Your Career: Pay, Passion and Proficiency
The Biggest Part of Financial Planning
Career planning is an important part of financial planning, since income from a job is the biggest source of most people's income and savings. Career choices predict how much money you will have to spend, save, invest and ultimately enjoy. Most financial planners and financial planning books do not discuss career planning, and virtually no career planning books discuss financial planning, even though they are incredibly important to each other.
We will bridge this gap by discussing the financial consequences of career decisions and how to shrewdly pay for education. We understand that there are other factors involved in education like becoming a more cultured person, but it would be completely irresponsible to not plan out what is likely the most important financial decision you can make. Very few people do this, but they are wrong not to. Don't hope. Plan.
Finding a Fit
Your career is something that you may spend the better part of 30 to 40 years doing. While you may not have the clearest image yet of what you want to do professionally, this is a major part of life that you can't skip unless you are already rich. You need to find a career that excites you, that you can do and that you can get paid for; combining these three components of the career search process does present a certain level of challenge for some people.
You would be wise to try out several kinds of jobs and several different industries as internships when you are young, because it can be very hard to find out what you'll do well without first actually doing it to some extent. If you have already found your dream career and are being successful and making good money at it, you can skip this article. If you are in a position where you don't feel right or where you don't feel as if you're being adequately compensated for what you provide your employer, you might want to consider some other options and determine whether you might fit in better elsewhere.
Aptitude and Appeal
There are two vitally important components to being successful at any kind of job. First, you have to be reasonably good at it. While it can take years for even the most talented and motivated people to really master something, you have to at least start out with a basic level of proficiency at your job. As the old saying goes, a soldier who doesn't know what a gun is probably won't win very many battles. In the same vein, an accountant with horrible math skills or an architect who can't visualize spaces will have a serious handicap.
Secondly, you have to like your job. There are going to be days in any kind of profession where you really don't want to work, but when you like the job and are willing to stick it out, you can push aside these momentary feelings of unease and hesitation and get down to business. Rather like in a marriage, being in the same profession for a long time tends to be pleasant and enjoyable far more often than it isn't. If you don't like your job, you are going to burn out quickly.
In order for your profession to be a job, it needs to pay you. If it doesn't, your "job" is a hobby. Since most people need a job in order to make a living, you need to make sure that yours is going to pay you enough to live on over the long term. You can forecast your potential salary and your career prospects in a given field with reasonable ease if you consider general trends among the population.
For example, consumer goods are in the doldrums today but tend to rise with steadiness. If you are in the marketing sector or in distribution, you can expect reasonable growth. Just don't expect anything too rapid unless you're a pinnacle level performer.
For production and more menial careers, you can expect slow growth or even decline. The U.S. is not the production powerhouse it once was, and this career path is one with rather stagnant earnings potential.
Healthcare, on the other hand, is currently a dynamo career-wise. With an aging population and frequent advances in medical technology with an almost unlimited ability to charge insurance companies and government plans, being in the medical field offers great compensation potential.
You can look up what a given job will likely pay in your area at CareerInfoNet.org. You can also look for ideas by searching job postings, LinkedIn, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics website.