In a recent story on CNN Money a guy named John Schiff literally left his high-powered job on a Monday so he could be baling hay on an organic farm by Wednesday.
I think that’s pretty awesome, don’t you?
I’ve known a ton of investment bankers and most of them have dreams of cashing monster paychecks and then reinvesting them into “stuff” that’ll make (they hope) their friends and enemies jealous. Instead of socking away funds for retirement or healthy emergency savings accounts, big buck Wall Street types fund boats, trips to Croatia, and large homes in expensive neighborhoods. This is and has been the investment bank career trajectory for years, and I should know.
I was on that path.
There are a select few people, even in this alpha-wolf culture on Wall Street, who stop and realize that maybe the bag of goods their peers on the trading desk sold them doesn’t look so good. John Schiff is one of those people.
Are you chasing your dream or the dream you think people THINK you should chase?
I mean, John started a cold press juice restaurant in Chicago. I’ll confess: I have no idea what a cold press juice restaurant entails, and I wish him all the best, but he highlights a really important component of financial planning and that is the value of passion.
I’ve known so many empty-souled suits, who lace their shoes up every day, grind out the work day, come home to their families and start the wheel spinning again the next day. No soul. No dream. Just a paycheck and happily ever after tucked safely over the horizon in “someday” territory.
How many people actually use the word “passion” to describe how they feel about their work? I know plenty of investment bankers who’ll tell you they’re REALLY passionate about making money, but this isn’t the same thing.
Do you need to feel passion about your job?
Not necessarily. You can find your dream outside of the office. The important question to ask is this: what am I passionate about? I find with my clients that those who are passionate about something (whether it’s travel, early retirement or making smoothies), that they’re MUCH more likely to achieve their financial goals….and generally, they’re happier people. I know it’s not scientific…but the clients I know who either like their jobs or find a strong passion outside work are more interesting and more lively. I have no medical proof, but I bet they’ll actually live longer, too.
Your passion creates the perfect blinders to focus on your goals. Without it, you’re just a horse roaming free in the organic fields that Jon Schiff is trying to till with no destination in site.
The next time you wonder about why you aren’t saving enough for retirement or why you can’t seem to stick with a plan, ask yourself: What am I passionate about? If you can’t think of anything, then Houston, it’s time for an intervention.
I don’t know how well cold pressed juices are going to sell, but I know this: Jon is passionate about them, and given his passion, I imagine that we will soon be reading about the rise of cold pressed juice restaurants all over the country. Use your passion to help fuel your personal and financial goals, and you’ll have similar success.
What are you passionate about? Does your passion give you focus?
Photo: James Woolley
I think there needs to be a healthy balance between following your passions and being practical enough to provide a life that satisfies you.
For me, that has been working in software engineering in my 20s and early 30s. Great money, decently interesting work. But I wouldn’t say it’s my passion. It’s a means to an end. Saving 80% of my salary and investing is allowing me to “retire” from software in the next couple of years.
Once I’ve left the software world I’ll have the resources to do what I want and live where I want to. I love building things, especially out of metal, and I love living in the woods. So the plan is to buy some rural land in Vermont or New Hampshire and build a workshop. Will I see stuff that I make? Hopefully. But I won’t be dependent on it and that will give me the artistic freedom I crave.
If I had jumped straight to my “passion” right out college I wouldn’t have this freedom. I’m sure the calculus would be different for other people, but for me this freedom will be totally worth the 10 years spent working outside my passion.
Great comment. I’m about as handy as a small farm animal, Mr. F…..so I’ll leave that to you 🙂
….but we have similar beliefs. I was a financial advisor FIRST because it paid better and I could accumulate money (just like your path). Once I had enough to do something else, then I jettisoned to a lifestyle that was closer to my passion.
I get frustrated when I see (especially parents) people embrace a “passion” that has no economic value. It’s hard to stay passionate when you can’t pay the bills.
I’ve always been passionate about health/fitness and of course now beach volleyball, but I may or may not be able to parlay they into full time work, but in some ways it does provide me some income. And at the very least it balances me out.
I agree whole-heatedly, passion is where it’s at. I am in the camp of not knowing what my passion is…lots of small things I liked to do as a kid and enjoy now, but how to shake the shackles of my current health care job enough to find my passion before my career drives me into the ground. I have about five years before I can even think about calling it quits so who knows what will pan out while I finish out my term to pay back student loans and support my family while my partner completes her doctorate. All those folks who have found there passion and have taken that leap are an inspiration.