This idea that we have to turn our back on money to follow our passions is just leading people up the garden path.
I was sitting in a café one day in one of the outer suburbs of Melbourne.
I’d been to check out a potential deal, and I thought I’d get the laptop out and go over the numbers while it was still fresh in my head.
The waitress, who was also the barista, came over and gave me my coffee. She took a look at what I was working on.
“That looks complicated,” she said.
“So does Minecraft,” I joked.
She asked me what I was doing, and I gave her a basic run down.
“And that’s what you do for a living?” she asked.
“Yeah, pretty much.”
“Got any jobs going?”
I laughed out loud, but then felt bad when I saw that she was a bit embarrassed… or disappointed.
“Sorry. That was rude. It’s just I’ve never got a job application with my coffee before. But we’re not really hiring at the moment… What do you do? …What do you want to do?”
That’s when I got the full run down. The café gig was just her way of making ends meet. But what she really wanted to do was make music. She’s a solo singer/songwriter. I’ve got her website written down somewhere.
She said it’s hard to find work that can pay her enough to support her habit. Touring is expensive. Recording and making albums is expensive.
So she needs a job that pays more.
But she also needs a job that gives her the time she needs to gig, tour and make albums.
“Sounds like you want my job, love.”
But I said I wasn’t really joking. Property investing is a gig you can do from the road. And I’ve seen a lot of people with less time and less wealth behind them make a good fist of it.
“When do I start?” she says.
“In about 12 months time,” I say. “Maybe 6 if you’re super, super keen. That’s about how long it takes for people to master the materials, find a money partner and start doing deals.”
“But I need the money now. I’ve got this awesome producer who wants to work with me. All I have to do is pay for studio hire…”
“Have you tried lotto tickets?” I said.
She laughed but I wasn’t going to push the point. Her call, and I know property isn’t for everyone.
And she was determined to ‘follow her passion’ and trust that the money will come later.
And who am I to argue with a thousand self-help gurus?
Personally, I’ve never understood why ‘money’ and ‘passion’ are seen to be opposite sides of the same coin. Like creating space for one excludes space for the other.
How many passions are there out there that don’t require money – at least in the start up phase?
From where I stood, she was making a terrible financial decision. I’m sure she wasn’t earning much in that café. But she could create an exit for herself. Take the spare time she currently has and invest it in financial education rather than her music.
… for a while.
Ok, at this point I can hear my inbox filling up with people telling me that you shouldn’t be telling idealistic girls to sell out their dreams for financial security.
But that’s not what I’m doing. I’m not telling her to go and get a real job. I’m telling her to find the right tool for the right job.
Music is a long-haul, and it’s going to be a long while before it starts paying off, if ever.
In the mean-time you need a tool to help sustain you through the lean years.
Working is a café is one such tool, but a pretty useless one if you ask me. That seemed to be her opinion too.
Property investing on the other hand is a great tool to use in this situation. You can get into the game with little experience or equity behind you, and in a few short years, you’ll have the time and income stream to do whatever you want.
(Ok, I know I’m talking my book here, but you get the point. I’m sure there are plenty of strategies just like property investing. Google them and tell me about it.)
In my mind, a financial strategy is not a substitute for your passions. A financial strategy is the key to fulfilling your passions.
But it seems we have this idea that radical life moves should be reserved for ‘running away and joining the circus’ type life decisions.
If I quit my job and buy a guitar, people will pat me on the back and congratulate me for “living the dream”.
But if I quit my job and buy a successful bakery franchise so in a few years I can build my own recording studio, I’m a sell out.
Place your financial strategy in service to your passions. Then, if you’re giving energy to your strategy, you’re giving energy to your passions. Simple.
This idea that money and passion should never mix is just leading people astray. Following your passions 100% is incredibly demanding.
It’s a tough road already. Why add poverty to the mix?
(I left her a decent tip.)
Have you placed your financial strategy in service to your passions? How is it working out?