*Originally published on precedentjd.com
Once we make more money, we tend to spend it all, and then we can’t imagine making any less.
The famous boxing training Cus D’Amato said it best: “Fear is like fire.” It can keep you warm, or it can burn you. The same can be said of money. It all depends on how you manage it.
As a law student, a host of great career options lie ahead. I know it may not feel like it, with student debt piling up and a difficult job market, but many of you will land well-paying law jobs. And when you do, you will, not unlike professional athletes, go from zero to hero quickly.
One thing they don’t tell you in law school is that how you manage that wealth will affect how satisfied you are with your career. This is the proverbial “Golden Handcuffs” dilemma. It describes a strange paradox: earning copious amounts of money won’t give you financial freedom. Once we make more money, we tend to spend it all, and then we can’t imagine making any less. This puts us at risk of working in jobs we dislike because we think we have no choice.
Your law degree can lead to many terrific careers. And, if you want the power to choose the job you want as opposed to the one you have to have (in order to pay your bills), you need to exercise financial wisdom once you get that first law job. The less dependent you are on a significant income, the more freedom you’ll have to build the career you want.
With that in mind, here are three principles to follow that will help you on your way to financial — and, thus, professional — freedom.
(This story is from the 2017 edition of PrecedentJD Magazine)
Illustration by Alina Skyson