Trust Fund Jobs For Status, Purpose, Relevance, And Meaning

If you or your spouse are rich, consider creating a trust fund job or taking a trust fund job. This way, you'll gain more status, stay relevant, and deflect suspicions that you may be an unproductive member of society.

The older I've gotten, the more I realize there are plenty of people with trust fund jobs idly passing their time. Their jobs are a front to obfuscate reality. At first, I didn't respect these folks. I'm not sure if they even respected themselves.

However, over time, I've come to view creating a trust fund job as a smart strategy for the rich to get people off their backs. After such a long bull market, it was inevitable many people and their parents created enormous fortunes much quicker than expected. As a result, many were left twiddling their thumbs without much purpose.

As you will see from my definition of what a trust fund job is and some examples of trust fund jobs, some people are highly accomplished.

Definition Of A Trust Fund Job

As far as I can tell, I am the first person to come up with the term “trust fund job.” So let me define what it means. Perhaps the definition will evolve over time, just like how my definition of FIRE since 2009 has evolved over time.

A trust fund job is any job you take or create that you don't actually need to survive. A trust fund job's main objectives are to provide status, fulfillment, and a sense of purpose. The term is only pejorative if the person has done nothing to deserve their good fortune and continues to do nothing to help others.

For those with higher self-esteem, a trust fund job is also a strategy by Stealth Wealth practitioners who want to appear more mainstream. A carefully crafted trust fund job makes the job holder better blend in with society instead of stand out. As the wealth gap widens, this is a good thing to minimize envy from others.

Examples Of Trust Fund Jobs

The best way to describe what a trust fund job is is to share some examples I've come across since 1999. Here are some of the best examples. Due to privacy reasons, details have been changed. If you think I'm writing about you, I'm not!

1) Boutique Clothing Store Owner

When I was working in banking I knew a hedge fund client who probably made at least $40 million over ten years. He bought a nice house in Pacific Heights and got married.

His wife was an events coordinator who enjoyed living large. But she only made about $65,000 when they met. She encouraged him to buy a Mercedes G63, a $5 million house in the hills, and plenty of nice jewelry.

Soon after they got married, she quit her job because why bother grinding anymore. But after two years of not doing much, she got bored and started a boutique clothing store in Hayes Valley, a trendy neighborhood in San Francisco.

The boutique clothing store was his wife's way of indulging in buying expensive clothing items. She'd fly to Tokyo, Milan, and Paris to attend various fashion shows. Then, she'd post her attendance on Instagram to show off her fabulous lifestyle. It was a great way to keep her busy and engaged.

But her boutique clothing store didn't make any money. Instead, it lost over $200,000 a year for five years in a row because it was a trust fund job. However, the money didn't matter so much because she was happy. And because she was happy, her husband was happy too.

2) CEO Of A Private Tech Company

Being the CEO of a private tech company is one of the best trust fund jobs you can create. All you have to do is come up with a cool-sounding name in a hot space. Then you incorporate the business online and voila! You are now Founder and CEO with status.

After I left my day job in 2012, I began playing a lot more tennis during the middle of the day. I got to know one 40-something-year-old fella who also played around 11 am on the weekdays. Over time, he shared with me some of the tech businesses he founded. One was a gaming company, another was an NFT company. I was intrigued!

But after fifteen years, he still doesn't have a website, nor has he received any media coverage about his business. Instead, one day I saw him pictured in a high-society magazine. Once I Googled his image, I discovered he had been attending many of the fanciest galas and events for years.

Extremely Wealthy Parents

During a hit one day, he mentioned how he spent several million remodeling his home in Pacific Heights, which was worth over $15 million. I was impressed by his spending power as a guy with an unknown company.

Well, it turns out his dad made a fortune in banking in the 1980s. His father was a C-level executive at a major bank that got acquired by one of the big three banks today. He then went on to co-run the bank for a couple of decades, making over $100 million in the process.

As a father himself, he needed a trust fund job to prevent his kids from thinking that money grew on trees. His trust fund job also made him feel more important to his kids. Instead of telling his kids he was off to play tennis in the middle of the day, he could tell them that he was off to work.

3) A Venture Capitalist Or Angel Investor

Getting a VC job at a reputable shop is tough. You often need to go to one of the elite private colleges. So props to those who were able to land a VC job via the traditional route.

The other way to get a VC job is to start a company and have a nice exit. Once you've collected your millions (or billions), you can join a venture capital firm as a General Partner. After all, you've proven your chops by building a successful company. With the right network, hopefully, you will also become a greater investor by identifying opportunities.

Instead of just telling people you invest your personal money, it may be more strategic to say you are a VC. As a VC, you stay relevant as you're constantly networking with other investors and founders. You get the status without having to grind away as a founder.

Being a new VC can be considered a trust fund job because investors won't know for 5-10 years whether you're any good at investing. It takes 5-10 years for VC investments to either get acquired, IPO, or fail. By the time your limited partners and other VCs learn about your poor performance, you will have already made a lot of money from fees.

If you can’t get a job as a VC general partner, then consider calling yourself an angel investor. An angel investor is an equally promising trust fund job, but with more flexibility and mystique.

I'd invest in private growth companies through a venture capital fund like the Innovation Fund. The fund invests in artificial intelligence, fintech, proptech, and more. Unlike traditional venture funds that are invite only with $200,000+ minimums, you can invest in the Innovation Fund with as little as $10. 

4) Being An Author / Writer

To poke fun at myself, I say being an author is a trust fund job as well.

The vast majority of professional writers don't make enough to support themselves. We're like starving actors working at Starbucks during the day and following our dreams at night. But if you already have enough passive income to pay for your living expenses, then being an author is a respectable trust fund job.

If you say you're an author, you have years to prove to others you have what it takes to write a book. You can always tell people who ask what you're up to, “I'm working on the next great American novel” or something to that nature.

Given academics and creatives are generally respected, being an author has a decent amount of prestige. If you are actually able to cross the finish line and publish a hardcover book that appears in bookstores, then your trust fund job becomes legitimate.

But if you can't get a publisher to publish your work, you can always go the self-publishing route. You won't gain much prestige, but at least your work is out there and nobody can call your BS.

Blogging is not a good trust fund job

Blogging is not considered a good trust fund job because it's still a relatively new occupation that conjures up images of a person wearing pajamas writing about their pet cats.

But don't underestimate blogging as a profession. Some bloggers make a lot more money than you think. Here are my reflections on technically making money online since 2009.

Although my father sometimes grumbles that I send him too many posts to edit (not this one, hence the errors), keeping him involved with Financial Samurai is good for his soul!

I rely on him to make my prose better. In turn, he gains more purpose during his retirement, which may help him live longer. Because he has no debt and a pension, being the editor of Financial Samurai is also considered a trust fund job! If only he knew I was making him work for his own good.

5) A Consultant

Being a consultant is another classic trust fund job. Starting your own consultancy company is sometimes code for being unemployed. Hence, if you do label yourself as a consultant on your LinkedIn profile, you had best include some clients in the description.

One of the longest-running professional jokes is that nobody knows what a strategy consultant does. You know, folks from firms like McKinsey, Bain, or BCG. Hence, as a consultant, you can more easily obfuscate what you actually do for a living, which makes it an ideal trust fund job.

When people learn that you are a consultant, they'll just accept your occupation as something meaningful. Clearly, you have the wisdom, experience, and skillset to earn money by providing consulting advice. As a result, you should gain some level of respect, even if they don't know what you do.

I actually think doing part-time consulting once both kids go to school full-time is a great way to fill the void. Unlike full-time work, which often requires 40+ hours a week, as a part-time consultant, you can pick and choose your hours and clients. Consulting will help fill the time and provide more meaning.

6) A Grade School Coach

Being a coach is an admirable trust fund job. Everybody knows grade school coaches don't make much money. However, parents will respect you because you are trying to help children excel.

Any coach will tell you they feel a tremendous amount of satisfaction when a child succeeds. That success can be in sports, music, drama, debate, or anything where learning and competition are involved.

If you want to take coaching a step further, consider getting the credentials to become a grade school teacher. Teaching is one of the most important jobs for society. However, partially due to the pay, it's hard to attract or retain teachers.

7) A Real Estate Investor

It didn't occur to me until after writing this post that saying you're a real estate investor is also a good trust fund job. It will help deflect attention and keep you relevant during social gatherings when people ask what you do.

Real estate investing consists of all sorts of active work, including: sourcing properties, remodeling, developing, expanding, and general maintenance work.

For example, my children and I spent the summer landscaping the front yard of a rental. This was 100% manual labor that I think will help minimize entitlement mentality. The work was much more laborious than sitting in front of a computer screen all day.

Even if you are completely hands off because you only invest in private real estate funds online, you can still legitimately say you are a real estate investor. You have to spend time identifying good sponsors and assembling a portfolio of promising deals. If your investments ultimately make money, you will feel good providing for your family.

Trust Fund Jobs Have A Good Purpose In Society

As I wrote in The Negatives Of Early Retirement Nobody Likes Talking About, losing purpose is one of the big downers of no longer working for a living. We all want to feel like we're doing something meaningful for society. Just having money doesn’t cut it.

Over the past twenty four years, I've met plenty of folks who struck it rich after selling their companies or by joining startups that went on to IPO. Once they got their fortunes and left, instead of feeling elated, they started to feel depressed because they were no longer relevant.

Even though you might not need a trust fund job to pay the bills, it's nice to have. Staying relevant will make you feel happier. And if your trust fund job can help others on a regular basis, your life will have more purpose.

As you get older and wealthier, you will likely encounter more people holding trust fund jobs as well. Instead of looking down on them, appreciate they are trying to stay active in a world that so easily forgets their names.

Related posts:

How To Convince People You Are Middle Class When You're Rich

A Provider's Clock For Men Is Like A Biological Clock For Women

Reader Questions And Suggestions

What are some other great trust fund jobs? Have you met people with extravagant lifestyles far beyond what their jobs could support? If so, how do you think they came upon their money?

If you're looking to break from from a job you dislike, read How To Engineer Your Layoff. It will teach you how to negotiate a severance so you can do something else with your one and only life. At checkout, use the code “saveten” to save $10.

How to engineer your layoff - learn how to negotiate a severance package and be free

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39 thoughts on “Trust Fund Jobs For Status, Purpose, Relevance, And Meaning”

  1. Finance Ronin

    I typically don’t care about status–to me it’s a perk of being financially independent while my wife continues to work by choice. I’d like to go with “Trophy Spouse,” but too many people regard that as a pejorative. Maybe I’ll start a blog called Trophy FIRE where I can engage with like minded retirees and advocate for the respect that Trophy Spouses deserve. I’m not just another pretty face.

    I lack the creativity to try positions 1 to 4, but I have done 5 to 7. You might consider adding “Influencer/Evangelist” as number 8.

    I just noticed the “Notify me of follow-up comments via e-mail”. Did you get that back recently? Hooray!

      1. Finance Ronin

        Yes it’s working. I subscribe to your weekly newsletter so I that’s how I learn about new content. I do miss the FS Forum. I wish there were an easier way to engage in deeper discussion like Reddit.

  2. Teacher at grade or high school level at an elite private school gets a lot of respect from wealthy people and is a very socially acceptable gig for alumni from wealthy trust fund families. Other things I have seen trust funders do – salaried financial officer for faculty pension funds at universities, winery owner, wine tasting/restaurant critic, advancement fund coordinator, realtor (part or full time) – heck half the population of California has a real estate license.

  3. You forget to mention that lots of wealthy parents donate substantially to charitable societies so that these employ their kids so that the kids do not hang around all day.
    And youngbut poor employees who believe in the cause of such societies wonder why they cannot get ahead in their job…..

  4. Historical societies, colleges, non-profits and charities are teaming with these people. They get a make-work job, the employer gets a fat bequest in the will. It’s a win-win situation.

  5. Buddhist Slacker

    I know some people who don’t even bother to have trust fund jobs. Don’t know how they came about their wealth. They are in various countries. It’s crass to ask of course, and I’m not curious enough to find out. However, they’re working very hard on their spiritual path and participating in and sponsoring Buddhist activities and philanthropic works and they most definitely have a sense of purpose and fulfillment and are extremely happy. They are wonderful, kind people and are also fun to be around. Some spiritual paths are designed to keep you humble lol. I think humility and finding true joy in thinking of others first no matter who they are is key to contentment.

  6. Extremely highly talented employees with specialized knowledge may have companies keep them on the payroll so that they don’t go to another company and share their knowledge. It isn’t quite the same as a trust fund job, but I think it is better, because they are so highly regarded that a company is willing to pay them to keep the competition from being able to hire them.

    Then again, many of these types don’t need to work at a certain point, so perhaps these are trust fund jobs in a certain sense. They answer any questions and help out when needed but they are more of a highly paid consultant who isn’t subjected to the same reviews, etc. that most employees have to endure. These are the elite and any wealth they may have has nothing to do with their trust fund job.

  7. PublicSchool

    Grade school teacher as a “Trust Fund Job” is kinda of hilarious. Definitely don’t be a grade school teacher at a public school if you want to maintain your sanity. Maybe at a private Montessori school where you won’t be micromanaged and mismanaged. Pay will be less, and no pension, but you’ll save your sanity.

    If you have the ability to lean heavily on a public school union, grin and bear the nonsense, and internally have a “F you… i don’t need the money” attitude towards administrators and board members…. then public school could be manageable.

    1. Public school teacher is one of the most altruistic trust fund jobs around! So much hard work. We need more teachers.

      The difficulty of being a teacher is why it’s a side note under being a grade school coach.

  8. Sam, off topic but I thought this was the best way to reach you. You are in tune with Hawaii, any locals who need help to leave Maui?

      1. I wish I knew this term 20 years ago! It would have alleviated a lot of anxiety in my career as a professional equestrian. I knew there was money in horses, which I didn’t have, so my “big plan” was to work harder than everyone else to accomplish my goals. It was a very “expensive” (ironic) lesson that took fifteen years to fully comprehend, that you cannot outwork piles of money, as hard as you might try. Moving out of the saddle later, into the saddle shop, I discovered these places were also primarily ‘busyness,’ not businesses. You coined TFJ, but I think the laymen’s term is ‘busyness!’ Understanding the truth of this would have helped me feel less like a failure, as I pedaled feverishly while they didn’t, not because they were lazy, but because they didn’t have to. My business was competing against a tidal pool of busynesses. That’s like showing up for a shoot out with a pocket knife! Knowing this would have saved me a lot of angst and even now I find it helpful for framing these niche industries, past, present, and future.

        1. Busyness! I like it!

          “that you cannot outwork piles of money, as hard as you might try.”

          Very true. No matter how hard we work, returns on big piles of money will always win! Sad, but motivating to get our own big piles one day.

          Your world must be amazing!

  9. Love the concept of TFJ. Makes me think of seinfeld george costanza importer exporter. Another title for you to consider.

  10. I went to school with a few people who had trust fund jobs. One of them rides horses in all different places around the world and documents the experiences. Not sure what type of job title she gave herself. Maybe something like IEG (International Equine Gallivanter) lol. But hey, I bet it’s a total blast!

    I also knew a guy who created countless small startups for over a decade that never went anywhere. Clearly he came from money to be able to afford to do that for so long without making any money.

    1. Just came back from visiting an animal farm in Petaluma on Tuesday. I saw a couple of women riding their horses for an hour in the middle of the day. It looked nice! Then tea with some finger sandwiches after.

      Never heard of International Equine Gallivanter. Sounds amazing!

  11. I like this article. I completely agree I’ve always wondered what the hell these boutique clothing stores are doing like selling 1 piece of clothing each day, they must be losing tons of money… but if workers/wives are happy and owners don’t care there are probably some nice write-offs and ancillary benefits..

    Also reminds me of a classic scene from Reservoir Dogs when Mr. Blonde has just got out of jail and is talking with Nice Guy Eddy and Joe about getting a job so he can get his PO officer Seymour Scagnetti off his back. He says he first needs a “jobby-job type job”.. but instead Eddy offers him a no-show job at the dock. So maybe instead of Trust fund Job, you should just call it a “No-Show Job” or a Union/Mafia style Job! ;)

    Google Reservoir Dogs Mr. Blond job type job and its one of the first videos.. worth a watch, but its got some bad language so NSFW.

    1. Will have to rewatch the Reservoir Dogs scene.

      Boutique Clothing Store for the win! It’s a great way to have lifestyle businesses expense write-offs. But I’m not sure you can have a loss-making business for more than 3 years until the IRS starts inquiring. But maybe!

  12. Love this topic, Sam!

    I’ll be looking for a more aggressive Trust Fund job in a couple years. The type of Trust Fund job I’ll be looking for is something to keep you actively engaged with society (and to make you look important) without having to actually do any real work. I don’t have any additional ideas just yet, but having a title related to a Musuem or library comes to mind right now.

    Hey!! Since I post regularly on your site, can you hire me as your official “Response Team Director”? Then I can say I’m a Director at an Online Finance Company.

  13. I don’t care much for “trust fund job” ’cause it sounds like you didn’t earn it. How about a FULL job instead (financially undercover living large) .

  14. Teach one course a year as an adjunct and tell everyone you are a professor. If you have research credentials it is better to be a “research associate” at a university than to be an “independent scholar”. Latter are often nutjobs…

  15. (invested a couple thousand to the Fundrise Innovation Fund)

    So, you know, I’m something of a VC myself :-D

      1. Me too for Innovation Fund. But I still have a day job. Wish I didn’t. Maybe 8 more years and then retire at 50. I’ve been thinking Trader Joes for my trust fund job. They seem happy, lots of quick convos with regulars, decent health insurance, looks like good exercise with re-stocking etc. Get to try all the interesting new foods. Hawaiian shirts for a uniform!

  16. I really enjoy this concept and you presenting it in a way that I hadn’t considered before. I would add “Real Estate Investor” to the list.

    If you’re a ‘passive’ investor, meaning you either are investing with a REIT or exclusively buy-and-hold with property managers, the fact is you may not have a ton of work to do each week, but when you tell people you’re a Real Estate Investor, people generally accept that as a viable occupation.

      1. Christopher

        I wish I’d known this concept when I retired at the age of 49. My wife was still working, and really, so was I: buying, renovating, and renting out some residential properties not far from our home. When people asked what I did I always said “retired” even though I was busy being a remodeler and a landlord. I should have said “real estate investor.” Now we’re in our mid sixties and both truly retired, having sold the rental properties to get out of “the landlord business” and to take advantage of the huge run-up in home prices. Our only remaining real estate investments are RealtyShares (R.I.P.) and Fundrise. Thank you Sam for turning me on to both of those — they have been winners!

  17. Being a part-time consultant after career but before retirement gives you the best of both worlds.

    In many ways, it’s the ultimate trust fund occupation.

    1. I find ‘Trust Fund Job’ offensive. I worked hard and saved my money. I had my own business and retired from the corporate world because going to meetings became boring to me. Now I drive school bus and get to spend more time with my kid. I enjoy this job more than anything I did in in my 20 years in the corporate world. I am contributing directly to the neighborhood I live in. ‘Trust Fund Job’ sounds like I live off my parents hard work and not my own.

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