Help me fly by the seat of my financial pants.
July 7, 2012 9:54 AM Subscribe
Too many golden handcuffs. How do I get comfortable ridding myself of them?
posted by dynamiiiite to Work & Money (24 answers total) 22 users marked this as a favorite
Privilege, and the fear of the unknown that comes with getting rid of it, is preventing me from living a fulfilling life.
I grew up in an upper middle class family where we weren't wealthy, but were never strapped for necessities. Because my parents placed such an emphasis on studying/getting into college, I never worked at a "real" job (that is, a job purely for income, rather than an internship) through high school or college. I then graduated from college and took an extremely well-paid finance job, which I am now, 5 years later, starting to feel constrained by.
I would like to leave this job next year and start a business of my own. I'll have a high five digit number to a low six digit number in savings, which would get me about two years' worth of living expenses (not including investment costs, which would bring that down to about a year by my conservative estimate). I think there's a clear need for this business, the startup costs are reasonable, and if it were not to work out, I'd probably take an internship at another startup and then apply to business school.
Problem is, the relative abundance and privilege in my life thus far has made me extremely paranoid about running out of money (and by running out of money, I mean not having 6 months' of living expenses in a bank account). I know I have to take some risks in order to live a fulfilling life, but I can't get past this fear that I don't know how to budget effectively, I'll run out of cash way sooner than I expected, and end up destitute on the street. Compounding this problem is that I'm about to move in with my boyfriend (for both financial reasons and quality of life/warm and fuzzy reasons), which my parents HIGHLY don't approve of, so I don't think I should be counting on falling back on them if things don't go the way I planned. (Note: I've been completely financially independent since leaving college.) Since I've also been at one job since I graduated, I'm also worried about how job hunting will go if I need to go back to working a regular corporate job.
So, how do people get comfortable operating without a financial cushion? If you've worked on a startup, or just been in a similar situation where you get to do something fulfilling that's not financially comfortable, how have you practically dealt with the risk? If you had to go back into the workforce or otherwise get back on your feet afterward, how was it?
Lack of snark would be appreciated - I realize I'm lucky in many ways to have to even ask this question, but I'm just trying to be responsible.