Author Topic: Financial freedom or chase passion?  (Read 2778 times)


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 5
Financial freedom or chase passion?
« on: April 22, 2016, 04:06:11 AM »
(If I posted this twice I apologize, browser stuffed up a bit)

Good day mustachians,

I have just come across the site and have spent quite a bit of time reading various articles which I found both the article and user comments to be very insightful.

For this reason I decided to join and stick around for a bit.

I also pose my own personal scenario which has been haunting me for some time and affecting my daily life:

I currently work in IT, quality assurance to be exact. I do have some certificates etc. but do not hold a degree. In terms of finding work, this has never been an issue for me though. My job is fairly easy and I have become good friends with everyone there, even my boss. I am appreciated and doing fairly well in the company. Another bonus is the company is literally about 5 min away from where I stay (saving on fuel etc.)

The problem is, and maybe this is a quarter life crisis (I am 26), I have come to dread the IT industry. I do not find it interesting and find I spend most of my days at work trying to stay awake. I can't bring myself to care when anyone discusses anything IT related. Due to this lack of interest I haven't been able to further develop my skills. I have  opened a Java programming book about 4 times this year just to close it after 15 minutes. Additionally, I'm not learning or developing any new skills in the company. We have a company specific product and I've learned most transferable skills in my time at the company, anything from this point is specific to the product. And as I said I can't bring myself to learn anything new in my spare time. It may also contribute to my dislike of the industry that I used to be extremely active and have a passion for exercise which was my release after each work day, but can no longer quite do so due to a injury I suffered. This has given me a feeling of being trapped in a sedentary lifestyle(which I hate as I'm a health nut) doing something I don't find interesting and which has no impact on my life or the world.

Enough ranting :). For personal reasons I moved back with my parents for 2 years recently. I used the time to save all my money and invest in an apartment building which I will rent out and drop my full salary in (as I have little expenses living with the folks) and be able to pay off in, if all goes well which it should, 2 years. From here I plan to move in myself and having to pay no rent/little expense etc. I'll invest in another apartment and rent it out. (I live outside the city and the population here started booming which has given a rise to luxury apartments which have become quite worth the investment).

Now I can continue this path of investing in real estate (I still need to look into stocks for myself) and could see myself at a very decent position around age 35. This may give me the financial freedom to chase something part time, do my own projects or simply follow a different more general line of work. Though the downside would be, I'd still have been stuck in IT up until that point.

The alternative, I go back to studying something I believe I may enjoy. I have recently come to a point where I regret not having a degree. Just to point out, a degree in my country (South Africa) isn't as financially impacting as I've heard for Americans for example. Though still, I would want to do this part time thus holding a full time job as to not lose capital I could have invested. This would mean severe impact on my free time, draining energy, impact on finance nonetheless and as it is part time may take a year or even 2 longer than the normal 4 year duration.

My main reasons for wanting a degree is the overall security that comes with it. Also I want to eventually work abroad maybe in UK or America, and I feel this would help. Another example, I wanted to do the TEFL (Teaching English Foreign Language) at a time and was informed that this cannot be legally done without being a holder of some form of accredited degree. Now I wasn't dead set on doing TEFL, but the idea that due to my lack of official college education restricting me from certain opportunities ticked me off a bit.

Because I have come to a point in my life where I am contemplating getting a degree, I realized that this could be my one chance to change careers completely.

I was thinking, maybe if I chased something that I may enjoy doing and which has personal value to me, it wouldn't bother me retiring or reaching financial independence a few years later. The alternative that comes to mind was studying and pursuing a career as a Biokineticist. I can relate to this due to my personal interest in being active, and having been injured myself - I've been to and seen a few Biokineticists. Though I still run the risk of going through hell to get that degree only to end up disliking it as well, though I doubt it. The other route is getting my degree in IT. Which would lead to a life of financial comfort and open various doors for me in the industry, I suppose. I could then work abroad for a bit and bring back a decent amount of bucks if I play my cards right. I suppose I could do that even without a degree - it just makes it easier. This would likely also allow me to be financially free much earlier as I can count on more earning potential with the years of experience + added degree. Though it makes no sense for me to chase a degree in something I know I dislike.

So my options are:

- Stay in IT for a few years to come and invest my blood and sweat in real estate allowing me to eventually have the freedom to do other part time or more interesting general jobs.
- Stay in IT and get my degree whilst still investing in real estate. Maybe try to switch jobs to a different IT position and try to find something I don't dread. Upside: Stability, financial increase. Downside: I already dislike IT.
- Stay in IT and chase a different degree e.g. Biokineticist. Upside: Something I may love doing and can relate to. Downside: Hell of a lot of effort to get the degree. Would start at the bottom again. Small risk as with all things that it may not be to my liking in the end.

Alternatively, I could change my mindset. I think I am creating a lot of stress for myself. E.g. feeling like my work in IT has no impact on the world, feeling trapped, feeling the unhealthy affects of sedentary life, feeling disinterest and  like I could be doing something more. These thoughts race through my mind all day and I've come to a point where I've gotten anxiety attacks.

As far as money is concerned. I am not materialistic at all and very good with money management. I do however put strong emphasis on security. I would like to provide for my parents in their old age or in the event of an unforeseen accident to any family member for example. I also eventually, but at a later age, want to start a family of my own.

Any thoughts? I was hoping someone could lend their opinions. Maybe I am looking at this the wrong way by limiting myself to those options. It's difficult for me to get constructive feedback from people in my personal life. So any advice would be highly appreciated. :)

Apologies for the massive essay


  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 7402
Re: Financial freedom or chase passion?
« Reply #1 on: April 22, 2016, 06:01:41 AM »
You don't like it, why?

Your post to me reads, at first glance, more like "I don't feel like I have any life direction" than anything directly related to your job.

Also, I would suggest moving out of your parents. It doesn't seem like you are gaining any real benefit there other than money but are trading happiness for money. Do you live in a place culturally where this is really common, even in scenarios such as yours (where you are more than comfortable financially)?

Can you get a new job? You said it's easy to find work but then said your current job is boring and you aren't learning anything. So.... get a new job? You may just be bored at your work more than bored of the field. Work for a company that does something you find valuable.


  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2015
  • Age: 43
  • Location: La.
Re: Financial freedom or chase passion?
« Reply #2 on: April 22, 2016, 07:32:17 AM »
I would start with option 2.  You may find other interests by pursuing your degree.  Your job will provide stability while doing and the real estate might help provide for a mroe flexible future.  I wouldn't make any rash decisions at 26.  You're probably still finding your way. 


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 5
Re: Financial freedom or chase passion?
« Reply #3 on: April 22, 2016, 08:08:48 AM »
The job has become very repetitive, lacking challenge and as I said I've reached a point where while it's extremely comfortable and easy, I'm not learning any new skills so really only gaining a paycheck.

I have given thought that maybe IT in general isn't for me because I find no interest in most IT positions. I'm also not a fan of sitting for 8 hours a day. Though it is possible that my lack of interest could be due to my current position where I'm not challenge and have to do mind numbing repetitive work each day. I remember I was quite interested in web design, but somehow strayed from that path.

Nah it's not but it's also not unacceptable here - but most people in my situation who are financially capable would move out. I have given it thought and still from time to time rate I should just move out. It would allow for a lot of personal growth and I really did enjoy living on my own in the past. My rational is, my apartment is only finished being built end this year - so I am saving as much as possible for a deposit to bring it down. I could then move in, but the difference between renting it out for another year rather than moving in at that time could possibly mean paying it off in 1-2 years rather than 5-6.

Even if I don't plan on investing in another property, it would be nice to have my own place paid off. I think it's because my brother is in a difficult property debt situation which scared me into not wanting to be in the same position. Though, to a large degree it is as you stated, I am selling happiness for money in many areas at the moment. Another example, as to when you stated to get a new job, I'm still sticking with this job simply because the pay isn't too bad and it's 5 min away thus I'm saving on fuel. Sad as while I'm typing this I realize how much I'm selling out.

I have been told by many of my friends that I have a tendency to over complicate everything. I do find my life even outside of work to be dull and was told that I should first correct these areas of my personal life as I may be blaming my professional life for it.

@ Katsiki, yeah option 2 does seem the best choice logically. I just don't want to look back and think I had the opportunity to study something else but still pursued something I wasn't happy with at the time (assuming I don't find peace in the industry).

@ Ender, I think you're right - this is a simply case of not having direction.

Any advice on finding direction? Small changes, recommended books etc. apart from moving out of my folks place :D

I was considering travelling a bit as my biggest regret was not having done after my education.


  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 8805
Re: Financial freedom or chase passion?
« Reply #4 on: April 22, 2016, 08:14:09 AM »
The first thing you need to do is spend sometime figuring out why you are unhappy. Is it really your work or are you projecting some deeper dissatisfaction onto something external? I can't say, but it's worth nailing down. If it truly is your work you need to nail down what specifically is making you unhappy? Try and change some or all of that and see if your feelings change. If they don't change then you need to go back to the beginning and start the process again.

I say this because no matter where you go physically in life there you are. Your internal issues come right along. People often focus on external stuff to change and kind of assume/hope that will solve their internal problems. Usually it doesn't.

To your second question...if I was 26 yrs old and were making solid $$ I would plot the fastest course to a basic level of FI I could. For me that's probably $25K/yr income or $625K/invested since I don't real estate invest. Once there I would use my new found freedom to pursue whatever interests me. For me that would be mountain biking, surfing, fly fishing, etc...

My expectation would be that I could continue to earn $$ to some degree to add to my investments and/or supplement my basic annual income. Such that by the time I was older I'd have more FIRE income coming from my investments at a time when I might not want to work at all.

Another variant of that which gets you a change of lifestyle faster is to save/invest a nest egg before you quite IT and change gears to a new career. Save enough and don't touch it so that it grows to the amount you want to FIRE with at a later date. Then all you have to do is live off the new career's income and there is no pressure to make a ton of $$ so you can follow your passions.

If you want $35K/yr in FIRE 20yrs after you quite IT you'll need to save/invest ~$325K before you quit IT which at 5% after inflation over 20yrs will grow to ~$882K.

I'm using a stock market example. If you like real estate/rentals you can figure out a different strategy to grow your income while you pursue the new passion.