A couple of weeks ago I read an article in The Times titled ‘Modest earners find formula to retire in 40s’ – it all seemed a bit complicated to me to be honest.
• Build up a net worth of 25 times your annual spending (HOW MUCH?!)
• Make sensible investments in the stock market (NOTHING IS GUARANTEED)
• Establish a savings ratio (A WHAT?!)
Oh my. I’ve been reading a lot recently about people getting tired of the rat race. One woman in Finland bought a house in a very remote part of the country and long story short has become an incredibly successful artist and married a bird from a similar feather and owns dogs – she’s really happy. And she didn’t think about her savings ratio. She just did it. Another story doing the rounds on social is a 40 year old man who gave up the corporate life and now runs these amazing activities at his local old people’s home. A friend of mine has become an incredible diving instructor working across the world, sailing her own boats and has just launched her new fantastic website.
It’s been a while since I wrote ‘Part 1’ of how I got here but these different stories got me to thinking about my Part 2 which I said I would share. I didn’t just ‘do it’. I’m a planner in all aspects of my life – I like structure and if I don’t have it I can get quite agitated. So it took me two years from the original thought in my head to eventually quitting my job.
But in all honesty I think it would bore you if I went through it all. Quite simply I sorted out my finances and saved as much cash as I could. I flogged stuff I never used on Ebay, I even went through the pain of claiming PPI. I came up with a few sound ideas about what I wanted my future career / life to be like. The worst case scenario is that I would go back and contract in the Corporate world but as my coach said I should never think that as I’d be setting myself up for failure.
If anything I thought more about lifestyle than career plans. I wanted flexibility, I wanted variety, I wanted to work with lots of people, and I wanted Rex to accompany me as much as possible. I wanted to continue doing communications and I wanted to combine that with my passion for wine. And the big word here is ‘wanted’ – in fact it was more than that, I was desperate to change my working life but still do what I love. And that is what drove me to make these decisions – the alternative was just not an option in my head and because of that conviction I lost any fear of making these changes.
As I said it took 18 months for me to get there. I don’t think everyone needs to plan as much. My best friend is the complete opposite of me in that sense – last time she went travelling with her husband they just quit their jobs and put their house up for rent; they had such supreme confidence it would all work out when they got back and if not they’d work round it and in the same way as me, the alternative was just not an option in their heads. They really wanted to go. Another close friend of mine basically only works for six to eight months a year; with the rest of it she goes on holiday, she goes cycling – well she does anything she wants to do until she’s ready to work or needs to earn again.
No style is better than the other, it’s your preference. I’ve had a number of people telling me I’m brave for following my dream and that’s really lovely. I’ve also had lots of people telling me they wish they could start again or have more flexibility or whatever…
But I think it really comes down to how much you want something; whether that’s a dream holiday, moving to a remote island or buying the latest Burberry Belt bag (I massively have my eye on this yellow and chalk one in case you look it up!) if you really want something, you’ll find a way to make it happen, however quick or long it takes – and that in essence is ‘how I got here’. ‘Here‘ is a great word in that context and in theory in about a year I can do a part 3 with ‘here’ referring to my actual career! In the meantime, it will be a continuation of these blog ramblings!