Please help and tell me as much as you can, and be as honest as you can with what you think is best... Currently I am a mortgage lender in NJ for the past 4 years, age: 27, making around $80-95k each year. We are now in a mortgage/real estate slump, its harder to qualify anyone, and some of my realtor contacts are leaving the business. But there is a quote... "where there's blood, there's money"... which might be a mafia line I heard once. So I'm not sure if I should stay in this field where there is no salary or benefits or 401k and I never truly know what I'm making each month/year. I am good at what I do, I am one of the rare honest lenders out there with a good company and I have a strong following. And now with so many mortgage companies gone I have a great opportunity to advertise myself everywhere and pick up many realtor contacts that have either lost their mortgage rep or are frustrated with their mortgage rep because they can't qualify anyone anymore. So the business is out there. Or, right now, I can get a job with a very good wall street financial services firm in NYC as a Hedge Fund Operations Trades Specialist which pays $60k plus bonus. I don't know much at all about the industry or how to perform the job duties, but I am an intelligent and organized work horse with great communication skills, so I am very confident that whatever I get myself into, I will succeed at it. Now I here that there is great money in this industry and even though there might not be many chances for upward movement in title, I should still expect to see many open doors after having 2 years of experience. But I don't know what is the next job up from this position and the one up from there or where people transfer over to, to make the most out of their career. And I don't know how income is for this position, is $60k plus bonus good, and what are the incomes in the future for the spots I should move onto next. And what is this I hear, that after 2 years, I can "write my own ticket." What is that? So right now, my life is good, I make my own hours, the harder I work the more money I make, and it's a good line of work where you deal with people all the time. My hours are usually 10-7 everyday including weekends, but I can take off whenever if want to and take vacations when I want to and just take off in the middle of the day to go play golf if I want to. But once again, being a young person, who needs to decide which direction to take and to think of his future, is the mortgage industry and the pay structure going to hinder my life in the future when I have a family and I have increased bills? Right now, its easy for me to make $15k in one month and then not make a penny for 2 months, since I don't have kids and/or a mortgage. I just have my condo that I rent and life is comfortable. But I'm worried that I can't carry this lifestyle forever and I need to move on and get a steady job with a steady pay structure even though its in unfamiliar territory and its in a line of work that may be more boring and/or more strict and corporate. I've even thought about tossing everything out the window and just joining my friend and be a town cop in Bergen County, NJ where they start you of at $50k, 4th year you're at $80k, and you can top out at $150k as a captain. The job seems fun, the money is fine, the pension and benefits are great and I get to eat donuts all day, ha ha. Please let me get as much input and insight as possible, thank you very, very much.