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Money vs. actual meaning?

  1. Jun 19, 2005 #1
    hey guys. i am currently a college student, and i am doing very well in my applied math and eco double major.

    anyway, over the last few weeks, i have been pondering a lot of aspects of my life. and one of the issues that came up was, do i go for money or enjoyment?

    i am studying applied math, pure math and economics. i plan on taking the actuarial exams (which look very tame to me at this point). obviously, taking a job as an actuary after passing the first few exams is almost guranteed. i have good computer skills (access, excel, Java, etc) and i know most of the material up to exam #4 for SOA/CAS.

    the problem is, my family is not necessarily rich. we are pretty poor. but i dont want to spend the rest of my life being an actuary. i want to be a scholar, i want to do a lot of things with my life. after i graduate i am planning on pursuing the Peace Corps for 2 years. i want to do meaningful things in my life. i dont want to spend it crunching numbers for some huge insurance company. i want to collaborate, i want to write proofs, i want to discover the secrets of this existence. i want to immerse myself in everything this world has to offer.

    any advice from you guys?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 20, 2005 #2
    Do what will make you happy.

    I know what you mean, though. My family isn't rich, and I wish I could give them some money, somehow. Maybe by joining the military and sending money, or going as a 4 year engineer and giving money. But I have decided to go into physics, and probably get a Ph.D. That means I'll have to leech even more money off of them. Not for school, but just for living with them. I feel really bad for doing this...

    I mean, for me, all I need is food, a place to sleep, some money for training (weight lifting, martial arts, etc, I love it all), and that's it. I don't care if I'm poor, I just want to, like you said, "discover the secrets of existence". But my family needs money, so I still feel bad... :(

  4. Jun 20, 2005 #3


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    Sounds like you need a way to get rich quick. :devil: Heh, totally joking.

    I predict that you will either decide one is more important and do it, or you will find a way to do both. :biggrin: I think you should first try to find a way to do both. If you can't find a job doing what you love and making enough money, you can always do what a lot of other people do: Find a job to make money and do what you love on your own time.
  5. Jun 20, 2005 #4
    Become an engineer temporailly, send loads of monehy back to your parents. Theng o back to school and do yoru thing. If you don't compensate your parents now it's unlikely they'll ever get a return on their investment.
  6. Jun 20, 2005 #5
    Seriously, i would ask myself this. What the point of money if your not going to rule the world with it?
  7. Jun 20, 2005 #6
    Do what makes you happy, and if you can make a pretty penny while doing it, that is even better.
  8. Jun 20, 2005 #7
    Umm... more of "accident" than invenstment in my case.

    But also, if I stop going to school and get a job, I'll likely never get around to going back. =/

  9. Jul 12, 2005 #8


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    Go to the Corps, come back, re-evaluate. Perhaps look for an RA type position for a few years; work with math and/or econ Ph.D.s who are making some money; then re-evaluate again. Best of luck.

  10. Jul 12, 2005 #9
    spend a couple of years doing actuary to make money...whilst doing the peace corps and other things ont eh side...unless you want a social life. Then when say like 5-10 years down the road pursue a more academic career.
  11. Jul 12, 2005 #10


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    some parents may feel differently, or be in a very different situation, but i personally do not expect my children to support me. i educated my children so that they could find their own dreams, not so they could send weekly checks back to me. if they make more money than me, or less, but are doing what they want to do, i feel very happy for them, and feel proud for the start my wife and i gave them. we consider it our job to support ourselves, and feel that our kids will have their hands full supporting themselves and their own families.

    in particular we never expect them to "pay back" any of the tuition money we spent on them.

    your parents may well feel the same. i.e. they may not care for you to factor in their income into your career plans. probably they are pretty happy in life, even if you think they are "poor", and feel very proud to have given you an education and a start in life.

    you might ask them.
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2005
  12. Jul 12, 2005 #11
    well i technically dont owe my parents any money. i go to school for free.

    but they aren't rich at all. my dad might have to file for bankruptcy. i would like to be able to take care of them and give them some luxuries in life before they pass away.
  13. Jul 12, 2005 #12


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    wonderful thought. remember, to see your children better off than you were and happy is also a luxury for a parent.
  14. Jul 13, 2005 #13
    Why don't you get a job as an actuary and study mathematics on the side? Since you'll have a math degree, you could possibly obtain a graduate degree over a few years while you are working. In addition to that, you could also work on teaching yourself some new topics. You can begin writing proofs, etc on your own time. I say the first thing you should do is make sure you are financially stable.
  15. Jul 13, 2005 #14


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    That's of course the ideal. In the long term, if you do what makes you happy, you'll be more motivated and more successful and therefore earn more money doing it. If you do something you don't enjoy just for the money, although it will look good at the beginning, you likely won't be as motivated to keep up a strong effort long-term, and may not advance as rapidly. What's the point of making lots of money if you hate having to get up every morning and drag yourself to a job you can't stand?
  16. Jul 13, 2005 #15
    If you eventually are dead set on doing research I would say just keep going to school. Many many people say they will go back to school after graduating and working for a few years but it never really happens (there is always exceptions of course). They get too tied up with their jobs, get married, and start a family. Once you stop going to school it becomes a lot harder to go back.
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