I am intrigued by Graham’s story, he made a decision that not a lot of people have the guts to do. I was really curious what took him from an idea to action and who better to tell you than the man himself! Be sure to head over to Reverse the Crush and check out the full story along with a ton of great personal finance/lifestyle posts.
Just under a year ago, I resigned from my position as an Investment Service Representative for a large Canadian securities brokerage. The changes seen in the past year have been revolutionary, but when I reflect back, I can’t help but think of how this bizarre decision came to be.
Even now, as I begin to wrap up this year long journey, changes are still happening rapidly. There are still things being worked out and woes to overcome, but it’s all been worth it.
Lately, these woes have somewhat resurfaced, making it more difficult to maintain productivity. There’s an inner struggle going on, and I can’t lie, it has been affecting me. Usually it’s not a problem though.
Adversity is normally where I live. It’s where I can reach within. Experiences in life, good or bad, help the writing like red wine comforts your stomach on a cold autumn night. Memories are the fuel, but present experiences are the match that ignites. Bad experiences are sort of a sacrifice that must be made in order to dig deep within.
You must avoid normalcy and open up to the discomfort. In return, you get art.
Now, I’m only telling you this because I’ve always drawn from my own current experiences when writing. I’m a realist at heart so I don’t know any other way.
That said, I was thrilled when Apathy asked me to write a guest post on how an idea turned into an action. I was floored because it’s a really neat thing for me to write about. I immediately began taking notes after being asked because I wanted to make sure I covered everything.
That said, how the hell did the idea to quit the 9-to- 5 turn into an action? How did I end up making such a life altering decision?
There was actually a plethora of reasons, both personal and work related. But one experience in particular was the match that ignited it. Once the spark was lit, it was easy to become delusional.
However, if you were in my position, why wouldn’t you quit the 9-to- 5?
I mean, I have no kids, mortgage, and no significant debt hanging over my head. Further, I had been a saver and was actually making some side hustle money by scalp trading crude oil ETF’s.
I had accumulated a fairly substantial stock portfolio for a fellow my age. I didn’t even have a friggin’ car payment because it was paid for in cash (I sold that car and cancelled the car insurance by the way).
All in all, my position in life as a 29 year old was headed in what most would call a promising direction. Destined to work my way up the corporate ladder, save money, and achieve early financial independence.
However, something was wrong. I was totally fucking miserable. I dreaded each and every morning and required 3 coffees before 10:30 AM to begin my day.
Next the anxiety started, and by that point, I was just slowly withering away. Not really knowing the purpose behind what I was doing.
The plan had been to save up for 10-to- 12 years at a pace that would allow me to be financially independent off dividends by about age 40. But after a life altering event happened, I begin to question the logic in this seemingly perfect plan. Cracks began to appear after a more careful examination.
If I can be even more straight forward about the ignition, grief will make you rethink everything you ever liked. Only the real interests will last in a time of agony, the bullshit ones just fade away.
So with that tough point in mind, I started really thinking, WHY THE HELL NOT TAKE SOME TIME OFF? I deserved it and could afford it so I began to let my mind wander. Like what really is the worst thing that can happen? I spend some of the hard-earned money I’ve saved, but who cares? Money means nothing when you’re miserable.
Yes, it sucks to forfeit compound interest, but what about day-to- day life? Shouldn’t that be worth more than money? You see celebrities and athletes that make hundreds of millions of dollars during their careers, yet they still go broke.
Following money might not always work out. Furthermore, job security is a thing of the past nowadays as well. There’s always a chance you’re bustin’ your balls for some employer that’s going to lay you off anyways. So what advice can you draw from my experience in the past year?
I think there are 3 main takeaways.
Be Prepared For Life Altering Events
By this I mean you should save money, or at least have some kind of backup plan if shit goes the wrong way. Because after all, we’re all just trying to survive right? Life is really a constant struggle.
Yes, it’s important to have a positive outlook, but there’s also a healthy and more realistic way to view life too. Think about the challenges you face each day or things that have happened to others around you.
There are health issues, relationship issues, and work life balance problems. One day you might be on top of the world, thinking you got your shit figured out, and the next day might be a whole other ball game.
Whether you can’t stand your job or you have more personal issues, make sure to leave yourself with options.
The last thing you want to do in the midst of a crisis is not have any options! Fortunately for me, I had been a pretty disciplined saver, which was one of the main reasons I was able to make the decision.
You Can Always Get Practical
Here’s what I don’t get. We’re taught that it’s ok to go into debt for an education, for a car loan, or a mortgage. But tell someone you’re thinking about spending some money on a business and most people will think you’re nuts.
You can literally sense their disdain with your decision. Personally I think it comes from the insecurity of not being brave enough to try it themselves. Or it could be that we’re all a little different as individuals.
My point here, though, is that you can always get more practical. Let’s say you try to start a business, spend some of your hard-earned money, and fail.
Just stop taking risks for a while! Go back to work, save more money, and get back on track. Your day-to- day life will still be the exact same as everyone else and at least you won’t have to carry the regret.
Day-to-Day Life Matters
This one is especially true if you ever get into a bad place in life. What you’ll realize is that most of the shit going on in your life in just a mask. Soon you will find yourself only interested and spending time on the things that define you.
You will only try what you are naturally drawn towards. And you’ll start to love your day-to-day life along with yourself. It’s mind boggling how backwards I actually had it.
What’s the point of saving up for 40 years if you don’t even know what you enjoy?
If you aren’t healthy enough to travel and your feet hurt when you walk? That’s not the retirement I long for! I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to wake up everyday and dread what I have to do. It’s neither fun nor healthy.
In my opinion, there needs to be somewhat of a balance. Make sure to save regularly so that you’re prepared, but even more importantly, use a portion of your hard earned money to craft the life you want.
Question: Would you ever consider a mini-retirement? Have you ever had to cope with a tough time in life? If so, did you cut all the meaningless stuff out of your life too?
Some products that can help you:
Personal Capital: Personal Capital has a ton of great Free features, you can track your spending, net worth and even analyze your portfolio. It has top notch security and I am able to connect all of my accounts. Saves a ton of time!
Sofi – I saved a ton of money using SoFI for a Student Loan Refinance. They were great to work with, the process was super easy (compared to my previous refi) and I got a great rate. If you have student loans be sure to check them out.