Author Topic: Giving up ambition and a long new career for cash now  (Read 3595 times)

SpendyMcSpend

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 320
Giving up ambition and a long new career for cash now
« on: September 17, 2012, 02:35:32 PM »
I am confused.  I work as a paralegal basically (although more interesting position) and I'm 30.  I want to retire early and save a lot of money, but I just graduated with my accounting masters and am taking the CPA exams.

My job lined up for January pays $57,000 (+$4,000 for CPA materials) and my current job is now rocking at $103,000+ ($71,000 base plus overtime).  Overtime is not guaranteed and I've hit a wall in my career growth here (as in, there is nothing above me to aspire to in this job).  I don't want to be here forever, but it stinks that my pay goes like this:

2013:  New job, $57,000   Old job: $103,000
2014:  New job, $60,000  Old job $103,000
2015:  New job jump ship $75,000  Old job:  $103,000
2016:  New job $85,000-100k  Old job $105,000

Again, old job money is not guaranteed and I will be in the same old boring job.  New job is risky as who knows if my salary will go up like that or if I will get stuck or hate it.
 

UGH.

jrhampt

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1071
  • Age: 41
  • Location: Connecticut
Re: Giving up ambition and a long new career for cash now
« Reply #1 on: September 17, 2012, 02:42:14 PM »
How long would you have to suck it up in the old job bf you'd be able to reach FI?

jpo

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 518
  • Age: 32
  • Location: North Carolina
Re: Giving up ambition and a long new career for cash now
« Reply #2 on: September 17, 2012, 02:43:23 PM »
For me it would depend on how many years you have until FIRE/how many years switching would set you back and also how much you like your current paralegal job.

tooqk4u22

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2195
Re: Giving up ambition and a long new career for cash now
« Reply #3 on: September 17, 2012, 03:02:45 PM »
The math from a guaranteed perspective would suggest to stay in your current job as you would be giving up $100k+ in four year per your expectations.  I think you really have to evaluate the intangibles, your goals for FIRE, and your individual mindset for career growth. 

Accounting with CPA is great field, on one end you will never want for a job because there will always be one (it may not be where you want, might be part time, might be $40k) and on the other end you could get on the partner track with a big firm, start your own practice, or grow into a CFO role - the former provides stability and downside protection and the latter provides unknown potential but requires an enormous amount of hours, politics, and to some extent luck. 

If you do an individual assessment honestly and feel you are not the type that will commit 100% to the corporate ladder then you kind of have to set aside the potential upside aspects of the profession and focus on what you enjoy.  Note that the CPA will provide good opportunity to subsidize post FIRE life, but to do that you will need to have experience and be current on laws/regs/etc so keep that in mind as well.

totoro

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2092
Re: Giving up ambition and a long new career for cash now
« Reply #4 on: September 17, 2012, 03:15:24 PM »
Can you stay in your current position part time and take up your new career part time?  This might allow for experience in the new field with higher wages at the old balancing this period. 

I've found that if you are a quick learner you can leapfrog past the normal salary grid by doing things a bit different.  I'm a lawyer who started working for myself two years in.  I worked hard for the first two years and the articled year before that and during my clerkship and I am also business-minded.

Don't underestimate the power of a professional designation combined with experience and a bit of entrepreneurial skill.  It will afford you a more flexible and interesting career than paralegal might.   

I would say whatever you do, go into it with a plan.

MooreBonds

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 193
  • Age: 42
  • Location: St. Louis, MO
Re: Giving up ambition and a long new career for cash now
« Reply #5 on: September 18, 2012, 07:27:14 PM »
I am confused.  I work as a paralegal basically (although more interesting position) and I'm 30.  I want to retire early and save a lot of money, but I just graduated with my accounting masters and am taking the CPA exams.


I'll second the comments about both taking on greater responsibilities (with correspondingly greater pay ;) ) at your current firm, as well as looking to do part-time/moonlighting gigs in your accounting field.

When I changed careers 5 years ago, I knew it would involve a paycut. At the time, I was faced with either going back to school for an MBA, and having a starting salary of roughly $65k-$75k (plus cost of grad school), or trying a somewhat new field (building design) that was related to my previous experience and didn't require an investment in education. Thankfully, I figured I could always go back to school later on if the engineering design didn't work out (and if I had done the grad school route, I would have graduated in 2009/early 2010, not the best time for new MBAs to be looking for jobs....)

I would expect there to be at least some accounting firms that could use a part-time CPA, as well as possibly just doing side accounting for random companies that either post a job opening or through word-of-mouth.

Even if you don't do any side work, a full-time job pulling in 100k+ would get you close to FIRE fairly quickly...if that is your goal, think twice about truly how much more 'fulfilling' an accounting career would be, versus all of the good and bad qualities of your current occupation as well as work environment (don't forget the boogeyman of possible "bosses/co-workers from hell" at another location ;) ).