People used to tell me the same thing about IT after the
.COM bust. I stayed in and it has paid off. I like what I do and that made the decision easier. True, there are rough times every now and again but you can say that about almost any profession that pays well. Also, I've been migrating my professional experience to be more financially based over the last 5 years having worked for a bank and now a brokerage firm. People are saying these things now and I can't help think we're going to be short on good financial minds after the dust settles as we were on IT minds in 2004-2008. That said, the future of quants in particular is pretty cemented. I don't see it going anywhere, if anything they are getting more and more sophisticated. Also, I see huge potential in financial trading related data mining. Imagine a database housing all kinds of information about stock performance, the overall economy, politics, etc, then being able to enter parameters and have it rank for you likely good investments given the scenario. For example, assuming the economy is in a deflationary spiral, a democrat is in the white house, the fed rate is close to zero, and the S&P 500 has rallied up 30 percent, etc... What are good investments historically? I doubt there has been an exact case like this in history, but a "google" style close intelligent match can be made. This sort of math/stats/whatever will only grow as well. In short, financial math may morph but will likely not be going away.
I had a similar situation where I graduated college in 3 years, worked a full time programming job the year after college (50 hours a week on average) while taking more college courses at night in preparation for graduate school. On my resume I included all this and people read it as if I had an internship during my senior year (they read it as 4 years of college work with a job the last year). I left the at-night, after graduation college course work off my resume and people read it as me graduating in three years and working a hard core programming gig after that. Not quite as impressive, but more impressive than the original perception. In short, don't expect people to change. They see your experience and not your degree, so leave your experience off your resume.