Financial Freedom = Choice to Quit from Your Job
One reason for the long dearth of fresh articles from me was that something major happened in our household about a year ago. My husband quit from his company where he has worked for 16 years. And with no job in hand. It was no easy decision, trust me. We went through many hours of soul-searching, number crunching and scenario planning before arriving at this concerted decision.
Strangely so, because as I wrote in a previous post, we have achieved our "financial freedom" goal. Living simply, what we have should be able to sustain us. But there were many nagging questions like:
- is this the "retirement" he was hoping to have?
- how is he going to occupy his time since he is only in his mid-forties?
- will he feel a sudden loss of identity?
- will he be able to find another job, if he wants to continue working?
- what would our kids think?
- what would our friends think?
We bit the bullet in the end even though we had no ready answers. Quitting from a senior management position, we knew it was going to lead to a big gap in our monthly "income". But we were mentally and financially prepared.
I find it a privilege that we had a choice. All thanks to a decision we jointly made more than a decade ago to be financial free. Back then, it was just motivational talk for us to continue on our quest for financial freedom - you know, the "what if we have no job" reason that all of us must have used at some time . Now, it's reality. Well, at least until three months ago when he was offered a new job, one which he felt he could contribute once again.
How many of us are prepared for such a day when it is best to leave a job that you used to love but which now dread. Not many, judging from the many heartfelt conversations he had with his friends and ex-colleagues. Most had financial commitments which they could not walk away from. Some were not willing to work for lower-paying jobs. Or for the older ones, the fear that there won't be any similar jobs at all since they are too "old". So, they continued to struggle in their unhappy work environment, living what I call "lives of quiet desperation".
At times like these, I feel validated for having left full-time employment to take on the role of Home CFO while my husband focussed on building his career. All these years of safeguarding our family finances (nagging included), churning our monthly net worth charts, investing prudently and raising our boys with the right financial values were well worth it. The transition, financially at least, was a very smooth one. We didn't at any time feel money was an issue during his 8-month "sabbatical". However, it took a lot of getting used to to having one's spouse 24/7 in the house!
Life is sometimes full of ironies. We always hear the maxim: "Money is not everything". That's why he quit his job. Yet, as we have learnt, money can afford you choices which you otherwise couldn't have. That's also why he quit his job.