It’s time to change your career
But can your budget bear the break?
The tagline of Mike Lewis’s book, When to Jump, is: “If the job you have isn’t the life you want”. Perhaps you have loved your job, but recognise it is time to ‘jump’ into a more challenging space. Maybe you want more life balance, with work currently too demanding. Or you are keen to find fresh career purpose, or to start your own enterprise.
Whether you have been working for one year or thirty, a career change has implications for your finances. How will it impact your cash flow and savings? Your family’s lifestyle? Will it be a temporary pay gap or permanent drop in salary? Lewis encourages readers to “Make a Plan”, and your Wealth Creation Specialist would certainly agree. So, if you want a career transition, here are four ways to plan for your money shift:
1. Check and challenge your budget
If you know that you will be living on less income for a time, or even permanently, give your estimated salary a test run. Live on that new amount for a few months – and get a picture of your new lifestyle … then decide if the professional change warrants the personal one!
Make sure your current budget is thorough: how is your salary being divided? Where are you spending?
Consider where you could shave your expenses. A similar income may require you to compromise only a little: do without Dstv, cut back on eating out, or join a carpool (given the price of petrol!). If you are facing a more substantial drop in income, try exploring more severe measures: delay expanding your family, change annual holiday plans, cut bond repayments by downsizing, or opt for more reasonable school fees.
Unwise trade-offs, such as cancelling your car insurance or life cover, can leave you or your family in debt. Before you shift, decide what level of income would just
be too low for you to manage – even with budget cuts. How much uncertainty would simply result in too many sleepless nights? What sacrifices would make your lives too colourless?
2. That rainy day fund
Making provision for unforeseen events or for an extended period of no or little income, can alleviate some of your anxiety. Financial Planners generally recommend
saving at least three months’ salary or expenses (six months is better!).
Save any discretionary money available from your budget cuts. Save your bonus, or your SARS refund. Declutter and cultivate an approach to life that savours implicity rather than consumerism. Consider the WHY in all your changes – living truer to your values in your career – with personal benefits.
3. Plan B
Transitions are a great time to give yourself permission for some out-of-the box thinking. Allow your creativity to flow and give thought to what other options exist
for you to create meaningful work. Don’t neglect your physical exercise at this time in order to give your right brain capacity to express itself. And don’t forget the value of tapping into the wisdom, expertise and experience of your friend and colleague networks.
4. Those tough talks
A career change has implications for the whole family, or your dependents. I encourage you communicate honestly and regularly, as you will need the support and
understanding of your loved ones, especially when there is a potential for disappointment. Agree on where you could save money; be creative together in keeping family values alive without feeling you have lost out if you have to curtail some activities.
If a career change will mean greater contentment and the fulfilment of a dream for you, explore all your options and be optimistic about the outcome. A plan for your finances may give you the courage and confidence you need to make a move. Chat to your Wealth Creation Planner to guide you as you plan.