What Would Clark Howard Do if He Picked a Different Career?

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Money expert Clark Howard became a TV and radio personality, author, newspaper columnist and podcaster almost by accident.

He opened Action Travel in 1981 soon after deregulation hit the airlines. Clark sold the company, which became a chain with several locations, at 31 years old after just six years.

That’s when he retired. He’d lived on 50% of his earnings even before selling his business. He didn’t plan to work again.

Life held a major surprise for Clark. He appeared as a guest on the radio to answer questions about travel. That led to a new and wildly successful career.

But what if Clark hadn’t become a media member or started and sold a travel agency? Many who know Clark won’t be surprised to hear his answer.

Clark Wanted To Pursue a Career as a Politician

What would Clark have done if he never found a career in media?

That’s what a Clark Howard listener recently asked.

Asked Alan in Florida: “You’ve obviously found your mission in life. I am curious if you hadn’t done this show, what would you have done for your career?”

Clark considers it weird to think about. Because when he retired at 31, he had no intention of working again. He fell into his new career by accident, even though it has lasted many decades.

“From when I was 6 years old, I’d always wanted to run for public office. And I never did, not even close,” Clark says.

“I considered running for office twice. But if there had been something else I would have done, that would’ve been it.”

Known as a genuine, earnest and charitable man who helps people live on less than they make, find deals and achieve financial freedom, Clark thinks he’d encounter much fewer fans out and about if he’d followed that vision.

“They say your most popular day is the day before you announce you’re running for office, because then ultimately a lot of people hate you no matter what,” Clark says.


“But that is what I would’ve done. I was always drawn to that. It’s what I went to college to study. I went to college in Washington D.C. to be in the heart of the political world and worked for the government while I was in undergraduate school and thought that was going to be my future.”

Clark Gives Thanks for His Media Career

Clark always makes a point to express gratitude for his unexpected but fulfilling media career.

“All of this turned out to be a great mission in life for me and I’ve loved doing it. And I feel like I’ve probably been able to serve more people doing this than I would’ve been able to do in politics,” Clark says.

“So I guess I ended up on this unexpected but right path for my life. And it’s funny because I’m not good at being introspective. But if I think about it, that’s what would’ve been the alternative.”

Final Thoughts

Clark Howard has been successful as a travel agency business owner and as a personal finance and consumer media member.

But from the time he was a young boy, he dreamed of working in politics. If he had an alternate life, that’s probably what he would’ve done instead.

However, Clark feels like working in media has allowed him to impact more lives than if he were to hold political office.