Have you struggled to pick a compatible career that will help you achieve your wealth goals? You’re not alone, as roughly one-third of college students change majors at least once during their first three years of college. This can delay your career and increase your student loan debt.
Besides that, many people change careers and jobs more frequently than in the past since the average job tenure is approximately 4 years. This guide will show you how to pick a career that will grow your wealth and fit your values.
Should You Pick A Career Based On Income Alone?
Yes and no.
While you shouldn’t consider a career based on income potential alone, money matters. Your job will be the main source of income to fund your investments. It might not make sense to pick a career that is high paying but makes you miserable.
Instead, start by assessing your values, strengths, and weaknesses. A simple tool to do this is the Myers Briggs personality test. This test will highlight your personality traits, strengths, weaknesses, and offer you some clarity when choosing a career.
For example, the ENFP personality type is suited to careers that require good people skills and creativity, such as being a marketing manager or working in sales. Conversely, ENFPs might not be a good fit for law enforcement or military positions.
This test can give you a high-level overview, but you can refine your interests by taking online/in-person courses, reading books, and doing internships.
Begin With The End In Mind
Personality and compatibility are important when choosing a career. However, you must begin with the end in mind and consider income potential. For example, set income goals that you’d like to achieve over the short and long term.
From there, narrow down suitable career paths that give you personal and monetary satisfaction. It’s a common misconception that you have to sacrifice money for happiness or vice versa. You can have both.
Beginning with the end in mind is imperative when you pick a career. Start by learning about the education requirements for each field. Then, learn about costs for undergraduate, graduate, and even doctoral programs. Many popular majors like psychology can be useful, but you need at least a master’s degree to become a licensed psychologist.
Always consider the time and debt needed for education as these are opportunity costs. An opportunity cost refers to the loss of an alternative when you choose something else. Instead of spending 4 or more years in college, your potential opportunity cost could be the wages you would have earned if you had entered the workforce right away.
Starting with your end goal in mind will also prevent you from taking a low-paying career path and being saddled with student debt. If you need to take on student debt, choose a path that will let you pay it off in a reasonable timeframe.
Assess if the degree or graduate program will be directly correlated with your career goals. If you’re considering a graduate program like a part-time MBA, see if your employer can help you with the costs. These simple steps will ensure that you won’t spend decades of your life paying off student debt for an irrelevant degree!
Investments that will grow your career and income
Going to college or graduate school isn’t the only way to advance your career and income. Per Warren Buffett, “The best investment you can make is an investment in yourself.” You can do this by taking online courses, affordable in-person classes at community colleges, doing career boot camps, and by reading books.
You can prepare for in-demand careers, especially those in technology, like web development, SaaS sales, or data science without a four-year degree. For example, many aspiring web developers have taken online courses from Udemy and formal boot camps like those offered by Lambda School to obtain a web developer job. These alternative learning methods are more affordable than traditional education and can lead to high earning potential.
One of the best investments that you can make when deciding to pick a career is networking. Networking doesn’t have to be intimidating and awkward. You can choose to go to formal, in-person industry-related events or you could network with people online using sites like LinkedIn.
Connecting with the right person on LinkedIn and having an informational interview could do wonders for your career. Informational interviews refer to you asking questions about your connection’s employer and career path. It will give you insight into his or her career and can even help you find the right position since up to 80% of jobs are found via networking.
Set S.M.A.R.T. Goals
Consider SMART goals when choosing a career and for wealth accumulation. This strategy turns vague, daunting goals like wanting to be a millionaire or an executive into achievable, quantifiable steps.
A potential SMART Goal might be to earn a CFP® and obtain a $90,000 salary in three years. This is a SMART goal because it’s Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-Bound.
Earning that certification and a $90,000 salary are specific and measurable. This is an achievable and realistic goal since it usually takes three years to become a CFP®, with $90,000 being an average salary for CFP® holders. It’s time-bound because you’re planning on accomplishing these goals within three years.
It’s not easy choosing and sticking with one career. Currently, it’s become more common to change majors, job hop, and even switch careers. Having the right mindset and pre-planning will help you avoid excessive job-hopping and other mistakes like accumulating high student loan debt. You can use these four simple steps to pick a career that will satisfy you emotionally and financially.