You come from a wealthy (but not über-wealthy) finance-type family. You’ve been to a top university. You’ve studied economics and you’ve taken the notoriously difficult CFA Level I exam and think you’ve passed. You’re all set for a career in finance, but you’ve started to wonder – is that really what you want?
This is the situation one young economics student finds himself in. Writing on Reddit, he reflects that: “I grew up around very successful bankers/investors/businessmen and until recently I thought it most appropriate to pursue a career in investment management (i.e. hedge fund/private equity type role) simply because I feel like I can make a lot of money there and sustain the lifestyle I’ve had throughout my youth (or more).”
However, coming from a finance background, he knows what he’s getting into: “I know pursuing this would require a lot of work to the detriment of spending time with those I love… on an emotional level I don’t know whether this is what I would love doing every day for the next 30-50 years.”
As graduation approaches, the student says he’s starting to feel envious of friends who took degrees in fine art or graphic design: “I feel like a boring/too old for my age guy.” His life already feels pretty narrow (“…all I know is economics/business/investments; the ‘interests’ section of my resume is pretty much empty besides sports/poker.”). And he’s never had a girlfriend.
And yet, he also feels a duty to his parents: he wants to support them in their old age and he wants to be able to help his siblings financially. He feels “pretty confident” that he could do well for himself in finance and all his qualifications point to a future in the industry. But he admits that he has “no real passion” for it.
What should he do?