When is a Career More Important Than A Relationship? 5 Difficult Scenarios To Help You Decide!

Many ambitious professionals are faced with pressure to pass up their careers, change location, or give their goals to be in a relationship. How do you decide between a relationship or career? Is it possible to have it both ways?

Image result for relationship or career

Scenario 1 – Career goals that are not convenient to stay together

1. One person has to give up their career. Whoever possesses the best possibility to accomplish their career should be the one pursuing it, and the other partner should support it. If the career opportunities are conflicting with each other locality forces, then one partner has to prepare the sacrifice their time. It is difficult enough for a successful professional to keep a constant relationship. He or she will need to make sure that there is a level of commitment to grow the relationship.

2. If both careers have the same probability of success, then you still have to sacrifice your career or Leave the Relationship.

  • Some people assume that they can sacrifice their career now and still accomplish it later, But rarely is this method practical b/c your partner’s career has to keep developing. If you choose to sacrifice your career for your partner, don’t optimistically assume that you can always go after your career later. Make sure you understand how your decisions

Scenario 2 – Career opportunities are placed in different regions.

Decide who has a better probability of being successful in their Career and The other partner has to provide support.

Scenario 3 – You have a great career to pursue, but your partner doesn’t enjoy a long-distance relationship

If you possess a huge goal, then you just have to choose. You can try convincing your partner to support you, but most of the time your partner has already made up their feelings towards your action, and for you to try to change their mind will be ineffective. So then it might seem like the relationship is going in the short run, but then, over the long term, your partner’s internal feelings will surface, and the relationship could end.

Scenario 4 – Conflicting living preference

1. This usually comes into mind when you are seriously committed to making your relationship a marriage. Live in an area that is the most beneficial to your relationship as a whole. Establish a pro/con list and choose the best situation. If there is still a dilemma, you might have to take some time out and consider what is truly important to you, it’s either the relationship or career.

2. Some couples do not pick their home state, and both go neutral and go along with a state they both didn’t really like, but did it anyway b/c they want to make it FAIR. That’s one of the things you can do, but it’s better if a couple can resolve to live in one of their HOME STATES because at least one person, can get the benefit of being with family and friends.

3. When you ask your partner to move to your country/state, you should not give reasons like FAMILY N FRIENDS b/c that is selfish. It’s obvious that one individual in the relationship is going to have to give up their comfort zone…

Locality decisions should be based on the following: how convenient life will be, career opportunities, affordability, and raising a family. If proximity to Family/Friends are important, then negotiate with your partner. Overall, consider a living situation that can provide the best opportunity to develop a solid relationship.

Scenario 5 – You have dreams/goals, the other is content and prevents you from achieving your dreams

The distressing thing about this scenario is that most of the time people give up their dreams to be with someone who doesn’t have any goals or dreams. If someone loves/cares for you, they SHOULD NOT hold you back on your goals. Relationships should be an inspiring and uplifting experience.

Simply, get out of any relationship that is halting you from progressing in your career. You could say ‘I Love them and I’m willing to give up my career to just be with them.’ BUT FOR WHAT? IS IT NOT POSSIBLE to have a relationship and pursue your career? A relationship is inspirational. Does it sound inspirational to exchange a dream for a relationship that desires you to become mediocre?

Conclusion – Happiness is very subjective. Whatever you are choosing, remember that Sacrifice is a variable of a relationship. Relationships can be powerful when you are with the right partner. Do not sacrifice your career for someone who would not be willing to provide it back to you.

**I will think of more Scenarios, stay tuned….


What Kobe Bryant taught me as an investor: The Work

On Jan 26, 2019, Sunday afternoon, I was having luncheon with a prospective client. My phone was in my jacket, but I could hear it vibrating throughout the meeting. I was wondering what was urgency messages all about? I checked my messages an hour later and found out the missed messages were about Kobe Bryant’s death.

One of my friends sent me a snapshot of a new’s article and I supposed it was fake. I thought social media was jumping to conclusions. I checked various social media websites and popular news outlets, but I came across the same inevitable truth. I wanted to feel like Kobe was still present, so I kept watching replays, replays, and more replays of Kobe.

I was in disbelief the entire day and wished that some other news would report that it was merely a minor accident. It was heartbreaking to learned that his daughter died in the crash with him. I could not imagine what it would feel like to live through a devastating accident. Kobe inspired me so much and I will miss him dearly. Everyone can relate to Kobe because he was authentic. There was no denying Kobe’s passion and the way he lived his life was inspirational.

Who Was Kobe Bryant?

Kobe Bryant was the youngest 17-year-old out of high school entering professional NBA basketball. Early in his career, Bryant was not given many chances to play even though he was a better player than most of his teammates. When he had a chance to play consistently, the NBA fans saw flashes of his swag and talent. As Kobe Bryant’s career progressed, it was undeniable that he was destined for greatness. 

18 years ago on 2002, I was fortunate to witnessed an NBA match between Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan. It was my first time going to an NBA game. It was a home game in Washington, DC; the Wizards led by MJ vs Lakers led by Kobe Bryant.

The game was very close, but the wizards edged the win over the Lakers in the final few seconds. It was in this game that MJ told Kobe he could ‘wear those shoes, but never fulfilled them’. Micheal Jordan’s critique irritated Kobe so much that he stop communicating with his team for two weeks. In the following game against the Wizards, the Lakers won with Kobe’s vengeance of 55 points.

Michael Jordan VS Kobe Bryant – 2002.11.08

There were many similar stories about Kobe’s vengeance game, where he always found ways to pull ahead and improve his skills. Kobe’s work ethic and pursuit of wisdom and knowledge resulted in 5 NBA championships and a long list of legendary achievements. 

Discipline & Work ethics 

Kobe’s work ethics are legendary. The best highlights of his career were not on ESPN; it was on early mornings and dark nights when Kobe would practice more than anyone else. Kobe was always the first and last player in the gym. He strictly follows an exercise regime. When he was injured, he found ways to practice, like working on his weakness or using his other uninjured hand. There were no off seasons for Bryant; his summer workouts have been exactly as intense as the regular seasons. Working hard, both on-the-court and off-the-court, was a consistent effort. Kobe lived and showed what perseverance and hard work means.

Talent can only take one’s profession so far in their career. For instance, most starting players in the NBA have the potential to score 20 points per game and some have scored 20 point game, but most players cannot consistently perform at a high level every night. Most investors will have some years of beating the marketplace in their lifetime, but most investors cannot consistently beat the market average over a lifetime. The few that can consistently perform at a high level have shared one trait, hard work.

Bryant believes he should work hard as if he never possessed any talent. Why does Kobe Bryant work so hard? “To think of me as a person that’s overachieved, that would mean a lot to me. That means I put a lot of work in and squeezed every ounce of juice out of this orange that I could.”

Hard work is about commitment and there are no substitutes for hard work.

Blackberry had all the resources to compete against Apple, but it has been contracted to a small software company and is no longer relevant in the phone industry. Blackberry attempted to recapture its market share with a rushed unfinished smartphone… Blackberry simply did not put in enough R&D nor provided the engineering team enough time to deliver the promised features. Apple won already; Blackberry could never rival the same hours of commitment.

Actively Seeking Wisdom and Knowledge

Kobe was resourceful to leverage every tool to make him a better basketball player. Kobe watched soccer and realized soccer players had a freedom of movement. He noticed that soccer players used more ankle torque than basketball players, but they suffered less or the same probability of ankle injuries. Kobe started researching information to improve his signature shoe. He requested Nike to remove a few millimeters off the shoe’s sole to deliver better traction and incorporate the soccer shoe’s advantages. The new signature shoes resulted in a low top that features structural ankle support, improved traction and response time.

Bryant would cold call basketball players and business leaders to learn about their success. He studied how animal predators would attack a pray to incorporate movements into his jump shots and studied psychology to mentally mess with his opposites. Kobe would study players’ weaknesses and studied the referee’s foul calls. Some would describe Kobe’s behavior as a little weird, but champions in the same pedigree would view this obsession as very normal. 

Many successful people have an obsession about their work, it’s a very common trait that is found in leaders, business professionals and investors. The Walmart business model is built on low prices and efficiency. Walton soaked up wisdom from everybody he could — from competitors to Wal-Mart’s entry-level associates. Sam Walton leveraged every opportunity to make the stores and products more cost-effective. Elon Musk was months away from bankruptcy and he spent months sleeping in the Tesla factory to turn round the company. Warren Buffett went through 10,000 pages of Moody’s manual to acquaint himself with every single public company. Once he found a few suitable investments, he would study everything he possibly could about these companies and invest accordingly.

Champions are constantly improving and getting better skills. In a world of sports, championships are determined by a fraction of a second, one snap, one turnover, or other marginal variables.

In the world of investment, marginal variables are going to determine million dollars of earnings or a path towards bankruptcy.

Kobe Bryant’s dedication to basketball is inspirational. He influenced people and shared his wisdom. Bryant’s Mamba mentality is to work hard and live up to your potential.

Kobe believes he should work hard as if he never possessed any talent.

The Millennial ‘Frugalpreneur’ lifestyle

It’s 2020, it’s time for Millennials to live the ‘Frugalpreneur’ lifestyle, keeping the biggest expenses as low as possible. You hear notorious stories about how entrepreneurs kept their expenses low as possible to fund their business. If Millennials and Generation Z can apply the same financial mindset as entrepreneurs, then finances will be so much easier to manage. It is easy to save money, but why are some Millennials so broke? It’s about making savvy financial choices, money is a limited resource just like your time. Learn to spend money wisely and avoid purchases that doesn’t add value to your life.

There are many brand name activities in society that pressure Millennials into expensive social obligations. Social branding activities like weddings, wedding rings, cars, luxury items, living independently, traveling, and etc are causing financial stress. Whom are you trying to impress? Most of the social branding are just ways for corporations to make money…it has little to do with adding value in life. If you can afford social branding, then do it wisely, just don’t socially brand yourself through debt.

The average professional millennial makes about $60k to $100K salary…The HENRY millennial (High Earners Not Rich Yet) makes $100K and above. Saving and investing early on might not look like much, until you reach your 30s. Young millennial AND generation Z – if you want a better life, your priorities will have to change. Money cannot solve personal life issues, but financial flexibility can relieve some of life’s hardship. Focus your money on purchases that will provide the most value to your life. Living a smart financial lifestyle does not sound sexy because society is dictated by marketing your life into perpetual spending habits with overrated experiences, temporary homes and worthless cars.

Living independent – Very Overrated 

The easiest way to save money substantially is to live at home or have roommates! Rents are the highest recurring obligation, start cutting down on rent first because everything else is chunk change.

Society should be impressed with Millennials living with their family or having roommates. It shows a sign of maturity and logical reasoning. Even if you make a lot of money, why bother living alone, when living at home could be free or cheaper? Unless there is a problem at home, living at home should be the number one option.

The millennials that cannot afford living alone is often pressure by society to rent their own place. People put themselves into so much financial obligation to impress others that they are doing well by living alone, buying a new car, and none of these spending adds value to their life besides the illusion of their financial status. 

A few years ago, one of my colleagues at KPMG asked me how I could afford to eat out for lunch every day. For this story, I will call him Kevin.

Kevin’s background: Kevin lived with roommates for two years, and then rented his own one-bedroom apartment in Arlington, VA for $2300 a month. 

Kevin: “Tom you are wasting a lot of money eating out” 

Tom: “How much are you saving from not eating out?”

Kevin: “$200 a month” and he showed a big smile. 

Tom: “Wow that’s great, but I like eating out. I am sacrificing my personal space to live with roommates.” 

Kevin: “Oh you’re saving a lot of money living with roommates, I can’t do that though, I want my own space.”

Tom: “Yep, I am saving a lot of money” I showed a big smile back to Kevin and left to lunch

How much was I saving from living with roommates? 

$0 Dollars – I didn’t have to pay for rent at all.

During college and my first two years of my career, I paid $600/month living with my family. I saved a majority of my money to buy a home. After I saved for a down payment, I bought a townhouse near a college campus. My mortgage was $2000/month and HOA was $100/monthly. I did not waste any time posting up the available rooms. I lived alone for less than a month before I had a student roommate that moved into my home. By the 2nd month, all of the rooms were rented out. There were times I rented out my room on Airbnb, which was the master bedroom, and I slept on the couch. Sleeping on the couch was a bit extreme, but it helps accelerated my savings.

Some people have very bad experiences living with other roommates and it is understandable. Living with a roommate isn’t convenient. It takes time to interview roommates that have good etiquette.

Many people are complaining about money, but make a half-assed attempt to saving.  Everyone is talking about how hard life is, and while it isn’t easy to save money, some of my peers seem too lazy to make a real effort. American culture has nurture people to become entitled.

I’m not saying Millennials should live with their family, but who are they trying to impress? You can still be independent living with family by paying rent and helping to care of the house. If living with family isn’t an viable option, then find a good roommate.

If you want to live independently, rent an affordable basement, and share a kitchen. Whatever you do, minimize your rental expenses. Saving money on coffee, eating out, and other smaller discretionary spending is not comparable to rental savings. 

Traveling often – Overrated

Traveling is great, but why are Millennials traveling so often? There should be a budget set for traveling. I am freaking out for my generation that are taken out loans and paying interest to travel more often. Does traveling often add value to anyone’s life? It could, but at what cost?

Eating out – Underrated

I can’t eat simple prepared meals like sandwiches, pizza, and etc. I prefer meals that have seasoning taste, which means longer cooking time. I have to spend a lot of time grocery shopping, preparing, and cleaning just to make one meal. It’s not worth the time to cook unless the household is at least three people. The economic cost and time are wasteful. It would be just as affordable, and sometimes cheaper to eat out than making the food at home.

10% minimal saving & 10% Retirement – Very Underrated

  1. Pay off your discretionary debt that is above 5% interest. This means all credit cards should be paid off monthly. There are zero reasons to have a carry-over monthly credit card balance.
  2. After you pay off your credit card, then start saving 10% each month, but don’t let your cash sit in a savings account. Put your savings into a higher paying account like buying a stock market index, do not pick stocks (over 95% of investors will underperform the index) until you are educated about investment fundamentals like reading a financial statement, and financial risks.

Everyone should always invest in their retirement to get the employer’s match. The average employer’s match is 3%, which means it would require the employee to put in 6% to get the additional 3% from their employer. If you are 1099, or an entrepreneur, you still need to have 10% invested in your retirement.  

Buy a used affordable Car – Very Underrated

Again, you are not impressing anyone. Until you have a secure financial life, having enough money to put down on a home should be the first priority. The only people that will be impressed by your nice cars are hidden fees that will view you as a financial resource for their amusement.  

Expensive Wedding and Wedding Rings – Overrated 

The average wedding in the United States costs more than $20K and it usually requires immediate payment. It’s crazy to hear how some people have to borrow a loan to have a wedding… If you need a loan to have a wedding, forget it! Your close family and friends will still love and celebrate you the same way! 

In many Asian cultures, cash is a standard wedding gift. My wedding was expensive, but our family and friends’ generous gifts to us helped recover a portion of the wedding costs. Although our wedding could have been a lot cheaper, my wife and I wanted our wedding to be a memorable experience as gratitude to our family and friends for supporting us through our lives. We budgeted and postponed our honeymoon so that we wouldn’t incur any financial challenges. If you have the financial means for an expensive wedding and can afford a home quickly, then go ahead…But if a wedding or ring will set delay your ability to afford a home, then do not attempt to have an expensive wedding. 

Birthday Gifts and Christmas Gifts – overrated 

We do not have to buy random gifts for an adult or kid. If you have to buy a gift for a special event, make sure it’s very practical or better to give cash instead of gift cards. Most of the time, we buy the wrong gifts or attempt to gift frivolous items that end up in the yard sale or donation pile. Instead, pay for an activity, lunch or something that allows you to maintain and build a good relationship.

Fast Fashion and Cheap Fashion – overrated

Fast Fashion clothes are usually low quality. Buy quality items that cost a little more, and have less junk in the closet.  Buy higher quality dress shoes suits, and purses. Some items like Louis Vuitton are entry luxury items that comes with lower end material that you would find in $300 items. If you can afford luxury, then buy a brand like Hermes because the resell value is better than most Louis Vuitton. I am not a fan of Michael Kors, their $300 bags aren’t high quality vs other $300 bags out there…there’s a reason why MK has been losing their brand equity for a long time.

Used Electronics – Underrated

I rarely ever buy any new electronics. I buy used electronics on eBay. Unless you know how to get the max capability from an electronic product. There is no need to buy the newest electronics. Go for cheaper used 2nd or 3rd generational products that can get the job done.