how to invest


career, food, travel


saving, credit, debt


insurance, security


401K, IRA, FI, Retire

Home » Lifestyle Finance, Live, Personal Motivation

What would you do with your Life if Money were not an Issue?

Last updated by on January 5, 2014

I have a question for you.

It’s a question that, at its root, is the single biggest driving force behind wanting to improve our personal finances – whether we know it or not.

We work so that we can make money, pay the bills, get rid of debt, worry less about our finances, become financially independent and free to pursue a ‘better’ life, and eventually retire worry-free some day. Some may have other motives. Not many.

It’s been said by many that in order to have the most rewarding career and resulting happiness, you should choose the career you would choose if money were not an issue. In other words, if money and everything related to it just disappeared tomorrow and you had zero debts, financial obligations, bills, or retirement concerns – imagine what you would decide to do for 40 hours of ‘work’ a week. Then go out and make that your career. In other words, do what you really want to do.

career happiness

Do you believe in that philosophy? Let’s discuss!

  1. Are you truly doing what you’d want to do? Please take the poll below, it will be interesting to see what percent of readers have chosen their passion as their career.
  2. If you aren’t doing what you want, what are you doing now? And what do you want to do?
  3. Do you believe in this ‘do what you want to do and let everything else fall where it may’ philosophy? If you do and you’re not executing it, what’s preventing you from making that leap?

I’d love to get your feedback!

Have you chosen your career as if money were not an issue?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

Related Posts:

About the Author
I am G.E. Miller, & this is my story. My goal is financial independence ASAP. If you share that goal, join me & 10,000+ others by getting FREE email updates. You can also explore every post I have written, in order.

  • Matt says:

    1. No. I truly don’t know what I want to do. I tend to jump from one thing to another. I suppose I look at something, think how great it would be to do that, and do it until some other shiny goal comes along.

    2. There are a great many things I want to do. So many, that I’m paralized when trying to choose.

    3. No! I have a cousin who wants to do nothing, be nothing, in his life. He plays video games all night and sleeps all day. He, his wife, and his three kids live at his mother’s house. Guess who pays for everything. He’s doing what he wants to do, and others pay the price.

  • Julie says:

    1. I enjoy what I do, but I know that if I were independently wealthy, I wouldn’t be doing it. Not because of the job itself, just because I wouldn’t want to do anything for 40 hours a week. I’d want a part time job at most.

    2. Right now I’m doing project(and product) management for a mid-size financial services company. What I want to do is difficult to answer, because there’s no “job” I would enjoy as much as just sitting around and being care-free. I want to travel and eat at amazing restaurants and help sick puppies.

    3. To some extent, yes. But mostly, I think you should try to be happy doing what you’re doing already. And if you really are miserable, then you should make a change. It’s the lazy-happy way of looking at things.

  • Pat says:

    I agree with matt. I completely have no idea what I want to do or an occupation.

    I’ve made attempts of gaining as much exposure as possible, but there are so many options.

    It has been difficult to pinpoint what skills and abilities to focus on to build a satisfying career.

  • Honey says:

    I enjoy my job, though if I were independently wealthy I probably would volunteer for an animal rescue instead of work in an office.

    But I think that if you make your living doing something you love, you’re more likely to stop enjoying that activity than anything else. Jobs are just a way to make money, and they shouldn’t make you miserable, but I don’t really understand why people expect to find ultimate fulfillment there. That’s what my romantic relationship, cats, and hobbies are for!

  • Andy says:

    As my dad told me when I was deciding what to do in college, eventually anything will get old no matter how much you think you’ll love it. I took that to heart and chose a profession with a good starting salary right out of school, job opportunities in any part of the country, and good job security. I can’t say I love what I do, but its involving enough and I get paid well enough that once my student loans are paid off I will be able to get to the point where I am as financially secure as I’d like to be. Most importantly, I’ll be able to get to that point while still being able to afford to the things I DO love on my own time (traveling, hobbies).

  • Mark says:

    1. No, what I’d love to do is sit around all day playing video games. But that’s obviously not realistic. And truthfully, if someone were to pay me to play video games 8 hours a day, I’d probably start to resent video games.

    2. I’m doing something relatively satisfying, stress free, and well paying. It required a lot of hard work and student loans to get there, but I’m secure in my job, and what I do has enough value to society that someone is willing to pay me to do it.

    3. No. It’s a terribly unrealistic philosophy, the kind the overprivledged abide by. Our modern society would grind to a halt if everyone refused to do work that wasn’t fulfilling to them. Someone has to pick up the garbage, assemble your ipod, take care of screaming toddlers, pick your veggies in the scorching heat or drive that concrete truck. Someone has to put their life on the line in combat. I’d wager that 99.9% of people worldwide don’t “work their passion”, and they don’t deserve your scorn or your pity. Maybe the average audience of this blog can have that as a realistic life goal, but most can’t.

  • Paul says:

    1) I love what I do for a career. But… if I had F-you money I do not think it is what I would do.

    2) I would drive and write about cars all day long. I get as much of this in as I can with my blog – but it generates no income and breaking into the auto press is impossible outside of Detroit, LA, or NYC.

    3) It totally depends. I think on this blog (being financially driven) the majority of responses will say that it is impossible. I think it all depends on the type of life you want to live. I want to live in a fairly affluent Philadelphia suburb. So no, its not possible.

  • Peach8321 says:

    I would do similar things but I wouldn’t have to worry about being successful (getting grants and whatnot for my salary) and I would feel more free to take off and volunteer, travel, etc.

    So yeah, if money weren’t an issue it would make me feel better but probably wouldn’t change my day to day activities that much (currently a grad student). I like what I do, just want the freedom to change it up.

  • Mack says:

    I am certainly not and I’ve ponder this for years. I’d workout and study to be a personal trainer, spend a couple hours a day mastering the guitar so I could start a local band, become a more active gardener, spend way more time with my kids, be more involved in my community.

    Right now I work in one of the few call centers you could actually make a career out of. I spend another 10hrs/week at school in a Computer Science program. I’ve pretty much handpicked this career because it pays well and I’m ok with fooling around with computers.

    I’m a strong follower of the philosophy. In fact, I support my wife’s dreams of becoming an actress. She’s busy homeschooling our children as well–a decision we stand behind firmly.

    I don’t have enough balls to just ‘let the chips fall where they may’ though. The first thing that comes to mind are my hungry children or avoiding the repo man. And I definitely don’t have enough money saved.

  • MoneyCone says:

    I love what I do! I’d still do the same, but for free!

  • G.E. Miller says:

    Great responses, everyone. Very insightful. Not surprisingly, only about 25% of people have voted that they are doing what they want to do, thus far.

    @ Matt – At least you ‘jump’ to something new vs. being stuck in the same unfulfilling role for years or decades. That’s more than most can say. You’re pursuing your interests until you find new ones. You should be commended for that.
    @ Julie – Travel, restaurants, and puppies… why not? Who says you can’t have all three?
    @ Pat – What do you do?
    @ Honey – I agree, but it is incredibly hard to separate 40-70 hours a week from your identity.
    @ Andy – Sounds like you work in the medical field.
    @ Mark – Why would you resent what you’re getting paid for? I don’t think you’re alone in that sentiment, but it’s a shame, isn’t it? We’ve come to associate ‘work’ with unfulfilling just because it’s ‘work’.
    @ Paul – I like the blog. Keep the dream alive. It’s not impossible.
    @ Mack – Financial situations definitely force your hand, but your ‘ideal’ life does not sound unattainable by any means. There are many doing far ‘crazier’ things than you and making do.

  • Natalie says:

    1. Yes, I think I’m reasonably close to my ideal position in life. I have a child under 1 that I stay home with most of the time. I also work part time in a job that pays almost nothing, but is interesting and well respected. I also attend school part time. Money really isn’t an issue for me individually, but this is because my husband works full time to support us. He gives up his freedom so that we have ours and I appreciate this every day.

    2. If I had more money I’d probably move to a place where it’s easier to grow a garden (I live in the desert) and I might build myself a studio with a forge and kiln but that’s about all I would change. I get really bored if I do the same thing too long so I find it very difficult to fit into the corporate workplace. I appreciate flexibility and free time to pursue my ever changing interests much more than money and things. At one point I turned my hobby into my career very successfully for three years and you know what? It became a job, just like every other job. It’s not the solution for a lot of people.

    3. Um I think that’s a very bourgeois attitude. Most of us cannot afford those types of priorities, we need to take whatever comes our way so that we can eat and pay rent. However, I do believe that it is worth working hard so that you can enjoy a different career. For example, taking night classes while working. Everything has it’s price, including choice.

  • Natalie says:

    Oh, and I don’t mean to rant but I just have to make one more point.

    I don’t think people were meant to work 40 hrs a week. Hunter-Gatherer societies probably worked a max of 20 hrs per week. I think this is a major cause of dissatisfaction in our working environment rather than what we do. If I could do anything I wanted, I would work a very mentally challenging job for 15-20 hrs per week and spend the rest on family and hobbies. There is nothing I want to do for 40 hrs per week and I think if you ask that’s really the truth for most people. We just weren’t meant to work doing one thing for that long. It wasn’t until industrialization that we started this insanity.


  • Andy says:

    @ G.E. Miller: You got it. Its kind of a shame you can pick that out from me saying I have a good starting salary and job security!

  • 20 and Engaged says:

    I’ve chosen a career that has proven to be lucrative BUT I’ve learned to enjoy it as well. If money wasn’t an option, I would love to travel around the country (I think there’s plenty to explore here before exploring internationally), visit various restaurants and eat their food, take lots of pictures, and just have rich experiences! I’d love to do that with my time. Set off on a new adventure and tell people all about it.

  • Mike says:

    I’d probably finally decide to start a family.

  • Retired Jane says:

    That’s a good question. I probably would like to help orphans and create an association to help childre from third world countries. The problem is that I am so used to my new lifestyle since I work that it would be difficult to live on a lower income 🙁

    • G.E. Miller says:

      @ Natalie – I actually completely agree with your rant. 40 hrs a week is quite arbitrary, and far from what we were programmed for.
      @ Andy – I knew it! And that is why my wife is considering making the move. What do you do specifically?

      • G.E. Miller says:

        @ Retired Jane – Wait, aren’t you retired?

        • G.E. Miller says:

          To the comment that our economy would fall apart if everyone just did what they wanted, I think it’s a poor argument. First of all, not everyone is going to make that leap. Inspiring and encouraging a few would make the world a much better place. Only one person said they’d just sit around and do nothing. Look at how many others would choose a life of helping others (orphans, children from third world countries, puppies, personal trainer, animals). You can do that, and make a decent living at it. Not only will the economy improve, but everything would improve in this world. We need more of this. I hope you all fulfill that dream, if that is indeed your dream.

      • Retired Jane says:

        @G.E. Miller, My nickname is misleading, I’m currently working but I stopped for 20 years as I was raising my children. I lived frugally back then but simple things made me happy (reading a novel or cooking for instance). Getting back to work was hard but I feel that I’m getting more and more dependant to my new income as time goes by. I feel that I am spending more money as if I am willing to compensate for the loss of freedom I suffered. I guess this is what some people call “the rat race” or the modern consumerism society (i.e live to work instead of work to live).

  • Paul says:

    @ G.E. – thank you! I am lucky though. For the reality of the world we live in I have an excellent job that I enjoy more than most.

  • Mark says:

    Its not that I don’t think people should give it a shot, but it’s a reality. Stuff needs to get done that nobody really wants to do, and someone has to do it for our society to function. We’re lucky enough to be even born in a time and place where “living the dream” is even a possibility. It wasn’t even 100 years ago when 90% of our society was tied up in food production. The majority of the world is still the third world, and the majority of our first world society almost certainly isn’t living their dreams. I think it’s great that we even live in a society where this is possible at all, but whenever I read this type of advice I sense an undertone of pity at those who aren’t chasing their dreams at all costs, as if they’re wasting their lives.

    This is advice and philosophy for the privileged only, particularly bright eyed 20 somethings who may not have the responsibilities of older adults, and may have a parental safety net many others don’t. Kudos if you can make it happen, but realize you’ll always be the exception to the rule.

  • Andy says:

    @ G.E. Miller: I am a hospital pharmacist.

  • G.E. Miller says:

    @ Andy – Nice. Congrats, that’s a pretty sweet gig, from what I hear.

  • Ryan DeLeon says:

    I just bought the book “40 days to the work you love” by Dan Miller. It basically says exactly what you said, find out what you love to do and make that your career. I cant wait to read it and hopefully decide what I want to do the rest of my life (im only 24).

  • Jeff says:

    Here’s my thought: many people enjoy their jobs, they just don’t enjoy some minor parts of their job. Be it their boss, the location, the hours, or the pay. What I recommend is take what your doing now, and become an entrepreneur with your current job. Take your talents elsewhere, and you may be happier.
    Aristotle says that happiness is the ultimate end:money, education, and family are just means to the ultimate end or they are subordinate ends. Find your ultimate end.

  • Mark Fuller says:

    Money has always been and will always be an issue when it comes to what we want to do with our lives. If money is worth nothing, wouldn’t it be more easier. I don’t know but for sure it will be easier to do the things we want to do. This could be the reason behind why people are greedy and look up to money as God. The reason behind why they say money is bad. But as the book Rich Dad, Poor Dad said: “Money is not the root of evil, it is the lack of it”

    Thanks for this post, be blessed always!

  • Stephanie Taylor Christensen says:

    At the risk of sounding too hokey for words, I can finally say at the age of 33, that I would do exactly what I’m currently doing. Writing (and getting paid to do it), teaching yoga and raising my son. Throughout my 20’s when I was a highly paid and extremely miserable marketing director, I never dreamed I would actually enjoy working. That’s the real value in gaining control over your money. One day, it will give you the flexibility to quit the corporate drone life (if you so choose) and work in a way that feels nothing like work.

  • Dan says:

    In my estimation it is not possible to just do what you want to do. I think it is in the nature of the universe that we will always have to do things we don’t want to do in order to do the things we do want to do. That’s not to say that what we shouldn’t consider our interests as well as our skills and potential for compensation in choosing an occupation, but in any case we will either have to do some things we don’t want to do, or learn to like (or at least tolerate) doing them. There will always be trade-offs.

  • Andrea says:

    This reminds me of Office Space.
    I’m been working close to full time non-stop since I was seventeen while attending school on and off over the last several years. If I could stop working, I would do nothing. I honestly cannot think of anything that I would want to do for 40-hr/wk that would make any money. So instead, I work at a job that I absolutely hate but makes a ton of money until I graduate college and hopefully can move onto something less mind-numbing.

  • Jerry says:

    I’m having trouble answering due to my situation in life. I am older 73 going on 74 and viewing with some trepidation what is around the corner.

    I wanted to be an Astrophysicist and enrolled at UCLA in 1958. I studied under Baker who wrote the book on Astronomy in 1930. I loved studying about the stars and such but found I had no social talent at all.

    The people studying under Baker were very amenable and were willing to fit me into their clique but I was not willing to enter into it. What a situation to find myself in: loving the subject matter but unable to fit in with the crowd.

    I went on to work in over 66 professions (unbelievable) and stopped counting when I got to 66 through shame and astonishment at such a figure.

    I worked at Space and Information Systems Division part of the then North American Aviation (now McDonnell Douglas). I was a mathematician and engineer working on inertial navigation and the N5H Autonavigator for the Minuteman missile. White Sands Proving Ground. Redstone Arsenal. Pentagon.

    While doing the above and many other jobs in many other locations I carried on businesses such as Book and Magazine Exchange Company (BMEC) advertising in Analog Science Fiction, Financial Aid For College, and many, many more. I was even a practicing Astrologer (JANDAS) for a short time in national publications.

    I wrote many vignettes with titles such as Morning Song Loves Starman, childrens fables such as The Giant and the Sprite, The Prince and the Pea, Learning to Dance, Consuelo,and so on. I loved writing and loved the instant response to my works at Barnes and Noble University online until they shut it down.

    I wanted to retire before 30 but couldn’t till 38 (which makes some people envious and angry).

    I retired in 1975 after doing part-time renovation of more than 13 old properties and owning them as well as land in various states such as Virginia, California, New Mexico and Pennsylvania.

    I suppose I am content with what I am doing which right now is sitting here divulging all for whatever reason. I hope it isn’t bragging or to be construed as such. I certainly don’t intend that.

    I think I want to know more about everything and when very young did ask God (if there be one) for all knowledge. I waited about 15 minutes on my accelerated time table for an answer which didn’t appear to be forthcoming.

    Later on I found out my answer through living and it was almost more knowledge than I can assimilate.

    I even built a satellite antenna made of wood and screening for $1,000 back in 1982 when such professional antennas cost $25,000. It brought in the defunct PTL for my wife and kids with a very clear picture as well as worse material on other satellites.

    I haven’t mentioned money, I see. I guess I’m not motivated in that direction since I’ve long had sufficient for my needs and those needs of my family.

    I have indulged my oldest son who is now 45 by buying him two or three cars (I can’t remember the figure). Not good for him. He did spend six years in the Army as did I also, but during different campaigns. He was Granada and I was Vietnam.

    I’ll sign off now. Comments are more than welcom and keep it clean please…

    Everybody be blessed and achieve your highest dreams…

    Sir Jerry (assigned to me at BNU)

  • Julie says:

    1. Hm… tough one. I enjoy my work while I’m at work but I wouldn’t want one of my hobbies to be my job. I tried it for a while once and my hobby wasn’t fun anymore.

    2. I’d work part-time. I like it but not enough for 40 hours/week.

    3. Naw… my opinion: you have to be “strategic” about what you want to do…

  • Blake says:

    I am 29 years old and spent my entire life thinking about the best ways to make the most money. Now im married, with a 7 year old child and enough money to pay cash for her college and quit working for at least 5 years. (Assuming I don’t make a penny of interest)So now im wondering. What now? My job is boring and my life is predictable. Does one continue doing the same senseless boring things that bring financial stability and mild amounts of excitement?


Enter your:

Home | Sitemap | Terms | ©