26yrs old seeking career advice

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25millz
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26yrs old seeking career advice

Post by 25millz »

Hi Bogleheads,

I'm 26 years old and have saved up about $450k broken out roughly 50% taxable brokerage, 40% retirement accounts, 5% emergency fund, and 5% HSA/misc. I have a degree in economics and have been working in finance for the past 4 years (2 companies). I don't really enjoy the work that I do, I'm bored, the hours are long (50-60 hours a week), and the role is slightly stressful. I'm sure I could find a role that is a slight improvement in a few of the areas, but getting another job sitting at a desk does not sound very appealing. I still enjoy thinking and learning about the financial markets which is the reason why I got into finance but working at a large financial organization I'm not really thinking about it beyond the surface level.

I'm currently making 200-300k a year depending on bonus and appreciate that I am very fortunate to be in this situation. Staying in the role or getting another similar role would see this grow to 400-600k in the next 5 years and probably tops out at the 1mm mark in about 10-15 years. I've always been interested in aviation and have begun to toy with the idea of making a career change to becoming a pilot. While I understand that at the end of the day every job has crappy aspects that make it a job, the lifestyle and actual work of being a pilot seems more appealing. This would cost me about 60-100k for licensing for a starting salary of 50-100k for the next few years. I'm currently working towards my private pilots license to ensure this is something I will enjoy and if I want to go through with it I plan to stay at my current role until the end of the year to get my bonus.

How foolish would I be to throw away my career in finance to pursue aviation? If I continued to work in finance I would be able to retire by the time I got back to the same salary range working as a pilot. But In the few short years I've been out of college I've begun to feel that there are more important things than money and maybe I'd enjoy aviation more. I'm still early in my career and know there are definitely perspectives that I do not see so I'd figure I'd post and get your opinions. Would love to hear your unique insights.
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greenrebellion
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Re: 26yrs old seeking career advice

Post by greenrebellion »

Keep the finance job, retire early, get your private pilots license.
- greenrebellion
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Cobra Commander
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Re: 26yrs old seeking career advice

Post by Cobra Commander »

Could you move in-house to a corporate job and make a little less with better hours? I wouldn't sign on to 50-60 hours a week as my regular working hours for very long if I had a choice. You only get one life I wouldn't waste it working crazy hours.
davidferrer31
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Re: 26yrs old seeking career advice

Post by davidferrer31 »

Can you fly on your vacations and get a feel if you really like it? You say you are working through your private license, yet have you flown?

I agree that it's not all about money.
Nathan Drake
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Re: 26yrs old seeking career advice

Post by Nathan Drake »

Cobra Commander wrote: Mon Apr 01, 2024 8:22 pm Could you move in-house to a corporate job and make a little less with better hours? I wouldn't sign on to 50-60 hours a week as my regular working hours for very long if I had a choice. You only get one life I wouldn't waste it working crazy hours.
50-60 hours seems pretty normal and tame, especially in finance let alone many other careers. I thought you had to work 80+ to make that much so early.

Always amazes me to see how industries like tech and finance never seem to get cost controlled like other industries.

OP is making what some of the highest paid, multi-decade tenured pilots make. At 26. By 35 he will make 3-4x that, according to their own estimates. Being a pilot is a great career choice but doing “boring” finance roles at such an early age and such high compensation seems a lot better.

I regret majoring in a hard science engineering degree in the Aerospace industry but it’s too late to change at this point. Work just as many hours 15 years into my career and make half what the OP does.

I recommend staying in finance where they actually reward hard work.
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gch
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Re: 26yrs old seeking career advice

Post by gch »

I’m assuming you don’t have kids? Are you married? I’d have to imagine working your way to a commercial pilot at a major airline would require a lot of time away from family which may not be ideal if you plan on starting a family soon.

There are an incredible amount of varying jobs within “finance”. I’d look at another finance role within a new industry or perhaps a startup before switching to a pilot.
nulka
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Re: 26yrs old seeking career advice

Post by nulka »

Nathan Drake wrote: Mon Apr 01, 2024 8:42 pm I regret majoring in a hard science engineering degree in the Aerospace industry but it’s too late to change at this point. Work just as many hours 15 years into my career and make half what the OP does.

I recommend staying in finance where they actually reward hard work.
FWIW, I also had a background like yours in an old school engineering field and switched to tech after something like 13 years and I was paid much better in tech immediately and am paid better still after a few years. I won't say that it's never too late, but if you want to switch after 15 years, I don't think it's too late.

Funnily enough, I'm now in a position like OP where I'm making a lot of money for my age and I'm not sure about the work and want to get out of it although, at this point, I'd retire rather than pick up another career. I'm not wealthy by tech standards because I changed careers late, but I still outearned what I could've in my "real" engineering in a few years in tech.
25millz wrote: Mon Apr 01, 2024 7:04 pm I don't really enjoy the work that I do, I'm bored, the hours are long (50-60 hours a week), and the role is slightly stressful. I'm sure I could find a role that is a slight improvement ... I still enjoy thinking and learning about the financial markets which is the reason why I got into finance but working at a large financial organization I'm not really thinking about it beyond the surface level.
Is it not possible to get a job where you deal with the part you're interested in beyond the surface level? Some of my friends in finance and prop trading firms, hedge funds, and in PE, who are on the finance side often tell me that's part of the appeal of the job.
Cruise
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Re: 26yrs old seeking career advice

Post by Cruise »

OP, after spending tens of thousands to earn your commercial pilots license, you will work for minimum wage as a pilot at some third-rate operation. If you are good, you will gradually work your way up the chain until you finally land with a major carrier. Then you are lowest on the seniority list and first to be riffed when there is an economic downturn. Still want to be a commercial pilot?
gougou
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Re: 26yrs old seeking career advice

Post by gougou »

Flying might seem fun now. But when you work full-time as a pilot you might hate it more than you hate your finance job. Much lower pay as well.
Last edited by gougou on Mon Apr 01, 2024 9:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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LCX2000
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Re: 26yrs old seeking career advice

Post by LCX2000 »

Cruise wrote: Mon Apr 01, 2024 9:38 pm OP, after spending tens of thousands to earn your commercial pilots license, you will work for minimum wage as a pilot at some third-rate operation. If you are good, you will gradually work your way up the chain until you finally land with a major carrier. Then you are lowest on the seniority list and first to be riffed when there is an economic downturn. Still want to be a commercial pilot?
OP, in addition to all the money you will have to spend getting certified, you have a tremendous amount of hours you have to get under your belt in order to get hired by the lowest of low airlines. Many of these airlines get pilots working for nothing so that the pilot has a way to get their hours completed.

The model used to be hiring military pilots who already had the training and hours.

What I would suggest is stick with finance and as has already been mentioned save, invest, and put yourself in a position to retire whenever you want. While doing this, start working on your pilot license. My spouse did this. He did this on weekends, and it was a great way for him to clear his head and feel excited about something to do. Who knows how you will feel about either or both once you give it a try.

Congrats on such a great savings track record so early in your career!
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25millz
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Re: 26yrs old seeking career advice

Post by 25millz »

Nathan Drake wrote: Mon Apr 01, 2024 8:42 pm
Cobra Commander wrote: Mon Apr 01, 2024 8:22 pm Could you move in-house to a corporate job and make a little less with better hours? I wouldn't sign on to 50-60 hours a week as my regular working hours for very long if I had a choice. You only get one life I wouldn't waste it working crazy hours.
50-60 hours seems pretty normal and tame, especially in finance let alone many other careers. I thought you had to work 80+ to make that much so early.

Always amazes me to see how industries like tech and finance never seem to get cost controlled like other industries.

OP is making what some of the highest paid, multi-decade tenured pilots make. At 26. By 35 he will make 3-4x that, according to their own estimates. Being a pilot is a great career choice but doing “boring” finance roles at such an early age and such high compensation seems a lot better.

I regret majoring in a hard science engineering degree in the Aerospace industry but it’s too late to change at this point. Work just as many hours 15 years into my career and make half what the OP does.

I recommend staying in finance where they actually reward hard work.
Agree 50-60 hours isn't that bad... I have friends doing 80+ hours at the same age and making 300-500k. I guess its all about perspective. I'd rather have more personal time and freedom than pull in the extra money. Their work isn't much different from mine either, lots of mindless excel and powerpoint. My thinking has definitely changed, when I was in college I wanted something that would pay me as much as possible as quickly as I can but now that I'm near my coastfire number I think maybe it'd be worthwhile to take my foot off the gas and find something I actually enjoy.
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MrBobcat
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Re: 26yrs old seeking career advice

Post by MrBobcat »

Cobra Commander wrote: Mon Apr 01, 2024 8:22 pm Could you move in-house to a corporate job and make a little less with better hours? I wouldn't sign on to 50-60 hours a week as my regular working hours for very long if I had a choice. You only get one life I wouldn't waste it working crazy hours.
Crazy hours that are well compensated.
Topic Author
25millz
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Re: 26yrs old seeking career advice

Post by 25millz »

gougou wrote: Mon Apr 01, 2024 9:50 pm Flying might seem fun now. But when you work full-time as a pilot you might hate it more than you hate your finance job. Much lower pay as well.
That's what I fear - that I'm giving up the comfortable position that I am in now. It would suck to be both miserable and not getting paid that well. But I just don't know if the regret of not at least giving it a try would be worse.
LCX2000
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Re: 26yrs old seeking career advice

Post by LCX2000 »

I have a nephew who has a degree in finance and started working for a big bank as an analyst. He got a job offer with a smaller investment firm, which he took. At first he wasn't that happy because it was the same work for less pay. But he stuck with it and now is getting small equity in each deal he works on. He went from wanting to throw in the towel to very excited. He is 28.
DiMAn0684
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Re: 26yrs old seeking career advice

Post by DiMAn0684 »

25millz wrote: Mon Apr 01, 2024 7:04 pm How foolish would I be to throw away my career in finance to pursue aviation? If I continued to work in finance I would be able to retire by the time I got back to the same salary range working as a pilot. But In the few short years I've been out of college I've begun to feel that there are more important things than money and maybe I'd enjoy aviation more. I'm still early in my career and know there are definitely perspectives that I do not see so I'd figure I'd post and get your opinions. Would love to hear your unique insights.
A friend of mine is a very talented software engineer, and while he's good at it he never loved it. After doing it for close to two decades he left his FAANG job to become a commercial pilot. Very happy with his decision from what I can tell.
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25millz
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Re: 26yrs old seeking career advice

Post by 25millz »

LCX2000 wrote: Mon Apr 01, 2024 9:50 pm
Cruise wrote: Mon Apr 01, 2024 9:38 pm OP, after spending tens of thousands to earn your commercial pilots license, you will work for minimum wage as a pilot at some third-rate operation. If you are good, you will gradually work your way up the chain until you finally land with a major carrier. Then you are lowest on the seniority list and first to be riffed when there is an economic downturn. Still want to be a commercial pilot?
OP, in addition to all the money you will have to spend getting certified, you have a tremendous amount of hours you have to get under your belt in order to get hired by the lowest of low airlines. Many of these airlines get pilots working for nothing so that the pilot has a way to get their hours completed.

The model used to be hiring military pilots who already had the training and hours.

What I would suggest is stick with finance and as has already been mentioned save, invest, and put yourself in a position to retire whenever you want. While doing this, start working on your pilot license. My spouse did this. He did this on weekends, and it was a great way for him to clear his head and feel excited about something to do. Who knows how you will feel about either or both once you give it a try.

Congrats on such a great savings track record so early in your career!
Appreciate the kind words! I'm close at or near my coastfire number so I wouldn't mind putting saving on the backburner for a bit. I'm just afraid that I might end up not liking being a pilot once I put in all the hours and get there and I'm making less money. But then there is also a feeling of I might regret it if I don't give it a try. Definitely hear you on the weekend hobby flying, I already currently work just to look forward to my hobbies on the weekends.
gunny2
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Re: 26yrs old seeking career advice

Post by gunny2 »

It's not just making less, but being able to even find a pilot job in the first place. But as others have said, it's not like you only have two choices - your current job or become a pilot - explore other jobs out there, like one where you're working 40 hrs and although not making as much, still making good money.
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25millz
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Re: 26yrs old seeking career advice

Post by 25millz »

nulka wrote: Mon Apr 01, 2024 9:13 pm
Nathan Drake wrote: Mon Apr 01, 2024 8:42 pm I regret majoring in a hard science engineering degree in the Aerospace industry but it’s too late to change at this point. Work just as many hours 15 years into my career and make half what the OP does.

I recommend staying in finance where they actually reward hard work.
FWIW, I also had a background like yours in an old school engineering field and switched to tech after something like 13 years and I was paid much better in tech immediately and am paid better still after a few years. I won't say that it's never too late, but if you want to switch after 15 years, I don't think it's too late.

Funnily enough, I'm now in a position like OP where I'm making a lot of money for my age and I'm not sure about the work and want to get out of it although, at this point, I'd retire rather than pick up another career. I'm not wealthy by tech standards because I changed careers late, but I still outearned what I could've in my "real" engineering in a few years in tech.
25millz wrote: Mon Apr 01, 2024 7:04 pm I don't really enjoy the work that I do, I'm bored, the hours are long (50-60 hours a week), and the role is slightly stressful. I'm sure I could find a role that is a slight improvement ... I still enjoy thinking and learning about the financial markets which is the reason why I got into finance but working at a large financial organization I'm not really thinking about it beyond the surface level.
Is it not possible to get a job where you deal with the part you're interested in beyond the surface level? Some of my friends in finance and prop trading firms, hedge funds, and in PE, who are on the finance side often tell me that's part of the appeal of the job.
It would be tough for me to move into a role that I'm more interested in within finance given my background and experience is a bit specific. I'm working more on the sales and business development side of the business and that doesn't really translate into an investment role which is where everyone wants to be (I'm not sure if it would interest me, seems like the same excel and powerpoint work just in a different context). If I wanted to move there I'd have to start over from the bottom or move to a much smaller firm. Both would include being paid less for more hours of work.
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25millz
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Re: 26yrs old seeking career advice

Post by 25millz »

gch wrote: Mon Apr 01, 2024 9:11 pm I’m assuming you don’t have kids? Are you married? I’d have to imagine working your way to a commercial pilot at a major airline would require a lot of time away from family which may not be ideal if you plan on starting a family soon.

There are an incredible amount of varying jobs within “finance”. I’d look at another finance role within a new industry or perhaps a startup before switching to a pilot.
No kids and not yet married. Moving into a finance role outside of the finance industry or a startup does sound more interesting but the pay scale would probably be similar to becoming a pilot. Granted without the 60-100k licensing cost. Both of those jobs are still desk jobs - which maybe because I'm a bit burned out - but I can't see being very interesting. But yes what I'm looking for now may change once I'm ready to settle down and start a family so that is something else I'd have to keep in mind. Thank you.
Nathan Drake
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Re: 26yrs old seeking career advice

Post by Nathan Drake »

nulka wrote: Mon Apr 01, 2024 9:13 pm
Nathan Drake wrote: Mon Apr 01, 2024 8:42 pm I regret majoring in a hard science engineering degree in the Aerospace industry but it’s too late to change at this point. Work just as many hours 15 years into my career and make half what the OP does.

I recommend staying in finance where they actually reward hard work.
FWIW, I also had a background like yours in an old school engineering field and switched to tech after something like 13 years and I was paid much better in tech immediately and am paid better still after a few years. I won't say that it's never too late, but if you want to switch after 15 years, I don't think it's too late.

Funnily enough, I'm now in a position like OP where I'm making a lot of money for my age and I'm not sure about the work and want to get out of it although, at this point, I'd retire rather than pick up another career. I'm not wealthy by tech standards because I changed careers late, but I still outearned what I could've in my "real" engineering in a few years in tech.
That's awesome it worked out for you. I think the late 30s changed my perspective and it really is too late for my situation. If I were in a more transferable position and skillset, like Software, it would be something I would consider.

But the Aerospace industry is radically different, I'd have to uproot and move to a more expensive CoL and on the surface the initial salary may not be as great, net of all added expenses and taxes. The upside would certainly be a lot higher down the road and likely far exceeds those costs. But it's a gamble given the current market situation where many tech companies are laying off rather than hiring. I don't know how I'd present my experience in a way that would transfer vs. them simply hiring someone directly out of school.

Right now my job is "comfortable" in the sense that I've reached my financial targets and have a certain standard of living I'm generally okay with, but at the same time is generally very mentally draining and stressful; the woes of the Aerospace industry are well known right now and it is largely driven by decisions made by Big Boeing - tons of employee attrition, new hires with no amount of experience yet are responsible for a huge lion's share of the physical/capital/labor intensive work product, and those left holding the bag at a senior level that are experienced enough to actually know what they are doing and make crucial decisions are having to shoulder a massive amount of burden to keep this moving safely.

The executives running the show have 0% commitment to meaningful employee career development and 100% focus on extracting as much as they can from the employee base in service to the short term desires of the shareholders. Pressures to constantly deliver on schedule and under budget despite these challenges, and meet all the requisite quality/safety standards. And the reward for such headaches are non-existent promotions and COL adjustments well worse than inflation the last few years. It's not a very motivating place to actually work, despite the value the industry provides and how interesting the work CAN BE when bureaucracy doesn't get in the way.
25millz wrote: Mon Apr 01, 2024 9:53 pm Agree 50-60 hours isn't that bad... I have friends doing 80+ hours at the same age and making 300-500k. I guess its all about perspective. I'd rather have more personal time and freedom than pull in the extra money. Their work isn't much different from mine either, lots of mindless excel and powerpoint. My thinking has definitely changed, when I was in college I wanted something that would pay me as much as possible as quickly as I can but now that I'm near my coastfire number I think maybe it'd be worthwhile to take my foot off the gas and find something I actually enjoy.
I'm not sure if you would have much more personal time as a pilot - maybe at the senior levels. But the path to get there is a lot of hard work, and a lot of restrictions placed on your time at a moment's notice.

Pilots may also have a job that, while exciting at first, becomes routine and boring and most of what they get paid for is for very brief moments and obviously their extensive knowledge in case certain things happen - but most of the time they don't.

I just don't think the grass is greener. You've been given a golden ticket to work a very highly paid job immediately after limited education, where you can easily multiply your salary multiple times, and generally have a job where all you do is manage some basic excel/powerpoints and end up generating sales at higher levels which may actually come with some reduced workload.

It can't get much better than that if you can stand the hours initially, except perhaps for the boglehead software engineers working from home 20 hours per week for 7 figure amounts in a non stressful role that I've read stories of legend about.
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warner25
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Re: 26yrs old seeking career advice

Post by warner25 »

LCX2000 wrote: Mon Apr 01, 2024 9:50 pm The model used to be hiring military pilots who already had the training and hours.
At 26 it's not too late to take a shot at Officer Candidate School / Officer Training School and make $70-140k/year while getting the training and the hours to eventually become a commercial pilot.
25millz wrote: Mon Apr 01, 2024 9:59 pm I'm just afraid that I might end up not liking being a pilot once I put in all the hours and get there and I'm making less money. But then there is also a feeling of I might regret it if I don't give it a try.
Yeah, my story might be of interest to you. I went kind of the opposite way.

I was never especially interested in commercial aviation but I dreamed of becoming a military pilot. As a kid I played all the serious flight simulators, watched "Wings" and its spin-offs on the Discovery Channel every night, poured over books about military aviation, etc. I managed to get ROTC scholarships from both the Air Force and Army, and I actually went through with becoming an Army helicopter pilot.

I did well, graduated from flight school at the top of my class, but I knew within a couple years that it wasn't something I wanted to do long-term. Job pressure really does take the fun out of it. It's incredibly repetitive (for good reason - you follow the same checklist, the same procedures, every single time). I like to ask people to think about the last time they did an eight-hour drive in their car (without the entertainment of an audiobook, podcasts, or music). Was that fun?

In retrospect, I always say that I'm glad I pursued the aviation thing when I had the chance. I do think I would have regretted not doing so, and now I have some stories to tell. On the other hand, I spent a long time trying to transition away from it to get a better quality of life for my family, and I wonder where I'd be if I just took a different path in the first place.
nulka
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Re: 26yrs old seeking career advice

Post by nulka »

Nathan Drake wrote: Mon Apr 01, 2024 10:32 pm That's awesome it worked out for you. I think the late 30s changed my perspective and it really is too late for my situation. If I were in a more transferable position and skillset, like Software, it would be something I would consider.

But the Aerospace industry is radically different, I'd have to uproot and move to a more expensive CoL and on the surface the initial salary may not be as great, net of all added expenses and taxes. The upside would certainly be a lot higher down the road and likely far exceeds those costs. But it's a gamble given the current market situation where many tech companies are laying off rather than hiring. I don't know how I'd present my experience in a way that would transfer vs. them simply hiring someone directly out of school.
Fair enough. I was lucky in a number of ways and it still took years to make the switch. As for the pitch, what I've seen of people changing careers is the pitch is that they can pass the standard programmer interview like anyone else, so they get hired. These numbers may have gone down since I last looked, but the last time I checked, entry level at big tech companies was close to $200k/yr, which was a lot more than I was making as a senior engineer in my old field who was getting the top performance rating possible every year and the largest raises in my peer group, even accounting for COL differences. As you noted, the job market today makes it a larger gamble than when I made the move.
25millz wrote: Mon Apr 01, 2024 10:05 pm It would be tough for me to move into a role that I'm more interested in within finance given my background and experience is a bit specific. I'm working more on the sales and business development side of the business and that doesn't really translate into an investment role which is where everyone wants to be (I'm not sure if it would interest me, seems like the same excel and powerpoint work just in a different context). If I wanted to move there I'd have to start over from the bottom or move to a much smaller firm. Both would include being paid less for more hours of work.
Fair enough. I won't go so far as to suggest what you should do, but I'll say that high earning people around me tend to stay at it too long rather than quit too soon. I don't know you, so I can't say which of those problems you're more likely to have, but in tech, I'll see people who aren't happy who've earned $3M explain why they need $5M to retire. Then at $5M they'll explain why they need $10M. At $10M, some finally retire, but but some still can't stop and are still unhappy. Not everyone is unhappy, but the ones who are often can't resist the allure of more money even though the money doesn't make them happier.

I don't know anything about aviation, but can you keep your job while getting your commercial pilot license and then work part time to see if you like it when it's a job and not a hobby? Maybe that can't be done given the hours you put into your day job.
Helodriver
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Re: 26yrs old seeking career advice

Post by Helodriver »

As a person who was in the right place at the right time way more than they deserved in their aviation career.
Also one who has too many friends who are no longer with us.
Sure the cool stories of dark nights with NVGs and brownout landings at places likely no one here has even heard of. And by cool stories I mean really scary and stupid stories at the limits of my skills and the performance of the machine and if I told you otherwise I know at least two other Warrants that would punch me as hard as they could with no regrets. Then we'd both smile and say "That was some **** wasn't it?"

But to go back and be 26 with $450,000 invested Making 200-300K a year with possibility of 600K in 5 years and possibly 1M 10- 15 years. No way!

As a Check Airmen and a relief pilot for one of the largest heavy helicopter firefighting and aerial construction companies in the US. I never made what you currently make.

A good friend recently made captain in a 747 for UPS. He was near the top of the seniority list for first officers and was reluctant to upgrade to captain due to dropping near the bottom of the captain bid list. He, after a Air Force career in tankers and nearly 15 years of commercial aviation now makes a little more than your current salary. But he's spending the next few nights sick in a hotel in Mumbai waiting to dead head home. He cant wait to retire.

Another lifelong friend flies for Lifeflight and cant pay his ex-wives enough to retire. Aviation has a horrible divorce rate.

The list goes on. Friend at United flies FO 787's makes about the same as you and absolutely hates it. Bored to the point where im concerned. cant stand the guys sitting next to him. wishes he stayed in law school. Cant retire soon enough. Refers to the 787 as a Everett sewer pipe. Yea! Fly United.

Army friend. Most natural aviator I ever flew with, easily the best pilot Ive ever known. Now runs a fly fishing outfit and rarely even speaks of flying.

How foolish you ask? Pretty foolish in my opinion. In a couple of years or even less you can buy a nice to great plane like a Cirrus or a Bonanza. Or in 5 years you'll have enough for a Jetranger or a 407 if your crazy enough to fly a helicopter. If you hate it and its not for you sell the machine and buy a wake boat.... and a lake house to go with it!

But seriously. I had the bug too. And when it calls its hard to put it aside. If you finish your private, and then add a instrument rating, why not hammer out a commercial while your at it. While still working finance. Then if your still bitten you'll know the realities of aviation and can make a more informed decision. -Good Luck
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25millz
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Re: 26yrs old seeking career advice

Post by 25millz »

Helodriver wrote: Mon Apr 01, 2024 11:29 pm As a person who was in the right place at the right time way more than they deserved in their aviation career.
Also one who has too many friends who are no longer with us.
Sure the cool stories of dark nights with NVGs and brownout landings at places likely no one here has even heard of. And by cool stories I mean really scary and stupid stories at the limits of my skills and the performance of the machine and if I told you otherwise I know at least two other Warrants that would punch me as hard as they could with no regrets. Then we'd both smile and say "That was some **** wasn't it?"

But to go back and be 26 with $450,000 invested Making 200-300K a year with possibility of 600K in 5 years and possibly 1M 10- 15 years. No way!

As a Check Airmen and a relief pilot for one of the largest heavy helicopter firefighting and aerial construction companies in the US. I never made what you currently make.

A good friend recently made captain in a 747 for UPS. He was near the top of the seniority list for first officers and was reluctant to upgrade to captain due to dropping near the bottom of the captain bid list. He, after a Air Force career in tankers and nearly 15 years of commercial aviation now makes a little more than your current salary. But he's spending the next few nights sick in a hotel in Mumbai waiting to dead head home. He cant wait to retire.

Another lifelong friend flies for Lifeflight and cant pay his ex-wives enough to retire. Aviation has a horrible divorce rate.

The list goes on. Friend at United flies FO 787's makes about the same as you and absolutely hates it. Bored to the point where im concerned. cant stand the guys sitting next to him. wishes he stayed in law school. Cant retire soon enough. Refers to the 787 as a Everett sewer pipe. Yea! Fly United.

Army friend. Most natural aviator I ever flew with, easily the best pilot Ive ever known. Now runs a fly fishing outfit and rarely even speaks of flying.

How foolish you ask? Pretty foolish in my opinion. In a couple of years or even less you can buy a nice to great plane like a Cirrus or a Bonanza. Or in 5 years you'll have enough for a Jetranger or a 407 if your crazy enough to fly a helicopter. If you hate it and its not for you sell the machine and buy a wake boat.... and a lake house to go with it!

But seriously. I had the bug too. And when it calls its hard to put it aside. If you finish your private, and then add a instrument rating, why not hammer out a commercial while your at it. While still working finance. Then if your still bitten you'll know the realities of aviation and can make a more informed decision. -Good Luck
Thanks for the great insight - great to hear the point of view from people in the industry. Why do you think so many people in the aviation world are unhappy with their gigs? Is it the effect of being away from home so often?

Will take more time to make it through to commercial while working but definitely something I'd consider. Given that aviation is based on seniority and hours, at what age do you think it would be too late for me to decide to make the switch?
BorqaZ
Posts: 63
Joined: Sat Mar 16, 2024 7:01 pm

Re: 26yrs old seeking career advice

Post by BorqaZ »

I hope I am not oversimplifying it ... You need a mindset change (and possibly you may need to change your team if you don't vibe with them) but definitely not a career change.

Job is just a job. Have good friends to hangout over the weekend. Take vacations occasionally to recharge.
CaptainT
Posts: 652
Joined: Tue Feb 15, 2022 7:20 am

Re: 26yrs old seeking career advice

Post by CaptainT »

1. Get your private pilot license in your weekend and vacation time
2. Keep working financial job. It can pay fir your flights
3. Consider looking at financial jobs for airline
4.buy a plane when you can afford it.
5. The reality of doing something you love on someone else's schedule, routes, and as an obligation is very different from doing it as a fun hobby.
Parkinglotracer
Posts: 4029
Joined: Fri Dec 20, 2019 2:49 am
Location: Upstate NY

Re: 26yrs old seeking career advice

Post by Parkinglotracer »

Bottom line up front: It looks to me you are smart and capable enough to do whatever you want. I am not one to tell someone to drop everything and go start a new somewhat unpredictable career. But you could. You are determined and if in good health and successful you could be an airline pilot making say 125K a year four years from now. It would be more enjoyable than doing ppt and xls no doubt. It likely won’t be as rewarding financially.


While I was full time military pilot, most the folks I went to a service academy with or served after with went on to be airline pilots. Now Most of my airline buds are reaching 55 to 60 years old and a few older ones took the early covid retirement with delta/american. I’d guess they are making between 250 to 450k a year. They have survived the military flying and the furloughs of the past 2 decades to be in the successful place they are now - commuting a few hour back and forth 3 times a month to say Newark to go to work for 3 or 4 days - many flying to Europe and back. They work to keep their FAA medical and have great lives, great families, nice houses, and great relationships. Of course they have navigated the airline path to success.


The stories of military flying and civilian travel make them the best friends anyone could ever have. When they say let’s go play golf you have to be careful because they may be talking about playing in Scotland. When they say let’s go to a concert it may be seeing U2 at the sphere in Vegas. Of course as a retired military / defense industry upper middle class non airline pilot I have to remember my boglehead principles and not try to keep up with them. As I sit in st Pete Clearwater / in our snow bird house I know there are many paths to success and I decided the airlines were not for me. I worked 15 years for good but not great pay in the defense industry post military, got to attend all my kids hockey and lax games in high school and college ( took 3 year sabbatical at age 50) then retired at age 60. It’s cool we each get to pick our own path to chase. After 22 years of exciting military flying, I picked the that gave me the high probability of success and the family life I wanted.

I understand your boredom with power point and excel. I understand your frustration with the hours and desk work. My 15 years in the defense industry making less than what you are making was frustrating. It can be tough to think grin and bill it day after day.

Some of my airline buds kids are your age. None are as financially successful as you as they are working to get their pilot quals and then starting the few years to get the 750 or 1500 hours it takes to get hired by a major airline. Some have gone to aviation universities like embry riddle, North Dakota state and gotten their degrees and learned to fly and now are teaching flying at the same schools get the required experience to be an airline pilot.

https://aero.und.edu/aviation/index.html

Some of them have joined the air guard like their parents did after college and competed successfully for a pilot slot with the guard. One got an air medal for his work evacuating folks from Afghanistan.

You could take a few paths as others have mentioned - the highest probability of success and the one you would likely have the most control over is to continue on your successful career and learn to fly on the weekends and have a great life. You would know the variations you could have on that.

You could quit your job- enroll in a full tine aviation program (100K?) and get your pilots license and instrument quals and teach for low pay for a few years at the same type of schools you learned at (Arizona, Daytona, etc) and then apply to the airlines. Health and aptitude permitting you’d get hired by an airline and work to get hired by the highest paying major airlines. You would move to live near your airline hub and you’d make 200K after a few years and work to get seniority and make more. That path is true if the Economy continues strong with no 9/11 or covid pandemic black swan event (who ever thought they would happen) - no doubt they will again. Yesterday United airlines asked some pilots to take time off w/ out pay as they are having trouble with delayed aircraft deliveries from Boeing.

As was mentioned you could get some flying experience and start pledging air guard units (think fraternity pledging) but you would have to do that quick as most have age limits and getting a upt pilot training slot is tough.

You could try Officer Training School and have the military send you to flight school - those slots are very difficult to get and pipelines are slow. Max age for service academies is 23 so that’s out.


If you were my son of which I have two - I’d recommend you look to thread the needle of success on your current career path by finding a position that pays decent but has some level of work life balance. I’d recommend you live somewhat beneath your means and continue to invest so you can have options to cut back on your work in the future or retire early. Money saved and keeping a modest lifestyle buys you options. At the save time I would learn to fly. I would also develop a few hobbies, golf, tennis, pickleball that you can play for life. There are lots of 30 year olds on the courts these days. Lots of physically fit women your age too.

You have been successful and can accomplish anything you want in life. I am not one that would tell you to drop everything and start the multi year path to be an airline pilot where you would likely never make what you will make in your career. But I am sure you could if you are determined and are in good health.

Yell if I can put you in touch with any of my buds’ kids who are in their 20’s pursuing their airline careers.
Last edited by Parkinglotracer on Tue Apr 02, 2024 5:25 am, edited 5 times in total.
Parkinglotracer
Posts: 4029
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Location: Upstate NY

Re: 26yrs old seeking career advice

Post by Parkinglotracer »

25millz wrote: Tue Apr 02, 2024 12:28 am
Helodriver wrote: Mon Apr 01, 2024 11:29 pm As a person who was in the right place at the right time way more than they deserved in their aviation career.
Also one who has too many friends who are no longer with us.
Sure the cool stories of dark nights with NVGs and brownout landings at places likely no one here has even heard of. And by cool stories I mean really scary and stupid stories at the limits of my skills and the performance of the machine and if I told you otherwise I know at least two other Warrants that would punch me as hard as they could with no regrets. Then we'd both smile and say "That was some **** wasn't it?"

But to go back and be 26 with $450,000 invested Making 200-300K a year with possibility of 600K in 5 years and possibly 1M 10- 15 years. No way!

As a Check Airmen and a relief pilot for one of the largest heavy helicopter firefighting and aerial construction companies in the US. I never made what you currently make.

A good friend recently made captain in a 747 for UPS. He was near the top of the seniority list for first officers and was reluctant to upgrade to captain due to dropping near the bottom of the captain bid list. He, after a Air Force career in tankers and nearly 15 years of commercial aviation now makes a little more than your current salary. But he's spending the next few nights sick in a hotel in Mumbai waiting to dead head home. He cant wait to retire.

Another lifelong friend flies for Lifeflight and cant pay his ex-wives enough to retire. Aviation has a horrible divorce rate.

The list goes on. Friend at United flies FO 787's makes about the same as you and absolutely hates it. Bored to the point where im concerned. cant stand the guys sitting next to him. wishes he stayed in law school. Cant retire soon enough. Refers to the 787 as a Everett sewer pipe. Yea! Fly United.

Army friend. Most natural aviator I ever flew with, easily the best pilot Ive ever known. Now runs a fly fishing outfit and rarely even speaks of flying.

How foolish you ask? Pretty foolish in my opinion. In a couple of years or even less you can buy a nice to great plane like a Cirrus or a Bonanza. Or in 5 years you'll have enough for a Jetranger or a 407 if your crazy enough to fly a helicopter. If you hate it and its not for you sell the machine and buy a wake boat.... and a lake house to go with it!

But seriously. I had the bug too. And when it calls its hard to put it aside. If you finish your private, and then add a instrument rating, why not hammer out a commercial while your at it. While still working finance. Then if your still bitten you'll know the realities of aviation and can make a more informed decision. -Good Luck
Thanks for the great insight - great to hear the point of view from people in the industry. Why do you think so many people in the aviation world are unhappy with their gigs? Is it the effect of being away from home so often?

Will take more time to make it through to commercial while working but definitely something I'd consider. Given that aviation is based on seniority and hours, at what age do you think it would be too late for me to decide to make the switch?
In my experience some people are not happy unless they are complaining. None of my pilot buds complain for long when we get together or we would tell them to take a tour thru the slums of Mumbai on their next airline trip . I have been in fighter squadrons and folks are flying the best planes in the world and still complain. I’d guess there are even financial analysts making 500k a year on Wall Street 4 years out of college that complain. Tax rates of 50% in NYC can cause that I bet. Sadly it’s human nature. As someone smarter than me said … people are as about happy as they decide to be.

Dropping everything in life and moving across country to learn to fly and instruct to get the experience to be hired by an airline will require a few years. Doing it before you have the obligations of a significant other, a family, a mortgage, a huge car payment would be the easiest I’d say.
Tundrama
Posts: 216
Joined: Thu Mar 11, 2021 9:26 am

Re: 26yrs old seeking career advice

Post by Tundrama »

25millz wrote: Mon Apr 01, 2024 7:04 pm Hi Bogleheads,

I'm 26 years old and have saved up about $450k broken out roughly 50% taxable brokerage, 40% retirement accounts, 5% emergency fund, and 5% HSA/misc. I have a degree in economics and have been working in finance for the past 4 years (2 companies). I don't really enjoy the work that I do, I'm bored, the hours are long (50-60 hours a week), and the role is slightly stressful. I'm sure I could find a role that is a slight improvement in a few of the areas, but getting another job sitting at a desk does not sound very appealing. I still enjoy thinking and learning about the financial markets which is the reason why I got into finance but working at a large financial organization I'm not really thinking about it beyond the surface level.

I'm currently making 200-300k a year depending on bonus and appreciate that I am very fortunate to be in this situation. Staying in the role or getting another similar role would see this grow to 400-600k in the next 5 years and probably tops out at the 1mm mark in about 10-15 years. I've always been interested in aviation and have begun to toy with the idea of making a career change to becoming a pilot. While I understand that at the end of the day every job has crappy aspects that make it a job, the lifestyle and actual work of being a pilot seems more appealing. This would cost me about 60-100k for licensing for a starting salary of 50-100k for the next few years. I'm currently working towards my private pilots license to ensure this is something I will enjoy and if I want to go through with it I plan to stay at my current role until the end of the year to get my bonus.

How foolish would I be to throw away my career in finance to pursue aviation? If I continued to work in finance I would be able to retire by the time I got back to the same salary range working as a pilot. But In the few short years I've been out of college I've begun to feel that there are more important things than money and maybe I'd enjoy aviation more. I'm still early in my career and know there are definitely perspectives that I do not see so I'd figure I'd post and get your opinions. Would love to hear your unique insights.
…”I’ve begun to feel there are more important things than money”…

You nailed it! We’ve got more money than we will ever spend and having money above needed means and some fun, won’t make your life happier. That’s a fact no matter what anyone says. Buried in debt indeed can also make your life miserable.

I was poor in college. But they were some of the happiest days I’ve had on this rock. Simply, a case of beer, fishing pole and some buddies…that’s bliss for one simple example and barely a buck needed.

I knew my life’s craft when my feet hit the ground on this planet. Pure luck, but I was a game warden for 33 years and worked in six different states including Alaska. If I had a nickel for all the fisherman, hunters and those who enjoy the great outdoors, who looked me in the eye, about to cry, hating their career, who said they had always wanted to do what I did, but didn’t. They chose the comfortable route, the expected route, the career route society and family pressured them to join and they hated it.

Your net worth at your age is incredible and bravo sir. My advice is simple. Never weld your refrigerator door shut until you have a new frig…well stocked and ready to fend from. I’d continue working at your current job while eating every available hour towards your flight hours and experience.

If flying is your calling, you’ll know fairly quickly. And you’ll make plenty of coin in that industry. Heck, game wardens ain’t supposed to be millionaires but we invested wisely and the rest is history.

Hating a job and simply chasing the career money that comes with it, has many, many bad side effects outside the realm of a giant bank account.

Go for it, but wisely. You’ll do great!
investingdad
Posts: 2153
Joined: Fri Mar 15, 2013 10:41 pm

Re: 26yrs old seeking career advice

Post by investingdad »

Have you ever flown a plane? I’d start by taking some flying lessons. If you enjoy that, get some material that will teach the basics of getting certified to fly on instruments. If you enjoy that, get your private license. Then instrument certified.

It’s a lot of work and hours. Frankly, I do wonder how anyone does it without going the military track.
Tundrama
Posts: 216
Joined: Thu Mar 11, 2021 9:26 am

Re: 26yrs old seeking career advice

Post by Tundrama »

Parkinglotracer wrote: Tue Apr 02, 2024 5:06 am
25millz wrote: Tue Apr 02, 2024 12:28 am
Helodriver wrote: Mon Apr 01, 2024 11:29 pm As a person who was in the right place at the right time way more than they deserved in their aviation career.
Also one who has too many friends who are no longer with us.
Sure the cool stories of dark nights with NVGs and brownout landings at places likely no one here has even heard of. And by cool stories I mean really scary and stupid stories at the limits of my skills and the performance of the machine and if I told you otherwise I know at least two other Warrants that would punch me as hard as they could with no regrets. Then we'd both smile and say "That was some **** wasn't it?"

But to go back and be 26 with $450,000 invested Making 200-300K a year with possibility of 600K in 5 years and possibly 1M 10- 15 years. No way!

As a Check Airmen and a relief pilot for one of the largest heavy helicopter firefighting and aerial construction companies in the US. I never made what you currently make.

A good friend recently made captain in a 747 for UPS. He was near the top of the seniority list for first officers and was reluctant to upgrade to captain due to dropping near the bottom of the captain bid list. He, after a Air Force career in tankers and nearly 15 years of commercial aviation now makes a little more than your current salary. But he's spending the next few nights sick in a hotel in Mumbai waiting to dead head home. He cant wait to retire.

Another lifelong friend flies for Lifeflight and cant pay his ex-wives enough to retire. Aviation has a horrible divorce rate.

The list goes on. Friend at United flies FO 787's makes about the same as you and absolutely hates it. Bored to the point where im concerned. cant stand the guys sitting next to him. wishes he stayed in law school. Cant retire soon enough. Refers to the 787 as a Everett sewer pipe. Yea! Fly United.

Army friend. Most natural aviator I ever flew with, easily the best pilot Ive ever known. Now runs a fly fishing outfit and rarely even speaks of flying.

How foolish you ask? Pretty foolish in my opinion. In a couple of years or even less you can buy a nice to great plane like a Cirrus or a Bonanza. Or in 5 years you'll have enough for a Jetranger or a 407 if your crazy enough to fly a helicopter. If you hate it and its not for you sell the machine and buy a wake boat.... and a lake house to go with it!

But seriously. I had the bug too. And when it calls its hard to put it aside. If you finish your private, and then add a instrument rating, why not hammer out a commercial while your at it. While still working finance. Then if your still bitten you'll know the realities of aviation and can make a more informed decision. -Good Luck
Thanks for the great insight - great to hear the point of view from people in the industry. Why do you think so many people in the aviation world are unhappy with their gigs? Is it the effect of being away from home so often?

Will take more time to make it through to commercial while working but definitely something I'd consider. Given that aviation is based on seniority and hours, at what age do you think it would be too late for me to decide to make the switch?
In my experience some people are not happy unless they are complaining. None of my pilot buds complain for long when we get together or we would tell them to take a tour thru the slums of Mumbai on their next airline trip . I have been in fighter squadrons and folks are flying the best planes in the world and still complain. I’d guess there are even financial analysts making 500k a year on Wall Street 4 years out of college that complain. Tax rates of 50% in NYC can cause that I bet. Sadly it’s human nature. As someone smarter than me said … people are as about happy as they decide to be.

Dropping everything in life and moving across country to learn to fly and instruct to get the experience to be hired by an airline will require a few years. Doing it before you have the obligations of a significant other, a family, a mortgage, a huge car payment would be the easiest I’d say.
I only experienced one portion of the flying industry. Game warden pilots, small aircraft and mostly in Alaska.

I knew dozens. Bottom line, they loved their flying. Mostly remote, tundra tires, floats, off airport, etc.

That said, they were cultish at their love for flying. They fought every day for an excuse to be flying. They were great, safe pilots who loved their craft. That said, I was in the adjacent seat many times and not one expressed an affinity for milk run, 747 flying. These guys loved the challenging excitement of landing on skis, floats, tundra tires in very remote areas. They simply loved it! Alaska is the place if you want this form of flying.
jbmitt
Posts: 660
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Re: 26yrs old seeking career advice

Post by jbmitt »

Get a first class medical, pass your private pilot check ride, take your written exams for instrument and commercial.

I’m always amazed by the number of people who think flying is easy. There are parts that can be, but it’s a grind getting to your ‘destination’.
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Sandtrap
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Re: 26yrs old seeking career advice

Post by Sandtrap »

25millz wrote: Mon Apr 01, 2024 7:04 pm Hi Bogleheads,

I'm 26 years old and have saved up about $450k broken out roughly 50% taxable brokerage, 40% retirement accounts, 5% emergency fund, and 5% HSA/misc. I have a degree in economics and have been working in finance for the past 4 years (2 companies). I don't really enjoy the work that I do, I'm bored, the hours are long (50-60 hours a week), and the role is slightly stressful. I'm sure I could find a role that is a slight improvement in a few of the areas, but getting another job sitting at a desk does not sound very appealing. I still enjoy thinking and learning about the financial markets which is the reason why I got into finance but working at a large financial organization I'm not really thinking about it beyond the surface level.

I'm currently making 200-300k a year depending on bonus and appreciate that I am very fortunate to be in this situation. Staying in the role or getting another similar role would see this grow to 400-600k in the next 5 years and probably tops out at the 1mm mark in about 10-15 years. I've always been interested in aviation and have begun to toy with the idea of making a career change to becoming a pilot. While I understand that at the end of the day every job has crappy aspects that make it a job, the lifestyle and actual work of being a pilot seems more appealing. This would cost me about 60-100k for licensing for a starting salary of 50-100k for the next few years. I'm currently working towards my private pilots license to ensure this is something I will enjoy and if I want to go through with it I plan to stay at my current role until the end of the year to get my bonus.

How foolish would I be to throw away my career in finance to pursue aviation? If I continued to work in finance I would be able to retire by the time I got back to the same salary range working as a pilot. But In the few short years I've been out of college I've begun to feel that there are more important things than money and maybe I'd enjoy aviation more. I'm still early in my career and know there are definitely perspectives that I do not see so I'd figure I'd post and get your opinions. Would love to hear your unique insights.
to op:
Life choices and answers come from within.
So, sit with yourself and your "self", by yourself, and look at the true source of dissatisfaction with yourself, your life, your "self", and so forth.

Realize your current personal perspective for introspection comes from a "safe and secure" place, financially and with a known lifestyle and predictable outcomes, etc. So, that's a lot of cognitive bias.

Need for Autonomy (you have full control over your time and so forth, vs being controlled by others and an institutional framework.
Need for institutionalized guaranteed paycheck, job and career "structure" in a structured workplace amongst others similar
Need for known and reliable and "safe" and "secure" vs unknown IE: pension vs one's own business or working as an independent person with no guaranteed paycheck, job, or ...but with unlimited possibilites (careful not to romanticize this).

Have you a pilot's license?
Do you know a circle of friends that work in the aviation industry as a career and are pilots, or family, etc?
Where does this idea come from? Or is it like sitting at a desk all day with sounds of "tipocketa tipocketa" in your mind?

Where and what does you satisfaction in life come from?

The solution..."for you alone" might not have anything to do with career or occupation or finances.

Spouse, fiance, family, etc?
j
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AZDiamondbacks23
Posts: 8
Joined: Fri Nov 17, 2023 9:21 pm

Re: 26yrs old seeking career advice

Post by AZDiamondbacks23 »

Go read the book Defining Decade. You won’t regret it. It’s by Meg Jay. I’ve read it and have recommended it to plenty of younger people.
AZDiamondbacks23
Posts: 8
Joined: Fri Nov 17, 2023 9:21 pm

Re: 26yrs old seeking career advice

Post by AZDiamondbacks23 »

Go read the book Defining Decade. You won’t regret it. It’s by Meg Jay. I’ve read it and have recommended it to plenty of younger people.
jumbo shrimp
Posts: 112
Joined: Wed Apr 12, 2023 3:43 pm

Re: 26yrs old seeking career advice

Post by jumbo shrimp »

25millz wrote: Mon Apr 01, 2024 7:04 pm I'm currently making 200-300k a year depending on bonus and appreciate that I am very fortunate to be in this situation.
You've worked hard or at least you have worked smart to make the income you do. Every now and then I hear the word fortunate or privileged be used in a way like this. I don't understand that. There's nothing fortunate about this. You have put in many hours to get to where you are and that's it. The adjectives I would use are, "...I am very happy..." or "...I am very proud...".

I'll stop now. :) I wish you the best with finding your balance.
Bobby206
Posts: 671
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Re: 26yrs old seeking career advice

Post by Bobby206 »

I am generally a big proponent of doing a job you enjoy. I preached that to my kids when they were little and continue to do so with them in college. I personally left a high paying job for a very low paying job and am extremely happy... but I was able to do that because I saved enough doing the crappy job for 30 years. If I were in your shoes I would start studying for the pilots license on the side. No reason not to get a personal pilots license as a hobby. Perhaps when you are 30, or so, and still having these thoughts re-evaluate. I wouldn't make a quick change. Also, as you say, all jobs have negatives. No job is perfect. Making a lot of money does make up for a lot of flaws though in my experience! Keep saving and, the biggest key, live well below your means. The lower your "needs" the more flexibility you'll have in life to make a career change or changes in the future! Good luck to you!
klondike
Posts: 135
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Re: 26yrs old seeking career advice

Post by klondike »

If you want to serve and like flying, Officer Candidates School is for you. AF, Navy and Marines have this option. I don't know how difficult it is to earn a pilot slot in OCS but I know a young guy in my company earning your salary did that. Driving a fast jet doing aileron rolls, full afterburner takeoff, firing the 20mm gatling gun right next to you is not something you can otherwise do regardless the amount of money you have. No job is perfect, I'm sure real fighter pilots like @parkinglotracer would tell you the sucky part of it-:)
Olemiss540
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Re: 26yrs old seeking career advice

Post by Olemiss540 »

I would log another 6 or 8 years in your current role, stack up as much coin as I could to become financially independent, then start my own business doing whatever I felt passionate about.

Many work full time making 40k a year in miserable dead end jobs until they are 65. You are blessed as heck to be working a miserable job making 6x that amount on a path of few to be able to be independent of ANY job at 32ish.
I hold index funds because I do not overestimate my ability to pick stocks OR stock pickers.
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Watty
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Re: 26yrs old seeking career advice

Post by Watty »

25millz wrote: Mon Apr 01, 2024 7:04 pm Would love to hear your unique insights.
This is a totally different situation but I am an amature photographer and I know several people who have become, or tried to become, professional photographers.

For most of them it did not work out well because they ended up doing things like wedding photography, portraits for corporate executives, photographing hotels, etc. The pay was not great and they had to spend way too much time dealing with business BS or dealing with unrealistically demanding clients. Some ended up spending lots of time trying to sell photos in street fair booths. Their jobs were not enjoyable because they rarely got to do much of the things about photography that they liked.

Anyway just be careful about trying to make a career out of what you pasion is.

I would be in the camp of;
1) Keep working and saving
2) Get the physical needed to become a pilot, if you have unknown health issues then it may not even be an option.
3) Start taking pilot lessons now in your free time.
4) Keep your other expenses low so that you will have lots of options and reevaluate what to do when you are 30 or so. At some point you may be able to retire very early, buy a plane and enjoy life.
25millz wrote: Mon Apr 01, 2024 7:04 pm the hours are long (50-60 hours a week)
You may be able to mitigate the hours buy spending money to pay reduce the hours needed elsewhere. For example by getting a place to live that has a very short commute, hiring people to do things like yardwork or housekeeping to free up that time, etc.

I have also seen a lot of people work longer hours than necessary just because they could not say "no" to working overtime or setting other boundaries at work. Companies will keep giving you as much work as you will take on and they will be glad to have you work 60+ hours a week so you cannot depend on them to limit your hours.

Before I retired I worked with computers and some overtime came with the job because of after hours emergencies or conversions and you will likely have crunch times in your job so working a 40 hour week all the time may not be realistic but you can likely reduce the number of hours you are working if you are consistently working 50+ hours a week.
er999
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Re: 26yrs old seeking career advice

Post by er999 »

Seems like best solution is to keep your job, train on the weekends, and keep your living expenses as low as possible (aside from flight training). Then in 2-3 years you’ll have completed the credentials to work as a flight instructor and have a bunch more money saved and decide if you want to make the move then.
pilotmath
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Re: 26yrs old seeking career advice

Post by pilotmath »

OP,

The grass is always greener. As an airline pilot, I can tell you the job, lifestyle, and salary are compelling, but there are some significant drawbacks. If I lose my medical clearance to fly or my employer stops operating, I can't jump to an equivalent position at another airline. I recommend sticking with finance until you reach FI then consider flying as a second career when you won't be dependent on the income.
Nottingham
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Re: 26yrs old seeking career advice

Post by Nottingham »

I don't understand your planning based on making $1kk in 15 years. I might as well assume that in 15 years I become a CEO of my company and have 100 billion dollars net worth. Of course, that might actually be the cases, but chances are it's not.

Your current pay is $200-300k with 50-60 hours a week. I don't know how much pilots make but even if it's a bit less then I personally don't see a problem pursuing career you like vs planning your life based on assumptions which may never materialize.



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bendix
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Re: 26yrs old seeking career advice

Post by bendix »

25millz wrote: Mon Apr 01, 2024 7:04 pm ...
Since I would´ve liked to become a pilot myself and never did I can only encourage you to do that. Pilots earn good money too, eventually.
CoAndy
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Re: 26yrs old seeking career advice

Post by CoAndy »

pilotmath wrote: Thu Apr 04, 2024 12:54 pm OP,

The grass is always greener. As an airline pilot, I can tell you the job, lifestyle, and salary are compelling, but there are some significant drawbacks. If I lose my medical clearance to fly or my employer stops operating, I can't jump to an equivalent position at another airline. I recommend sticking with finance until you reach FI then consider flying as a second career when you won't be dependent on the income.
This is wise advice, me thinks. :sharebeer
fuddbogle
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Re: 26yrs old seeking career advice

Post by fuddbogle »

25millz wrote: Mon Apr 01, 2024 9:53 pm
Agree 50-60 hours isn't that bad... I have friends doing 80+ hours at the same age and making 300-500k.
I have friends in Ag that during planting and harvest work 80 hour weeks. They make ~80k per year. You can always come drive a tractor. :D Maybe throw in a little accounting work on the side. You'll still get ~80k.
DonIce
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Re: 26yrs old seeking career advice

Post by DonIce »

Nathan Drake wrote: Mon Apr 01, 2024 10:32 pm But the Aerospace industry is radically different, I'd have to uproot and move to a more expensive CoL and on the surface the initial salary may not be as great, net of all added expenses and taxes. The upside would certainly be a lot higher down the road and likely far exceeds those costs. But it's a gamble given the current market situation where many tech companies are laying off rather than hiring. I don't know how I'd present my experience in a way that would transfer vs. them simply hiring someone directly out of school.

Right now my job is "comfortable" in the sense that I've reached my financial targets and have a certain standard of living I'm generally okay with, but at the same time is generally very mentally draining and stressful; the woes of the Aerospace industry are well known right now and it is largely driven by decisions made by Big Boeing - tons of employee attrition, new hires with no amount of experience yet are responsible for a huge lion's share of the physical/capital/labor intensive work product, and those left holding the bag at a senior level that are experienced enough to actually know what they are doing and make crucial decisions are having to shoulder a massive amount of burden to keep this moving safely.

The executives running the show have 0% commitment to meaningful employee career development and 100% focus on extracting as much as they can from the employee base in service to the short term desires of the shareholders. Pressures to constantly deliver on schedule and under budget despite these challenges, and meet all the requisite quality/safety standards. And the reward for such headaches are non-existent promotions and COL adjustments well worse than inflation the last few years. It's not a very motivating place to actually work, despite the value the industry provides and how interesting the work CAN BE when bureaucracy doesn't get in the way.
There's a lot of aerospace out there besides Boeing and its suppliers, and not all of it is the way you describe. Plenty of companies (especially smaller companies) in aerospace doing interesting work and competing salary and benefits-wise with tech companies for top engineers. In particular, the "space" side of aerospace has been enjoying a major renaissance over the last decade or so. If you have useful technical skills then there is much more interesting and better paid work out there in the aerospace industry.
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windaar
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Re: 26yrs old seeking career advice

Post by windaar »

25millz wrote: Mon Apr 01, 2024 7:04 pmI don't really enjoy the work that I do, I'm bored, the hours are long (50-60 hours a week), and the role is slightly stressful.
My Dad loved his work. He once gave me the following advice: "You should pick a career so that want to go to work every morning." I took his advice. It isn't the highest paying career, his was not either. He's been gone for almost 20 years. Whatever money he did or did not make matters not at all now. But he was in a good mood every morning with his coffee and every evening with his paper because he was fulfilled with how he spent his day. And he was a better Dad, husband, and neighbor because of it.
Nobody knows nothing.
snowday2022
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Re: 26yrs old seeking career advice

Post by snowday2022 »

windaar wrote: Thu Apr 04, 2024 8:23 pm
25millz wrote: Mon Apr 01, 2024 7:04 pmI don't really enjoy the work that I do, I'm bored, the hours are long (50-60 hours a week), and the role is slightly stressful.
My Dad loved his work. He once gave me the following advice: "You should pick a career so that want to go to work every morning." I took his advice. It isn't the highest paying career, his was not either. He's been gone for almost 20 years. Whatever money he did or did not make matters not at all now. But he was in a good mood every morning with his coffee and every evening with his paper because he was fulfilled with how he spent his day. And he was a better Dad, husband, and neighbor because of it.
Great post!
gunny2
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Re: 26yrs old seeking career advice

Post by gunny2 »

I don't think there's any pat answer to choosing between a career with a lot of job availability and/or good money vs a job one really loves where there are less job openings and/or making much more modest money (of course ideally you find a job making good money that you also love :) ). There are trade-offs either way. I get the value of enjoying one's work and being willing to settle for it being harder to find a job doing it and/or modest lifestyle if necessary to allow for that, but I also get being willing to tolerate a job you don't like as much because it offers much better chances for employment and/or pay and so a better lifestyle after hours. No right or wrong there and of course various shades of gray all around.

In the OP's case, it seems to me trying to gravitate to a more happy middle ground that sacrifices some money for more peace of mind is in order.
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