I want to live the good life. By that I mean a life of wealth, privilege, loving family relationships, and warm friendships. At the end of my life I will be satisfied if my spouse and children are still by my side and if I have a close circle of friends. I intend to earn a lot of money and I intend to give generously to charity. To achieve this, I need time and money. I intend to marry and have three children. My spouse and I, who are still passionately in love with each other, are building an art collection. Both sets of grandparents live no more than an hour away.
We visit frequently and the kids adore them. I own my own hedge fund and earn $25 million a year. My spouse owns a business—maybe an art gallery– or a professional practice. We live in a spacious penthouse apartment, probably in New York. We have floor to ceiling windows, views in every direction, a clean, sleek, modern decor, with lots of space for entertaining, which we do frequently. The kids each have their own bedrooms and share a playroom. We have a live-in nanny for the kids, a live-in cook, and help with the cleaning. We have a beach house, probably in South Hampton. We go there most weekends by helicopter.
We all have busy lives so the quality time we spend together on the weekends is incredibly important to us. We take exotic vacations two times a year as a family—usually involving some kind of adventure travel pertaining to my love for scuba diving and for studying the ecology of coral reefs. Once a year my spouse and I go some place romantic on vacation together. Each year I take a vacation with one of the kids, just the two of us. The kids go to great schools with small classes and a progressive curriculum that lets them follow their own interests: there is no teaching for the exams in this school.
The kids are learning to ride, and to play tennis, squash, and polo. I play these sports regularly. I have a lot of physical energy so I run or bike each day. I also work out every day in the gym in our apartment. I have given up smoking. My spouse and I are active in charity work. We are each on the board of a prestigious charity and when we go to their annual fundraising events we get our pictures in the gossip columns. We give 10% of our income to charity each year. I am a member of the Explorer’s Club because I have contributed something important to the scientific study of coral reefs.
I spent a year studying the coral reefs in the Similan Islands in Thailand before starting my career. While there, I also studied Vipassna meditation, which I still practice. I am confident and gregarious. I don’t sweat the small stuff. I plan for the future and I work my plan, but I am flexible enough to enjoy surprising opportunities when they come along. 2. Career goals My long-term career goal is to own my own hedge fund and earn at least $25 million a year. The top hedge fund owners can earn considerably more than this (Story B1).
To achieve this I need three things: proven skill at investing (or the skill to hire someone with skill at investing), connections to the kind of wealthy investors who put their money in hedge funds, and the ability to convince potential clients to trust me with their money. 3. A Strategic Plan for My Future I have four major goals: to stop smoking, to learn more about coral reefs, to start a hedge fund, and to find the right spouse and start a family. I can quit smoking this year. I have decided to join a smoking cessation program at a local hospital this summer.
I have consulted with my doctor and he thinks this is a good option for me. I am determined to succeed. I don’t know how long, or if, I will, as a devoted amateur, ever be able to make a scientific discovery significant to earn me admittance into the Explorer’s Club, but I intend to proceed as though this is possible (Explorer’s Club). So far, my experience with scuba diving and studying coral reefs has only been as a tourist and an avid reader. I would very much like to participate in a real scientific research expedition.
One of the world’s leading organizations for research into the ecology of coral reefs is the ARC Center for Excellence in Coral Reef Studies at James Cook University in Townsville, Australia (ARC Center of Excellence). My plan is to contact the scientists at the Center to learn what kind of opportunities there are for amateurs to participate in research projects. I am also considering participating in a research expedition, sponsored by the Earthwatch Institute, to Thailand’s coral reefs in December 2009 (Earthwatch Institute). I have another motive for doing this, which is that I can imagine meeting my future spouse on such an excursion.
I would like to meet someone with whom I have interests in common. I think it will take me ten years to get the experience and contacts I need to start a hedge fund. I would like to apprentice myself to a leading hedge fund operator such as James Simons of Renaissance Technologies, John Paulson, or John Arnold of Centaurus Energy (Story B2). I am pursuing an education in finance. I have also been studying investment methods and I seem to have an affinity for technical analysis. I am managing a fictional portfolio as if it were real—tracking trades and so forth—and I am doing reasonably well.
I am planning to join the Marketing Technicans Association and to earn the CMT credential. This involves a course of self-study and passing three challenging exams (Marketing Technican’s Association). Preparing for all three tests is said to take a total of 400 hours of study (Marketing Technician’s Association). I also intend to be active in the association—to meet others in the field and hopefully to network my way into a job in finance. As everyone knows, this is not an ideal time to be looking for a job in finance. The sector has cut 400,000 jobs in the past two years (Bowley & Story).
I plan on being persistent. To start a hedge fund, I will need clients. To find them, I need to go where rich people and people who manage portfolios for large institutions go. I plan to be active in fundraising for our alumna association. I play squash and tennis. I plan to learn to play polo, an expensive sport. I also plan to be active in several charitable organizations. I hope this networking will put me in touch with the right people. Salesmanship is very important in the hedge fund business. Why should a potential client trust me with their money?
I intend to build a reputation as an ethical, dependable, solid person. People will trust me because I will be trustworthy. This may sound obvious, but one thing that is sorely missing right now in the financial community is trust. Too many people have been too badly burned by the people they trusted to give them financial advice. Probably the goal that matters most to me is meeting a life partner. I hope I can do this in the next five years. I know how to meet people—that’s easy. But what I want to do is form strong, lasting relationships based on honestly knowing each other.
The best way for me to do that is to be considerate and honest. In the past I have noticed in myself a tendency to play to the crowd. I will do what is necessary to get a laugh or to make someone like me, even if it means saying something about my thoughts, feelings, or opinions that isn’t really true. This is not going to work when it comes to finding a life partner. I need to be funny, considerate and honest at the same time. I am somewhat afraid of doing this. 4. A Strategic Plan “B” for My Future What if my plans don’t work out? I find this very hard to imagine.
If I put myself in the right place, frequently enough, I know something good will happen, even if it isn’t exactly what I have in mind now. There are always options. I intend to follow my heart so I make the right choices. Suppose I can’t get a job in finance when I want to? I will probably consider going to work for one of the government regulatory agencies; they will probably be hiring. The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) is one possibility, especially since the CMT credential takes me part of the way towards the FINRA Registered Research Analyst credential (Marketing Technicians Association).
This would open more doors. I am very ambitious, but if ten years pass and my dream of starting a hedge fund begins to look like an impossible goal, I will probably consider starting my own personal financial advisor practice. The Bureau of Labor Statistics is forecasting that demand for personal financial advisors will increase by 44% over the next seven years (Bureau of Labor Statistics). I am very interested in the idea of starting my own business, even if it can’t be a hedge fund. Right now, I can’t say what other kind of company I might start but it could be anything. I believe that I have to put myself in the way of opportunities.
I will do this by becoming an avid watcher of the economy and an avid investigator of business conditions. I know what I am looking for: a product or service that is necessary and nonexistent. This is how the great fortunes are made. In a general sense, I am most interested in ways in which the internet can be used to deliver new services. Netflix is an inspiration. The question to ask is how could computing and networking be applied to get people this service. If you are talking about a service or product that can be delivered globally over the internet, so much the better. Amazon changed the way people shop for books.
Fresh Direct has changed the way New Yorkers shop for groceries. Seamless Web has changed the way people order meals in from restaurants. I see the world as being endlessly full of possibilities. I know my dream is of extreme wealth and privilege. Maybe it is more of a fantasy than something that can be planned for. But I know all the steps I take in pursuing my dream—networking, CMT certification, building a reputation as trustworthy—will open opportunities for me. I can’t know what these opportunities are in advance. My plan “B” really is much more strategic than tactical. My plan “A” is tactical.
But for plan “B” I intend to do things that I am really interested in, to take advantage of all opportunities to meet others with similar interests, especially those with a track record of achievement, and to continue studying and learning. There will be opportunities and I will have my eyes open so I can see them. The CMT isn’t the only certification I can pursue; it is just the one that interests me the most right now. The CFA Institute offers the CFA certification which is one of the most prestigious on Wall Street (CFA Institute). This is another course of self-study followed punctuated by three exams (CFA Institute).
The more I try to make a plan for the future, the more convinced I become that preparation is the most important thing I can do. This is regarding my love life, my family life, my interest in coral reefs, and my career. If I study and if I seek out other people, I will discover opportunities. You can’t study for love, but you can understand yourself and what you desire. The more I learn about who I am and what I have to give to a life partner, the more likely I will be to find that special someone. I want intimacy, depth, and trust. I want to know and be known as much as possible. I don’t want secrets and I don’t want lies.
I am convinced that the only way I will find a person who wants what I do, and with me, is if I give these things first. Works Cited ARC Centre of Excellence. “Coral Reefs on Brink of Disaster, Scientists Urge Action Now. ” Science Daily. 22 October 2007. 28 April 2009 <http://www. sciencedaily. com¬ /releases/2007/10/071021225256. htm>. Bowley, G. & Story, S. “Crisis Altering Wall Street as Big Banks Lose Top Talent. The New York Times. 12 April 2009. 27 April 2009 <http://www. nytimes. com/2009/04/12/business/12wall. html? partner=rss>. Bureau of Labor Statistics. “Financial Analysts and Personal Financial Advisors.
” Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2008-2009 Edition. 27 April 2009 <http://www. bls. gov/oco/ocos259. htm>. CFA Institute. “What Is the CFA Program? ” 28 April 2009 <http://www. bls. gov/oco/ocos259. htm>. “Coral Reefs of Thailand. ” Earthwatch Institute. 28 April 2009 <http://www. earthwatch. org/exped/heiss. html>. Explorer’s Club. 28 April 2009 <http://www. explorers. org/>. Marketing Technicians Association. “CMT Program. ” 28 April 2009 <http://www. mta. org/eweb/DynamicPage. aspx? webcode=CMTProgram>. Story, Louise. March, 25, 2009. “Top Hedge Fund Managers Do Well in a Down Year. ” New York Times, p. B1.
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