What Do You Want to Be When You Grow Up?

What Do You Want to Be When You Grow Up?I recently asked my 6-year old daughter “what do you want to be when you grow up?”  She answered back that said she wants to buy duplexes.

That’s my girl!

Now, before you start chastising me for trying to force my daughter to be something she doesn’t want to when she grows up, let me explain.

When I grow up…

When I was young, I had my sights set on being an artist for Disney.  I had a pretty good knack for drawing and that just seemed like a really cool place to work for a living.

When I got to college, I continued heading down the path somewhat.  I was a Studio Art major for the first couple of years of school, but then one day, while taking a final in a painting class, I decided right then and there that it wasn’t the right path for me.

It was a difficult field to make a living in and it was not a high-paying profession.  I also realized I didn’t want somebody telling me what to draw and when to do it.  I enjoyed art as a hobby, but I didn’t want to do this for a living.  So I actually just walked out in the middle of the final and never turned back.

The following semester, I took an intro to computers class and was hooked.  I ended up graduating with a major in Computer Information Systems.  This was in the mid-nineties just as technology was really starting to take off and I got pretty lucky to ride the wave doing something I loved.

If I had been like a lot of my peers though, I might have just continued down a path that wasn’t right for me.  And today, I might be making a lot less money and feeling stuck in a career with a shoulda, coulda, woulda desire for a different field.  Having some passive income coming in would have made a transition much easier had I been in the wrong career trying to get out.

Follow your dreams…

Now back to my daughter!  I’ve been telling her since she was little that she can be anything she wants when she grows up.  In fact, there’s no reason not to shoot for the stars.  Like most kids, she’s a bag of energy.  She spends every waking moment singing and dancing around the living room and her bedroom… and in the car… and at grandma and grandpa’s… and, well you get the point.

But we encourage her to follow her dreams – if she wants to become a pop singer, go for it.  If she wants to be a professional dancer (no, not that kind!!), it’s achievable.

What I also say to her though is that some jobs are hard to make enough money to live off of.  And because of that, I encourage her to build a foundation first (and early) so then she can chase any dream she has without money being a worry factor.

A good example is a friend of mine who was smart enough in college to house hack.  He bought a house and lived there with some friends while they all paid the mortgage for him.  I wish I had thought of that back in school!

Live the life you want to live…

Now, let’s be honest – no kid wants to hear their parents preaching about investing no matter how important the parents feel this is to know.

So I try to find small moments to teach her so it’s not too overwhelming or boring.  For instance, she was interested in knowing why we spent some time going to the duplex to clean up the place after we purchased that in the beginning of 2016.  That was a great time to explain in kid terms how to use other people’s money to make money.

She now knows that the money comes in every month while our property manager handles most of the work.  That may also explain why she said that she wants to buy duplexes when she grows up.

I try to make sure that money isn’t a taboo subject in the house (while bringing it down to a kid’s level).  Money is important, but it shouldn’t keep you from living the life you want to live.

Right now, my daughter is actually torn between becoming a zoo keeper or a geologist (or a rock-ologist as she refers to it) when she grows up.  I’m sure those jobs will change as the years pass, but I don’t want her to let go of her dreams just because the choice she wants is difficult to be successful in or because it’s hard to make a lot of money doing.  So I’ll continue to financially educate her about the realm of passive income so I’m not worrying about supporting her financially later on down the line.

Just because you grow up doesn’t mean you can’t do what you dream of in life.

What did you want to be when you were growing up?  Did you chase after it or did you end up going a completely different direction?

Thanks for reading!!

— Jim

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17 thoughts on “What Do You Want to Be When You Grow Up?”

  1. Hey Jim, cute story with a very good, serious message. As I was growing up, I just wanted to own & sort of run businesses – Railroad Tycoon and Sim City were inspirations for this. I guess that really translates into wanting to own stocks 🙂 So that worked out well for our financial journey.


    1. Haha, I can tell I’m getting old – I had to lookup what Railroad Tycoon was! 🙂 I did know what Sim City was though, but I never did get to toy with that one.

      Stocks are definitely one way to own businesses!

      — Jim

  2. I had a similar college experience to yours. I wanted to become a Marine Biologist, but the further down that path I went, the more I realized it wasn’t for me.

    As for my kids, well I want them to become entrepreneurs or investors, but I’ll settle for healthy and happy.

    1. A marine biologist is a cool job – rolls right along with tako being Japanese for octopus!

      I’m definitely with you on healthy and happiness for the kids. I won’t push my daughter too much in any direction, but I will make sure she’s financially educated to make sound decisions for herself.

      — Jim

  3. Great post. I always wanted to be a police officer. It’s been my dream since my childhood. I even tried once; I spent 6 months being a Russian cop and it didn’t work well. You know, that moment when you expectations meat the reality, sometimes the reality might be completely different.

    I changed my carrier path and became an IT guy (QA), but this dream hasn’t left me, it’s still pursuing me and reminding me about itself. So, the long story short – I’ve started learning and practicing for a police written exam. You’re right, just because you grow up doesn’t mean you can’t do what you dream of in life.

  4. Wow, your kid is very mature. My kid said he wants to be Dart Vader when he grows up…
    I’m with you. I’ll encourage my kid to follow his dream and study to be whatever he wants. Preferably, in a field that makes money.
    As for me, I wanted to work with computers when I was young. I did that and it was fun for a while, but the politic killed it. Such is life…

    1. I still want to be Darth Vader! 🙂
      My kid’s probably too mature for her age which is good and bad.

      I’m with you on the computers – it was fun for a while, but it’s time to get the %^&* out! I envy you getting out and can’t wait to join you in the FI world before long!

      — Jim

  5. I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up! The military was a great place for me, allowed me to be a jack of all trades…but also a master of none. I found that most former military folks are the same…no idea what to do when we hit the civilian work force. Now I want to be a financially free investor with enough cash flow to cover expenses.

    I want my kids to be investors and generally better with money than I have been. Or to be Darth Vader. That could be cool.

    1. I was never in the military, but I do have friends that seem to be in the same boat. That’s great that you’re working to put yourself in a position of solid cash flow – it’s some work to get there, but it’ll definitely be worth it!

      I think Darth Vader might be the best route for most kids just judging by the comments on this post. Maybe I’ll encourage my daughter to be Darth Vader as well! 🙂

      — Jim

  6. At nearly 57, and already FIRE’d, I am still wondering what I want to be when I grow up. Since I no longer have a W2 job, it’s a lot easier to dream…

    I always tell people determine the type of lifestyle you want to live, figure out what jobs make that kind of money, and pursue that job.

  7. Currently ‘when I grow up’ I want to be a park ranger. 🙂 Seems like a fun job, a chance to teach a little and learn a lot, spend some time in nature. …
    When I get to FI I’d like to teach yoga and find a brewery or winery to work at part time.

    P.s. zoo keeper + rock-ologist could be the person who designs the habitats. 🙂

    1. A park ranger definitely sounds like a fun job! If you do the brewery, I’ll come hang out there as a patron instead of an employee! 🙂

      I like the habitat designer for the zoo – I can’t wait to tell my daughter that one today… I bet she’ll love that idea!

      — Jim

      1. I’m totally going to implement yoga + beer / wine when I make that happen too. 🙂 Combo career ideas for the win. The science major in me is intrigued by the nuisances of fermentation, and sometimes the effects of libation.

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