Recently, I have been having some really inspiring conversations with clients who are fed up with their current work life. I’m not talking about a bitch and moan session about how much they hate there boss or how under valued they are, or how much money they bring to the table versus the crumbs they get “fed”. These brave souls who, I might add, range from all spheres of life, (creative execs, middle management, corporate banking types) have all been battling with the same common denominator, a lack of freedom.
Freedom looks different to each of us:
Lifestyle freedom: The constant expectation of an 8-5 day, with a 1 hour lunch break (which they are never allowed to take) 25 leave days a year (only upon approval) 30 sick days (accompanied by a doctors note), 10 compassionate days (think death certificate), you can see where I’m going with this, these adventurous souls are being strangled by the constraints applied to there life.
Financial Freedom: The inability to do the things which matter to them, not being able to take that overseas holiday when they want to, not being paid what they feel they are worth for the hours they put in and contribution they make. Its so hard to feel satisfied or even fulfilled if you feel you are financially under rewarded.
Freedom of choice: The ability to be able to make decisions in their lives which directly impacts them and their families, not having to worry about what the “Boss” is going to say. The ability to be able to choose to go and watch their children’s sport match on a Wednesday afternoon. Yes, they will put more effort and hours in the morning or the following day, but these people want to be able to make that decision for themselves, they want to be in control of their lives.
The common thread running through all of the conversations is FREEDOM and the lack thereof. Initially it seems a little selfish and I guess why people are hesitant to pursue it. These people are not struggling financially, so they are not looking for an easy way out because they are typically in good paying jobs, not to say they are satisfied, but they want more. More choice, more flexibility, more happiness, more time with loved ones, just more. I can understand this feeling as I too was in a similar position before I took the plunge. I also wanted more for my life and family, my wife had just fallen pregnant with our son and I knew that I wanted to be able to be there for them when they needed me and not when my “boss” said I could be. I knew I wanted to be in a position where if I needed to take him to school at 8am, I could and if he was playing sport at 1:30pm, that I could be there to support and cheer him on, I also knew that all of these things are great, but that without the ability to still provide financially, I was no good to them, or myself. It doesn’t help having the freedom to be able to go watch him play sport but not being able to pay his school fees.
Taking the plunge requires a plan, a well thought out plan, it’s not a spur of the moment decision, it’s not a “I hate my boss, I’m out!” decision. It’s more of an ” I hate being in this position, time to make a change, conversation”. When speaking to these clients and after they have executed their “I’m taking the plunge” plan, they immediately start to feel more satisfied, more fulfilled, more in control, more happiness.
As a lifestyle financial planner, I love the idea of being able to help my clients achieve the FREEDOM they seek, it sounds cheesy but this stuff runs through my veins. I feel fulfilled knowing that I have been able to assist them realise the freedom they desire. In having these conversations and having helped some of these clients out, there are a few key points which need to be addressed when thinking about taking the plunge:
- Have the conversation: Not with me, but with your spouse/ partner/ family, they need to be on the same page as you, or at least know what your feeling and why you need to make this decision. You need to know that they have your back and understand why you want to TAKE THE PLUNGE.
- Have an income Plan: Look at you monthly spend, take out all the current “nice to haves” and get to the skin and bones of your budget. What are the expenses you absolutely cannot change (typically the debit orders) and make sure you have at least 6 months saved up to cover these costs, or make sure the family can carry itself for these 6 months. You are already making a huge move in life, by having at least 6 months expenses you are taking that pressure off yourself. This also gives you an idea of the minimum amount of income you need to bring in from whatever venture your going on.
- Have an employment plan, this ones sounds silly, but make sure you know what it is you want to do, or at least know how you are going to fill your days for the next 6 months. Make sure you have some structure around your day/ week/ month. This sounds counter intuitive, as the reason you are taking this step is to provide yourself with freedom, but trust me, it feels so much different when you are the one setting up your own structure in your life.
TAKING THE PLUNGE is not a 6 month sabbatical, it’s not an extended holiday, it’s not a trip to India to go find yourself, it’s the opportunity to set up the rest of your life the way you want it, it’s the chance to design your future so that it gives you the FREEDOM, the freedom you so desperately desire. Do it, i know you want to, why wait, take the first steps, start building your plunge plan today, YOU CAN DO IT.