Saturday, December 20, 2014

Trading debt for a career

Author and radio talk show host Dave Ramsey.
Author and radio talk show host Dave Ramsey.

Dear Dave,

I'm considering a career change and becoming a financial advisor. It would mean a 45 percent cut in salary for three to four years, and I'd have to take on debt in order to survive the cut. Is this a smart move?

-Travis

Dear Travis,

No, it's not. You didn't give me a lot of details about what kind of "financial advisor" you're thinking about becoming, but there are all kinds of people who put themselves in the category of financial advisor. A little voice in my head tells me you're actually talking about life insurance sales. If that's the case, then there are some things you need to understand. One, you wouldn't be a financial advisor; you'd be an insurance salesman. And two, there's about an 80 percent fallout in that world. Eighty percent of the people who start as insurance salesmen don't make it in that line of work.

Now, you could be making $200,000 right now. And if that were the case, you'd still be making good money while this new career takes root. Still, I'm not going to send you into debt for a career change. There's got to be a way around that, whether it's delivering pizzas at night or beginning your career change on a part-time basis before making the jump.

Travis, I want you to live your dream. I also have no qualms about you going into the financial world if it's what you really want to do with your life. But I'm not going to tell you it's okay to go tens of thousands-maybe even hundreds of thousands-of dollars into debt to make it happen. Going deeply into debt to become a financial advisor sounds pretty oxymoronic to me. Doesn't it to you?

Don't do something really dumb with money in the name of advising other people on their finances. That just seems wrong.

-Dave

Dave Ramsey is America's trusted voice on money and business. He's authored four New York Times best-selling books: Financial Peace, More Than Enough, The Total Money Makeover and EntreLeadership. His newest book, written with his daughter Rachel Cruze, is titled Smart Money Smart Kids. It will be released April 22nd. The Dave Ramsey Show is heard by more than 6 million listeners each week on more than 500 radio stations. Follow Dave on Twitter at @DaveRamsey and on the web at daveramsey.com.

Dave Ramsey Syndicated Columnist
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