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best career path for our kids

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  • best career path for our kids

    The topic of whether one would encourage their children to go into medicine has been discussed, but has anyone given thought to which jobs in the future (like 20 years) will be good career choices for our children to achieve financial independence early in life?


    Sometimes I can't help but imagine a world 20 years from now where the corporations will eventually replace all primary care with NPs, who will then be replaced by artificial intelligence to make diagnoses.  Robots will do surgery without the surgeon. Radiologists will be outsourced overseas.  Maybe that is ridiculous and medicine will be a good job forever.

    I could steer my children into the spaceship business, but that seems as risky as trying to invest in the spaceship industry by buying Boeing stock.


    Interested if anyone has thought of this?

  • #2


    • #3
      Why steer them into anything. Provide the resources so they can develop into what they wish


      • #4
        The flying car business should be booming by then. Post-nuclear holocaust advisors should be killing it. Outside of that, my crystal ball is fuzzy. Two points: nobody has any idea what will be lucrative in the future but most likely physicians will continue to be compensated reasonably well. People will always like to see their doctor in person, and physicians will always like to know and talk to their radiologists. And secondly, there's no guarantee your kids will want to choose a high paying field.


        • #5
          Guide your kids to do the best they can and excel at school. Keeping future options open is the most important thing as a kid. You don’t want kids to make childhood mistakes in school or otherwise that will make it difficult to pursue their desired career or life path once they actually figure out what they want to do.


          • #6
            You best bet is raise well rounded social children. Whether your schools properly do this anymore, make sure they are a least competent in the three Rs "reading, righting, rithmetic". Also, I can't imagine basic technology skills being any less required, but this push for coding skills is BS in my view. A good foundation gives them the best chance of having their options open.

            I would add a couple of other things that very often get overlooked:

            1. The most important thing a child can learn is "how to learn" and it is very seldom actually taught. This can be far more important than actual knowledge gained. Children can actually be taught the best ways to study and learn. "Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime", and all that.

            2. The most important skills in any occupation are critical thinking skills. They can't be so much learned, rather must be acquired. A professional athlete might learn the fundamentals, but their skills are acquired. Just like athletics are acquired by practice and exercise. Critical thinking skills can be acquired by practice and exercise of the mind. Some good choices for children depending on age:

              1. Checkers, chess, arimaa and other strategy based games.

              2. Cross word puzzles, Scrabble, and other word games.

              3. Logic puzzles and later more formalized study of Logic.

              4. Musical instrument, arts and crafts.

              5. Foreign language(s).

              6. Journaling (diary) can have many benefits.

              7. "Philosophy" critical thinking for the purpose of critical thinking.

            Most importantly, these should be hobbies not a childhood job. A child's job is to be a child. Parents sometimes forget this basic fact. It is one thing to introduce them and encourage them to take up such activities. Quite another to force them down their throats.


            • #7
              Good is really hard to imagine what things will be like 20 years out, even for my own career.

              I want my kids to find a field where they can have a quick path to FI without having to worry about RE, because they like it! That being said, I think the "do what you love" advice isn't as easy as it sounds, because the vast majority of people really wont know what a career is truly like until they've been doing it awhile.  I think the most someone can know coming out of high school is if they have a bend for math/science, writing, speaking, designing, etc.

              I am not going to recommend medicine to kids, but I wont discourage it either.  I will appropriately caution them about it.  I will caution that certain fields (i.e. surgery) lend themselves to difficult lifestyle, and that what may seem appealing when you're 20 may appear a lot different when you are 30, 40, 50, etc.  I think that medicine will long remain a career that provides the highest GUARANTEED earnings over the course of a normal 30-40 year career (if it doesn't, we will have problems because the best/brightest will not flock toward medicine).  That said, medicine is not necessarily the quickest or easiest path to a normal FI number (1-3 million) by age 40.

              One non-medical field that I am intrigued with for my kids is that of an actuary.  Mathematics runs strong in my family, and from what I can tell, this is a job with good outlooks in which one starts working after a 4 year undergraduate education.  Pay appears good (maybe start at 6 figures?) and increases as you pass additional tests.  Minimizing loans and earning >100k from age 23 on is a great path to early FI for someone with a proper financial education.


              • #8
                Great thoughts above. I don't have the time at the moment to write several paragraphs, so I'll just say this:

                Engineering. Many, if not most FIRE bloggers are engineers of some kind.


                • #9
                  I think the most important thing with your children is helping them cultivate a passion for something. much easier said than done.


                  • #10



                    • #11
                      This thread is absolutely ridiculous.  I refuse to put that sort of pressure on my son.

                      I will always let my son know that he can be *any* kind of M.D. that he wants to be.  After all, a child has to choose his or her own subspecialty.  I can't do that for him.

                      For all I know, he might not be a great student, might gravitate toward the arts, who knows, and want to be a psychiatrist.  I would think nothing less of him for choosing that path.

                      The key is to be positive with whatever medical specialty your child chooses.




                      • #12
                        Did your parents choose your career for you? If not, why are you trying to choose one for your children? As long as our kids are happy, and doing honest work, I could care less if they're physicians or janitors.


                        • #13

                          One non-medical field that I am intrigued with for my kids is that of an actuary
                          Click to expand...

                          C'mon guys! Did nobody think to ask me!  :P 

                          I was thinking of pitching a guest post to WCI on "Actuary: the FIRE killing profession!". I thought readers might be interested. LMK

                          Here is my outline

                          1. You can immediately start work from first degree. It's also common to take some of the exams while doing undergraduate. If you go to a school with actuarial science you can accelerate even more.

                          2. You then learn and study on the job. Yes - your employer pays your tuition and exam fees! Where else can you get paid to study lots of interesting stuff?

                          2b. The downside is lots and lots of evenings and weekends and early mornings spent studying whilst trying to do a fulltime job. But most employers give some study time allocation.

                          3. Your only education debts incurred should be from your undergraduate degree

                          4. Entry level graduates earn ~$70k. Not bad for a kid out of school.

                          5. Salary goes up with each exam passed. That was a real incentive for me. It's a tangible, bankable measure of progress.

                          6. High barrier to entry. Need to be highly numerate to get selected by an employer. You also need people skills, when I interview I am looking for that. The stellar academics are a given in so many candidates.

                          Exams are numerous and pass rates are very low. There is a high attrition rate among actuarial students. Pass rates for exams are less than 50%. Some exams have a pass rate of ~30%. Bear in mind the candidates all have superb academic qualifications already, this is not Joe Blow walking in from the street taking an exam. The Society of Actuaries says it takes 6-10 years to qualify. I think I did it in 5 years (and I decided to start a family at the same time)

                          7. Many actuaries are required by law. e.g. Insurers and DB plans have to have an actuary in certain reserved positions. They are also needed in healthcare. The profession will be around for a long time, it's not going anywhere.

                          8. Stay away from DB Pension Plans they are dying. But increasing use of actuaries for DC plans, investments, public policy and of course insurance and healthcare.

                          9. Working for insurers is a steady 9-5 job with a pretty sleepy career. Consultancy is more high-octane and an always-on culture typically in a HCOL area. Consulting requires a lot more people skills and business skills. As you get more senior, technical skills are less important. I'm a consultant.

                          10. Total compensation is high. According to the DW Simpson survey after 15 years experience the average total comp is >$200k.

                          11. According to this Time article surgeons seem to earn around $400k (I don't know if that is true). I earn more than that.

                          Hope that helps...




                          • #14
                            Just thought it would be an interesting thing to think about.  Didn't mean to make anyone mad about how they think I parent.  LOL.  Of course I want my children to follow what brings them joy and passion. I have great communication with my kids and am basically the opposite of a "tiger mom."  MMy kids and I would have fun discussing this.  I would be fine if they chose a low paying career if they love something.  But I also want to have thought through a whole list of job opportunities that make enough money to have a nice family life.  Not sure being a doctor is that. Not having enough money adds a lot of stress to a family.  Plus, to be on this site and act like money doesn't matter is a little comical.


                            • #15
                              I will encourage my children to be engineers.  It prepares you to think in a logical and organized manner which is helpful in most any profession and I can't imagine a future where engineering is not needed.

                              If they do decide to do engineering it lends itself quite well to a FIRE lifestyle.

                              Ultimately it is their choice and I want them to do whatever they are passionate about, but in the absence of them "knowing"...