Your Never-Ending Career
Remember when I said a few weeks ago that if you’re not providing any new perspective to personal finance, why do you exist? Well that still applies. Today is another one of those unique Wall Street Minimalist days where we’ll discuss some new finance topics that you may have never considered. But first, a story.
As I graduated college back in April, it suddenly began to occur to me that I was about to embark upon my 40-year career journey. Not to sound melodramatic, but once you start your career, normally you won’t ever take breaks or stop working until you retire. Your career is a continuous journey of winding roads, proud accomplishments, and many speed bumps — with a limited supply of “vacation days” and time off. On this winding road, many get lost in the pursuit of more money by sacrificing time at home or time spent on hobbies.
This doesn’t mean that working extra long hours at the beginning of your career is a bad thing. Heck, I work in investment banking which is known to push 80-100 work weeks as an analyst. And I wouldn’t have it any other way, because I know that the experiences and lessons I learn while I’m an investment banking analyst will provide me with a strong foundation throughout my career. Keeping my career in perspective has been indefinitely easier though, given my conviction to minimalism.
The advantage that minimalism provides is that it detaches you from the need for more money. You learn how much is necessary to support you and your family, and you begin to realize that everything above that is just a plus. Before starting my job this past June, Hannah and I took some time to establish some foundational principles that we wanted to direct the decisions we make later in my career.
What salary threshold are you aiming for? How much money is enough to live off of every year? What will you make more time for when you reach your goals?
Hannah and I determined a salary threshold that we believe would support our future family with a bit of extra cushion for savings. This value represents the point at which I would begin to try maximizing my time at home with my family while also retaining my salary above that level. Hopefully this graph below between salary and hours at work helps depict the picture I’m trying to paint.
Finding Your Flex Point
Your life is not a competition to maximize your income. Your purpose is not to buy glamorous clothes, overpriced cars, and large houses. A life like this will lead to regret from the relationships you sacrificed and the happy experiences you missed out on. Our version of minimalism here at WSM is not to force you into buying nothing. We focus instead on the getting you to your personal salary threshold, determining what experiences will allow you to live a fulfilled life, and then providing you with the materials to enjoy every day of your life and retire with wealth. We help you spend your money on the experiences that provide the greatest value to you while accumulating strong retirement savings.
Determining your salary benchmark will allow you greater freedom in your life. This is your balance between making more money and spending more time with the people you love enjoying the experiences you love. You will be able to make career pivot decisions once you’ve hit that threshold without worrying about always striving for a bigger paycheck. Your guiding principles will allow you greater freedom in spending your time on the things you love most.
Decide today on your salary flex point. How much will you need each year? Are you ready to make a tradeoff throughout your career for a stagnant / slowly increasing salary to gain more time sculpting your ideal life? Minimalism will be your tool to get there.