Loving Your Career: Your Most Lucrative Asset

A common misconception among investors is that they’re going to get rich from their investments. While this can and does happen, investments primarily serve to protect and slowly grow one’s wealth. The most common way to grow your wealth and achieve your dreams is through your employment. In fact, for the average worker, investing in your education or career advancement offers you the single greatest ROI (return on investment) of all your other assets.

While traditional investments require financial assets to return a profit, employment only requires human capital to increase your wealth. This is why a 22-year-old with 43+ years of earning power can have the same capital as a 65-year-old retiree, just in different terms. The new worker has more earning years potential while the retiree has more financial assets. Harnessing this truth helps you realize that anyone can grow his/her wealth. You don’t have to be wealthy to become wealthy because everyone has the same 24 hours in a day.

Your career can pay you anywhere from $1.2 million-$4 million or more.[1] What other investment can bring you these sorts of returns with no-up front capital?

While your career is your greatest investment, it is also your greatest endeavor. It may require you to learn a trade through school or an apprenticeship, go to a 4-year college, or even grad school, residency, or doctoral level work. It can require up to 80-hour weeks for some careers. You may be challenged personally and professionally by your employer, management, customers, or clients. You may wish to start your own business or practice which will require sacrificing salary and time to grow your business on the front-end. You may sacrifice salary amounts to do work that is more meaningful to you by making a difference in the community and building a legacy, which is in-itself a form of payment.

The key to choosing and chasing the best career for you is to find something that you are good at, passionate about, and can make money doing. This is a very simplistic formula, but nonetheless true. If you find something that encompasses all three of these things, you have found your dream job. For many, one area will be stronger than the others with each area fluctuating through time. When 2/3 of these areas are deficient, you’ll start looking for another job or hate the one you’re in.

The average American worker changes careers 5-7 times in his/her lifetime, so career-transitions are not uncommon. Whether you are a junior in high school considering college options, a 36-year-old builder hoping to get into home inspections, or a 55-year-old transitioning careers, there’s never a time too late to dream and chase your passions in a career that brings your fulfillment and takes care of your needs. It may not be easy, but it will be worth it.

If you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life so taking time to sit down and consider what you’re good at, passionate about, and can make money doing is an exercise of priceless value. There are online competency tests to help you explore whether you should be in industries working with people or spreadsheets, hardhats or root canals. As you align your career with your purpose, passions in life, and financial goals you will discover a wealth of untapped potential.


[1] Assuming a 30k annual salary for 40 years and a 100k salary for 40 years, respectively.

When he's not reading WSJ, studying finance, or blogging Daniel can be found biking around Roanoke, exploring the outdoors with his DSLR, or attempting to bag and dispose of the ridiculous amount of leaves in his yard.

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