WORK-LIFE BALANCE / JAN. 27, 2015
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Decisions that Limit Freedom and Flexibility

Wouldn’t it be nice to have choices with regard to employment? You could choose to work part-time, telecommute, or not at all. Unfortunately, most of us don’t have these type of choices. We need to work full-time to put a roof over our heads and food on the table. So, you might be surprised to learn there are ways to enjoy more freedom and flexibility.

The truth of the matter is, many people have discovered the secret to working less and enjoying life to the fullest. No one is suggesting retiring at a ridiculously young age with a bank full of cash. But if you don’t want to get caught in the grind of a 9-to-5 workday and you would rather spend your days pursuing passions, it’s important to make smart financial decisions. Because whether you realize it or not, the stuff you work hard to accumulate can keep you stuck. This isn’t a bad thing if you enjoy your work and you’re willing to sacrifice your freedom. But if you’re looking for a better way, you need to recognize decisions limit your freedom.

Big House and Big Cars

Many people do whatever it takes to climb ladders in life, whether it’s financially or professionally. They want a corner office, a bigger paycheck, and bigger homes and cars. Now, you can spend your money however you want, just know that too many expenses limit your choices in life.

The more you have, the more you’ll have to work to maintain your lifestyle. If you’re working 60 or 70 hours a week, and if your job’s so demanding that you never have downtime and you’re constantly overwhelmed, your health may suffer and you may wish to walk away. But if your lifestyle depends on a certain income, your only choice might be to stick with your job, or else adjust your lifestyle.

Too Much Credit Card Debt

Credit card debt may not seem as serious when compared to an overly expensive house or car payment, but credit cards keeps many people stuck in undesirable work situations. I’ve known people over the years with $20,000 in credit card debt. In fact, one person’s minimum payments were higher than some peoples mortgage payment. So, if you want choices and freedom from a traditional job, you have to avoid debt. It’s a trap that takes away your options.

Not Increasing Your Education

I’m not saying going to college will guarantee a job, but some education is better than none. This can include classes to get a certificate or diploma at a community college, or you can work toward a college degree — whichever choice makes sense for the path you want to take.

Fear of Challenging Yourself

I’m all about entrepreneurship, and although I realize many people don’t want the responsibility of being their own boss, but this is one of the best ways to enjoy freedom and flexibility. You can set your own hours, work at your own pace and you’re not limited to one location. Plus, as your own boss, there’s the possibility of working far less and earning more. For example, I earn a full-time income working part-time hours and I know other freelancers who do the same. My point: if you want freedom from a job, don’t be afraid to take risks and trust your abilities.

Not Saving for Retirement

Even if you’re okay working 40 hours a week, chances are you don’t want to work these hours as you approach your late 50s or early 60s. Unfortunately, if you don’t plan for retirement, this limits your freedom and choices later in life. To make sure you can leave the workforce when you’re ready, plan for retirement early — preferably as soon as you graduate college in your early 20s. Join an employer’s 401(k) program, and contribute enough to get an employer match, if offered. Also, diversify with an individual retirement account through a bank.

Life is all about choices, but unfortunately, the decisions you make have an tremendous impact on the choices you’re able to make.

Image Source: CloudPro

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