Career advice on taking risks from a millennial lawyer who lost her job

  • Crystal Espanol was a risk-averse lawyer until she unexpectedly lost her job.
  • She realized that she couldn’t base her financial security on just one job, no matter how secure it seemed.
  • Choosing a riskier career as a life coach with a side business in real estate has secured her finances and also made her happier.

Crystal Espanol, 37, became a lawyer because it was something her parents wanted, especially her father.

“My family was very cautious and conservative. They really like working 9 to 5 and steady government jobs with pensions,” she told Insider. “They wanted us to have very good careers, as a doctor, lawyer or engineer. So naturally, that’s what I did.”

Being a lawyer working in creditors’ rights and real estate law, a person of color and a member of an immigrant family in the United States, she said, taught her to be very careful in her decisions. – until she lost her job.

Today, things look a little different. She’s a leadership-focused life coach who works primarily with entrepreneurs and new managers, and she owns six rental properties between Philadelphia and California with her husband, Franz.

Although riskier than a career in law, changing paths from lawyer to entrepreneur and creating passive income through real estate has worked financially for Espanol and Franz, who are debt-free. Looking back on his career so far, Espanol has four tips for young professionals considering playing it safe.

1. Sometimes the safe path isn’t as safe as it seems

The turning point for Espanol came several years ago, when she was fired from her job as a lawyer. After losing her supposedly stable job, she realized that her financial situation was not so stable after all.

“When I got fired from this job, I was just a mess,” she told Insider. “I was in tears, I was crying. I was just like, ‘how could this happen?’ And then I promised myself that if it happened again, everything would be fine.”

For Espanol, that meant making sure she would always be financially independent – ​​even if she lost her job. “For me, financial independence meant having multiple sources of income for emergencies,” she said.

“I was always told to keep my head down and not make waves,” she continued. “When I got fired, it didn’t make sense. How could I work for someone 50-60 hours a week and then see my whole life change in the blink of an eye?”

2. Knowing more about personal finance can help you overcome your fears

Espanol told Insider that her husband Franz “has been bothering me about investing ever since we got married and I graduated from law school.”

For years she told him she wasn’t interested. They both had substantial student loans to repay, and since she was representing banks in foreclosure proceedings, the idea of ​​investing in real estate scared her.

However, after losing her job, she decided it was time to learn more and started reading a lot about personal finance, which she says has really changed a lot of her outlook on how. to create wealth. She particularly recommends the book “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” and the podcast Bigger Pockets.

3. Take time to examine your beliefs about money

Along with ‘putting your head down and not making waves’, another thing Espanol heard a lot growing up was ‘money is the root of all evil’.

“It reinforces a money-scarce mindset,” said Espanol, who added that unless you do the work to unpack those ideas, you could find yourself in a position where you’re afraid of use money as a tool to leverage and achieve your life goals. .

Espanol thinks her parents may have been a little hesitant to understand when she changed careers and started investing, but they see how successful she is now and she currently has their “full support”. Her success inspired her sister to follow in her footsteps and also invest in real estate, creating a ripple effect in her family.

4. The right career shouldn’t just be about money

It’s not all about the money, though – Espanol really enjoys his job as a life coach and his side job as an owner.

“I had a career for over 10 years and realized I had to do something for myself for once and chart my own path,” she said. “I discovered coaching by hiring my own coach as a lawyer, and I was so blown away by the work.”

She said her new line of work has been an incredible boost to her confidence and has given her clarity on her own life goals. “I help people unlock themselves and I help them achieve their goals,” Espanol said. “It’s very rewarding. It makes me happy and I get paid to do what I love.”