Today I have some advice that is a little different than what is usually given. If you’re aiming for financial independence find a job that pays well. “What a minute Kit, you just said your advice was going to be different!”
Everyone probably wants a job that pays well, but let me backup and explain a little. When I was growing up my dad didn’t enjoy his job. He did it though because there was a mortgage to pay, two kids to feed, etc. When my sister and I got to our teenage years the one piece of advice I really remember for my dad about becoming an adult was to find a job doing what you love and you’ll never a work a day in your life.
Two Different Experiences
I think my sister and I both believed this. We both went off to college, but with different majors. She graduated with a degree in English and I completed my B.S. in Mechanical Engineering. You might be starting to see where this is going. My sister loves all kinds of art from literary to photography. She currently has side-hustle as a photographer that I am pretty sure she would love to do full-time if she could get the financials to work. She works incredibly hard along with her husband to provide for themselves and their two kids, but right now they’re probably looking at a traditional retirement (I hope).
I lucked out a bit. I enjoyed math and science and picked a degree where I was able to land a job in my field when I graduated (in 2009) compared to other friends from high school that struggled along with the rest of the country during the recession. After almost 10 years in my profession what I have realized is I don’t love what I do.
I don’t hate my life, but there are definitely other ways I would prefer to spend my time (hiking, camping, hanging out with friends, and even playing video games).
The good news for me is I am in a profession that pays well and Lady Kit is on board with the financial independence concept. With some proper planning and execution we’ll hit FI before 40 and be able to free up even more time to pursue the things we really enjoy doing and probably wouldn’t find anyone to pay us for.
The Actual Advice
So my advice to anyone starting out in the world, and the advice I plan to give our kids if we have any is this: “Find a career that pays well that you don’t hate.” And for some further clarification, I think it is pretty rare that people find a job that they truly love and provides the needed financial support for both their current living situation and allows them to save for retirement or their next adventure. Instead, find something that provides the financial support and structure your life so you’re not locked into a 40 or 50 year position. I have a job that’s I don’t hate, but I’m still working towards FIRE, every days making that goal a little closer.
If I were to restart beginning at high school graduation I’d look at the Bureau of Labor Statistics and comb through the Occupational Outlook Handbook for a career that looked interesting and paid well.