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Morning Coffee: How to retire at 40 from a back office job. Ex-Goldman hiring manager reveals her secrets

Why rot away at a desk until you're 65?

Most people dream of being successful enough to put away a sizeable nest egg, putting themselves in a position to retire as soon as possible and live the life they’ve always imagined was possible. That said, a large percentage of the population continues plugging away in the rat race until they’re 65 or older, never quite able to make their visions of leisure a reality.

This doesn't apply to everyone. Case in point is Justin McCurry, a 36-year-old transportation engineer who hasn’t worked full time in three years, and his wife, who quit her job at Credit Suisse earlier this year. What are their secrets for living the good life much earlier than most are able to?

They are frugal. The couple keeps to a budget, only spending about 3% of their $1.5m portfolio a year. That means they drive used cars, look for sales and only go out to eat once a month.

They are not house-poor. They bought a modest home in a middle-class area of a relatively inexpensive city and paid off their mortgage.

They don’t invest in bonds. The couple’s portfolio is almost 100% stocks. Risky, sure, but what can you do in a low-interest-rate environment?

They keep up part-time side-hustles. McCurry does some consulting work on an ad-hoc basis and earns anywhere from $1,000 to $2,000-plus per month blogging about financial independence.

When going on vacation, they drive, rather than fly. Every summer, the family takes a month-long road trip to Canada in their minivan, which was especially affordable this year due to rock-bottom gas prices in the U.S.

Separately, Becca Brown, an alumnus of Harvard and Columbia, worked as a hiring manager at Goldman Sachs for almost six years. Over that time, she gained a lot of experience interviewing candidates who were eager to join the prestigious investment bank, typically conducting up to 30 interviews per year.

Your resume must be pretty impressive to even get your foot in the door for an in-person interview at Goldman, and Brown considers herself a difficult person to dazzle. That said, she revealed the characteristics of candidates who were able to impress her. The most important factor, albeit one that’s a bit tough to quantify, is how they carry themselves – they have to have confidence and poise; they have to be articulate and well-prepared; and they have to be ready, willing and able to enthusiastically sell themselves in a natural, conversational fashion to prove that they’d be a good fit for the firm and the particular role.

Brown said: “The real stand-outs were those who did all of the above but also had some personality, and were not just the personification of their résumés.”


Hedge fund billionaire Steve Cohen is expanding Point72 Academy’s recruitment initiatives targeting recent college graduates in the City and Asia. (Business Insider)

Under the leadership of ex-Jefferies investment banker Sage Kelly, Cantor Fitzgerald is on the verge of launching a global recruitment push. (Financial News)

Commerzbank, on the other hand, is planning to reduce its headcount by about 20%, suspend dividends and shrink securities trading in a massive restructuring. (Bloomberg)

Short-sellers are piling into a particular crowded trade in droves, betting that Deutsche Bank’s stock price will continue to sink. (New York Times)

Former UBS exec Ken Moelis, who took Moelis & Co. public two years ago, has a long memory when it comes to the missteps of bulge-bracket investment banks, and he’s applying lessons learned from those as he aims to grow his boutique. (Bloomberg)

“Wells Fargo’s venal abuse of its customers by secretly opening unauthorized, illegal accounts illegally extracted millions of dollars,” said John Chiang, California’s Treasurer. (Bloomberg)

Alan Greenspan, the former five-term chairman of the Federal Reserve, has started a new job. (Business Insider)

What not to say as a hedge fund manager: “Making a good trade is like making love.” (Forbes)

New York, New York: If you can make it there, you can make it anywhere … but you probably can’t. (Bloomberg)

Credit Suisse CEO Tidjane Thiam said that as much as 20% of the volume in the bank’s London operations could be negatively impacted by the loss of European Union passporting rights. (Bloomberg)

The Department for Exiting the EU (Dexeu) is now hiring. (FT)

What do bankers, politics and insider trading have in common? Big data. (Knowledge@Wharton)

Here’s what Hillary Clinton learned from being a mom who works. (Fortune)

Here’s how to revise your online resume to catch the attention of potential employers. (FT)

How is the Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan reacting to the cheeky suggestion that Turkey should buy Deutsche Bank? (Bloomberg)

The markets are currently only pricing in a 15%-20% probability of DB going under. (CooperCity)

Learning a foreign language comes with various benefits (Quartz)

Some financial services firms inadvertently encourage collective stupidity by rewarding employees for falling in line and not rocking the boat by challenging the conventional thinking of senior executives. (Aeon)

Anxious super-wealthy actors, pro athletes, politicians and financial services pros in L.A. are hiding an increasing proportion of their assets in subterranean bunkers at least 10 feet underground. (The Hollywood Reporter)

These are the best airports in the world to sleep in. (Economist)

Photo credit: Christian Wheatley/GettyImages

AUTHORDan Butcher US Editor

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