A Difficult Decision: 5 Scenarios Where Your Career May Need to Come First

As an ambitious professional, you may feel pressure to choose between your career and your relationship. You may be asked to give up your career, change locations, or postpone your career goals in order to be in a relationship. But is it possible to have both a fulfilling career and a healthy relationship?

Making this decision can be difficult, but it is important to remember that you are in control of your own life and your own choices. It may be helpful to take some time to reflect on your values and priorities. What is most important to you in the long term? What do you want your life to look like in 5, 10, or 20 years?

Consider seeking out guidance from a trusted friend, mentor, or life coach. They can help you clarify your thoughts and provide support as you navigate this decision. It may also be helpful to set boundaries with your partner and communicate openly about your goals and needs.

Ultimately, the decision of whether to prioritize your career or your relationship is a personal one. It is important to trust yourself and make a choice that aligns with your values and long-term goals. Remember that it is possible to have both a fulfilling career and a healthy relationship, but it may require compromise and effort to make it work.

Image result for relationship or career

Scenario 1 – Career goals that don’t make it easy to stay together

If one person has sacrificed their career for the relationship and the other has a greater opportunity for career growth, it’s important for the latter to pursue their ambitions and for the former to support them.

However, if the career opportunities are in conflicting locations, one partner may have to sacrifice their time to make the relationship work. It’s already challenging to balance a demanding career with a meaningful relationship, so it’s important to ensure that there is still time and effort invested in the relationship. If there is not, the relationship may not survive in the long term.

Scenario 2 – Career opportunities are placed in different regions.

If both partners have equally promising career opportunities, one may need to make the sacrifice to support the other’s career. If one has a better probability of success, the other should offer support.

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

If you have a strong career goal but your partner is not willing to maintain a long-distance relationship, you may have to choose between your career and your relationship. You can try to persuade your partner to support your ambitions, but often times their feelings on the matter are already set. If you try to change their mind, it can be ineffective and may only serve to damage the relationship in the long term.

Scenario 4 – Conflicting living preference

One of the first things to consider is the overall well-being and happiness of the relationship. It’s essential to evaluate how living in a particular location will impact the dynamic of the relationship and whether it will be beneficial or detrimental in the long run.

It’s also essential to consider career opportunities and personal goals. If one partner has a strong career opportunity in a specific location, it may be necessary to consider a relocation. It’s important to have open and honest discussions about these opportunities and how they will impact both partners’ careers and personal goals.

Affordability and practicality should also be taken into consideration. It’s essential to ensure that the chosen location is financially feasible and practical for both partners.

Finally, it’s important to consider the role of family and friends in the decision-making process. It’s essential to have open discussions about the importance of proximity to loved ones and find a balance that works for both partners.

Ultimately, the key to making a successful decision about where to live is open communication, mutual understanding, and a willingness to compromise. By considering all of these factors and working together, couples can make a decision that benefits both their relationship and their individual goals and aspirations.

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

If you’re in a relationship with someone who is content and holding you back from achieving your dreams, it may be time to reevaluate the relationship. It’s important to remember that relationships should be inspiring and uplifting, not hindering your growth and success.

If you love someone and are considering giving up your career to be with them, ask yourself if it’s truly worth it. Is it possible to have both a fulfilling career and a supportive relationship? While sacrifice is a natural part of any relationship, it’s not healthy to give up your dreams for someone who isn’t willing to support your ambitions.

In the end, happiness is subjective and it’s important to make a decision that aligns with your values and goals. If you’re with the right partner, a relationship can be a powerful force in your life. However, don’t sacrifice your career for someone who isn’t willing to support your growth and success.


Kobe’s Legacy Lives On: The Investing Lessons I Learned from the Black Mamba

On January 26, 2019, I had lunch with a prospective client on a Sunday afternoon. During the meeting, my phone vibrated repeatedly in my jacket, prompting me to wonder what the urgency was behind the messages. Later, when I checked my messages, I learned that they related to the death of Kobe Bryant.

One of my friends had sent me a late-breaking piece, and initially, I thought it couldn’t be true. I believed that social media was jumping to conclusions. However, upon visiting various social media sites and popular news media, I encountered the same, inevitable truth. In an attempt to hold onto the hope that Kobe was still alive, I watched replays of his games repeatedly.

The news left me in disbelief for the entire day, and I yearned for more news that would report that it was just a minor accident. It was emotionally difficult to hear that his daughter had died in the same helicopter accident. I couldn’t fathom the devastation that Kobe’s family must have felt after experiencing such a catastrophic helicopter crash. Kobe has always been an inspiration to me, and his loss is deeply felt. Anyone can relate to Kobe because he was genuine. His passion was undeniable, and the way he lived his life was truly inspirational.

Who Was Kobe Bryant?

Kobe Bryant was just 17 years old when he entered professional basketball in the NBA straight out of high school. At the beginning of his career, Bryant didn’t have many opportunities to play, despite having more potential than many of his teammates. When he was given the chance to play regularly, NBA fans saw glimpses of his unique style and skill. As his career progressed, it was clear that he was destined for greatness.

In 2002, I was fortunate enough to see Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan play in the NBA for the first time. The home game took place in Washington, D.C., with the Wizards, led by Michael Jordan, facing off against the Lakers, led by Kobe Bryant.

The game was intense and close, but the Wizards ultimately beat the Lakers in the final seconds. During the game, Jordan told Bryant that he could “wear those shoes, but never fulfill them.” This critique annoyed Bryant so much that he stopped communicating with his team for two weeks. In the next game against the Wizards, the Lakers won, with Bryant scoring a retaliatory 55 points.

Michael Jordan VS Kobe Bryant – 2002.11.08

There were numerous similar stories about Kobe’s desire for revenge on the court, as he always found ways to improve and get ahead. His work ethic and pursuit of wisdom and knowledge led to five NBA championships and a lengthy list of legendary achievements.

Kobe Bryant’s work ethic was legendary. The best moments of his career were not captured on ESPN; rather, they occurred during the early mornings and late nights when he practiced more than anyone else. Bryant was always the first and last person to arrive at and leave the gym. He followed a strict workout regimen and even found ways to practice while injured, such as focusing on his weaknesses or using his uninjured hand. There was no off-season for Bryant; his summer training sessions were traditionally just as intense as the regular season. Hard work, both on and off the court, was a consistent effort for him. Kobe Bryant exemplified the meaning of perseverance and hard work through his actions.

Talent can only take someone so far in their profession. For example, most starting players in the NBA have the potential to score 20 points per game and some have scored a 20-point game, but most players cannot consistently perform at that high of a level every night. Similarly, most investors will have some years of outperforming the market, but most investors cannot consistently outperform the market average over a lifetime. Those few who can consistently perform at a high level share one trait: hard work.

Bryant believed that he should work hard as if he never had any talent. When asked why he was such a hard worker, he said, “To think of me as a person that’s overachieved 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 it.

Lesson about short cuts: Blackberry (BB) had the potential to compete with Apple (AAPL) but has been unable to do so due to a lack of innovation. As a result, it is no longer a significant player in the smartphone industry. In an attempt to regain market share, Blackberry released a rushed and unfinished smartphone. However, the company did not invest enough in research and development or give its engineering team sufficient time to deliver the promised features. As a result, Apple has already won the market and Blackberry was unable to match its commitment.

Actively Seeking Wisdom and Knowledge

Kobe was skilled at using every tool at his disposal to become a better basketball player. He watched soccer and noticed that soccer players had a unique freedom of movement. He observed that they used more ankle torque than basketball players, but did not experience a higher incidence of ankle injuries. Kobe began researching ways to improve his signature shoe. He asked Nike to remove a few millimeters from the sole to provide better traction and incorporate the benefits of soccer shoes. The result was a low-top shoe that offered structural ankle support, improved traction, and faster response time.

Kobe Bryant was known for cold calling basketball players and business leaders to learn about their successes. He studied the movements of animal predators in order to incorporate them into his jump shots and psychology to gain an advantage over his opponents. Kobe also analyzed the weaknesses of other players and the foul calls made by referees. Some might view Kobe’s behavior as erratic, but those in similar positions of success often see this level of obsession as normal and even beneficial.

Many successful people have an obsession with their work. It is a common trait found in leaders, business professionals, and investors. For example, Sam Walton immersed himself in the wisdom of all he could learn from competitors to junior associates at Walmart. He took advantage of every opportunity to enhance the business. The Walmart business model is built on low prices and efficiency. Another example is Elon Musk, who was months away from bankruptcy and slept in the Tesla factory for months in order to turn the company around. Warren Buffett searched through 10,000 pages of Moody’s manual to become familiar with every public company. Once he found a few suitable investments, he studied everything he could about those companies and invested accordingly.

Champions are constantly seeking to improve and develop their skills. In the world of sports, championships are often determined by small margins such as a fraction of a second, one snap, or one turnover.

In the world of investing, small differences can lead to millions in earnings or bankruptcy.

Kobe Bryant’s dedication to basketball is inspiring. He has influenced many people and shared his wisdom. His “Mamba mentality” is about working hard and living up to one’s potential.

Kobe believed that he should always work hard as if he had no talent.

The Millennial ‘Frugalpreneur’ Lifestyle

As millennials and Gen Z enter the workforce, it’s important to adopt a frugal mindset in order to manage finances effectively to live the ‘Frugalpreneur’ lifestyle, keeping the largest expenses as low as possible. Many successful entrepreneurs have kept their expenses low in order to finance their businesses, and by adopting this mindset you can achieve financial success. It is important to make smart financial choices and avoid purchases that don’t add value to your life.

There are many overpriced “brand activities” in a society that put pressure on millennials and impose expensive social obligations on them. Social branding activities such as weddings, cars, luxury goods, independent living, travel and many others are responsible for Millennials’ financial stress. Who would you like to impress? In fact, most of these branding tactics are just ways for companies to make money, they usually do not add value to your life. If you can afford the social brand image, do it wisely, but don’t go into debt.

The average salary of millennials ranges from $60,000 to $100,000 per year. HENRY (High Earners Not Rich, Still) Millennials make $100,000 or more. Saving and investing in your early career might not look like much, but just wait until you reach your 30s. Millennials and Gen Zs, listen to me if you want a better financial life: your priorities must change. Money cannot solve personal life problems, but financial flexibility can relieve some of life’s difficulties. Utilize your money for purchases that will add the greatest value to your life at the best price. Living an intelligent financial lifestyle doesn’t look sexy because society is driven by marketing your life into perpetual spending habits with overrated experiences, temporary homes, and worthless cars.

Living independent – Very Overrated 

Living independently can be a very overrated concept, and there are several reasons for this. One of the most straightforward ways to save money is to live with your parents or have a roommate. Rent is typically one of the highest recurring expenses, so cutting down on it can make a significant impact on your budget.

Society may often put pressure on millennials to live independently, but living with your family or having roommates can actually be a sign of maturity and good financial decision-making. Even if you are making a good income, it may still be more cost-effective to live at home or with a roommate rather than paying for an expensive apartment on your own. Unless there are specific issues at home, living with your family can be a smart financial decision that can help you save money.

Many millennials feel pressure to live independently and may go into debt in order to impress others with their financial status. However, these types of expenses, such as renting an apartment or buying a new car, do not necessarily add value to one’s life beyond the illusion of financial success.

A colleague of mine, Kevin, once asked me how I could afford to eat out for lunch every day. Kevin had lived with roommates for two years before renting a one-bedroom apartment in Arlington, VA for $2,300 per month. It’s worth considering whether the expense of living independently is worth it, and whether it’s possible to make more financially sound decisions that can benefit your long-term financial health.

Kevin’s background: Kevin lived with roommates for two years, and then rented his own one-bedroom apartment in Arlington, VA for $2,300 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 flashed a big smile back to Kevin and went out to lunch.

How much was I saving from living with roommates? 

$0 Dollars – I never had to pay any rent.

During college and my first two years on the job, I paid $600 a month to live with my family. I saved much of my money in order to eventually buy a house. After saving up for a deposit, I was able to purchase a townhouse near a university campus. My mortgage was $2000 a month and my homeowners association (HOA) fees were $100 per month. I wasted no time in posting available rooms for rent. I lived on my own for less than a month before I had a college roommate who moved into my house. Within the second month, all the rooms were rented. There were times when I rented out my own bedroom on Airbnb and slept on the sofa. This may seem extreme, but it helped me save money more quickly.

While some people have had bad experiences living with roommates, it is understandable that it may not always be convenient. It takes time to interview potential roommates and ensure they have good etiquette.

I am not saying that millennials have to live with their families, but who do they want to impress? You can always live independently with your family by paying rent and helping to care for the home. If living with family is not a viable option, then look for a good roommate.

If you want to live independently, consider renting an affordable basement and sharing a kitchen. Whatever you do, try to minimize your rental expenses as much as possible. Saving money on things like coffee, eating out, and being frugal with other smaller discretionary expenses does not compare to saving money on rental expenses.

Traveling often – Overrated

Traveling is great, but why are millennials traveling so often? There should be a budget set for traveling. I am worried about my generation that is taking 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, etc. I prefer meals that have a richer taste, which means they take longer to cook. I have to spend a lot of time grocery shopping, preparing, and cleaning just to make one meal. To me, it’s not worth the time to cook unless I’m cooking for a household of at least three people. The economic cost and time required to prepare a meal are wasteful. It would be just as affordable, and sometimes cheaper, to eat out than to make the food at home.

10% minimal saving & 10% Retirement – Very Underrated

It is important to pay off your discretionary debt that has an interest rate above 5%. This includes paying off your credit card balances in full each month. There is no reason to carry a balance from month to month.

Once you have paid off your credit card debt, it is a good idea to start saving 10% of your income each month. However, it is not advisable to simply leave your savings in a regular savings account. Instead, consider investing your savings in a higher-yielding account, such as a stock market index fund. Avoid picking individual stocks unless you are well-educated in investment fundamentals, such as reading financial statements and understanding financial risks.

It is always a good idea to invest in your retirement, even if you are self-employed or work as a freelancer. The average employer match is 3%, so you would need to contribute 6% of your income to receive the additional 3% from your employer. If you are self-employed, it is recommended to invest at least 10% of your income in your retirement.

Buy a used, Affordable Car – Very Underrated

It’s understandable that you want to impress others, but the reality is that financial stability is more important than the material possessions you own. Buying a used, affordable car is often underrated and a wiser financial decision than purchasing a new, expensive one. The only people who will be impressed by the beautiful cars are hidden fees that will treat you like a financial resource for their entertainment.  

Expensive Wedding and Wedding Rings – Overrated 

Weddings and wedding rings can also be overrated, as the average cost of a wedding in the United States is over $20,000. It’s not worth taking out a loan or delaying important financial goals, such as purchasing a home, just to have an extravagant wedding.

In many Asian cultures, cash gifts are a common part of wedding celebrations and can help offset some of the costs. While it’s understandable to want to have a memorable wedding experience and express gratitude to family and friends, it’s important to consider your financial situation and budget accordingly.

If you have the means to have an expensive wedding without impacting your ability to achieve financial goals, then go ahead. However, if it means delaying your ability to buy a home or causing financial strain, it’s important to prioritize those financial goals over a lavish wedding.

Birthday Gifts and Christmas Gifts – overrated 

We should not be shopping for random gifts. If you need to buy a gift for a special occasion, make sure it is useful. Often, we purchase poor gifts or try to give frivolous gifts that end up being sold at a garage sale or donated. Instead, consider paying for an event, a meal, or something that will help maintain a good relationship with the person you are giving the gift to.

Fast Fashion and Cheap Fashion – overrated

It’s important to focus on quality when shopping for clothes and accessories. Fast fashion items are often of low quality, and it’s better to invest in higher quality items that may cost a bit more. This way, you’ll have fewer low-quality items cluttering up your closet.

For example, consider investing in dress shoes, suits, and purses that are made with quality materials. While some brands, like Louis Vuitton, offer entry-level luxury items that may not be as well-made as others in the same price range, it’s worth considering investing in a brand like Hermes, whose items often have a higher resale value.

It’s important to also be mindful of the quality of items within a certain price range. For example, Michael Kors bags that cost $300 may not be as high quality as other options in the same price range, which could be a contributing factor to the brand’s declining brand equity. Investing in quality items is a smart choice that will pay off in the long run.

Used Electronics – Underrated

As a savvy shopper, I prefer to purchase used electronics rather than shelling out for brand new ones. Not only do I save money by buying second hand, but I also have the opportunity to find high-quality products at a fraction of their original cost.

When shopping for electronics, it’s important to consider the capabilities of the product rather than simply going for the latest and greatest model. Many older electronics, especially those that are just a generation or two behind, are still more than capable of performing at a high level and meeting your needs.

Plus, buying used electronics is an environmentally friendly choice. It helps to reduce waste and keep these products out of landfills, while also supporting the circular economy.

So next time you’re in the market for electronics, consider opting for a gently used option. You’ll save money and feel good about your purchase, all while getting the performance you need.