Unlocking Golden Handcuffs

Gold is a soft metal, so it would be really stupid to make handcuffs from gold if you really wanted to keep a hardened criminal in place.

But for keeping a professional in place? It’s perfect. Put golden handcuffs on a person who respects gold and they may even become proud of their handcuffs.

Being paid a healthy sum of money often means upping the lifestyle a little too. It’s easy to bash the most flagrant ways that happens, but it also happens in more fundamental ways.

  • Owning a home is important, and can even be a good financial deal in the long term. In the short term, it means a mortgage.
  • To be a good lawyer one must look the part. Even without buying Armani or Zegna, “keeping up appearances” adds up fast.
  • And let’s not even mention loans, because that’s obvious.

The $1,000,000 Question is how to get the handcuffs off.

Preferably without hurting the gold.

For once, there is a pretty easy answer: scrape away at the gold and make your own key. Save, save, save. Create a fund of money that you do not touch, and is pretty liquid.

“This is the same financial advice I got in college! WTF!?”

Yes. It still applies, but it has a special significance for someone in the position of an associate in golden handcuffs. Having a sufficient pad to know that you could live for six months or more without a job takes the pressure off of considering a career change.

Notice I’m not even talking about making one, just considering it. This is the financial version of the “psychic savings account.” It gives you breathing room to consider the possibility and make a decision on your own rather than on someone else’s terms. And if you ultimately decide not to make a change, then you have a healthy chunk of change to play with, or save for a future crossroads–not a bad thing!

The steps are pitifully easy for someone of your caliber (no, I’m not being sarcastic!):

  1. Figure your monthly expenses. Round everything up! Include discretionary spending and fun-money. Add $100 just so you don’t feel deprived.
  2. Figure your annual, semiannual, and quarterly bills (bar fees, insurance, licensing, etc.). Divide by the appropriate number and add to your monthly expenses.
  3. Multiply this total by 6. More if you want, and less only if you really think you’re an exception to the job market that sucks worse than it has in a good long time.
  4. Start saving toward that total. Automate it to the extent you can, so you don’t even miss it.

It won’t happen immediately–you’re scraping away at gold, after all–but soon enough the fund will start to pile up. You may even feel a weight lifting off your chest. Banking away this money will allow you to continue the life you have, however inflated it is or isn’t, while considering whether this is the right path for you to continue on.

That is about as secure as you can get. This fund also buys you out of the golden handcuffs. You will not have to worry about sustaining the life you have just so you can make the “frivolous” decision whether your life might be better spent doing something different.

Saving like this always hurts. That is why I didn’t put a time scale on it. You chose how fast to save to this point, because only you know how urgent your need is.

Finding a secure financial position plus clarity on the situation is like finding an Archimedean point, the one still spot from which you can move anything. Just get that far, and any choice you make will be fully yours.

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One response to “Unlocking Golden Handcuffs

  1. Pingback: “Doing Fine” | Unrequited Respect

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