Most adults end up facing a tough question at a relatively young age, which is: should I pursue my true passion that may carry a small salary, or should I take a practical, financially lucrative career and save for later? Some people say you have to do what you love, no matter what the pay is. Others say it’s best to save for the future, and then pursue your passions in retirement. Still others try and have their cake and eat it too, competing for highly competitive jobs that mix high salaries and rewarding career paths.

There is no one right answer to this question. Everyone’s decision will be based on their own personal situations and will rely on a myriad of factors. Here are a few of the major questions you must answer on an individual basis that should influence your career decision:

What are your financial obligations? People who have attended expensive universities and are shouldering heavy student loans may want to consider this as a reason to pursue a practical career that will guarantee a healthy salary. Or, if you have a family that is financially dependent on you, or have costly medical conditions—these are reasons to pave a career path that will afford you financial security.

How much of your psychological well-being is dependent on you doing what you love? Some people just can’t live without doing what they love. Die-hard musicians may just want to work at a coffee shop and pour their energy into recording songs. A born writer toiling on his/her epic novel may be happier—and possibly more successful—in the long run if he/she works at a bookstore during the day and writes at night.

What are your living expenses and conditions? Some people live in more expensive regions of country, where the costs of living are considerably higher. A citizen of San Francisco or New York, for example, is more likely to need a higher salary than someone living in Scranton, Ohio. Also, consider whether you eat out a lot, run up sizable bar tabs, get yourself into trouble with the law. The way you live your life determines to large extent how much money you need, which then determines what kind of career you should pursue.

So, should you pursue your passions or save for reality? It’s a complex question that can’t be answered with simple platitudes. Many people sit down financial in order to determine their options and create a personal finance game plan. Ultimately, it’s important to find a career that keeps you financially solvent while providing you with emotional, intellectual, and creative nourishment.

Post by Amanda