Opportunity out of Defeat

I gave Wealth Management a valiant push.  Sold myself the best I could to whoever would listen.  I felt like a Subaru salesman looking for Lamborghini drivers.  Selling the potential of what could be, what ought to be, and the benefits of doing more with less. Interviews with prospective employers ranged from douche bag jerk offs to incredibly helpful and pleasant but always with the same result, I wasn’t there yet.  I pushed myself through month after month of studying planning strategies and rules for: income tax, investments, estates, retirement, insurance. Spent almost a quarter years pay chasing a 3 letter acronym after my name that would prove, to the world, I was capable of advising the most financially sophisticated.  A job offer was on the horizon, all I had to do was pass one 170 question, 6 hour long test, against all odds.  Weekends packed with monster 12 hour study sessions only breaking to eat and use the bathroom (and the occasional StarCraft nerd out session) were not going to be wasted.  After failing once, I embraced the sunk cost fallacy putting in more money, time, and effort.  I was determined to pass, to get promoted, and to finally prove my worth even if it meant sacrificing everything I enjoyed about my free-time. I failed again.

Where did I go wrong?  Thoughts flooded my brain, was it a 1245 recapture? Was it the probate estate or general estate?  Was it 50% or 30% of FMV or basis of a donated asset?  I before E except after C, I can remember that, but I can’t remember the AGI phaseouts for an IRA. How could anyone ever trust me to plan their finances!? I’m hopeless!

During a perfectly scheduled vacation to our nations capital, I reflected on my failure.  I wasn’t listening to the world around me.  I thought I was carefully carving out my future with a scalpel but I was really hacking away a path through an endless forest with a dull machete.  There was a path right next to me the whole time.  My failure was quickly suppressed by a job offer that came after an informal interview weeks prior.  A banker, who I admired for advocating for his clients and doing good in the community, believed I was the best fit to manage the flagship branch of a bank half the size of mine.   My previous manager and mentor had told me I should manage my own branch.  Often suggested as the natural progression of my skill set and experience, I denounced the idea every time remembering the over-worked, under-appreciated, whip-cracking managers of my past.  The path was clearly marked with a green box that read “beginner” yet my whole career I was determined to jump into the black diamonds. This is not a deviation from my ultimate goal of Wealth Management rather, a correction to the path.

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