HomePersonal FinancePursue Your Dreams Or Save For Reality?

Pursue Your Dreams Or Save For Reality?

Most adults end up facing a tough question at a relatively young age, which is: should I pursue my true passion that may carry a small salary, or should I take a practical, financially lucrative career and save for later? Some people say you have to do what you love, no matter what the pay is. Others say it’s best to save for the future, and then pursue your passions in retirement. Still others try and have their cake and eat it too, competing for highly competitive jobs that mix high salaries and rewarding career paths.

There is no one right answer to this question. Everyone’s decision will be based on their own personal situations and will rely on a myriad of factors. Here are a few of the major questions you must answer on an individual basis that should influence your career decision:

What are your financial obligations? People who have attended expensive universities and are shouldering heavy student loans may want to consider this as a reason to pursue a practical career that will guarantee a healthy salary. Or, if you have a family that is financially dependent on you, or have costly medical conditions—these are reasons to pave a career path that will afford you financial security.

How much of your psychological well-being is dependent on you doing what you love? Some people just can’t live without doing what they love. Die-hard musicians may just want to work at a coffee shop and pour their energy into recording songs. A born writer toiling on his/her epic novel may be happier—and possibly more successful—in the long run if he/she works at a bookstore during the day and writes at night.

What are your living expenses and conditions? Some people live in more expensive regions of country, where the costs of living are considerably higher. A citizen of San Francisco or New York, for example, is more likely to need a higher salary than someone living in Scranton, Ohio. Also, consider whether you eat out a lot, run up sizable bar tabs, get yourself into trouble with the law. The way you live your life determines to large extent how much money you need, which then determines what kind of career you should pursue.

So, should you pursue your passions or save for reality? It’s a complex question that can’t be answered with simple platitudes. Many people sit down financial in order to determine their options and create a personal finance game plan. Ultimately, it’s important to find a career that keeps you financially solvent while providing you with emotional, intellectual, and creative nourishment.

Post by Amanda



  1. My husband and I are in the process of weighing the millions of questions revolved around choosing a career. His job as a martial artist is time consuming and does not pay well enough for our growing family. Although we could sacrifice more in other areas to make the money situation work his lack of a life outside of work is no longer worth it for him and our family since he misses his kids. So we’ll be transitioning to me working 40 hours a week at the same pay he makes now. Even though its his passion we know it no longer fits our lives as a full time job.

    • What kind of martial arts? I practice Krav Maga.

      Can he still give private lessons? maybe that could be more lucrative? or start his own school?

      • Kung Fu. He’ll most likely still teach it in the future just not full time, which will mean he’ll have the best of both worlds, plenty of time for a life while still following his passion. Private lessons will be a great way to make income but starting his own school would just be taking a step backwards I think. He may eventually make more money then he does now but he’d have even less time for family and his own free time.

  2. I always pursued both at once. Reality is always there, but don’t delay pursuing what is important to you. If you delay pursuing your passions, you may never reach them.

  3. While it’s tempting to go for the higher salary, it’s possible (with time) to leverage the surplus from any salary towards a decent level of wealth. So with that in mind there’s no reason to not focus on pursuing your dreams – you can have both!

  4. You will always live a more rewarding life if you follow your heart and do what you love. If you truly have a passion for something there are always ways to monetize it. I dont like the line “save for reality” but with the pressures of society I understand that it is just easier to live this path. Easier but a lot less rewarding. I just posted this morning calling out these people that call this reality.

    • I just had a similar conversation with Boss Man where he said a similar thing – if you love what you do and are good at it (the good at it is just as important) there is money to be made.

      I think the problem is when you love something but suck at i lol

  5. Evan, it’s real easy to solve that trolling problem. Anyways, I think saving for reality and pursuing your dreams can go hand in hand. I would like to do something different as a career, but I also love where I live. I choose where I live, even though there isn’t much for job selection I find location more important. Paying off debt and saving will ultimately let me leave my job and pursue my dream where I live, the only thing is that it’s going to take time.

  6. I pursued my dreams and attended university for Criminology… something I’m very passionate in. Now that I’ve graduated, and am working – I kinda wish I didn’t go to university. Those extra four years of working (rather than paying tuition) would have been a HUGE benefit… particularly since I plan to retire early.

  7. I have always wanted to say, “I dont know what I want to be when I grow up.” I recently had a birthday, just a couple years old than the host blogger.

    For now things are going well and this will be a question for my 2nd career in retirement.

      • I work in the utility sector.

        I went through some of your old posts tonight, C is a stalker on your blog. I thought Ninja had it bad. Wow does she have it out for you.

        • I had 650 or so posts before having my own stalker. That being said I think the difference is that Ninja ignored her, and I answer every single comment.

          • He did start ignoring here and his community did the same. You are right in that you do answer all of her posts.


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