Max Levchin, co-founder of PayPal and CEO and co-founder of online financial services firm Affirm, has some frank advice for new college grads: Skip the big company and respectable salary that comes with it, he tells Adam Bryant in an interview with The New York Times.
"You might believe that going to a more established company to build up $100,000 in savings is your ticket to go take a big risk," he says. "It really isn't. It just slows you down and makes you feel like you need to get to $200,000."
It's a phenomenon known as "hedonic adaptation," in which you quickly get used to changes, great or terrible, and drift back to your original emotional state. For example, a raise or fancy new car will offer a momentary high, but you adjust to the new normal and then start taking it for granted.
Building up $100,000 in savings would be a great financial achievement, but it shouldn't be your focus when you're just getting going, Levchin says: "I always tell people go to a start-up while you're young." That's because new grads often have one real advantage over older workers.
"I tell them to take big risks," the CEO says, "because this is the one point in your life when you have nothing to lose."