering a Possible Career Change
« Reply #8 on: November 10, 2014, 06:05:30 AM »
If by financial planning you mean literally a CFP, you may find this interesting.

My wife, a career CPA, decided to pursue a CFP the last few years and is almost done. Her intent was to use this to transition to pseudo-RE and focus more on helping people traditionally under served by CFPs: middle-low income folks.  Classic career downshift.

Earlier this year she was let go from her job (yay having a ton of savings) and looked around at various CFP opportunities, ALL of them focused way more on sales and having $x under management than she thought it would. It's evidently possible to a CFP and focus on developing plans for people, but you aren't going to make much, the money is in selling products.


Pooperman

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Re: Considering a Possible Career Change
« Reply #9 on: November 10, 2014, 07:07:03 AM »
If by financial planning you mean literally a CFP, you may find this interesting.

My wife, a career CPA, decided to pursue a CFP the last few years and is almost done. Her intent was to use this to transition to pseudo-RE and focus more on helping people traditionally under served by CFPs: middle-low income folks.  Classic career downshift.

Earlier this year she was let go from her job (yay having a ton of savings) and looked around at various CFP opportunities, ALL of them focused way more on sales and having $x under management than she thought it would. It's evidently possible to a CFP and focus on developing plans for people, but you aren't going to make much, the money is in selling products.

I was thinking that being a by-the-hour kind of thing meshes more with my feelings on this matter. Maybe teaching at the local CC or rec center or something would be a better choice in terms of work/life balance and getting clients or whatever. Just kinda throwing ideas as they pop into my head. Goddamn do I need a personal Watson to bounce ideas off of and to keep me honest since I can be totally tunneled and miss basic things sometimes...

Miss Prim

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Re: Considering a Possible Career Change
« Reply #10 on: November 10, 2014, 07:49:50 AM »
Do you do your own taxes?  I took a course years ago in tax preparation and worked a tax season for a small tax company.  It didn't pay as much as my regular job per hour, but it was so interesting for me to do something completely different.  I plan on volunteering to do senior's taxes when I retire next year. 

You might want to try something like this before you jump into a new career. 

juuustin

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Re: Considering a Possible Career Change
« Reply #11 on: November 10, 2014, 08:16:15 AM »
If by financial planning you mean literally a CFP, you may find this interesting.

My wife, a career CPA, decided to pursue a CFP the last few years and is almost done. Her intent was to use this to transition to pseudo-RE and focus more on helping people traditionally under served by CFPs: middle-low income folks.  Classic career downshift.

Earlier this year she was let go from her job (yay having a ton of savings) and looked around at various CFP opportunities, ALL of them focused way more on sales and having $x under management than she thought it would. It's evidently possible to a CFP and focus on developing plans for people, but you aren't going to make much, the money is in selling products.

I was thinking that being a by-the-hour kind of thing meshes more with my feelings on this matter. Maybe teaching at the local CC or rec center or something would be a better choice in terms of work/life balance and getting clients or whatever. Just kinda throwing ideas as they pop into my head. Goddamn do I need a personal Watson to bounce ideas off of and to keep me honest since I can be totally tunneled and miss basic things sometimes...

No matter what you decide, if you are going to transition into full-time financial planning, you absolutely must have some prestigious letters behind your name. CFP as mentioned above is the "gold-standard" but other certifications can allow you to pursue financial planning.  CPA, although certifying the person in public accounting, is an umbrella distinction that can allow you to gain a foothold in tax preparation, estate planning, etc. etc.

Bottom-line, to make a complete transition to the world of financial planning, you will need more education.  In my opinion, there just isn't a market for an engineer to start up a financial planning shop.  Perhaps you could find work with a financial services firm who is willing to foot the bill for the additional education, but a degree in finance, accounting, etc. will most likely be needed in a career change of this magnitude.

mak1277

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Re: Considering a Possible Career Change
« Reply #12 on: November 10, 2014, 08:16:56 AM »
I identify personally with a lot of what you wrote in your OP.  Slacking off but getting good grades, not being fulfilled by work, wanting a 9-5 where you don't take work home with you.  There's one important question you need to ask yourself = Am I lazy?

Be honest in your answer.

Personally, I know that I'm lazy, and I have accepted it.  There isn't a job out there that I really want to do...I just don't like working.  So I'm sticking with my current job (which pays well and provides a fair amount of other intangible benefits like low stress and short commute)...and I'm going to retire as soon as possible.

So before you leave a lucrative job/career, you need to make sure you think another job will actually be more fulfilling.  Make sure it's not "work" in general that you don't enjoy.

Pooperman

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Re: Considering a Possible Career Change
« Reply #13 on: November 10, 2014, 08:34:09 AM »
I identify personally with a lot of what you wrote in your OP.  Slacking off but getting good grades, not being fulfilled by work, wanting a 9-5 where you don't take work home with you.  There's one important question you need to ask yourself = Am I lazy?

Be honest in your answer.

Personally, I know that I'm lazy, and I have accepted it.  There isn't a job out there that I really want to do...I just don't like working.  So I'm sticking with my current job (which pays well and provides a fair amount of other intangible benefits like low stress and short commute)...and I'm going to retire as soon as possible.

So before you leave a lucrative job/career, you need to make sure you think another job will actually be more fulfilling.  Make sure it's not "work" in general that you don't enjoy.

Is it laziness or a lack of purpose? I've been called lazy, but if I say I will do something, I do it. Do I like to work? No. I would like a job that isn't 'work' to me. Therefore, it has to be something I enjoy doing at any time of the day. Not having purpose in life means I am firmly in 'off' mode. I don't care about status or money (besides FI). I prefer to do things, make things, learn things. So where does my motivation come from? For 7 years now, it hasn't. I want to change that.

Partially it's rebellion, partially it's conflicting value systems between divorced parents. Partially it's just not having a clue how to approach life, and even a bit of habit at this point. I'm not a hard worker unless I benefit from that hard work directly in some way (emotionally, not monetarily). Shit has to interest me for me to give a fuck and not consider it a chore. Take food shopping for instance. I dislike food shopping, but I like getting the best deal for what I need, so I get some enjoyment out of the activity and don't consider it too bad.

mozar

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Re: Considering a Possible Career Change
« Reply #14 on: November 10, 2014, 07:58:18 PM »
Do you like sales? If you are a financial planner you will spend a lot of time trying to find clients. And working for yourself there will definitely be no distinction between home and work. You will be working whenever your client calls you, whether that be 10am or 10 at night.

usmarine1975

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Re: Considering a Possible Career Change
« Reply #15 on: November 10, 2014, 09:43:01 PM »
As one who switched from a successful career as a carpenter to financial services a couple things you should know. 
Most states have regulations on those who bill as financial advisors, consultants whatever.  You can't just put a shingle out and start charging.  There is a multitude of information you need to learn.  I have my final CFP course due to complete next month and a test to take after that. Sadly it is the gold standard but sadly many that possess it only do so they can peddle whatever it is they are selling. 

Simple answer from me is if I knew back then what I know now. I would not have switched.  I was sold on an idea of what financial planning is and sadly it often isn't what's sold.  I left the first firm because I didn't trust the manager. Left the 2nd because shady sales were almost expected and always rewarded.  I gave notice today for the final firm to stay at home with my kids and work 2 days a week as a carpenter.  My last firm was great.  The advisor I worked with provided sound advice and was honest. Actually works for his clients and in their best interest.  Many on here do not approve of the profession but some in the profession are honest hard working individuals. 

My advice look for someone to train you that is willing to pay you.  I would stay away from commission.  Fee based is my preference.  To get any licenses you will have to be sponsored.  Look up any advisor you interview with on the finra website.

In my experience as others have mentioned the field tends to be a sales position.  Dave Ramsey was once a licensed agent.  If you have questions feel free to ask.