I faced a number of fears upon graduating from college: 1) Getting stuck in a terrible job, 2) Not making enough to comfortably support a family of four, 3) Not being able to financially help my parents if they needed assistance, 4) Not leading a fulfilling life, and 5) Never realizing my potential… to name a few. You could say I feared failure the most. Over time, my fear of failure was replaced with the fear of regret.
After ten years of working on Wall St., I started feeling comfortably numb in a job that paid a lucrative salary. Although my interest in the financial services business began to wane towards the end, I kept telling myself that all I had to do was gut it out for one more year to bank another six figure bonus. I discussed the “one more year” syndrome with a number of close colleagues and they all admitted to suffering the same plight. Why do something else when very little else pays as much?
Originally, I had planned to work for 18 years until age 40 and then call it quits. Instead, I only lasted for 13 years right before the age of 35 before going off on my own. Giving up a multiple six figure income in one’s 30s sounds ludicrous, I know. But you have to understand that I had been living way below my means since graduation so I’ve never really experienced what it’s like to live a multiple six figure lifestyle. I didn’t anticipate such a collapse in the financial markets nor did I anticipate the X Factor of online growth. Besides, happiness tops out at $200,000 anyway.
The only monster expense I had post college was for a 20% downpayment on my current house eight years ago. My main rental that was purchased 10 years ago was from stock market funny money, so that didn’t count. 70% of my income for the last five years was saved, providing no utility except for financial comfort. I realized one day that I’ve been content for a very long time already but wasn’t really aware.