Apr 282013

More money than time.

I’m at a stage of life where, while I will never say no to more money, I’m not driven, career-wise, to make more happen. I’m happy that the balance of where I am, what I earn and the level of effort I put in all sort of balance themselves out.

OK, maybe not too happy with the time side of the equation.If I could earn the same on 50% of the time then that would be closer to optimum.

That’s part of the decision to go it alone, whether in a business start-up or as freelancer. Time. A new start-up, I believe, will take a lot of time and energy and for what? Sure, one may end up with a viable business, worth a bundle, which could end up being the vehicle to time-rich living somewhere down the line. There are several problems with that line of thought for me.

Firstly, if that were me, then I’d probably have done it already.

Secondly, there is not more [time] freedom down that route, certainly not in the short to medium term. I may follow that route eventually [see Retirement or just working differently] but will do the work primarily because I want and not because I must.

Thirdly, freedom is what you decide it is. Many of the “quit your job” proponents harp on the lack of freedom available in the corporate. That may be true of them, but for me, I really believe I’ve found created extraordinary freedom in my circumstances. Sure, my attitudes have limited my career, but ultimately not my earning ability [see I earn more than my boss]. From this point out in my working life I may [or may not] find myself falling behind on the earnings scale of my previous upwardly-mobile colleagues, but honestly, I don’t really believe so.

So, all in, my current job is as good as it can get for me in the corporate world when balanced against job satisfaction, learning, hours spent and dollars earned. It doesn’t mean I don’t want more, I’ve just decided that it is enough and the ‘more’ is going to come from other areas in life. More time, different city, different focus.

To enable that, Debt Free has taken on top priority. It’s not that I haven’t always aspired to Debt Free, it’s just that it has always seemed like a far-off, difficult to achieve ideal rather than a doable thing. Now that it’s literally within grasp, it has taken on a different level of focus and attention.

I don’t know if it makes economic sense to cash in policies and savings to settle the debt based solely on the maths [see the Debt reduction vs Investment debate]. In a sense it doesn’t really matter. I’m a human, not a machine, and so emotions and personal character, values and tolerances play a large role in decision making. I believe I will have more freedom without the debt.

No debt means less of a need to work a certain job for a certain salary. It’s not that I’ll quit and find another job just to earn less [that would be stupid], but the fact that the option exists means more personal freedom. More personal freedom means more personal opportunities.  For example, I can try a totally different role in a different industry. I can try a new city. I can seriously consider freelance with less risk. Or I can stay in my current job and exercise my democratic right to more unpaid leave.

The bottom line is, the options multiply when you don’t have to commit x dollars to servicing debt. It frees up x dollars for other, better options. Travel, sailing, savings, leisure, you name it.

Maybe I’m naive. There are some looming challenges to the debt-free goal.

First, keep the focus and really get rid of the remaining amount [Bond and Car finance].

Then, kids and cars and education payments are looming. Part of the initial savings drive actually did take into account the timing. The policy payouts were pretty much timed to coincide with university educations. Using those payouts to kill the debt leaves a funding gap which will need to be addressed somehow.

Then there’s the ongoing challenge of finding the balance in retirement savings, saving for tomorrow’s rainy day, while still living a little today, because tomorrow literally may never come and if it does, it’s ludicrous to believe it will be the same as yesterday [see Is living for today sacrificing tomorrow’s happiness?].

But, the worst thing to do is to believe it’s not possible, lose heart and cave to another expensive emotional buy to ease the disbelief. Yes, you can live a very comfortable life as a Woolly Masses consumer. But you can never get off if you do.

It’s time to get off !  Permanently !

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