Quitting corporate and leaving a 6-figure salary

18 Replies

This is Year 2 for us and we are currently renovating our 2nd duplex with tenants lining up. I also just got my real estate license. I am a pharmacist with a great salary working in corporate (large pharma company) and I HATE. Yes H..A..T..E! Nothing interesting about climbing their corporate ladder, dealing with politics or the micro-managing in the company. I'm extremely unhappy. I fell in love with real estate after 10 years in pharma and I want out to continue my real estate career. Funny thing is that this shocks most RE people I talk to. I get responses like "I've never had a Dr change careers into RE" (my current broker)...and "why would you leave pharmaceuticals for this? There's money in pharma?" I just don't see my success as clearly working for "the man" vs building an RE empire. Anyone else out there that gave up their cushy 6-figure salary and career for the RE world??

I see where you are coming from. I'm an anesthetist and easily clear 6 figures. However, i am lucky that i enjoy my job. But i do envision the day where i cut back to 1-2 days a week of doing anesthesia and 1-2 days a week of real estate.

If you really do hate your job/career then i would recommend you step away. Keep your licensure though... You will be much more successful doing something that you love as opposed to doing something that you hate. Also, removing such a big negativity from your life will almost certainly enrich all other areas of your life. 

Best of luck on the journey

Thank you both for well wishes.  I haven't quit yet but am leaning toward cutting back to part time so I can focus the rest of my time on RE.  It just scares me to death to make that cut but I'm finding it very necessary.  I also just read a thread on here from a month ago, detailing a similar dilemma.  Helps to see others in the same boat.  Freedom and time seem to be the most common denominator.  Thanks again for the support!

I've always heard: "do what you love and the money will follow." Unless you need the benies I wouldn't continue doing something You dread every day. Life is too short! 

I compleatly undestand. While im no 6 figures I work in a Gentelmans club and want to move on. I love the ambulance (have my EMT) but its hard to walk away from the money. Someday it will happen

We just had a Pharma graduate marry into the immediate family. One young thing, at the family BBQ, blurted out, "his wife will never have to work again because she married a RICH guy".

As an aside he & I have talked at length about tackling his $250,000 student loan debt & the fact he married into yet another $35,000 of student loan debt & thousands more on her Credit Cards & a credit score below 520!!!  (So much for full disclosure before the Vows). While he is overwhelmed by the debt, his beautiful wife is blissfully oblivious!!!.

As an Engineer, fortunate enough to make a great all expenses paid income for many years, I called it quits @ 49 after accumulating a portfolio of properties that surpassed my W2 income. The (tax/free time) leverage of Passive income is a very powerful incentive.

You might consider being cautious about giving up your high paying W-2 job before you have a large rental portfolio that replaces your income. The W-2 salary can make it MUCH easier to get financing for more rentals, so you could build your "empire" exponentially faster if you kept your job for a while.

Maybe if you saw the job as a means to an important goal, and had maybe a 5 or 10 year plan in place with some light at the end of the tunnel, that would make it easier to tough it out?

As Jeff Copeland pointed out, I'm still working my day job simply because it makes it so much easier to get a loan for the next property with that W2 income, and of course the insurance. Now with that being said, I am also unhappy with my day job and look forward to the day I can pack it up and walk away and do something more fulfilling.

@Denise Pauzano I left a good 6 figure job last year to do REI full time. While it has been the best decision I ever made I also had set myself up for success.

  •  I had already established enough of a portfolio to pay our monthly expenses with my husband still working.  So our bases were covered there.
  • I had the financial ability to grow my portfolio to a point hit our goal.  So I had a plan in place and the means to do it.
  • W-2 income is gold so I made sure that without my job I could still get financing and grow our portfolio. 

I also did not hate my job, but I didn't love it.  I spent about 3 years doing both to get us to that point of quitting, so plan ahead but make sure you are in a good place to do it.  

@Denise Pauzano

Life is to short to work a job that you H.A.T.E just to make a living regardless of the income.  I would also ignore the opinions of others about your career choices.  They do not have to walk in your shoes.  It sounds like you found a passion in real estate investing.  I would use the H.A.T.E for your current job to motivate you to continue working PT on your real estate investing until you have it where it can sustain your expenses and liabilities.  Once you reach this point then you can afford to jump in full time and go for it. 

Are you married or in a relationship?  If you have a spouse who can help with paying your families expenses and liabilities, it might be possible to make the transition sooner than later.

I myself have taken the leap to full time real estate investing but I would not have been able to make the leap without my wife's great job as a consultant.

How is the job in terms of demands on your time?  

Is their a middle ground in your field where you might not get the same salary, but it would be flexible and tolerable?

While the goal would be to have real estate income replace your job income, being willing to lower your expenses will make a transition much easier for a couple reasons.  It lowers the amount of income you need to replace and it helps you build up a cushion if things don't go smoothly in the beginning.

Originally posted by @Denise Pauzano :
This is Year 2 for us and we are currently renovating our 2nd duplex with tenants lining up. I also just got my real estate license. I am a pharmacist with a great salary working in corporate (large pharma company) and I HATE. Yes H..A..T..E! Nothing interesting about climbing their corporate ladder, dealing with politics or the micro-managing in the company. I'm extremely unhappy. I fell in love with real estate after 10 years in pharma and I want out to continue my real estate career. Funny thing is that this shocks most RE people I talk to. I get responses like "I've never had a Dr change careers into RE" (my current broker)...and "why would you leave pharmaceuticals for this? There's money in pharma?" I just don't see my success as clearly working for "the man" vs building an RE empire. Anyone else out there that gave up their cushy 6-figure salary and career for the RE world??

Ok, I'll bite. I think you are mad even thinking giving up a 6 figure income to go into real estate, especially if you want to buy and hold.

The biggest problem all of us building portfolios that aren't based on 100% debt is having a sizable income in the first place.

Do not underestimate how much of an addiction buying property is, once you get past ten units you have it real bad, and then, that 6 figure income you walked away from didn't seem so bad after all.

I'm a buy to own investor, I deal cash, I work during the summers in a completely different field to pay for our addiction.

Wow...some great advice here! Everyone has great points and I'm trying to organize my plan now. I think many points made above will help me factor in what I need to do (ie, using my job to finance my goals). Yes I do have a husband who can help off set financial burden but I've been doing this job for so long that change scares the holy heck out of me ;).  As for real estate, I'm addicted at duplex number 2.  Haha!!  I love it...I love that I'm helping people...I'm housing families, I'm building an empire for my children...what's there not to love?!?!  Thanks everyone...your feedback and support are amazing. Glad I put it out there and starting my plan of attack now with some of your helpful advice.  Here goes....

I salute your courage and determination....It's not easy to leave 6-figure corporate job to jump into RE. I've been doing RE on side with my decent corporate job and considering to say 'good bye' to my corporate job. However, I find it extremely difficult to make such decision because - 

- I love RE but at the same time I don't hate my current job.  

- Also, I agree with other BP members i.e. my 6-figure W-2 job helped me a lot to get financing and expanding my portfolio.

- I don't have enough cash flow from my RE portfolio yet and it's not easy to absorb a big drop in income..

- My goal is to leave my corporate job by 2020 (assuming I would hit my RE goal by that time).... 

- Also, I learned that though I am a licensed Realtor, I don't want to be a typical agent and/or sales person. I love to work on investment properties and prefer to work with investors rather than with a new buyers- who doesn't even know what, when and where they want to buy.....

I wish you good luck.....and expect you to keep inspiring other members like me to take such tough decision......

Same boat but with cash sitting on the side lines.

I would not recommend being an agent. Played in RE 15 years ago as an agent and even did some loans. RE as a "worker" is not for everyone. Trust me on this one. Social club for many people who are riding the debt train. Mixers, socials, group showings, seminar after seminar - rah rah rah. Only a few money makers that everyone worships and the hype can be comical.

On the other hand, if you want to try your luck as a agent, Pharm is easy to get back into. It's in high demand. Don't forget the need for extended education, that is heavily impacted, gives you the opportunity to step away and always have a place for re-entry.

Everyone thinks RE is get rich quick with beach time and easy living. Look at your rentals... How many would it take for a 100k income with benefits? It's not all glory but it can happen. I know an old time buy and hold millionaire that makes it seem easy but he has over a hundred doors in a very high rental market and it took him many many years to get there. Get rich slow method.


All this REI talk sounds like the early 2000s - anyone agree? Do you have the gut for it? The time to get in was 4-5 years ago but what do I know... We still have a solid 5 years of the everyone wants to be an investor (10 year cycle of RE). History seems to always repeat itself. :-D

Good luck.

Can i ask what it is you hate about your job? You have a very valuable skill that's basically recession proof and must have been costly to obtain.

If it's the corp environment, have you thought about opening up your own place?

If it's the job itself, just have a plan. With that income, you should be able to build and transition quickly (with a clear plan and a little sacrifice).

This post is a year old, but I completely identify with the original post. I have a 6 figure job in pharmacy and hate it. I finally paid off my student loans late last year. What a relief! I have a decent size portfolio of rentals. I cash flow ok. I want to walk away from pharmacy so bad. I feel like I am mediocre at both jobs.  I have passion for RE. I never thought I would find a job that I would truly be passionate for. It is scary to walk away from the day job. It is not probably reversible if I do because they are pumping out new grad pharmacist exponentially.  I have this gut feeling that I will do well if I just make the leap.