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Millennials Are Seeking Prenups—and It Might Just Be Worth Considering

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200 Lawyers on What Career Fulfillment Looks Like Today—and What it Takes to Get There

Every law school graduate knows the classic career trajectory: snag an associate position at a firm after graduation, work crazy hours to prove your worth, and then, hopefully, make partner and ascend to the next level, financially and otherwise.

But that typical path may be shifting. The rise in emphasis on overall quality of life and career fulfillment has produced a sea change in the next generation of lawyers, who have found the traditional route to success leaves much to be desired.

At least, according to a recent survey we conducted. We asked lawyers across the spectrum—from associates to partners, to in-house counsel for companies to attorneys working in government—questions about their values, where they plan to go next, down to the most basic question of all: Are they happy in their careers?

Looking toward the future, plenty of lawyers laid out a big question mark. One lawyer admitted they enjoyed their day-to-day, but doubted the path ahead: “I like my firm, but I always wonder if one day I will burn out.” Another worried about balancing it all: “Will I have a life, and if so, will they pay me enough to keep up with the cost of living?” Their responses circled the same topics‚ from figuring out their career to money concerns. One respondent basically summed it up: “Where am I going, where do I want to go (career-wise), and can I make it work financially?”

The overall results are pretty fascinating, and provide understanding into how lawyers are defining their careers today, as well as what it means to achieve fulfillment in the current job market.

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Fighting Law School Debt, Four Young Attorneys Define Their Own Success

Four Lawyers Get Candid About Life, Career Aspirations, and Law School Debt

After graduating from law school, every aspiring lawyer has a vision of what his or her ideal law career will look like. One thing most new attorneys will attest to, however, is that their substantial student loan debt will probably factor into their career decisions for years to come. Whether pursuing the coveted partnership in a law firm, choosing a slower pace to leave room for work-life balance, opting to practice law that helps champion causes close to the heart, or working for a private client, law school loans loom large.

Here’s a closer look at how four motivated young lawyers are navigating different career paths and discovering new passions, while trying to close the case on their student loan debt for good.

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Is MBA debt worth it?

How One MBA Grad Became a Total Minimalist—and Paid Off $90K in Debt

Joe Mihalic is a changed man. In 2011, he led the typical the Harvard-MBA lifestyle, with a lucrative job at a big tech company, a house in the suburbs, two cars and a motorcycle, and frequent travel—but he felt trapped. “I wasn’t working at a company I loved or in a job I loved. I wasn’t living a life I loved,” Joe says. So he changed his life drastically, becoming a minimalist. And that decision led him to pay off $90,000 in student loan debt in just seven months.

Joe, who lives in Austin, Texas, chronicled his journey to payoff success in his blog No More Harvard Debt. His posts resonated with many young grads, and his blog went viral in 2012. Now debt-free and an operations manager at a company he loves, Joe says he’s found inner peace. But he hasn’t let go of his frugal lifestyle— his work shoes attest to that. While paying down his loans, he wore the same shoes, even as holes appeared in them. Today, he won’t buy a new pair of shoes until the soles wear out.

Joe didn’t take every possible road to pay off his student loans—for example, he didn’t refinance, or take advantage of a student loan forgiveness program. But his “all in” approach offers many takeaways for MBA grads facing mortgage-sized loan debt.

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6 Things to Consider When Choosing a Mortgage Lender

Up until a few years ago, there wasn’t a lot of variation between what different mortgage lenders were offering. It was kind of a nightmare, to put it mildly. Since there wasn’t a lot to consider when looking for a lender, borrowers typically compared them on interest rate alone. And because lenders had no differentiation in services, borrowers were always in for a frustrating, paperwork-heavy application process ahead (often with poor customer service from the bank providing the loan).

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Should You Continue to Rent or Buy a Home? 5 Things to Consider

Buying your first home is a huge investment, but that doesn’t mean it’s a purely financial decision. You may be seeking more space for your growing family, or craving the community aspect of living in a suburb. Or maybe you’re just feeling ready to achieve that major milestone of being a homeowner.

That said, it helps to start with an objective framework that will help you answer the question, “Am I financially ready to buy?” before factoring in the emotional reasons. (Because, for example, you already know you’re ready for your own backyard, or any of those other dreamy aspects of owning.) Taking a look at the financial commitment involved is a great place to start as you make the decision to either continue renting or officially take the leap to buy your own home.

So, are you financially prepared to buy a home? Here are five signs the answer may be yes:

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