Last week, I wrote about client success, and whether or not that is the first priority of financial advisors. I based my thoughts around an op-ed piece in the New York Times by a director who was departing Goldman Sachs. I wasn’t the only one who started thinking and writing in reaction to that article. A former employee of Bay Street wrote an article in the Globe and Mail entitled Why I Gave up my Six-figure Salary and Quit Bay Street. He is now a journalist, and he still misses the generous income, but he doesn’t miss the “rotten culture.”
I worked as a financial advisor at Dundee Securities for seven years. Thanks to restrained spending while I was working a couple timely decisions, I was able to leave the business without moving to another job. At this point, I don’t need to work for money, because (as much as I’m tired of the cliche) my money is working for me. I learned a lot while I worked giving financial advice and investment recommendations. I learned to handle my personal finances wisely and I learned to invest my savings profitably. I worked with great people, both employees and clients. I didn’t leave because of a rotten culture.
When people ask why I left, I have trouble explaining. I’m sure part of it was my own weakness. I don’t seem to thrive in an atmosphere where I need to meet other peoples’ expectations. Being a subordinate doesn’t suit me, and being a loose canon didn’t suit the rest of the office. But more than that, I felt that helping people with money was a very superficial way of making their lives better. I feel that a rewarding career is one based on helping others, and helping others get richer (or avoid getting poorer) is generally appreciated. But imagine if I could help people, especially young people, make better decisions in life and make more of themselves than they might otherwise?
In my experience, there was nothing rotten in providing personal financial advice in an extremely professional office. But the more I talked with people about money, the more I realized that there’s more to life than money. I am now working toward becoming a teacher, so that I can use my time and energy in helping young people understand life and plan to make something of themselves.