I'm in my mid-30's. Currently I work as an investment specialist at a brokerage firm based in St. Louis. The pay and benefits are enough for me and my wife to make an average living for now, but not enough to establish financial security. Plus, I'm getting tired of my current job so I want to make a move.

Last year, I started to learn about a new way of investing that combines "do good" and "do well". In finance, this area is called "impact investing" or "socially responsible investing". Although the long-term return is not necessarily better than market average, I have become very fascinated with the idea. I'm an altruistic person and I have been very aware of many social & environmental issues. It would be a blessing for me to work in the field where I can combine investing and purpose.

Recently I have begun looking for a job in this field. Unfortunately, I haven't found any opportunity in St. Louis. I may have to move to NYC or LA or DC to have a better chance.

My conundrums at this time:

  1. I have zero connections in this field

  2. I lack "direct" experience in this field, although I believe my current skill sets + my strong interest + my willingness to learn can still make me a strong candidate

  3. For some reasons, I cannot move to another city now. If I'm lucky, I can move in two years

  4. Opportunities in this field are very rare (especially in the current COVID world), and I must join a very established firm to enjoy more financial security (I plan to have a baby next year)

I believe I cannot be successful without working for what I am truly passionate about. Also, I'm not in my 20's anymore, so I really want to be in this field asap to build my skills, experience, and career. However, the reality seems not to be in my favor.

I would like to hear some advice. If you were me, what would you do?

Thanks for your time reading this long post and I appreciate your constructive feedback.

  • socially responsible investing sounds like one of those catchy marketing phrases that have little to do with reality
    – Kilisi
    Jun 4 '20 at 2:08

There are two things I would consider:

  1. Check that it is a genuine field in a way that can support you in a way you feel comfortable working in it. I used to do equity research several years ago as an intern and I looked into a lot of the supposed socially responsible funds and products. Many are just an excuse for higher fees for funds which basically cover the market at large. Lots have cigarettes or oil and gas in them. Plenty of others have half or even 80% of the S&P 500 or even the market at large in them. The proposition quickly falls apart once you look beyond the marketing. Genuine ESG investment work would be much harder to find and would probably pay less. Make sure that the version of ESG you are passionate about is actually what exists.

  2. Financial security and a relatively entry-level job in NYC, LA, or DC are not concepts which usually go together. If you get into a top firm or can be hired at a higher level, certainly, but you probably lack the star power if you are making an average living in St. Louis. Unless it is product sales, the industry also isn't that open to newcomers to the field. If you can go get an elite MBA that would be a different matter, but the age may still be an issue.

  • Thank you for your suggestions.
    – LeonC
    Jun 4 '20 at 13:30

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