Career Change Turbulence

Have current “problems” in world financial markets (probably an understatement, I know…) spooked your career change plans?

I don’t blame you – people have a natural (survival) inclination “to batten down the hatches” in uncertain times, and concentrate on staying afloat.

And I know all too well for a lot of potential career changers that means making the best of their current job, and recognizing that putting food on the table is a priority.

Nonetheless here are five “cash flow tactics” that some coaching clients are experimenting with to help bolster their personal finances – in the belief that stormy financial skies will clear in the future and they’ll be able to spend some of these savings on furthering their career change goals.

(It may have crossed your mind that “coaching” itself is a discretionary expense that could be cut.

Indeed it can, and I know of people who have done just that because it was the best thing to do in the circumstances.

Your mileage may vary!)

In no particular order, here are the 5 cash flow tactics:

1- Eat a good home breakfast and pack a lighter lunch.
You’ll have more energy to carry you through the working day and fewer urges to eat junk snacks.

2- Track your daily spending on every item as it occurs, not later!
This takes some self-discipline. Basically, you act as your own ‘Chief Financial Officer’ (CFO) and find reasons to delay or cancel a purchase. You’ll save money doing this, for sure.

3- Delay all new discretionary expenditures by a minimum of 1 month. For example, if you see a DVD you like/want today on Tues 6 May, make a note of it, even check out where to buy and how much, but take NO further action until you review the idea again on 7 June, or later.

Putting this into daily action can save you $$$$$ !!! (or whatever currency you deal in.)

4- Pay fully in cash – no credit installments.

5- Review all monthly recurring home and living expenses in the form of a simple cash flow spreadsheet.

For #2 above, I use a simple PocketMod carried around in my shirt breast pocket. Seemed odd to be doing this for the first few weeks but now I feel strange if I don’t record what I just bought… right down to the smallest item.

After some months I began to know what my “30 day trailing average” was for personal spending – and when those little splurges happened (I had treated myself), I felt OK about it.

And because I had a target to get back on track for, I knew I could hit that rolling mean again in a few months or less.

Not only is this a good way of helping to fund a “career change project“, it’s a great habit to adopt if you are planning on running your own small/home business because adequate “Cash Flow” really is the lifeblood of many small businesses. Ouch! Don’t I know it.

Armed with just this simple awareness of daily spending habits, I reckon I’m now saving (or at least delaying for a while!) about $100 a month in “impulse” and “want” buys.

Have your career change plans been disrupted by the current “credit squeeze”?

And what are you doing about it to keep your dream alive?

- Mark McClure