3 Reasons To Take A Pay Cut


My apologies for my recent absence. Unfortunately, life happened and other things became a priority.

That being said, life lesson #1 from someone that is learning the hard way-NEVER stop doing things for yourself and NEVER stop creating things that important to you. There is nothing and no one that should control your life’s mission. Nothing.

MillennialCFO is the nearest and dearest thing to me. It is my passion. I bleed the need to educate my generation through my tests and trials on how to live the richest life possible.

Now that MillennialCFO is trademarked, it is even more so my baby that no one can replicate (try me).

Okay, so enough crap and to the point. I am back and I’m better than ever with thousands of ideas on how I will take over the world of personal finance in 2016.


I am sure many of you are questioning whether or not you should continue reading this as the title isn’t the most appealing. Unfortunately, some of the hardest things you have to do in life aren’t appealing either.

But isn’t this blog about having more money, not less? Yes, absolutely. But this blog is also about taking chances, risks, and doing things that could help you live a richer life.

If you had the choice between making $75,000/year now with a max out at $150,000, or making $30,000 now with an unlimited upside, which would you chose?

For most people, it’s easy. $75k isn’t so bad. $150k is even better.

But what if you didn’t want someone or something determining your upside in dollars and in work?

There is a trend among some of the most successful people in the world. They never chased money and made a lot less than they could have in the beginning of their careers. They did this because their desire to change the world was greater than a paycheck.

It was life.

I had a great conversation about this with a friend today who is deciding between a job that pays less than what he was making, and a job that pays a lot less than he was making.

Which leads to me to….3 reasons to take a paycut.


The friend I referred to above was deciding between teaching English in China for a year, or working for an early stage tech startup with all the potential in world to become a billion dollar company.

Although both were great opportunities, the real opportunity for him was to go to China. Though he will be making a quarter of what some of his friends are making in salary, he will be experiencing something that very few people in the world do.

Billionaire hedge fund manager Michael Novagratz argues that traveling the world looks better on a resume to him than an internship at Goldman Sachs.

“We interview a lot of kids, and they always want an internship with Goldman Sachs, an internship at McKinsey. Go do something different. Get on a motorcycle and take photographs. Create a story where you learn something..I’m a big fan of the gap year.”

If you’re craving a taste of the world, buy a plane ticket and go. It only gets harder.

-Work for a startup

Though the idea of working for a startup is glamorous to many (the yoga pant dress code m-f, free lunches, stocked kitchens with alcohol, cool people etc. etc. etc.), the people that are working at startups have taken risks, including monetary risks.

Many startup employees could make more money at corporate jobs but they are all looking for the upside. The upside to getting into a company on the ground floor and watching it grow, the upside to learning every aspect of how a company is built and run, the upside to a lot more money as the company grows, and the upside to unlimited potential to become a leader.

-Start a business 

This might be the biggest pay cut of all in many situations as most companies either don’t make money for a while or fail within the first couple of years.

That being said, the companies that do survive make it big.

“Don’t start a business unless it’s an obsession.” Mark Cuban’s advice on startups couldn’t be more accurate. If you have a strong desire to start a game changing business that you are losing sleep over, do it.

But if you are just doing it to get rich quick or for other reasons such as fame or power, good luck.

The obsession is what will keep you up all night working. The obsession is what will help you survive on crackers and coffee while making no money.

Though this may be the biggest pay cut of all, it can have the biggest upside of all as well.

Startup Life vs. Corporate Life

For those of you that don’t know, I am no longer in the corporate world of the wealth management business. Instead, I am now working for a San Francisco based startup backed by some of Silicon Valley’s biggest investors.

A lot of my friends have asked me about differences between the work environments and how startups differentiate from the corporate world, so I thought this would be a good time to compare my experiences so far.

Corporate life. 

Besides the depression and working with same types of people that constantly talk about the same things over and over again, corporate life wasn’t that bad.

I always knew when I had to get in. 8.

I always knew when I had to leave. 5.

I always knew what I had to do. What wasn’t always right for the customer.

I always knew what was important to employees: money, titles, and status.

I always knew there was an open door policy. Except the doors to the over-sized and overly-decorated offices would be closed every time.


Something I knew for a fact was that I would always have access to the best resources and I would always have a say in finding different ways to do things.

Ok that’s just BS.

I felt trapped. I felt defeated. I felt hypocritical to everything I believe in and preach.

Most importantly, I felt like I was making no difference in the world.

In all actuality, a corporate job is great for someone that is structured, doesn’t like change, and wants to know the exact metrics to making more money. It is also great for someone that thrives off the “prestige” in corporate titles like VP, SVP, or CEO of shooting shit all day.

1+1 will always equal 2.

Not all things are as bad I describe them. The pay was good.

Startup Life is a little different. 

For one, I work with people that are extremely diverse with very unique backgrounds.

Our CEO has already started several successful companies and invested in other startups that are making noise in their respective marketplaces.

I work with someone who just moved back after years abroad in Costa Rica and throughout Europe.

I work with someone who has a chemical engineering background, but is doing absolutely nothing related to that.

I work with a former Massage Therapist, who is maybe one of the hardest working people I know.

The point is that every person has a unique background and comes from a different industry.

Something that is the same within all of my colleagues is that everyone has a reason to be working at the company and everyone is driven to do something that changes the world.

Another big difference is that no one cares about their title and everyone has more than a specific set of responsibilities. We take turns taking out the trash and that is not “beneath” anyone.

The best tools and the latest technology? That’s an obvious. We understand that in order to do great work, you need the best tools that will make things easier and more efficient, tools that help you work smarter, not harder.

Open door policy? No way. Because there are NO doors. Everyone works in shared spaces as we are encouraged to collaborate with each other by bringing new ideas to the table everyday. We are also encouraged to give feedback to leadership and the developers to work out kinks and make the product better.

Totally a team effort.

If you are entrepreneurial, want to work on innovative solutions to real world problems, and want to learn how to run a company, the startup route may be perfect for you.