How to leverage your relationships and skill set to change your path

“Dave, I think you’ll need to either reinvent yourself in a different part of the financial services industry, or in a new industry entirely.”

These were not the words I wanted to hear after a wrench had been thrown into my career path. By 2018, I had been meeting with some of the most interesting investors, and I loved what I was doing. Yet investor preferences were changing, and new regulations out of Europe were drastically affecting my future earnings potential.

I consider myself lucky to have discovered one of my passions when I was just 19 years old, when I bought my first two stocks with money I had saved from a landscaping job the previous summer. After close to a decade on the “institutional” side of the financial services industry and stints in Boston, Dallas and Cleveland, it became clear that I needed to make a transition.

I reached out to a couple of mentors that I trusted to pick their brains, but unfortunately, their responses were all very similar. After countless hours talking with peers and mentors, and reading everything I could, I knew they were right and that I needed to find a way to reinvent myself to some extent.

While I was hearing a lot of different opinions, I kept thinking of a line in Tim Ferriss’ “Tools of Titans.” “To dramatically change your life, you don’t need to run a 100-mile race, get a Ph.D., or completely reinvent yourself.” This quote helped me realize that I didn’t need to make a drastic change, such as leaving finance completely, but instead should focus on how to leverage my existing relationships and the skill set I had built over the past decade.

With all that in mind, and knowing that I had the external support I needed, I turned inward for a self-evaluation. Thinking through life experiences such as my father passing away when I was a teenager and other setbacks I have been dealt throughout life, I knew I had the resiliency to make this change a reality.

As with most things, reinventing yourself is not easy, but there are a few things I’d recommend to help you get there.

Goal-setting is nothing new or groundbreaking, but taking the time to actually sit down and write out both short- and long-term goals, along with creating a road map to get there, is a step that too many people cut corners on or skip altogether. But doing so is an important exercise that can be very eye-opening.

Second, budgeting and managing your finances correctly will give you a cushion that allows you to feel more comfortable deviating from your current path. We all know that failure is inevitable, especially when doing something new, but it is ultimately the best way to learn and set yourself up for success.

Reinventing yourself starts with taking action. Like anything you do in life, it will take time, patience and effort, but it will be worth it in the end.

Dave LaPuma is Vice President, Family Wealth Advisor, at Ancora