Aim for pay cheque freedom

The recent World Economic Forum’s Africa Economic Summit 2005 started with the results of a survey of the people of Africa.  One of the chilling results of the Gallup International Voice of the People Survey undertaken for the World Economic Forum was that half of all South Africans interviewed, thought unemployment would increase this year.

I regularly meet employees that do not appreciate the booming economy, precarious employment environment. It requires greater sophistication to manage your finances and career. Many South Africans are using the favourable economic climate to sink deeper into debt and recklessly splash out on luxuries.  Popular examples include financing a second property, a depreciating car and their lifestyle on bonds, loans and credit cards. The traditonal logic was to work (often in a dissatisfying job), earn a paycheck and pay the bills even if it meant decades.  What has irrevocably changed in the current environment are the underlying assumptions that you will have the same job or a predictable rising paycheck from your job(s) in future.  No sector, profession or organisation is immune from these seismic shifts. 

Here is my ‘must start today’list:

(Star Workplace, July 2005)

• Assess your current financial and career situation.
You may have to face some sour truths in the process but it will pay off in the years ahead. Get professional assistance if necessary.

• Slash your debts, one paycheck at a time.
You should aim for the shortest repayment period to benefit from prevailing conditions. Work towards paycheck freedom where you keep most of your hard earned cash.

• Saving
Start saving towards a career aspiration that is financially rewarding.  For example, saving seed capital to launch your passion.

• Plan
Plan for ongoing career costs that are not funded by your employer.  It includes further studies, a new CV, membership fees of professional bodies, technology and networking opportunities.

• Safety net
Use a portion of your performance increase and bonus to build a safety net for retrenchment, career changes and unexpected work shocks. 

Our happiness is deeply affected by our finance-career relationship. Make the effort to care for it.


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