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  • Writer's pictureGary Grewal

March Update: March Money Madness and Job Changes!



Don't you just love that view? We're lucky in the lush foothills of Placer County to be blessed with a bounty of produce all year long, and February was peak season for Blood Oranges. If you haven't had Blood Oranges, get ready to be blown away. They literally look like they are bleeding, that's how dark red they are! One of my former clients had a blood orange tree, and we attended his Blood Orange Party. He had everything from margaritas, slushies, cookies, sauces, and of course, juice. They are very tasty indeed!


Anyway, March's update is all about March Madness. No, not college basketball, that's the furthest thing from my mind right now. Why do I want to watch TV when it's sunny and 70 outside? In any case, I'm talking about Money Madness. No, not Jim Cramer's Mad Money, but money in general. What's the color of St. Patricks Day? I sense a theme here.


A Job Change and a Career Reflection


Ah watching the sunset, the quintessential way to be touchy-feely and think about life in the big picture. Well, in this case, it was an analogy to my last job. As the song "Shadow of the Day" By Lincoln Park goes, "the sun will set for you". I fully recognize the song has various, more serious inferences than that, but I'm just vibing to the lyrics right now.


As I watched the sunset, I thought about if I want to keep being a financial planner. I love helping clients reach financial goals they never thought possible, like getting out of debt, saving for a home, or fixing their investment allocations. So many clients expressed genuine gratitude to me for helping them on topics that were difficult for them, and that gave them anxiety.


However, you're still at the will of those above you, the direction they want to take the company, and how they govern the way you work with clients. This applies to any company out there.


I've thought about starting my own gig or doing some consulting, but then I really asked myself, is this the only thing I'm passionate about?


Follow Your Heart (or The Money?)



If any of you remember meetings with your high school or college counselors, many of them, at least in my case, recommended following our passion. Along with making sure we graduated, I was encouraged to pursue electives that aligned with my interests, such as automotive work, sustainability, and finance.


It wasn't until I was applying to dental school that I realized how in the dark I've been. Sure, dentists make good money, however, when I was applying there were SO MANY people wanting to be a dentist, and I was afraid of saturation. Plus, pay up to $300k and no income for 4 years to make $150k? If you're a dentist making more, please prove me wrong!


Many students have this revelation, and I realized that money made the lives of many neighbors and friends better off. So, I decided to pursue my second passion, personal finance.


As you can tell, having a blog along with a personal finance book (affiliate link) should make it obvious I love talking about money, and believe it is one of the most powerful tools in our society.


That being said, after over 12 years in the industry, other voices have been popping up.


Public transit, bike infrastructure, plastic waste, the circular economy, and advocating for the trades are all passions of mine that have developed over the years, and I feel they make much more of a difference in the lives of Americans than if I helped a millionnaire save 0.2% on his investment expenses.


Make Your Money, Then Do Good




However, you might be thinking about what many of the world's billionaires have said. "Capitalism allows you to make as much money as possible, and then you can give it away to make an impact". This is kind of along the lines of those who say "Focus on maximizing investment returns, and then give money away instead of supporting sustainable investing".


As much as I want to dispute this line of thinking, I can't help but see its side. Unless you have an inheritance, a wealthy family, or a successful and stable career/business, it's very hard to sustain a decent lifestyle for many people in this country.


I've talked to many teachers, social workers, mechanics, and non-profit employees who feel a calling and mission with their work, but they are struggling financially or not getting ahead. They love what they do, but then the landlord hikes the rent. The car breaks down. A surprise medical bill causes them to deplete their savings.


These kinds of things can weigh on a person, and make them question if they should continue serving in a noble capacity, or follow the money so that they can have stability and comfort no matter what life throws their way.


So, Where Do We Go From Here?

I'm going to take this new job that I've been offered, in financial planning, and then write in my journal for the next 90 days to see if I'm going to get out of the industry entirely.


My line of thinking is this. I'm almost to my FIRE number, so if I can work hard over the next few years, and get to a point where no job loss or anything can derail my stability, I am going to pursue my passion projects.


When that happens, I will share with you all what that means. One thing I'd like to do is start a juice shop. I'd also like to get into the CPG (Consumer Packaged Goods) business because I'm passionate about sustainable, plant-based food.


Then, I can make my own hours, and get to a point where I direct my energy towards volunteer work on the trails, advocacy work for transit and bike lanes, and see how my skills can help troubled youth find meaning in life while being productive and filling gaps in our workforce.


Wish me luck!



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