Financial Wisdom, Simple Living/Downshifting

Stressful Work for Higher Pay

Ask just about any sane, rational person if they would like a stress-free career where they would earn six-figures per year (or more) and they’ll readily agree.

The problem is that this kind of earning potential rarely comes without stress and a good deal of work. So then we are left with two options while we wait for our riches to come: (Ok, I’ll admit that there are more than just these two options, but for the sake of argument I’ll discuss the merits of one over the other)

  1. Sacrifice. Work long hours and days for the sake of higher earnings (be a physician, investment banker, attorney, or a similar position)
  2. Settle for less pay but work a job (or find a source of income) that is less stressful and taxing.

You could say that one of these paths is ideal for type-A people and the other for those who prefer a more laid-back pace.

The Battle for Money

One of the first things we should ask ourselves is if the six-figures from the first path will be worth it once we get there. Our lives may be easier in that we have more financial power to take vacations, have nice things, cars, and show off a bit.

But what’s the point of all these things if we are too tired, encumbered, and strapped for time to enjoy any of them? This goes back to my “Why Saving for Retirement is a Bad Idea” article. By the time you finally are done with this fast-track lifestyle you’ll have missed out on some of the best years of your life.

What if, on the other hand, you settled for earning less but not working as hard in the process? You would have to sacrifice that second (or even first) car, the large home, and perhaps extravagant vacations. But it’s more than possible to travel on a budget, and you don’t need to own a car if you live in the city. With the newfound time and energy you’d get from a less “earn a ton of money” oriented line of thought, you might be able to focus on a side project that will eventually earn you more money! Ironic, isn’t it?

So in the end, it’s quite possible that the bookstore cashier who makes $8.75 per hour and lives a pretty basic lifestyle, but has a growing online business on the side is in much better shape than the power-hungry investment banker who works 90 hours per week, never sees his family, is a slave to his cars and home, and doesn’t know the meaning of the word stop.

Think about it.


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