Getting off the Go-Go-Go treadmill
Most of us are so used to the on the go lifestyle, that when we do decide to down-size, get off that corporate treadmill, or go to part-time employment so we can pursue our passions, we have this ingrained sense of guilt that we cannot shake. We have been conditioned our whole lives to quote Rihanna “work, work, work, work, work, work”, and when we finally figure out a way to enjoy life more and slave less, we have to really understand the psychology that underlies this huge lifestyle change.
Getting rid of the guilt
In order to rest easier, it is important to have a financial strategy in place, this becomes even more important for those who decide to simplify their lives and downsize. Obviously, a lot of thought and preparation was put into your decision to let go of your over-sized mortgage, car lease, and/or your big corporate job, but once you do make the leap, a constant evaluation of your new finances is needed to make sure you’re sticking to your plan. Key in this equation is keeping your expenses low–blowing your budget has much bigger repercussions now that you don’t have a consistent pay check coming in. A tool I find very valuable in putting my mind at ease is personalcapital.com, a website that takes all your finances including your credit cards, bank accounts, and other financial info and gives you a snapshot of your net worth at any given time. This includes an easy-to-use retirement calculator that will give you a very accurate picture of your status to make sure you’re on track. It takes into account everything: income, savings, assets, social security, pensions, debt, to give you a detailed analysis. My other favorite tool is still my good old spreadsheets in conjunction with the online checking account. I log every single item in and out, so I have an updated snapshot at all times so that we stay on track every single month.
Self employment and staying motivated:
Once you have your budgets set, and understand where you need to be each month, quarter, and year to achieve your goals, sometimes it’s harder than you think it will be to “let go” and work less. We are finding that we have the full year’s budget saved, an additional cushion of 8 months liquid cash, and we have already doubled our retirement contribution yearly goal due to our huge expense savings we detailed in a previous blog. The idea was to work less and travel more, which we are doing, but there is always that underlying nagging feeling that we are leaving money on the table by not pursuing more deals in our businesses. I guess the main way we squelch that nagging inner voice is to keep reviewing our finances to continue to set our minds at ease until we get into the “semi-retired” mindset more completely. It’s a work in progress. By the same token, neither of us would ever say “no” to a deal where we can “pad our stats” if the deal isn’t going to cause extra stress or get in the way of a planned vacation. So it’s a give and take, we have the freedom to work when we need or want to, but we also have the freedom to say no to deals if we feel it will not fit with our lifestyle.
We can create our perfect life:
We are starting to really understand that we are the creators of our lives. We don’t have to answer to any corporate rules, we don’t have to clock in to any job, and we don’t have to live by anyone else’s schedule. It takes time to really feel comfortable with this concept, most of us have spent years living by someone else’s rules and grew up thinking that was the only way to live. But that mindset is getting smaller and smaller as it fades into the past, and the future is looking very bright indeed!
Savoring travel rather than scarfing it: the ability to really become part of the city your visiting using telecommuting and frugal travel strategies to make it happen.