Financial Planning: What Would You Give Up to Take a Chance on Your Career?

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I took a chance – I left my stable job at a good company without another job lined up. I was unemployed for the first time in my adult life. All I had was belief in myself… and a financial plan.

Start with belief

At the time I left my job I had recently become a mother for the first time. Like any mother can attest to, the birth of your first child puts life into perspective in an instant. The thought of working 40+ hours a week, commuting an hour and a half each day, and pumping two to three times a day, all while being away from my tiny baby was disturbing to say the least.

I’ll pause here for a moment before I upset anyone. If you are a full-time working and commuting mother who loves her career and life, then I’m sincerely happy for you – that just wasn’t where I was, and I needed a change.

If, on the other hand, you are in the same position I was than you may need some belief in yourself and a plan too.

I knew I wouldn’t be able to continue with my job once my maternity leave ended, but I also knew I was a hard-working, dedicated employee with a fair amount of contacts, both of which would help me find another job. Also, I truly wanted to work. I love the feeling of accomplishment and although motherhood gives you that, I crave professional accomplishment as well.

I had made up my mind without reservation – I was not returning to that job, but I would return to the workforce. I wanted a flexible job where I could work from home and ideally work part time. I began picturing myself working from home. I pictured where my desk would be and how I would set it up. I felt how it would feel to be offered a part time job. My husband and I spoke at length about what life would be like with this new arrangement and we both pictured this new life in our minds.

I truly believed I would find another opportunity and I used the Law of Attraction to get me there – the only problem was I didn’t know how long it might be before that next opportunity presented itself. Belief works – but on its own timeline.

Create a financial plan

I didn’t decide to quit my job on a whim. I had a plan and it began with one question – how long could we survive on one salary with a brand-new baby? Turned out not long if we continued the lifestyle we had been living. We needed a budget.

We created a detailed monthly budget and it was clear how long we could get by financially while I figured out what I’d do next. This budget included seriously reducing our spending on things we didn’t need until I found a new job: no new clothes, limited trips to the hairdresser, no vacations. At first it was hard to imagine not being able to buy what we wanted, when we wanted, but together we had decided what was most important – and things weren’t it.

If taking a chance in your career may leave you with a period of unemployment (and your partner doesn’t make millions) then you must start with budgeting.

Tips for budgeting

Here are a few pointers to get you started:

  1. Write down all your monthly expenses, including a realistic estimate for gas and groceries.

  2. Look at all your credit card expenses from the last few months, where can you cut back?

  3. Always use your credit card instead of cash so you can track expenses.

  4. Look ahead to upcoming events that will require money and include them in your budget or decide which ones you can skip.

  5. Make a pact to discuss ALL unplanned expenses with your partner before you purchase. Allocate a small amount of money that you and your partner can spend separately as each of you see fit ($50 a month per person works for us).

  6. Compare your credit card statement to your budget each week. If you are not on track than rein it in!

Once you know what money is coming in and going out you can determine if it is at all possible for you and your family to be reduce to a one income household for a period of time. If it is close but your expenses still outweigh your partner’s income, then get serious on where you can cut back. Cancel cable? Less eating out? Are there any ways you can bring in income while you are figuring out your next career move? Selling clothes or other household items online is a good place to start.

If you can’t make your budget work for any period of unemployment, or the chance you want to take requires startup costs that won’t fit into the budget, then my last recommendation is to get your budget as tight as possible and save every extra penny that is left over. After six months of saving you might have enough to take that chance!

Finally, this brings us back to the most important question…

What are you willing to give up in order to take action in your career?

Can you give up eating out for a period of time in order to explore other opportunities? Can you choose to buy used clothes instead of new while you launch your new business? Maybe you can do it while working, but if you decide you can’t then your dreams might very well be on the other side of a financial plan.

It turned out my faith was stronger than my financial plan because another opportunity did come through soon after I had left my previous job. Was it luck or the law of attraction? Either way, this new opportunity allowed me an extra month to stay home with my girl and provided me with incredible flexibility, both of which I’ll be grateful for the rest of my life.

What could you do if you had belief in yourself and a financial plan?


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Meet the Author: Jonna Demeo

Jonna is the founder of a marketing consultancy that helps small businesses find their ideal customers through deliberate research, beautifully designed marketing pieces and carefully crafted advertising. She loves the outdoors and spends her weekends traveling around Maine with her husband, daughter and dog — Acadia National Park being their favorite weekend getaway! She’s also working towards hiking all of the 48 4,000 foot mountains in NH.


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