To do work you don't like; with people you may not like; for less money than you like; for decades of your life surely has to feel like slavery.
As Seth Godin explains in his book Linchpin, this is a hangover from the Industrial Revolution where each person worked all week at a repetitive task in a production line, to produce an overall end result.1 And even if people are working in information or innovation the workplace remains the same.
Don't get me wrong, education is important, and to work hard to support yourself and those dependent on you is an honourable thing. If you work at something you love, with people you like, it supports your life's activities AND provides extra finances to seed your financial future, great! However, for the vast majority of us the overall picture of our first five years at home or daycare, then twenty years of study, followed by forty years of working all week and then some years off after we reach 65 as reward for lasting the distance seems to me to be a form of slavery. Compare the average annual hours actually worked per worker in various countries.
Of course many jump out of employment to self employment – small business – to gain some control, but find themselves being the worker all week and the business owner after hours.
The unseen problem, of course, is that if we give a task longer than we need to, the task will expand into the time given.
So with a mindset of 'I have forty years to work before I can retire to life', we can end up just drifting through our working life.
Instead, a well-planned and executed decade can set us up for Lifestyle and Financial Freedom for the rest of our life. So let's see the next decade of our working life as another decade of learning to manage our life and finances; to set up for our financial future sooner-rather-than-later instead of drifting to a modest pension or superannuation return.
Here are 4 things to consider in that 'Decade of Learning'.
Get a perspective of life to come. Add ten years to your age and that of people in your immediate world. What do you want life to look like and feel like and why?
Heather and I did this when I was 44 years of age. We were in deep financial trouble and working extremely long hours in work we would rather not be doing. We acknowledged that at 54 we would probably have grandchildren! Heather was very keen not to be working at that stage. I was looking to get back to work I enjoyed. We just considered WHAT we wanted and WHY... but not HOW. The HOW we learnt along the way.
Preparation through the stewardship of our resources is vital.
This doesn't just apply to finances, but also to our resources of time and relationships. Rather than drift through your 168 hours each week, determine to direct some of these resources towards your desired outcome before you spend it all on today's pressures and desires.
With a view of what you want life to be like, progress by planning 90 day projects towards that end goal. Include your health and fitness routine (to have enough energy for the journey) and your consistent lifestyle breaks (to keep you fresh).
To position yourself for the future, understand the effect of inflation on the roles that both cash and capital play in your financial plans. Capital items like genuine investments rise in value, and cash depreciates over time due to inflation. So save cash for short term activities and sow some into capital assets for long term security.
As you apply these principles make sure you get highly trusted professional help.
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1Seth Godin, Linchpin (Portfolio, 2010).