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Thread: Life Advice from Racers?

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    Default Life Advice from Racers?

    Hi everyone,

    This is probably a pretty odd post but I thought Id give it a shot because I think it's a group of people in the specific category of people I admire. Many here have found a way to support racing or trackdays financially, and also have enough free time to enjoy it.

    I know I'm a new member, but for some car credibility, I've worked on cars inside and out, worked on a NASCAR West Grand National team, owned karts, and helped MANY people on the side of the road (it feels good to give something that comes so easy to you). So please take a few minutes to read and respond if possible from one car guy to another.

    Background: I'm now 27, graduated with a Mechanical Engineering degree from UC Berkeley (just barely), but ended up not doing anything with it. After college at 22, I left with a girl to a town where she got into medical school, and started my own small car dealership without actually having ever stepped foot into a real dealership even to buy a car. I actually did 'Ok' somehow.

    At 24, after the implosion of that relationship, I moved back to the San Francisco Bay Area and randomly stepped into a real car dealership and was offered a job. Instantly I was the best salesperson there.

    Fast forward a year later, and now 3 years later, and I was in the top 10 nationwide for sales for a luxury German brand (out of 2000+ salespeople). I worked 7 days a week every week, 12 hours a day, for about 2 years without a day off other than Christmas and Thanksgiving. I averaged $17.5k a month for the entire period. I saved virtually every dollar I made, because how do you spend money when you work everyday? I rented a cheap room in a house, which I only walked into to sleep. I spent more time with my local dry cleaner than the housemates at that place. I saved $200k in the bank in about 2.5 years.

    Then randomly in February, management chopped my pay plan by about $30k a year, and I walked out. Even after they offered to meet in the middle, I was too energized by the thought of free time, a new field, and a long desired vacation to Asia and Poland (I was born in Poland and moved to the US at 3yrs old).

    So I left, and flew out a few days later for a 2 month vacation. It was interesting. But being 'free' wasn't as amazing as I imagined.

    I've been back for 3 weeks now, and taking care of random odds and ends that develop in your life after ignoring it for 2-3 years. More realization that Ďfree timeí doesn't really feel all that great either.

    I know that I need to return to the workforce soon, but I can not for the life of me figure out what to really do with my life. I feel like I blew it somewhere. Working in luxury car sales, you see a lot of credit applications. And of course you see people extending themselves to buy the car. But then you also see the people making $30k+ a month all the way to just ridiculous levels a year. And I somehow can't figure out how to do that. I can't imagine what it would take to develop into that kind of person, and have the skills to manage a business that size, to make that kind of money, and have atleast 1 day off a week.

    Every job I look at, other than some sales talent I have to offer, is a long ways off from what I had even in car sales. While Im sure Medical Device salespeople make more than $200k, you canít just step into that like you can car sales. They're all specialized on a subject that I'm not really an expert on and honestly not passionate about. I've seen how car salespeople miss sales by not being passionate experts in cars like I am, and I don't want to be that guy in some other industry.

    I look at certain business opportunities, to start or to buy, but I've read enough business books to know that having just one skill set of a business is in no way a sign that you have the others. And I know how much I lack in certain key areas where I personally question my ability to grow a business through the stage when the owner is responsible for wearing many hats. I don't have the funds to skip that stage when the owner does almost everything.

    So now, this sad notion of "Well, maybe youre meant for the car business" is stuck in my head. I know that if I made a long term commitment to it, I could step up my performance even more and probably make $250k a year.

    But then I am resigning myself to a life of crazy hours, in exchange for what I suppose you can call 'good money' (if you ignore what many corporate professionals, doctors, lawyers, successful business owners make), yet never really being able to enjoy the time do get into motorsports, dirtbikes, standup jetskiing, travel, and many other things. And I'm completely ignoring the issue of raising a family because for good or bad I'm not interested in that at all at this point.

    I know this is going to sound like a pity-party of some sorts because I know I donít actually have any real problem at all, I get that... But I really want to figure out how to do more if possible, or maybe for someone to explain that Iím already doing a lot for how disfunctional I seem to be. Who knows.

    I'm asking for some life advice from people that somehow won the battle with work and life mix. I read a few posts here about racing costing people $30k+ a season and obviously many times even WAY more. And while I could afford that lower end budget if you ignore the time off, I feel like I would have to earn so much more to justify and enjoy spending $30k+ on pure pleasure. And as of right now I just don't know how to do that.

    If you were me, would you stick with the craziness of 80+ hours a week to make $200k+, start a business instead, buy a business, resign to $100k instead and just enjoy some free time, or would you tell me to stop complaining and figure out how to sell more and make 250k? I just don't know the point of it sometimes.

    I think I may have lost some focus on this crazy long post. So I'm going to end now, see if anyone even replies, and maybe add later.

    Thank you to anyone that took this thing seriously. I greatly appreciate it.

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    Senior Member robburgoon's Avatar
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    this forum too?

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    Well, wanted to get more opinions than one forum. Didnt expect that many to respond.

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    You can't have everything. You need to prioritize what you value, and start there. Asking other people what *they* would do is probably not going to help you decide what *you* need to do. Perhaps the questions you should be asking should be designed to help you figure out what you want now, and what you want later. It seems like you are not sure.

    Since you asked: if I were you I would sock away at least half of what I saved. Throw it into long term investment. I would use half of what remains on a down payment for a house. I would go back into car sales, but only work 5 days a week, 10 or 12 hour days. Using my income and whatever I have left over from those 2.5 years of work, I would enjoy my life as best possible: take vacations, do auto sports, etc. After working up some equity in the property, I would take out a loan against it and open my own dealership. I would hire the better people I've worked over the years with to do sales and admin. These decisions are based on my valuing quality free time and leisure over wealth.
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    Senior Member Johnny_Se7en's Avatar
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    What's more important to you, money or a life? Choose one, but use in moderation.
    If nothing happens and there is no one around why did it not happen?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Johnny_Se7en View Post
    What's more important to you, money or a life? Choose one, but use in moderation.
    While thats part of the question, its not all of it. I had an odd sort of enjoyable 'life' in the car business. I was there from morning to late night, but was surrounded by funny people, new customers, sometimes hot girl customers, cool guys in the shop, and whenever you wanted you could find someone to go out with that night for a beer and dinner. Also, you get enough ego boosts being really good at something to keep you going.

    It's the 'get away and forget it all' weekends that I missed. But I guess you can convince yourself you dont need those.

    I just wonder I'm not missing the obvious better industry or career.

    I wonder if maybe financial services isnt better.. similar or better money, with banking hours? Or tech sales.

    The more I write about this I feel like I need to do some quick research and just decide. Car sales treats me well, so unless I think I can pull of something similar in another industry Im just day dreaming.
    Last edited by rickr84; 05-05-2012 at 12:55 AM.

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    Senior Member fatbillybob's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rickr84 View Post
    I had an odd sort of enjoyable 'life' in the car business. I was there from morning to late night, but was surrounded by funny people, new customers, sometimes hot girl customers, cool guys in the shop, and whenever you wanted you could find someone to go out with that night for a beer and dinner. Also, you get enough ego boosts being really good at something to keep you going.
    Don't confuse "job satisfaction" with "life satisfaction". Job is a subset of life.
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    Senior Member robburgoon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fatbillybob View Post
    Don't confuse "job satisfaction" with "life satisfaction". Job is a subset of life.
    Works both ways too. If you love your 24x7 job and enjoy your life, that may be all you need.

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    Money is very important to you, but you don't know how to or enjoy spending it. You're bent.
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    You're a little young to be having a midlife crisis, and not to be overtly nihilistic, but here is one thing I've figured out: Human life is absolutely pointless until you provide it with one. But no one can do it for you.

    There have been many books written about "finding yourself," which seems to me to be what you're trying to do. Joseph Campbell wrote that you should "follow your bliss and doors will open where you never knew they existed." And, that if you follow your bliss, the money will come.

    Example, in Southern California, there is a chain of high-end German car dealerships called Rusnak. Mr. Rusnak started as a lot boy. Now he owns about five stores. My guess is Mr. Rusnak followed his bliss.

    But I worked in car dealerships for 10 years (in parts and service) before and while getting my bachelor's, and nowhere have I seen greater turnover than in car sales. Car sales is retail. Retail means weekends, and weekends are when people go racing. No getting around it.

    If you want to race, there are ways for good salespeople to climb the ladder and get their own stores. I have seen that happen. When you get to that point, you can take a weekend or two off a month to race and you'll be able to afford it. Sticker up your car and trailer right and you'll be able to deduct some of the expense.

    Judging from the books I have read on wealth, the only true way to get there is to own your own business.

    All the while, keep in mind the wisdom of John Lennon: "Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans."

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    While I think doing well and accumulating wealth is important in your early years, you are only young once. I think its important to enjoy your youth by travelling, indulging in hobbies, and having wild and crazy experiences while you still can. Life is too short to spend all of your time working unless that is really what you want to do. I agree with UFCBrett on the only way to be truly wealthy and independent is to own your own business.

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    Quote Originally Posted by madant15 View Post
    While I think doing well and accumulating wealth is important in your early years, you are only young once. I think its important to enjoy your youth by travelling, indulging in hobbies, and having wild and crazy experiences while you still can. Life is too short to spend all of your time working unless that is really what you want to do. I agree with UFCBrett on the only way to be truly wealthy and independent is to own your own business.
    I think it is also possible to get rich working on commission. And CEOs of big corporations don't own the businesses (maybe some stock, but not a controlling interest) and they can make multi-million dollar annual salaries and bonuses. Same is true with bonuses made by Wall Street investment bankers, even after the crash. But even at very high salaries, expenditures rise to meet income.

    I'm not an entrepreneur by nature, nor am I a big risk taker when it comes to money. So I satisfy myself with the salary I earn working for an entrepreneur. Working 7 days a week at something you don't enjoy tremendously is a recipe for unhappiness. You need a hobby you really enjoy, or why are you making all that money anyway? Doesn't matter whether it's racing, golf, travelling, bird watching, or whore mongering. You got to live life until you die.

    I'm not young and I endulge in my car racing hobby. At some race events, there are guys in their 80s racing Formula Fords and such.
    Last edited by Richard EVO; 05-05-2012 at 01:00 PM.
    The deposed former Sheriff of trackHQ . . .

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    Quote Originally Posted by Richard EVO View Post
    I think it is also possible to get rich working on commission. And CEOs of big corporations don't own the businesses (maybe some stock, but not a controlling interest) and they can make multi-million dollar annual salaries and bonuses. Same is true with bonuses made by Wall Street investment bankers, even after the crash. But even at very high salaries, expenditures rise to meet income.

    I'm not an entrepreneur by nature, nor am I a big risk taker when it comes to money. So I satisfy myself with the salary I earn working for an entrepreneur. Working 7 days a week at something you don't enjoy tremendously is a recipe for unhappiness. You need a hobby you really enjoy, or why are you making all that money anyway? Doesn't matter whether it's racing, golf, travelling, bird watching, or whore mongering. You got to live life until you die.

    I'm not young and I endulge in my car racing hobby. At some race events, there are guys in their 80s racing Formula Fords and such.
    What I was getting at is that it is important to enjoy your life all of the way through, not just when you are older and have accumulated a great deal of wealth.

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    Senior Member bellwilliam's Avatar
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    The famous saying

    "Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life...."
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    Senior Member 0.o slow 1.6's Avatar
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    Also another saying. "**** it"
    Milkshake!!!!!!!!!!!!

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    Senior Member bellwilliam's Avatar
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    op: you are over thinking it. my advice: Just do it...

    stop finding excuse of things you want to do.

    in their 20s, "wait till I have money"
    in their 30s, "wait till I save up for a house"
    in their 40s, "wait till kids are grown up"
    in their 50s, "wait till I retire"
    in their 60s, "wait till I get healthier"
    in their 70s, "wait till I die"

    you never get anything done if you keep waiting...

    Make sure you do it within your mean. No, you can't race Daytona if you are making $100k a year, but you can race Spec Miata. No, you can't race Spec Miata if you make $40k a year, but you can run in Miata Challenge. You might need to eat ramen every day to save up, but if that's what it takes...
    Supermiata S1, SuperMiata S2, Supermiata S3
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    Senior Member VagaXt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bellwilliam View Post
    op: you are over thinking it. my advice: Just do it...

    stop finding excuse of things you want to do.

    in their 20s, "wait till I have money"
    in their 30s, "wait till I save up for a house"
    in their 40s, "wait till kids are grown up"
    in their 50s, "wait till I retire"
    in their 60s, "wait till I get healthier"
    in their 70s, "wait till I die"

    you never get anything done if you keep waiting...

    Make sure you do it within your mean. No, you can't race Daytona if you are making $100k a year, but you can race Spec Miata. No, you can't race Spec Miata if you make $40k a year, but you can run in Miata Challenge. You might need to eat ramen every day to save up, but if that's what it takes...
    Funny you say that, William. I like my ramen.
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    Quote Originally Posted by bellwilliam View Post
    The famous saying

    "Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life...."
    I have gotten to know William well over the past few years. He would be a great mentor to you on life balance, making good money, investing smartly, succeeding at work and play, and enjoying your life.

    Oli
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    To the right of The Sheriff. Isn't everyone?

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    “When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down ‘happy’. They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life.”
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    Quote Originally Posted by Olitho View Post
    I have gotten to know William well over the past few years. He would be a great mentor to you on life balance, making good money, investing smartly, succeeding at work and play, and enjoying your life.

    Oli
    But he could still stand to improve his English.
    The deposed former Sheriff of trackHQ . . .

    2006 Porsche 997 Carerra Coupe 6-MT - daily driver
    1992 Honda (Acura) NSX 5-MT - classic investment I couldn't resist and occasionally drive
    2004 Honda S2000 AP2 6-MT - track day car
    2006 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX MR 6-MT - when I need a backseat, 4-doors, or a real trunk, and still want to haul ass . . .

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