During my days in the academy, I had the extraordinary honour and good fortune to interact (at some level or another) with some ten thousand undergraduate and graduate students. It is a rush when, while walking along a downtown street, a former student yells out to me to stop so they can share the story of their career so far. Indeed, these days I get emails and LinkedIn updates from former students who are now around the globe.

Every speech, every class, every conversation, was and is truly enjoyable. One particular group discussion always stands out in my mind. That conversation is one that happened almost every year with first year undergraduate commerce students, where I shared with them my life experiences in the capital markets industry. One of the points that I emphasized was that you can make a good living, but don’t do it for the money. Invariably, at the end of my talk, at least one student would ask,

“How much money can you make?”

I don’t blame them for asking this question. For one thing, the income one makes is a mark of success in an industry where, at the end of every day, you know whether you’re on the right side or the wrong side of a transaction from a profit perspective. To say that the capital markets industry is competitive is the understatement of the decade. Sadly, though, this drive for income ‘dominance’ can lead to the worst kind of hubris. I have met, and I am sure you have too, one or two folks who made good money and every year spent one dollar more than they made—on themselves.

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