Analysis Paralysis: Damaging Your Net Worth and Future

We’ve been writing too much. The blog grew far too quickly and we’re receiving low quality questions that are being deleted at lightning speeds. Not a good sign. While many of the questions appear to be good from the perspective of the reader, they fall under the same umbrella: Analysis Paralysis. This is a function of asking questions when: 1) they have no other options, 2) are not even in the situation they are describing and 3) are looking for a short cut to making money. All of these questions go straight into spam.

1) Examples of Low Quality Analysis Questions

2) How to Avoid Paralysis with the 90/10 Rule

3) Most People Shouldn’t Read This Blog

4) Why You Should Think in Terms of a 2-4 Year Plan

5) You Will Only Succeed When You Have Specific Differentiation

“Analysis Paralysis. Over-analyzing or over thinking a situation so that a decision or action is never taken.”

Examples of Low Quality Analysis Questions

This is going to be an extremely easy section to write. We are simply going to pull terrible questions from the spam section and show why the person either 1) didn’t bother to do low level research or 2) is trapped in his own mind thinking of scenarios that do not exist.

Will Investment Banking be Automated? Anyone who thinks this is an imbecile. Plain and simple. Investment banking has nothing to do with trading stocks or investing. It has to do with transactions. You are a salesman. Unless you believe that interpersonal relationships will be automated (they won’t) then investment banking is going to stay for a long time.

When you buy a home, you hire a real estate agent. When you sell a company you hire an investment banker to negotiate the sale/purchase. Reiteration. It is a sales position and unrelated to “picking stocks”… a common term used by regular people.

This is an example of a terrible question. The reader doesn’t even know what investment banking is. The information is free and if they cannot find out how the business works with a Google search… they certainly won’t survive in the hyper competitive industry.

Should I Take XYZ Job? If it is a job and not a career the answer is always no. The only time you take a job is is if you are forced to *or* it can be leveraged into an actual career in the future. Secondly, if you don’t have anything else on the table… You cannot ask this question. Without multiple job/career offers there is no point in having a discussion anyway. Nothing has happened! This is a waste of brain cells since the decision was made for you already. If you need income and have no other offers… You have to say yes. If you are concurrently interviewing with other firms, the answer is to delay acceptance.

In short, this question is wasting valuable brain cells. If you only have one option, you’re forced into saying yes.

What Are My Chances of Making $X? We don’t know. No one knows. If you cared about maximizing your chances you would simply try your best out of the gate and see what happens. This does not mean you spam everyone you know for career/business opportunities. It means you do the requisite research (about 1 month) then present the “best you” at the time to hundreds of firms.

This question is typically asked by people who have taken no action. If you did the research on what you’re trying to accomplish you would already know how to best represent yourself. If you know how to best approach the situation… All you have to do is try at that point.

What is More Important Game/Looks/Money/Status? Another terrible question that we constantly delete. There is no saving these types of people. The best you can do is hold one item *constant* and try to make observations based on your personal experience.

It is simply silly. An extremely good looking person or a person with a position of extremely high status (DJ, promoter, professional sports player etc.) does not need as much “game” or as much “money” to compete. This is not even worth talking about. The goal is to maximize your potential. Not argue with broke people on the internet who can’t even make $100K+/year.

The more important question is this: how do you maximize all four? That’s what this blog is about when it comes to life advice.

In short:

1) Looks improve until at least 35 as long as you stay in shape (learn basic fashion, hit the gym)

2) You have more energy in your 20s. If your looks are going to improve the obvious answer is to focus on money and status.

3) Now that you’re focusing on money and status which skills are the most valuable? Easy. Sales and networking. Sales and networking = same thing as “game” which is just sales. (You selling yourself)

4) Put it all together. You work on sales and networking. This improves your career and business. This also improves your general social skills with women. This leads to a bigger social circle (status) and leads to more money (leveraging your time). Now you’re in your 30s and you’re worth over $1M and don’t have to worry about anything.

Alternatively. You can do what everyone else does. Try to maintain their college circle of friends (temporary status) and get drunk 3 days a week. Work a dead end job that pays a salary until 30. Look around as their college girlfriends all go for guys 4-10 years older than they are (usually around the age of 25-26). Spend their mid-thirties chasing money while the smart guys relax and have fun.

Takeaways: This is probably the most negative section we have written in over 3 months. It needed to be done. These questions are simply terrible. Expecting to get ahead of the pack by doing what everyone else is doing… simply won’t work. Build the framework of how life works and weight your time appropriately. If you do this correctly you’re going to be flying down the runway like a drag car racer. If you do it incorrectly, you’ll be watching in the stadium.

How to Avoid Paralysis with the 90/10 Rule

Now we’re onto the more positive and fun items. As we stated at the beginning, we have been writing too much. Why? We’re getting overtaken by questions from people looking for “hand holding”. The best way to avoid the hand holding trap is to simply find a way to improve yourself.

Most people focus on the gym as their bread and butter way to start improving. This is not the right move (not surprising since it’s what everyone says to do first!). Being in shape is like brushing your teeth. It is not something to brag about or even consider as an accomplishment. Use this as a strong filter for being surrounded by guys who won’t go anywhere in their lives.

Your first course of action? Find a high income by leveraging your intelligence.

How do you find your skills? Try at least 10 different types of career paths until you hit the jackpot. You’ll know you’re generally good at it when 1) other people tell you you’re good and 2) you find the work to be 80% enjoyable (~20% of every single industry is dealing with nonsense)

Wall Street Example: Lets say you are reading this for Wall Street information. Based on your peer group, you want to go into investment banking. Is this really the right move? We don’t know you, so we can’t answer yes or no. What is the point of investment banking? It is to develop long standing relationships, learn how to sell and think strategically. It is not about creating excel sheets all day. That is the mundane portion of the job that you will eventually outsource when you begin generating revenue for the firm.

Situation 1:  Lets say you’re working an investment banking internship but find that your short term interpersonal skills *significantly* outweigh your ability to look at a landscape slide and find M&A targets. The answer is obvious. Go into institutional sales instead. Why? If you’re not able to correctly understand a landscape and the subsequent strategic plays, over the long-term you’re not going to make a great investment banker. You will likely make a great institutional salesman and you will still clear well over $500K a year in short order (early 30s).

Situation 2: During your same internship you realize that you’re quite good at predicting which M&A deals will fall apart or get bid up. Congrats. You should probably go into investment banking for 2 years and immediately jump into a Merger Arb Hedge Fund. Why? Even though your skills are good in terms of analyzing deals, if you’re able to synthesize the transaction quickly there is *much* more money in the merger arb field than there is as an investment banker. Practice what you preach and jump in year two.

We could go on and on about this (if you’re better at understanding how to run a book you’re better off at a L/S hedge fund or in Equity Research etc.). The point is the same. If you’re reading this blog for information on Wall Street you should do the much more important task of finding what section you should work in first. This is going to pay back millions of dollars versus the $250K a typical associate will make. Spend 90% of your time finding your skills, spend 10% of your time looking at what niche you should jump into .

Business Example: Many of our readers have triangulated how much money we’re making online (yes we deleted your comments!). The bigger issue is this. Seeing numbers from someone else has nothing to do with what you are currently building.

We get other terrible questions such as “when should I buy traffic” where the answer is always the same “now and see if it works”. We have no idea where a person is in terms of their company so it creates more wasted time. You should spend 1 month doing basic research then… try before you ask.

Paid Traffic: Using the above question as a piggy back, you should always try to buy traffic first. This means you do all of the necessary research, target your niche and start out with a few thousand dollars in spending. You’re never going to “know” if it will work from day one. This is simply not possible (hence the word risk). Once you have tried at least 2-3 times you can start asking questions about the next steps.

Good questions include: 1) did you target the right group at the right time of day?, 2) did you go through the correct traffic avenue?, 3) were your copy writing skills up to par?, 4) did you choose the right distribution avenue to maximize margins?, 5) were you being outbid due to a traffic arbitrage by a competitor?

Until you have at least tried to buy traffic, there is no point in asking any questions in the first place.

Takeaways: Keeping the section short and sweet. The point is simple. Try everything after you have done the necessary research (research takes ~1 month). Simply find trusted sources (never mainstream) and then go with your gut and logic. Once you’re rolling it should be a simple game of making tweaks and focusing 90% of your time on doing versus learning

Most People Shouldn’t Read This Blog

This blog is not meant for most people. The harsh reality is that 50%+ of our current readership probably shouldn’t even read this blog. Why? This blog is niche. Focused on life advice for people involved in business sales and Wall Street. That is it. If you’re not operating a profitable business (draw the line at $200K+) and you’re not working on Wall Street (draw the line at $200K+) the information here is not going to be helpful unless that’s the career and business path you want.

If someone is reading this blog along with 3-4 other blogs on a weekly basis, they should probably shut this one down forever. We don’t need the traffic since the blog is set up to have product recommendations offset hosting costs. If we wanted to increase traffic we would have “joined forces” (power rangers comment from one of the readers who shouldn’t read our blog) with other bloggers. Of course we didn’t.

Why are we recommending that over half our readership leave and never come back?

See “Analysis Paralysis” again. While it’s great to see readership grow, it is not fair to recommend reading a site that is not going to give information tailored to their interests.

If you’re obtaining information from more than 2-3 sources on a weekly basis you’re already losing steam. You should only have one *maybe* two blogs that you read on a once per month rotation. Otherwise you’re going to read a muddled mess of ideas and beliefs that won’t help you at all.

Finally, an online resource is probably worth 5% compared to an in person resource. You’re going to make a lot more money and a lot more friends by having a real social network instead of a fake social network on the internet. How do we know? Look at the lives of the online social network. The lives of people who live primarily on social media, forums etc. *never improve*. If you’re the same person this year as you were last year. That’s a dead giveaway to shut down resources.

Takeaways: Avoid Analysis Paralysis by reading at maximum twice per month. Do this online with a few select resources (we’re drawing the line at two). No more than 35 minutes of your time should be spent reading online resources on a month to month basis.

Why You Should Think in Terms of a 2-4 Year Plan

All of the advice here really ties in together. If you’re spending 90% of your time taking action then you’re not going to have much time to loiter around on the internet. This will cause you to think on your feet and problem solve without going to internet websites or forums to find the “perfect” solution. You only visit online resources when solving a legitimate specific problem that you are running into.

The crux of 2-4 year plans is simple. Think backward.

Lets say your goal is to increase your net worth by $240K. That is a sizable chunk of money and is going to require a lot of work if you’re new. Do your best to think backward to the savings rate and your income growth.

In a linear fashion you need to put away $80K per year. Knowing that income is non-linear, you’re probably looking at something closer to $30K, $70K, $140K. Why is this important? It is important because $30K on a glance looks like an extremely easy hurdle. Instead of worrying about how you’re going to get to $140K in year three… you know that you need to throw *at least* $30K into the bank in year one to have a fighting chance in a performance based role.

Performance based income generating $30K is going to give you an idea of what works and what doesn’t. You’re going to learn basic tricks without even reading a book. You’ll learn through experience that phone calls 4+ with the same client have next to no chance of converting relative to phone calls two and three. You adjust your game plan. The next year you’re spending more time chasing down *quicker* sales than “long-term sales” since you learned in year one that phone calls 3 and 4 are a waste of time.

Quick pause.

Now you can do the basic math to see why going from $30K to $70K is no longer a huge hurdle. You spent 2x as much time (calling over 4 times) to generate $30K in extra savings/net worth. Knowing that calls 3 and 4 are worthless you have cut your working hours in half.

Since you intend on increasing your income, you’re going to chase more leads up until phone call number two. A doubling of income is certainly on the horizon.

Alternatively, from a career perspective… you should think in the same fashion.

Is a 10-20% uptick in compensation worth the risk of destroying long-term relationships? The answer is generally no. The only time you jump ship is for a 40-50% change, not a 10-20% change. If you’re in good standing with a firm and you’re leaving for 10-20% you’ve blown yourself up.

Takeaways: To boil the examples down: 1) businesses should be managed mentally from a year to year basis upfront instead of a 10 year plan because there is minimal history to suggest trends and 2) careers should be managed from a medium-term perspective since everyone else is jumping ship for 10-20% moves on a 1 year time horizon. In short, 1 year plans and 5-10 years plans simply don’t work.

You Will Only Succeed When You Have Specific Differentiation

Ah, yes. The final reason why “Analysis Paralysis” is ruining your net worth and future. The only way to increase your income materially is to have a competitive advantage.

We get a lot of emails asking what “exactly” we’re doing (all deleted) and for specific “resource tips” (all deleted). The answer is always the same. We recommend very few products and all of them are good. Beyond that, the only resource tip we can give is to make mistakes.

No one in their right mind is going to give away trade secrets or any form of creative competitive advantage. You don’t build up a company or a career over 10+ years just to hand it to someone else who has contributed $0 to your bottom line. It simply doesn’t work that way.

How does it actually work? It works like this.

You pick up a few resources on the topic you are interested in (Sales, Wall Street etc.). You learn the basics on what to avoid. Avoidance is the only thing a resource has to offer you for free. It will prevent you from making bone headed mistakes that will cost you materially down the line. It is equivalent to learning how to swing a golf club correctly. After that… It is up to you (90/10 again!).

You can ask for a review of your golf swing once every month or so when you’re seeing minimal improvements. But. No one is actually going to swing the club for you. Once you’re good at swinging the club, you find nuanced strokes that work better for you in specific situations. That is where you go from decent to good.

A business and a career are both the same.

You avoid the blow up mistakes (incorrect company formation, incorrect politics, incorrect beliefs on what drives revenue) then you search for differentiation. So long as someone can copy you verbatim, you’re already behind the game!

Takeaways: You will gain traction once you find legitimate differentiation. This usually takes several years and you’re not going to learn differentiation from any book, seminar or website. You learn it the hard way (by doing). This website is set up in a similar fashion. We now provide detailed explanations of why you do XYZ instead of ZYX. It is up to the reader to decide if it makes sense or not.

Concluding Remarks

Keeping it short as this post was written during a long international flight and likely has many typos. Below are the bullets

– Do not ask questions based on fake scenarios. This is a waste of time and your brain cells can be put to better use by improving your current scenarios instead of imaginary analysis

– If you do not have options you do not have questions. This is similar to negotiations. If you don’t have a competing bid there is no reason for them to move up to your ask.

– Hate to say it. But. Based on analytics, most people shouldn’t be reading this blog. It is a niche website and if you’re reading this blog along with blogs that are unrelated to it, you’re probably best reading the unrelated websites. There is too much conflicting information to draw up a good mosaic for yourself.

(on a more positive side note, reading comments from Stealthy1Percenter, REGuy and Recent Graduate, should help decide if this place is good for you. If you disagree with these three, you’re better off leaving since we agree with these three contributors the most)

– Instead of thinking deep into the future (what most people do) think backward. Create the game plan and think backward to today and let the flow of improvement carry you forward.

– You will gain traction once you are differentiated. When people begin copying you or trying to copy you… You’ve won. In addition, if people cannot figure you out… You’ve also won. You’ve transcended their sphere of logic or “their world view”.

On that note back to 90/10 and we’ll decrease our post count from once a week to once every 10-14 days or so (barring special events).

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Updated for 2017 and beyond.

Comments

  1. Post says

    Awesome post and one definitely needed from my end.

    Got a solid LOL from :

    ” “joined forces” (power rangers comment from one of the readers who shouldn’t read our blog) ”

    Thanks!

  2. Brutal post says

    After the hiatus last week had a feeling a post like this was coming, you guys were overdue.

    50%+ is likely an exaggeration, yet the point does hit home. If someone is asking questions about where they should begin, they are usually a lost cause since all of that information is available here. If they aren’t interested in internet sales (obviously what you guys are doing) or Wall Street, then not much of it will be of value to them.

    Honestly, the most actionable piece of advice was in the bullets. Did this myself and didn’t realize until much later how smart it was. Find what you’re good at first then worry about maximizing your body and social skills second. It really makes a huge difference. Knowing how to increase your bench press by 20lbs is not going to make you much happier compared to knowing you and all of your loved ones don’t have to worry about their health (which you guys stress a lot).

    As usual good content, brutal post this time.

    • Wall Street Playboys says

      Ha! Figured we’d get called out on the exaggeration.

      Agree health is first. Always will be. Money buys the best healthcare. This is why you need to make your money without trading time for it.

  3. Tying together says

    Again, great post.

    On the hypothetical situation of making 240K – you write:

    “In a linear fashion you need to put away $80K per year. Knowing that income is non-linear, you’re probably looking at something closer to $30K, $70K, $140K. ”

    How does this tie to your previous post about not thinking incrementally in terms of revenue – ie. not just picturing the 240K as the “main event”?

    Thanks again.

    • Sean says

      To save WSPs time, the point is given in their post.

      You find ways to leverage your time, the sales example is a great one. You become more efficient so your net worth growth is not linear or incremental. It is actually exponential when you look at the math.

  4. James Strikes Again says

    I made a profile with personal capital. Got all the cash,investments,and debt tied up on the account. Love it. Thx guys

  5. Good Looking No Game says

    Alright, well, this is a question I think I know what you’ll say to, but I would like some advice.

    I’m 22, I learned a 7 figure business (had my first $100k+ month last month) thanks to my best friend.

    So my friend mentioned above and also one of my other friends have pretty much the same business. They both want to party more than I do. I just want to dig down deep and work on this for 16 hours a day, but it’s extremely hard when your 2 influences (I dont have too many friends down here) want to work like 4-5 hours, make great money, but possibly miss the opportunity. I mean we could work like 4 hours and still easily pull $400k if this last another year. This type of business has been around for 8 years, and so far it seems like it’s not going anywhere…but I know what happens to opportunities like these.

    Who knows how long the circumstances will last for this business. Today I made around $15k. It’s really sick.

    How do you recommend improving willpower/motivation to do those 16 hours when NO ONE else you know is doing them while you have the money and the freedom to do whatever you want? Like I currently want to go out and game fri/sat night as I don’t have any regular girls that are hot enough, but I stopped b/c it fucks up the business.

    Currently I have $250-300kish before taxes (i’ll only pay 25% tho). I think it would be stupid to spend time with girls or do anything else while I have this opportunity to make 1 million before i’m 23, but it’s hard not to work less when my only 2 influences want to work as little as possible while still banking. I find it REALLY hard. I work more than both of them, but still. If you were me you would be working 20 hours a day for a whole year I bet.

    Advice?

    • Wall Street Playboys says

      Get the money first. Opportunities like that can go away.

      If you had a million already you could relax more but throwing away a million dollars for dating is pure lunacy at your age.

      Once you get a million it goes like this:
      1) party too much (drugs etc.)
      2) hit the wall and realize it’s all the same
      3) get back to building business
      4) hit balance where your business grows and you go out for fun so long as business is growing

      • says

        Fat 25% bodyfat Asian guy from the other recent post checking in.

        I’m the guy that trained Good Looking No Game/our friend with the same biz. What we do is basically high volume sales, its not really a true business because we ARE the business.

        Though he believes the window is closing, and its true that each year it gets progressively harder.

        Also, update on the fitness stuff since last time you recommended me to prioritize weight loss:

        Here is a text I sent my friend recently:

        “I just did the exact math earlier today. i gained approximately 30-35 pounds of fat and about 25-30 pounds of muscle in the past 2 years based on how my body fat % and weight changed
        gained like 55+ pounds since march 14th 2013
        used to be a lot smaller and a lot leaner
        only grew maybe one inch during that time”

        I got off the mild roids (anavar) after only one month cause I didnt want to get any bigger. So far its been a few days and I noticed much lower sex drive and a more level mood.

        Stopped taking fat burners (clearly can’t possibly be good for health, caused mood swings)

        Started focusing more on meditation (I have low willpower/high anxiety/stress)

        And decided to make a 1 year goal of losing 40 pounds in the next 12 months (3.33 pounds per month which is very modest/achievable)

        I’m using myfitnesspal to track everything I eat, has already caused me to become less of a fatass because I see the cold hard numbers of what I’m eating.

        Will post a follow up a year later hopefully with better stats, hopefully a relatively lean/big 15% 190lbs

    • RE Guy says

      First, WSP thanks for including me in the article.

      Now GLNG,

      Here’ the tough love. You’re complaining that “you don’t have friends down here” and that your “influences” don’t want to work. You have the opportunities of a (very very lucky) man but you’re making decisions like a child.

      You should be the biggest influence on what you do. That’s it.

      I know people who have grinded that hard (including myself) and none made a mil/year at 22-23.

      You can easily invest just that one year’s income into a NNN property and be set for life if you want (Alternatively sign up for Personal Capital and let them handle it, you are on a Wall Street Blog after all).

      Just buy a Walgreens (or some other extremely low risk NNN). I’m assuming you’re declaring this income so you shouldn’t have a problem.

      You don’t even have to negotiate, just call a commercial real estate broker and say “I’ll take one Walgreens”.

      I’m kidding, don’t be so cavalier about it, get a good deal, but you can buy a place with leverage and get a much better cash on cash return. From there you’re getting a fat payout plus building equity year after year.

      Then go back to your job and subtract the income from your investments and work enough to make 1m/y again (maybe that’s 8-12 hours). At that point you can go out a bit, right?

      Rinse and repeat for the next few years… and you’ll be retired in your mid twenties making 1m/y, probably traveling around the world banging models for the next couple of decades (send me a postcard).

      Or as WSP said, you might just wind up doing a bunch of drugs once you’re there.

      Alright that sounded ridiculous, hopefully that influence puts things in perspective.

      Further if you really don’t like that:

      Would you like me to send someone your way who will work that additional 12 hrs and you give them 1/2 the additional pay (300k), and you can go and sow your wild oats making 700k?

      Can they be trained quickly, what are the qualifications?

      I’m half serious, but why don’t you just do that (if you really can’t take the work, which I think you can because it’s worth it)? And of course if you hired someone I would think you could get away with paying them a lot less. And is there literally no part of this you could delegate?

      • Good Looking No Game says

        Thanks for the response RE. You’re totally right. It’s my responsibility. Everyday I think about how there are people working 20 hours a day on wall street or in the Navy Seals and are exerting 50x more energy than I do.

        Problem with finding someone? I am worried about them just ripping my business. I can’t imagine teaching someone the whole business, and have them not want to leave and rip it to make 7 figures for themselves.

        I could hide part of my business – which is probably the best idea. I posted a few jobs on craigslist and my college FB page for an assistant, but the applicants were TERRIBLE. I was even paying them well ($12-18/hr…that’s pretty good in TX without a degree)

        I guess part of why I don’t hustle too hard is I went down an anti-materialism path for a while right before this. I gave up making money, chasing girls, etc… lol. I went to India and lived in the mountains a lone for a couple months then became a school teacher in the inner city. Then 1 month later i’m doing some stuff on the internet which isn’t providing people much value… Other than making me tons of $$$. I do work everyday, 7 days a week, but not nearly enough as I could be.

        Ah, well I’ll stop typing. If I wasn’t me, and read this I would want to punch the person in the face for complaining about not working 16 hours while running a 7 figure income business at 22. Obviously retarded. I just need to get to work and find the leverage and take action.

      • Wall Street Playboys says

        Ha off topic but if you’re working more than 40-50 hours a week on Wall Street you’re definitely not generating any revenue and don’t matter. 20 hour days is pure lies.

        It’s terrible from ages 22-27. But. After that it gets much easier.

      • RE Guy says

        Came back here to see if you responded. Doing the same thing WSP talked about, going after my goals (these days those include lower bf% and learning salsa/Spanish (Also, practicing Spanish with the woman who does my laundry and cleans my house, never thought of doing that for all these years until this blog and “How to pick up a sexy Latina”)).

        What you said about learning the business is true. Someone working for you for 2-3 years learning your system from top to bottom and exiting with your client list is one of the worst things that can happen to you (and I know people personally that this has happened too, it’s not pretty). So yes, don’t give them the whole model, in fact I would say keep that rule for your business forever unless you are purposely training a successor whom you are giving an equity share in the business (thus no need for them to leave and make their own).

        However it’s on you to figure out what can be safely delegated and what can’t.

        Further you have a 1/m a year business and you’re offering 12-18/hr for help? Why would you put yourself through that hassle. I’ve hired 10/hr people before. The cost of my time and energy to train them is enormous, not to mention the cost of mistakes they make. Better to figure out what the most is you can spend (hint: For you 30/hr-40/hr should be no problem. That would be sure to attract some talent) and then offer that. Hire well, it’s less headaches in the long run even if it seems more expensive up front.

        Finally I’m glad you took my comment seriously. You’ve got a bang up opportunity and if I was your age with that, I would hope someone would set me straight. I’d say good luck but you’ve already got everything you need.

      • RE Guy says

        Sorry for the double post but one last point:

        Why not sign up for Personal Capital and let them (help) pay for your assistant?

        You mentioned having 400k. Well there is no chance for you to spend it in the coming year, so have some money managers invest it wisely and get 30k-40k back or more (I assume they’ll be able to at least give you 7.5% – 10% on your money after their spread, perhaps more).

        Then when you do have a new investment vehicle come along that does better for you or offers other advantages (like NNN properties or something else), just take the money out and place it there. You just keep the whatever money you’re making in management until you have a chance for another big move.

      • Wall Street Playboys says

        Ahh he’s gonna be fine.

        He’s smart so he’ll keep his head down for at least a year and then when he feels comfortable he will relax like his buddies.

        Feels good to be elitist ; )

  6. dsaofj says

    Also this blog is pretty useful for silicon valley guys who want to do future start ups. Or just understanding the general landscape.

  7. Rami says

    This Blog is not useful at all for me. I am not in Sales or Invesment Banking or any Business related field. I am not even living in the state.
    The only ideas I introduced in my life from this Blog was the workout plan and getting another odd job to work 60+ hours a week.Thats pretty much it.

    I guess IGonalo40

    • Wall Street Playboys says

      Probably doesn’t make sense to read in that case. If not interested in scaling a company or the Street should look elsewhere since the lifestyles and world views won’t allign at all.

  8. NewGrad says

    I just finished university today… You’ve got a ton of good advice here, but this was perfectly timed… It’s time to say goodbye, but you guys truly know your stuff and I definitely got a lot of value out of your posts (with some tough love thrown in there). Maybe I’ll track you down to say thanks after the first milli… All the best.

    • Wall Street Playboys says

      Good luck!

      The blog is specifically for people in their mid-20s Wall Street/sales focused so it doesn’t make much sense to read a lot until you’re gaining traction. Which you will!

  9. Zoloo says

    I am in pain. Have to stop reading too much. Stopping cluttering mind, and limiting reading blogs.

    Finally understood that the Action is the most important thing.

    Wanted to start stand-up. Tried it. With each gig, learnt something new. Didn’t read any how to’s, but what to avoid. And it was enough to make it.

    Thank you very much!

  10. A says

    Can I ask you guys regarding the low analyst association conversion rate; do most of them quit and move into P/E / Hedge Funds / other good careers or do they get fired ?

    • Wall Street Playboys says

      Bulge brackets = most go buyside
      Mid tier firms = many go to b-school (were not given the okay for promotion) or go into industry. Also may go to small Buyside shops.

      In a bull market about 5% are fired (minimal). So not many. In a bear market closer to 30%.

      Worry less about being fired and focus on getting promoted/to the Buyside.

      Three years of pain, twenty years of success. Easy decision to make. Choose three years of pain.

  11. salesStudent says

    You guys say to learn copywriting and sales, yet in your approved products list and in book recommendations (reading “How to Get Rich” by Felix Dennis – great book thanks) you did not recommend any good books that teach copywriting and sales. Could you recommend anything?

  12. mid20s says

    I am not sure I agree with some of your points. This is the only blog I am reading outside of industry news. I am not in Wall Street and I don’t have 6 figure business yet.

    However, based on what you write I have seen tremendous improvements in a lot of things, especially in a) aggressiveness to go after goals and b) decision making optimization.

    My guess is that this will start showing in my bank account too in the following 1-2 months.

    The amount of commenters saying they will indeed leave is ludicrous lol. Goal achieved I guess!

    See you in 10-14 days.

  13. Jan says

    I think you guys are underselling the blog. Anyone can get useful information on life out of it. You just have to stop reading the stuff that is unrelated to you. For example I just skip pretty much everything about Wall Street since I never plan to go there.

    But the general life advice is still worth gold. The general framework to life and the approach to the twenties are literally a wake up call. Looking at the other average people around you at university you don’t even realize you are already far behind.
    Without this blog I would have never even started the catch-up phase.

    Bear with me for asking a sort of low quality question:

    What are the determinants for deciding if you should start getting knowledge in online or offline sales if you are just getting started? Obviously I can think of some on my own but I would be interested in your oppinion.

    • Stealthy1Percenter says

      Agree with Jan that anyone can get useful advice from this blog. I do not work directly on Wall Street (although I do business with Wall Street quite often), and am too old (mid 30’s) to be the target audience for this blog. Nevertheless, there are useful tidbits here and there that I find personally useful for improving my various business ventures.

      For anyone looking to make any sort of decision, you should analyze only enough to become barely comfortable with an idea, and then try to execute on it. You may fail. You will probably fail many times. No big deal. People are too afraid to fail since it hurts their egos. People don’t want to fail 10-20 times (maybe even more). As long as you don’t fail the same way multiple times, failure is part of the process.

      Ex: Fail 10 times and lose $20,000 in the process. By losing $20,000, learn and fully execute in order to *succeed* and make $100,000. Sign me up, I’ll fail 10 times a day as long as I can learn each time.

      To Jan: You are asking someone if you should gather knowledge. The answer to this is always yes. You should always be looking to gather knowledge. Just don’t overanalyze what you find.

      • Wall Street Playboys says

        Your comment is literally the whole point on paid traffic.

        Try, fail, tweak. Trust you’ll figure it out.

        (PS: you know why this post is up no need to play dumb ha! Gotta take out the trash at some point)

      • Jan says

        Damn, my question is actually very badly phrased.
        I was in a hurry earlier because I took a little bit too long to read the post and had dinner scheduled.
        Apologies for wasting your time.

        I actually already decided to gather knowledge about sales. I was just wondering whether one should start with offline or online sales assuming one has no experience in either of those.

      • Wall Street Playboys says

        In person sales is the best (heavily biased opinion!)

        You will see how it positively impacts your life. After the painful learning curve (6 months), you can take the basics online and you can use your new skills to triangulate personalities.

        It’s a self fulfilling positive virtuous cycle.
        1) get through 6 months of pain (mentally pot committed to learning sales)
        2) see huge benefits from being good at sales
        3) your belief in sales goes up
        4) your belief drives improved salesmanship
        5) improved skills = $$$
        6) $$ leads to increased confidence
        7) increased confidence = higher personal confidence.
        8) higher personal confidence = improved relationships with women

        And so it goes.

      • Talent says

        So true, unfortunately entry level IB doesn’t experience this cycle in the first 2-3 years…

  14. Lord Vats says

    Great article, especially loved the ‘being fit is nothing to brag about’ part. I’m 19, plan to make a career on wall street, and have settled on to developing my numeric and synthesis intelligence(s).
    A quick question:
    If there’s one book you can recommend for improving synthesis intelligence; what would it be?

  15. Sales says

    After reading through much of this blog, I’ve noticed the high importance you place on sales which I believe you have justified rather expertly. But, how do I get started? I mean yeah, obviously I’ve done a Google Search and read a decent amount about copywriting. But what actionable advice can you give on how an absolute amateur can get started apart from buying a book?

  16. JF1994 says

    In an effort to ‘take action’ (which I know you guys appreciate the most)… Could you do a post on resources for kick starting a business using paid traffic – I don’t understand it fully, I just need pointing to somewhere recommended. Google has tonnes of stuff and I’m unsure what’s valuable or not.

    (20 year old, working at local council doing admin, going to UK University in September because CV needs boosting – using money to fund any entrepreneurial ventures + implement your ‘guide to 20’s’)

    This website was the kick I needed out of a harsh place about 6 months ago. (This was a mixture of your posts + recommended reading – I smashed through most of those books in one week and loved them!). I feel unstoppable and your blog completely fits my mindset – ‘haters’ on here tend to be told, not pointed. You do not stop learning, you do not stop improving and you don’t stop destroying the failures you suffer. You lot are the bomb.

      • ZenMind says

        Could try this as well:

        Caveat: works better if you have some PPC experience.

        1. Read Perry Marshall’s Ultimate Guide to Google AdWords (4th ed.) at least 2 times. Once without AdWords. Second time as you set up your campaigns and optimize them to break even or $1 in, $2 out. Bing’s more forgiving than AW, so I’d start there, way less traffic volume however.

        1b. Learn how to build (or find and mimic) high converting landing pages.

        2. Find rich local (or statewide) biz owners and offer to do online lead generation for them. Mail out handwritten letters to 100 of them. If you don’t have time to write out 100 letters by hand, create a template in Word and print them out, and mail 100 copies. Expect to close only 1 to 3 of them. You’re 20 though, there are worse ways of spending your time than writing 100 letters. Write and send 3-4 a day…you’ll meet 100 by the end of the month.

        Rich = lawyers, dentists, cosmetic surgeons, roofers, high end construction, and any biz whose average client value is at least $1000.

        3. Negotiate a “pay per performance” agreement, ie: minimum monthly fee (say, $200-$500/mth) + 5-10% of their ad spend.

        4. Your *starter* guarantee, to light a fire under your own ass: “If in 14 days, I haven’t gotten you any leads, you owe me nothing and we can stop the campaigns.” Once you close some clients, drop this guarantee. As you get better, you can raise your rates.

        This all accomplishes a lot at once:
        A. You learn online sales *AND* offline sales (because you have to sell yourself and your services in person or over the phone.)
        B. You got recurring income you can use to “kick start” your biz + piece of mind knowing you’ll get it again next month as long as you keep getting them results
        C. Monthly fee + % of ad spend = If they make more, they’ll most likely want to spend more…so your income scales without you having to work harder
        D. They can give you referrals + you could get to network with more rich people as a result.
        E. If you can sell someone else’s stuff…you can transfer those skills to your own products/services.
        F. Handwritten letter = doing the opposite; anybody can print out a letter, nobody writes handwritten letter any more, but they work if you want to catch someone’s attention. Even better = write letter around a theme and send a “lumpy” item in your package that goes with the theme of your letter.

        Now you caught their eye even more because a lumpy package can’t be put at the bottom of a pile of letters + it feels heavy and they get curious as who sent them something. Everybody likes getting packages with something inside.

        Everybody’s physical mailbox is (typically) less crowded than than their email inbox.

        Only at WSP would I give this much away.

      • JF1994 says

        Thanks a lot both, this is really helpful. On the Perry Marshall recommendation now! Luckily got a couple of days annual leave from work to get my shit together. This is beyond the reply I was expecting Zen, so thank you very much! Hopefully will update you in a few months as to how I’m getting on.

  17. Neal says

    May be time to stop reading now as I have some major exams coming up in my field that I need knock out.

    However, I think this is the best website on the internet because it has pushed me away from the poverty/over thinking mindset that I had somehow developed.

    Thanks a million for your efforts!

  18. killtheindulgence says

    I’m not target demographic. Not near Wallstreet. Hell! Even not close to states.

    But this blog has given me invaluable advices for FREE! Advice that would set me straight in my early 20s. This blog has made me realize my mistakes so I can only improve.

    Thanks for this guys.

  19. Jay says

    I guess it’s time to stop reading for me as well. Less stressing about making $250k+ from being a computer engineer at a quant firm and more just plain old improving my skills and really focusing on my internship this year and actually getting an internship at a quant firm next year. Maybe I’ll come back once I hit the 200k+ threshold, if I ever do.

  20. C1263 says

    What do you guys think about a choice between two summer internships?

    Option A: Boutique bank. Mainly sell-side. Unpaid. Working with financial models and pitchbooks. Relocation required, so extremely expensive.

    Option B: State Farm Agent intern. Paid. Selling insurance, balancing the agent’s books, various odd jobs. No relocation required.

    If it wasn’t unpaid, the boutique bank would in a heartbeat be my choice. However, is it still worth doing with the lack of compensation? Do employers frown upon taking unpaid positions? Asked about a stipend to cover rent/moving and they told me they couldn’t offer that.

    Thanks in advance. Appreciate the great work.

      • C1263 says

        Appreciate the prompt response guys. Had to take the insurance intern position due to financial constraints, but I’ll be making the best of it, honing my sales skills and getting my property and casualty license. Keep up all the great work on here.

      • C says

        I use waveapps, kind of similar to personal capital. Can use it for both business/personal, taxes, investments, connect your bank accounts, upload receipts from phone camera etc. It’s not EXACTLY the same, but similar. Hope it helps.


        Funny, I’ve ended up no longer reading other bogs and just moved to yours. Most blogs state opinion, rather than fact – which is useless to me really.

        Q: will you guys release any posts on actual businesses/starting up a side business any time soon? Currently in the process myself, and a post from people who are experienced would be extremely valuable.

  21. James says

    My partner and I have started doing what you said about the online business. The online business provides information and networking. We are funding it ourselves but now we got into some debt for the first time in our lives. We want to know how else can we get money while keeping 100 % ownership? I heard that the government can give grants to businesses however I haven’t found anything on google about that? Thank you.

  22. ASF says

    Small rant. I was reading the NYT comments on an article yesterday, and then stopped because I realized that they are written by idiots. And it made me think of this blog and the notion that 80% of people are below average. Yeah, it is true. Increasingly I am noticing that most of the advice out there is for below average people and losers.

    It’s targeted to people who have no talent and no money. Of course this makes sense, because marketing to the vast sea of fools is where the money is. This has been pointed out at WSPB. But for me, it sucks, because it’s just not applicable, or too low level, or just plain wrong. I noticed even smart people make the mistake of thinking that because person X is very good at Y, it also means that they’re very good at A, B, and C. It is a logical fallacy.

    Anyway, glad this blog is around. It is truly targeted toward successful people who can spend money to leverage other people’s time to get stuff done. It’s all actionable. I may not agree with every single thing, but that is okay. Glad it’s becoming even more elitist.

    • Wall Street Playboys says

      Just read the comments and find their goals. Now you know who the audience is. Now ask if you want to be in the audience.

      If someone is striving to make $50K online… It’s definitely time to leave.

      (Note your other blogger comment violates comment rules on this blog so it is deleted).

  23. Anon1 says

    i’m going to keep reading. its useful, and as yet there’s nothing quite like it around.

    As you said the important thing is not to get emotional or perturbed (positively or negatively) by motivation speak (thats for customers) or really whatever anyone says. (office politics). We are not in the business of seeking permission are we?

    The thing thats getting me through it is the thought of that ‘fuck you’ money is going to be sweet.

    But that only comes when you can deliver more value to people than one’s own personal hatred of their existing conditions allows for. Anger can only get you so far. I learned that from this blog.

    Anyway i see this place as a reminder to get one’s head down and put in the work. That’s what i’ll be doing.

  24. Apostle says

    The 90% DOING and 10% learning philosophy has to be the finest most raw and without a doubt truest law I’ve ever came across!

    Pure genius.

    Biggest takeaways for me:

    – Focus on 90% doing
    – Have options (in all areas of my life)

    Thank you

    • Rob says

      Depends on the situation. If you’re a beginner in a certain field it’s better to go 80% learning (with applying), 20% doing (individual projects). Once you’re more known with the material you can shift to 50 – 50 and then go 80% doing (individual projects again, finishing tasks and getting feedback) and 20% learning to keep yourself up to date and become better than the rest.

      It’s like music production. Most people know the basics, but the pros know the dark magic shit in order to make good tracks. They did it by lots of doing, but also researching specific elements and going deeper into them.

      • Rob says

        Want to add that this depends on the fact if you have a mentor or not and the field. For web-designing it would be useful to get the basics first (HTML, CSS, PHP, Javascript, …), studying the material while doing exercises and use the 20% of your free time to start a website from the ground up. If you don’t have inspiration you just remake a website.

        Look how much time you have to spend on your subject. (I prefer per week but some people like per day). Allocate 80% to learning or doing and 20% to doing or learning.

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