For most of my life I've worked under the assumption that money buys happiness. It didn't matter how many times I heard critics preach to the contrary, it seemed simple: money will allow me to buy the things that make me happy. Over the last three years my perspective has shifted.
One day I sat down and made a list of all of the things I wanted to do in my life. I realized I'd never put much thought into it, so I wanted to see what would come out. Some of the things — like “Compose a spectacular HDR photo” — were pretty simple. Others items — such as staying at the Burj al Arab Hotel in Dubai — were going to be a bit of a challenge. Then there were a few that were downright impossible (go on a Virgin Galactic space flight, for instance).
When I created this list, I had a solid job as a financial analyst. I was making good money. I'd written these things out, but didn't really plan to cross many off anytime in the near future, simply because I didn't have the time. After all, it was probably going to take more than my two weeks of vacation to prepare for my Galactic space flight.
This is my third guest post at Get Rich Slowly. The responses from my first two stories — Budgeting for a Lifestyle Change and Living Like a Millionaire on Pennies a Day — were all over the map. I received comments ranging from folks calling me irresponsible and ungrateful to people who were extremely supportive of the changes I'd made. I've thought a lot about these responses over the last year and a half.
Finance is one of those professions where, generally speaking, the older you get, the more respect you have. Despite having a good investment track record over the few years I'd been in the market, my advice was often disregarded by my employer due to my age and relative inexperience.
I could have stayed for another five or ten years (or more!) and eventually built up what some people might call experience — but still be left largely unqualified to provide investment advice.<
Last fall, I quit my job. As nice as it was to have a steady paycheck and the prestige of being known as a “portfolio analyst”, there was one key component that was missing from the job: I wasn't happy doing it.
Around the time I quit, I wrote a post here at Get Rich Slowly called “Budgeting for a Lifestyle Change”. The post recounted a few details of my story, and gave some pretty basic advice about how to financially prepare for a big change — in my case, this was a move to Thailand to do some freelance work and start my own business.
The response to that post was all over the map. Some loved the idea; some thought I was nothing more than a selfish twenty-something; still others thought I'd be back in a “real job” within months.
Have you ever thought about doing something different with your life? Maybe you've decided that you'd like to do more world traveling. Perhaps you want to explore that entrepreneurial idea that has always been buried deep inside you.
For me, it was both. In my past life, I was a portfolio analyst for a small investment firm. While the job would have been perfect for the right person, I found myself yearning to do something more than just crunch numbers and help other people build their businesses.
A few years back, job obligations cut my three-month trip through Europe down to three weeks. Ever since, I've had an urge to travel more, and held bit of resentment towards the normal 9-to-5. I wanted the freedom to get my oil changed on a Wednesday morning — I wanted the freedom of time. Continue reading...