Monthly Archives: October 2011

Planning for Retirement at Age 26

early retirement

Last week my company hosted their annual benefits fair. You get to walk around and get freebies from all of the vendors trying to get you to sign up for their products.

Rather than trying to get free t-shirts and blood pressure checks that I did not need, I made a beeline for the benefits and retirement counselor.

We started talking and, I began asking him some very specific questions about retirement. He gave me some generic responses but was not very engaged in explaining things for me.

As we talked, I began to realize that he was not taking me seriously, because he did not think I was serious about retirement. I guess I really cannot blame him, as most people my age (26) don’t really care about their retirement. Nobody cares about something that is 35+ years away right?

Well, I for one very much care about my retirement. I feel blessed that I care about something as important as retirement at such a young age, and I am going to do everything I can to ensure my retirement is secure.

Compound Interest = Amazing

A long time horizon is one of the best assetys you have as a young person planning for your retirement. If you are in your early 20’s you likely have around 40 years to sock away money and enjoy the amazing benefits of compound interest.

You don’t need to stress out over the stock market because you know that the historical average is around 10% per year.

You won’t need to sock away massive quantities of money each money because you will let compound interest make up the difference for you.

If you don’t believe me, check out the best retirement calculator I have ever run across, at Bankrate.

Your Friends Will Think You Are Crazy

When you tell your friends that you have decided to put money into your Roth IRA instead of going on a ski trip, they will likely think you are crazy. It’s ok.

Dave Ramsey has one of the best quotes on the subject: [box] “If you will live like no one else, later you can live like no one else” – Dave Ramsey[/box]

Creating a lifestyle where you celebrate conscious spending, and intelligent saving for your future, maybe you will convince a few of your friends to hop on your bandwagon and save for their retirements.

You can be the trendsetter in your circle of friends. I guarantee you that they will all thank you 40 years from now if they stick with it!

Making Smart Decisions

Planning for retirement at a young age won’t do you any good if you still make dumb choices.

If your parents are well versed on the subject, then talk to them. If you have a friend who is a financial advisor, or who is trying to become a financial advisor, then run your ideas by them.

Talk with the retirement counselor at your job. If you convince them that you are sincere, they will be happy to sit down with you and walk you through a few scenarios.

Knowledge is the key.

You need to research, learn, and then implement what you have learned.

If you do, then you will be well on your way to a secure and prosperous retirement.

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Money for College Roundup: Breaking 200K Alexa Ranking Edition

So today is a pretty big day for me, and for this blog. On August 23, 2011 I began the Yakezie Challenge. I committed to consistent posting here on Money for College project, I committed to interacting and selflessly promoting my fellow Yakezie members, and also with sticking with this blog to ensure its future success.

Two months later, and all of that hard work has paid off because Money for College Project just broke through the 200K Alexa Ranking barrier!

This is a key milestone for the blog because it means that this blog is well on its way to reaching a wide audience. My main goal for this site is to provide valuable information to students, parents, and recent college graduates that ill help you find more money for college, and cultivate your future potential. The more popular this blog is, the more people I can reach with that message.

So, here is a huge “Thank You!” to all of you from Yakezie who have made this blog a budding success, and all of my other readers who may or may not have a clue what Yakezie is, and just enjoy the articles I post here.

In true Yakezie fashion, here are some of my favorite articles from Money for College project, around the web, and my fellow Yakezie Members!

Money for College Project


[button link=”” color=”red”] In Chicago and I Need Your Help[/button]


[button link=”” color=”red”] How to Make Your Own Dream Job[/button]




Awesome Articles You Need to Read


[button link=””] Map Surrounding Our Holiday Home[/button]  When I was a kid this is the type of thing that I did. I was constantly building forts in the woods behind our house, playing Army with my friends in our backyard, and going on treasure hunts with my sister. It’s a little sad that we lose all of this creativity when we get older. Maybe an escape back to some childhood ideals and passions would not be a bad thing!


[button link=””] Circumventing the Cost of College[/button]  New GRS Staff Writer Tim Sullivan lays out a pretty good argument on avoiding college costs. He also has some excellent tips on how to get money for college as an upper classman.


[button link=””] How to Break Down a Door[/button]  Just because I know you are all interested. Let’s be honest, this skill could come in handy at some point in your life!


[button link=””] How to Improve Your Credit Score[/button]  Some very solid tips from Ramit on how to improve your credit score with minimal effort.



Yakezie Friends


[button link=”” color=”green”] Aaron Hung – 3 Ways Your Boss Can Kill You[/button]


[button link=”” color=”green”] Everyday Tips and Thoughts – Underwater Mortgages[/button]


[button link=”” color=”green”] Retire by 40 – How Much Do You Spend on Driving[/button]


[button link=”” color=”green”] Funancials – Emergency Funds are Overrated[/button]


[button link=”” color=”green”] Invest in the Markets – Politicians and the Markets[/button]


[button link=”” color=”green”]The Single Saver –  Aldi Fun[/button]


[button link=”” color=”green”] Financial Excellence – Workplace Financial Literacy[/button]


[button link=”” color=”green”] Money Talks – Spouse and FInances[/button]


[button link=”” color=”green”] My University Money – The Monopoly on Education[/button]


[button link=”” color=”green”] Beating Broke – We’re Moving[/button]



[button link=”” color=”green”] Little House in the Valley – Avoiding Bank Fees[/button]


[button link=”” color=”green”] 101 Cetavos – Situational Awareness[/button]


[button link=”” color=”green”] World of Finance – What Budgeting Can Do[/button]


[button link=”” color=”green”] Investorz Blog – Random Thoughts on Investing[/button]

How to Make Your Own Dream Job

dream job


I’ve been a believer for a long time that a “dream job” really does not exist.

Dream jobs don’t exist, because we cannot clearly define them. Many people will tell you to imagine a job that you could get up every morning and be excited about. Well, I could be excited about taking my kids to school in the morning, but that would not suffice as a “dream job”.

Many others will say to find a job that allows you to earn a lot of money with little to no work. While that sounds more like a fantasy than a dream, the concept has flaws. A high salary should be the result of hard work, in my opinion. I’ve heard of too many people getting duped by get rich quick schemes to accept that there are jobs out there who will pay you millions for little to no work.

So where does that leave us?

We want to find our dream jobs but we don’t know where to start.

First: Clearly define your Dream Job

I’ve spent the past few days walking around the city of Chicago and I’ll have to admit that I am a people watcher. I enjoy a good park bench, and watching the people stroll by.

What I have noticed here in Chicago is that nobody is happy. My hotel is in the South Loop, in the financial district, and I’ve been rubbing shoulders with people working for E-Trade Financial, Chase Bank, Bank of America, the Fifth Third Bank, and about a dozen others.

I imagine that the majority of these folks have high salaries, but they appear to be miserable.

I actually got into a conversation in my hotel lobby with a bank executive here on business. He was lamenting the fact that he travels the country inspecting the operations of the other banks in his network. He said he typically works 70 – 90 hour weeks, and is away from his family 5 -6 days a week. He does it to support his kids private school education and their lavish vacations.

I asked him if he had ever considered doing anything else, and he said simply that “I can’t”.

For many people, a dream job equals freedom above all else.

Freedom to do work you are truly passionate about.

Freedom to set your own schedule.

Freedom to be your own time keeper and determine how much or how little you will work.

Freedom to make your own decisions.

Second: Find others who are already doing your Dream Job

More than likely, the dream job you have imagined is not unique. There will be other people who have already paved the way, and are doing the job of your dreams (even though it might not be their dream job!).

These folks can be invaluable resources to help you evaluate whether or not your Dream Job is truly what you thought it would be. Just like a college internship, this interaction with someone already employed in your Dream job, will give you an inside perspective into the reality of the job.

Often times, dreams don’t become reality.

I dreamed of being a lawyer, until I took my first law class.

I dreamed of being a veterinarian until I learned that they had to castrate dogs.

I dreamed of being an archaeologist until I realized they traveled for 10 months out of the year.

Talking and interacting with people who are already doing the job you dream of is one of the best ways of evaluating that career. The more personal the connection, the better the feedback.

Finally: Create your own Dream Job, if it does not already exist!

I have a good friend who is passionate about missions and volunteering in third world countries. He just recently got married, and is trying to figure out how he can turn this passion into his dream job. He had considered signing on full-time as a volunteer with the Peace Corps, or with a missions agency, but he did not like the multi-year time commitment.

He also wants to be able to travel to more than one country over the next few years with his new wife.

His solution? He established himself as a trip guide. He now leads the teams of people who go into third world countries and complete their missions or volunteer work.

He quickly realized that the job he dreamed of did not exist, so he created it.

This is the best solution for most people. Often our dream jobs are not a cookie cutter type position.

Most dream jobs are not recruited for at career fairs and you won’t find them listed on

As with most of the good things in life, if you want it you have to work hard to get it. Your dream job won’t likely appear out of thin appear and offer itself to you.

You need to clearly define what your dream job is, then make actionable steps to make it happen!

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In Chicago and I Need your Help!

chicago money for college

I flew into Chicago O’Hare airport last night for my first visit to Chicago. My welcome to the city was a 50 minute wait in line for a taxi, and lots of congestion and construction traffic.

Definitely not in the Southeast anymore.

I’m only here on business for one day, but I really want to make the most of the city while I am here. I know that there have to be some of you out there who either live in or near Chicago, or who frequent the city.

I would love some recommendations on the best places to eat. Specifically, I want to get some chicago style deep dish pizza that the city is famous for. I would also love to try some authentic Italian food.

My hotel is close to the Navy Pier and I plan to visit there, but any other recommendations of things to do and places to see would be greatly appreciated.

I’m here in Chicago to do a few site visits of colleges. I hope to be able to report back on the various ways that colleges in the city are offering financial aid and money for college sources to their students. Colleges in the Southeast are ultimately very different than colleges in other parts of the country, and I think it is important to understand these differences and make objective decisions about which colleges you should attend.

If you have any specific questions that you would like answered, please let me know. I will do my best to pass these on and have them answered for you!

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Money for College Roundup: Kickoff Edition

I have wanted to start this for some time now, but laziness has set is, and it has not happened yet. But starting today I am committing myself to a weekly roundup of the posts here on Money for College Project, my favorite articles from around the web, and also the top article from my fellow Yakezie Members!

Without further adieu……here is the inaugural edition of the Money for College Roundup!


Money for College Project


[button link=”” color=”red”] How 3 Students Saved over $295,000 in College Costs[/button]


[button link=”” color=”red”] Buy and Sell on Craigslist to Make Money[/button]


[button link=”” color=”red”] Public Libraries: Hidden Gems of Millions[/button]




Awesome Articles You Need to Read


[button link=””] Wanna Win the Iditabike? You Need a Diet of Cookie Dough[/button]  Something I have secretly always wanted to do…bike across Alaska! Not finance related at all, but I think it will enrich your life.


[button link=””] Coworking: Sharing How We Work[/button]  For all of your freelancers and work at home folks, you need to be up on the current trend of Coworking. If you have not tried it, I highly recommend it. I have even considered opening up my own coworking space in my hometown. Definitely an awesome tool for entrepreneurs!


[button link=””] An Early Education in Financial Literacy[/button]  Starting out the financial education of our children at a young age is crucial to our global future financial stability. So what if it starts in Girl Scouts.


[button link=””] The Free Monkey Problem: The High Cost of Free Things[/button]  You have all heard that there is no such thing as a free lunch….but now you need to learn that there is no such thing as a free monkey.


[button link=””] How to Quit Mindlessly Surfing the Internet….[/button]  We all are guilty of this. Sitting down at the computer with every intention of being productive, and then trailing off into a rabbit hole of time sucking activities (sometimes quite literally). Here is how to avoid all of that.


Yakezie Friends


[button link=”” color=”green”] Aaron Hung – 3 Ways Your Boss Can Kill You[/button]


[button link=”” color=”green”] Everyday Tips and Thoughts – A Rant About Cell Phones[/button]


[button link=”” color=”green”] Retire by 40 – Best Places To Retire Abroad[/button]


[button link=”” color=”green”] Funancials – The Cost of Renting vs. Buying[/button]


[button link=”” color=”green”] Invest in the Markets – The Benefits of Buy and Hold Investing[/button]


[button link=”” color=”green”]The Single Saver –  I Hate Grocery Shopping[/button]


[button link=”” color=”green”] Financial Excellence Top 5 Signs You’re Addicted To Shopping[/button]


[button link=”” color=”green”] Money Talks – What is Your Worst Case Scenario?[/button]


[button link=”” color=”green”] My University Money – Finding a Job in a Terrible Market[/button]


[button link=”” color=”green”] Beating Broke – Are Banks Getting a Bad Rap?[/button]


[button link=”” color=”green”] Little House in the Valley – Reality Bites[/button]

Public Libraries: Hidden Gems of Untapped Millions

public library

This post was originally published on 1/26/2010.

Your local public library is an excellent (often untapped) wealth of scholarship information. You can find this information in two places. First: There are whole sections in your library devoted to books about searching for scholarships. Run a quick query and you will probably find at least 20 books.

 The second spot is the “community news” bulletin board when you walk through the door. Many local organizations will post their scholarship ads or applications on these boards to attract motivated students to apply for their scholarships.

 You also could consider speaking with one of the library employees. More than likely, they have been approached by someone offering a scholarship and they could be an invaluable source of information!

 **Updated Notes**

I still think that public libraries are completely untapped sources of scholarship information. In fact, I stop by my local library a few times a week to pick up book and audiobooks and I always notice the “community news” section in the foyer.

The last time I was in, I asked the librarian about the board, and she said that they routinely get calls every week from scholarship organizations that want to post ads on their boards. She said that these organizations have made comments in the past about how difficult it is to find high quality applicants for their awards.

This is a golden opportunity for any high school juniors or seniors who are motivated!

Stop by your local library, speak with the librarian, and ask them about any scholarship opportunities that they are aware of.

I would love to hear if this works for you. Please try this soon, and report back how successful you were!

Buy and Sell on Craigslist to Make Extra Money

By now I think it is safe to assume that all of you have heard of Craigslist. The free bartering/swapping/selling community has exploded in popularity in recent years, I believe, in large part due to the economy. As the economy has suffered, people have turned to alternative methods of obtaining the products and services they want or need. Craigslist is a community of individual people who are selling or trading products and services. You can find everything from a high school English tutor offering their services, to a guy trying to sell an old 15 speed mountain bike.

The beauty of Craigslist is that there are no transaction fees, no listing fees, no advertising, and no hassles. Craigslist makes their money off of a very select group of paid listings, such as job listings and adult services.

The good news for you, is that there is an opportunity to make a lot of extra money off of craigslist by buying and selling products. In fact, it is entirely possible to turn this into a full-time job.

Craigslist Arbitrage

Arbitrage, or the philosophy of buying low and selling high, is the basis for Craigslist success. Just as in any other case of arbitrage, the higher your margins are, the more profit you will make.

With Craigslist, it is important to be able to source the products that you will sell. Many Ebay sellers also struggle with this same task, but Craigslist sellers have it a little easier in my opinion.

While Ebay sellers operate on very small profit margins, and thrive on high volume, there is still a lot of money to be made in one good Craigslist transaction.

What to buy and sell?

The first question you will need to answer is what products you will buy and sell on Craigslist. Often times you can find many items to sell around your house, or by sorting through your favorite hobbies or side projects. A quick scan of Craigslist will reveal anything from an ATV to a Waterford Crystal lamp.

One of the most important things to remember is that it helps tremendously if you have in-depth knowledge of the product you are trying to buy and sell. If you are a big music buff, then you might feel comfortable buying old records and reselling them for a profit. I would not.

You might feel confidant in buying an old refrigerator and reselling it for a profit. I also, would not.

The beauty of Craigslist is that almost everyone can find a niche of products that you know well, and make money buying and selling within that small niche of products.

Where to find products to buy and sell on Craigslist

You can find products just about anywhere. Once you have identified one niche, or multiple niches of products, you can begin the search.

Here is a quick list of places that you can check for products you are interested in reselling:

  • Yard sales/ Garage sales
  • Ebay – If managed correctly, and typically done in high volume
  • Pawn Shops
  • Trade Shows
  • Local Library
  • Flea Markets
  • Auctions
  • Estate Sales
  • Sam’s Club
  • Office Depot
  • Inventory Liquidation Sales

Finally, you can often find great deals on products to resell right on Craigslist. If you are able to find people who are already selling the products in your niche, then it is possible that you will be able to buy and sell products entirely through Craigslist.

Craigslist for college students

Craigslist may be the perfect opportunity for college students to make a lot of money. College students love to buy things off of Craigslist because they can typically get a quality product for cheap. They can also avoid paying shipping costs, which college students hate, and they can buy local. If you are a college student, or if you live in a college town, you can profit off this trend.

College students come and go every semester. Many students move into and out of a dorm or apartment every 9 months. This constant transitional lifestyle provides excellent sources of stuff! The best time to source products is at the end of the Spring semester, which typically falls around the beginning to middle of May. This is when you should buy the majority of your inventory to resell. You can buy the old furniture, appliances, electronics, and dorm decorations that college students want to get rid of, and don’t want to move.

When move-in time rolls around in August, you can sell the same stuff back to other college students for a profit.

The beauty of this scenario, is that you can often get items for free in May because students, and especially parents, simply do not want to bother with the stuff. They are willing to give it away if you will haul it off.

This provides a nearly endless supply of items to buy and sell on Craigslist.

How I made $140 on one Craigslist transaction with 15 minutes of work

About a year ago I was looking to buy a used pressure washer off Craigslist. I found one that looked in good condition so I called the guy up, and drove over to his house to check it out. The pressure washer was what I needed and a very good price. As I was paying the guy, I noticed a Stihl chainsaw on the floor in his garage. He was selling a few other items also, so I asked him if he was selling the chainsaw.

I know a good bit about chainsaws. I grew up cutting firewood with my Dad, and have been comfortable with chainsaws for many years. I know the rough estimates on price for these machines, and how to perform routine maintenance.

The guy was selling the chainsaw for $35 dollars. I was shocked. I paid him the $35 and took my Stihl chainsaw and pressure washer back to the house. I paid $75 for a like new pressure washer and a Stihl chainsaw.

Here is where the story gets even sweeter.

When I bought the chainsaw, I took the guy’s word that it worked great. I do not recommend doing that! In this situation, I knew that even a broken Stihl chainsaw was worth $35, but that is not always the case for most products. When I got home, I took the saw out, and began to clean it up. I changed the oil, cleaned the oily sawdust from the blade housing, scrubbed the black exhaust from the saw, tightened the bolts holding the bar in place, and replaced the old gas with fresh gas. 15 minutes of work later, and my $35 Stihl chainsaw was humming along perfectly. I cut up a few logs in our backyard to make sure she was in perfect working order, and went to Craigslist to list my new toy.

I did a quick search of other saws of the same brand and size, and priced my saw accordingly. I priced my saw for $200. I immediately (within 5 minutes) got 3 emails of guys wanting to meet me to look at the saw. I contacted the first guy to email me and setup a neutral meeting location with some wood we could cut. I met him there the next day, he tested the saw and saw that it worked great, and he haggled down with me to $175. I gave in…

So, with 15 minutes of work, I made $140 by buying a product I new was valuable, and adding a little bit of TLC.

If you look for products that you are familiar with then you will stand a much higher chance of finding a product that is being sold for well below it’s real value.

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How 3 Students Saved $295,000 in College Costs


money for college graduate

This blog is focused on helping you save money on your college costs and find new sources of money for college. To that end, here is a story of 3 students who are absolutely killing it, in saving money on college costs.

The three methods used by these students can be considered somewhat unconventional, but I think that in these situations, their ingenuity has definitely paid off. As the title suggests, they have saved over $295,000 with their unconventional techniques and decisions, so it is worth taking a closer look.

Look outside of the country

The first story is about Gesten, who was at first looking to go to the University of Oregon, but her parents could not stomach the $40,000 per year cost.

She took the very unconventional route of going international for her college experience. She took a short leap geographically across Puget Sound to the University of Victoria in british Columbia. For a little over $28,000 per year, she earned her degree in Business.

Her decision to travel outside of the country for a high quality degree saved her roughly $50,000.

Attending college outside of your native country is a radical decision. However, for some people, this might make sense. For example, if you are fluent in a language other than your native tongue, you might consider attending a college which primarily speaks that language. being bi-lingual, is almost always a huge career boost. Here in the U.S. we are very prideful of our conception that our country has the best education system, but that is not always the case. There are many high quality colleges located around the world, and often at a much lower price than an education here in the U.S.

It’s also important to pay close attention to the student visas that you will need to obtain and the associated costs. Studying abroad is a big decision, but it is one that could save you a lot of money in the long run.

Get your college to invest in you

This next story is the most ingenious, and fascinating, money for college story I have ever heard. Matthew Turcotte, the student, founded a business that specializes in designing websites for small businesses. Turcotte reached an agreement with Clarkson University, where Clarkson would own a 10% stake in Turcotte’s company in exchange for a full tuition scholarship to Clarkson.

This is reminiscent of the NBC show Shark Tank, rather instead of getting upgraded production capabilities and a mentor, Turcotte has received a complete college education in exchange for 10% of his company. They value his education at $150,000, which would have his company valued at $1,500,000. Fairly remarkable for a college freshman.

I have never heard of a college offering this type of agreement before. I would imagine this scholarship was provided by a department or small business development incubator  within the college. However it came about, I love the concept. It rewards the entreprenurial spirit, and it also encourages students to pursue their dreams even before they begin their college careers. This student will likely have the support of the college community as his business grows.

This should be a great incentive to start your own business while in high school or in college. You may be able to leverage your business success into a full scholarship or at least into a partial scholarship.

Start at a community college and finish at a university

The final student began her academic career at a community college. She was able to obtain a federal grant to pay all of her tuition and fees, and enrolled in a university transfer program. This program had an agreement with the University of Virginia that they would accept her automatically in their bachelor degree program, once she completed her courses of study at her community college.

Ebonee completed her courses at her community college where she learned how to study, and got acclimated to college life. She then transferred to the University of Virginia to complete her degree, and have her tuition and fees covered again by grants from the university.

Starting at a community college is a very smart decision for a lot of people. It is a lot cheaper, there are smaller classes, there is much greater ease of entry, and many community colleges have transfer programs directly into a major university.

Starting at a community college is a very good decision for many people, which is why our country has seen a dramatic rise in community college enrollment in recent years.

How will you save money on your college costs?

Which of these ideas do you like the best?

Would you consider putting any of these into practice, or perhaps pushing your children to pursue one of these options?

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Scholarship Saturday: Fall is in the Air Edition

Not sure what the weather is like in your neck of the woods, but here in the south, Fall is in the air. This past weekend my wife and I went apple picking, bought some pumpkins, then took a tour through a local corn maze and drank some apple cider. We packed all of our favorite things about fall into one weekend. Oh yeah, and college football is in full swing!! Here are some excellent scholarship opportunities that you can jump on right now, in preparation for your fast approaching May 2012 graduation and August 2012 college entrance date!

[button link=””] Dr. Pepper $1,000,000 Tuition Giveaway[/button] Dr. Pepper is holding this contest in connection with the Fall 2011 college football schedule. Every week they will select winners based on the previous week’s selections. All you need to do to enter is create an original video about why you need this money for your college tuition. Dr. Pepper will then pick the winning videos for each week. Typical winnings are $2500 per winner, with a grand prize of $100,000!!

[button link=””] Pfizer Animal Health Veterinary Student Scholarship[/button] You don’t see many scholarships for graduate students outside of fellowships and research assistance. You must be in your second or third year of Veterinary School to be eligible for this scholarship, but if you win, it will give you $2500!

[button link=””] “Hit the Books” Scholarship[/button] This is a scholarship after my own heart! The scholarship will provide $500 to be used towards the cost of textbooks and other materials.Winners will be selected based upon two criteria: successful accomplishment of essay subject matter and individual student needs. Winning essays will also be published on

[button link=””] National Society of Collegiate Scholars–Study Abroad Scholarship[/button] To be honest, there are not many scholarships specifically designed to support students financially when they study abroad. This is typically viewed as a voluntary choice, and a privilege, so you are usually left on your own to find the funds to pay. Here is an excellent option for finding money to help cover the cost of your study abroad trip!


Best and Worst Financial Services Jobs

stock broker

This is part of a Yakezie Blog Swap Series. You can find my post over at The College Investor

Hi, I’m Robert from The College Investor, a personal finance site that focused on saving, investing, and getting out of student loans.

I haven’t held too many jobs in my life, but I’ve had some that I’ve truly enjoyed, and others that I’ve absolutely hated. I’m going to start off what what I discovered as possibly the worst job, because it will lead to my thoughts on the best job.

The Worst Job Ever – Stock Broker

In college, I interned at an independent financial broker. It was an eye-opening experience. When I was in college, I originally thought I wanted to get into finance, and maybe even investment banking. I really enjoyed the topics, and had done well personally investing. I thought that an internship would be the way to go to really get my foot in the door into the investing world.

When I started, I knew that I would be doing pretty menial work, I mean it was an internship. And I was right – my work consistent in a lot of cold calling. But I also got to do some analysis and talk with some brokers and assistants. It was during these conversations that I really started to believe that the worst job ever is being a stock broker.

I started chatting with several brokers about what they were doing with the market, and they all said the same thing – certain mutual funds, and annuities. I asked them why, and they said because these products have high commissions for them. They would brag about selling these products to people, and how they would pocket $5,000 or $10,000. And this was all they did – they were sales reps, not really investment advisers, and they were just making a buck.

Why I think it is a horrible job is that for almost every stock broker, this is the name of the game – you get a list of approved investments to steer clients into, and you’re in it to maximize your personal commission. I learned very quickly this was not what I wanted to do, and that is why it is the worst job!

The Best Job Ever – Fee Based Financial Planner

Based on my experience with the stock brokers, I was really disheartened with the financial services industry. However, I soon discovered that not everyone was in it to make a buck off their clients. At a college investor’s conference, I met a fee-based financial planner. It was great to hear someone speak about how they make investment and estate plans for individuals based on their needs, not based off a sales sheet.

The financial planner talked about how for his fee, he would put together a comprehensive plan for the individual based on what was appropriate for them – some would invest, some would need to focus on savings, others did need insurance products, etc. It was comprehensive, real, and above all, put the clients interest first.

If I ever did work in the financial services field, this would be my dream job – minimal sales, and maximum helping of the client.

Editor’s Note: My first job after graduating college was as a loan broker for a small financial services company. I basically worked as a salesman, trying to close 36% personal loans, and 18% second mortgages. I also had to collect on money by visiting people in their homes! Needless to say, I only worked there a few months. I think a fee based financial planner that provides true value and unbiased wisdom to their clients would be a very fulfilling job. 

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