How did we get here?
Updated: Jun 6, 2019
Most people reading this blog, will be here because they want at least some part of their life to change. There are a few things in life we can't prepare for, but the other 95% we can ...
For you to be reading this blog, I am assuming you are either:
* Just starting out in your career but would like to get a structured financial plan in place right from the start.
* Working in a career but feeling like you’re going round in circles, unable to save or invest any money and with no clear plan or direction for your future.
* At your witts end, stuck in a job or career you are no longer enjoying (if you ever did!) feeling trapped on a never-ending treadmill with no idea financially as to how you’re going to get off it.
*Just looking for an escape plan. That might mean a change of career, some time out to go travelling or set up a new business, or maybe just to breathe again. You might just want a new job. Whatever the reason you just want ‘out’ from your current position.
The good news is that you've come to the right place and you're not alone - the vast majority of people will experience these situations and feelings at some point. The question is, will you act upon it?
In order to turn things around, if they’re currently not working, you will have to make some changes.
As Albert Einstein reputedly once exclaimed “The definition of madness is doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting a different result.”
But first, let’s have a quick look at how we arrived at this point.
If you are just starting out in your career I commend you for your acumen, good sense and sound judgement about arming yourself with the knowledge and know-how to deal with what lies ahead.
I just wish I had been blessed with your foresight and level headedness at a similar age. It would have spared me an awful lot of hindsight learning, sleepless nights, and not to mention … money!
Most of us only get to this point after several (or sometimes, many) years of doing exactly what Albert once described as ‘madness’. Repeatedly making the same mistakes, whether that’s with our saving and investing strategy or jobs and careers, but hoping for a different outcome next year.
We might have arrived at this destination through drifting or accidentally falling into a certain career path and blindly carrying on for many years before reaching a point where something has to give. Alternatively, like myself, you may have chosen a career path that you loved in your twenties, thirties, and even early forties but again get to a place where you need change … be that a different career, a new business or a slower pace of life. Maybe you’re planning to start a family which in turn makes you reassess your financial position. Whatever your reason, most people will reach a point in their life where they want and need change.
The problem is that as a race human being’s, in general, are most comfortable with following the path of least resistance which quite often leads to inertia. How many of us carry on regardless in a job or career that we don’t enjoy because the perceived risk of changing it is too much for us to bare? Unfortunately many lifetimes have been wasted because of this. It seems to be in most people’s nature that to carry on doing something they hate is preferable to facing up to a bit of uncertainty and trying to do something that they want. It’s far easier to sit on your hands, and hope that something comes along to change your fortunes - win the lottery, a huge inheritance from a mystery Uncle, finding lost treasure in your back garden – than proactively making the decisions to alter your course yourself. Unfortunately for most of us, this is never going to happen. Quite often we feel over whelmed when faced with these big life decisions so then proceed to do nothing, or just put it off until next year.
If we can remove the financial implications (or at least reduce them) it suddenly makes the decisions much more manageable and less daunting. It then becomes an emotive but logical decision about which direction you want your life to go in, with the financial fear factor taken out. It’s so much easier to make the decision about leaving a steady, but boring job to set up your own business if you know that worst case you can survive for at least a year without any income.
Money does not necessarily bring you happiness, but what it does give you is options.
Likewise, putting yourself in a position of financial stability or ideally freedom not only allows you to change your career or life easier, it can also give you longevity and a huge confidence boost in your current career. Once you know that financially you can walk away from your job at any point, you’ll be amazed at how much of the stress is taken away from day to day living. If you’re in a dull, unfulfilling job but still don’t want to leave, you’ll find it a lot easier to bear for a few more years if you know that you could walk away at any point. Bizarrely, by preparing early to be able to walk away from a certain career path, it actually makes it easier to put up with!
Alternatively, it may actually help you rise up the career ladder – it’s a lot easier to negotiate that pay rise or bonus if your boss genuinely thinks you can walk away from the table if you’re not happy. Corporate bosses can normally smell fear and will often treat you accordingly. Whereas, the feeling of confidence you exude when you’re financially stable makes you a sought after commodity. This is why I would recommend everybody puts in place a financial escape plan whether they truly want to escape, rise the corporate ladder, change careers or just give themselves longevity in what they’re currently doing.
By subscribing to this blog, you will learn how to:
*Reduce your everyday living costs and expenses.*
*Understand risk and put a long-term investment and savings plan in place.*
*Work hard to maximise your earnings whilst remaining fit and healthy*
*Be psychologically prepared to deal with any stress that comes with doing anything considered outside the ‘norm’.*
*Have an After-Plan in place once you’ve carried out your Escape Plan.
Pass on your knowledge to your children.*
Thursday 28th June 2007
It was a typical hot summer's night in London Town. Crowds of twenty- and thirty-somethings spilled out of every bar onto the streets, fuelled by end of week revelry and copious amounts of booze. This is traditionally what is expected of you from the City of London on a Thursday night. I was holed up in a bar in Leicester Square, with a group of friends, trying to drink my own body weight in Red Bull and vodka.
Everything was remarkably normal and familiar. 'Jump around' by House of Pain was booming out of the speakers and, in time honoured fashion, I was bounding up and down on the dance floor like a speed addict who had sat on a firework. At this point I decided it would be a good idea to try and jump high enough to head the shiny silver 'balloon' just above me. Unfortunately, Red Bull really does give you wings because I succeeded, and the shiny balloon turned out to be a glass disco ball. Needless to say, my mate and I found ourselves being kindly escorted off the premises, with me sporting a forehead impaled with a few glass shards.
Considering it was approaching 1am, most civilised people would probably take it as a sign and call it a night, but in our vodka-addled wisdom we decided it was the perfect time to head to Tiger Tiger in Haymarket Street. On approaching the club, brushing the last few remaining shards of disco ball from my head, I noticed a parked car right in front of the entrance but thought nothing of it. Within minutes of entering the nightclub we were ushered to the far end and held there for an hour, before eventually being released by a side exit.
We thought it had just been a fire alarm precaution at the time, but the following morning found out that Al-Qaeda had attempted a terrorist bombing of Tiger Tiger using a car packed full of petrol, gas canisters and nails. It only failed because the terrorists were unable to get a mobile signal to detonate the bomb.
11 months later my baby girl was born.
This blog has not been written as an answer to all of life's problems - it is not an oracle to show you the golden path and lead you to great riches and a wonderful life (although, I hope it does!), because some things you cannot prepare for.
As this story shows, sometimes you're just in the wrong place at the wrong time. Shit happens.
If it wasn't for poor terrorist reconnaissance, or 4G coverage around Piccadilly being sporadic at best, I might not have been here, my children wouldn't have been here, and this website would never have been created. Likewise, if I hadn't been such an eejit I would never have put myself in harm’s way in the first place!
These are the small everyday things and choices that we cannot do anything about. All our lives are interwoven by these sliding door moments. The Escape Plan is not about the tiny percentage of doors that we cannot prepare for. Fortunately, we can plan for 95% of our life and proactively structure things so that we are running our lives, rather than our lives running us. What I always find amazing is the number of people who sweat the small stuff that they can’t control, but bury their heads in the sand when it comes to the major events factors that they can influence. How many people do you know who have no pension provision in place because it’s boring / scary / year’s away etc. but spend hours analysing whether house prices are going to crash or not. Hint: One of these you can't do anything about and the other could allow you to sit on a beach supping martinis in your retirement...
Use this blog as a guide to show that, with a little thought and work, the average person can not only survive, but thrive in modern living.