As someone who has just filed their Tax return (I know always last minute) I am reluctantly thrust back into what has become a tiresome annual sojourn into the world of money and tax.
I remember a story I once heard about a wealthy chap complaining that he was paying way too much tax and he was working for a significant part of the year just to pay the tax. His friend said… well I can show you how to pay no tax whatsoever… intrigued, the tax payer enquired how he managed that… to which he replied I basically keep my earnings under the tax threshold.
Of course these two fellows are at opposite ends of the spectrum. One is seemingly driven to earn plenty. Perhaps so that he is able to afford the finer things in life, fabulous holidays, houses, cars etc. etc… the other… seemingly happy to not have those things. Both have life and the capacity to enjoy what they have.
We of course make choices too, all the time. But what is driving us? What dreams, goals, needs, desired and expectations do we have? Both our own and of course those that are placed on us by others.
Which one are you?
- Someone seeking a £60k + salary with all the benefits of a reasonable salary but with significant drawbacks too.
- Someone who wants to get really wealthy. Maybe grow a big business, or a group of businesses, the next Richard Branson? … Huge demands placed upon you, little freedom… the risk of having it all… or losing it all… extreme highs and lows as forces beyond your control can change things in an instant.
- Acceptance that you perhaps can enjoy a lifestyle that suits you, doing things you love with minimal pressure or strain as you manage your own time and effort, but, probably without the big earnings either.
Maybe it changes too?
I think that during my working life I have been in all 3 camps at one point or another. There is no right or wrong on this, but understanding which model you are working with, why, and checking in on whether this is what you want is really important.
Nowadays I would like to do the things that I really enjoy. There are quite a few of those things. I would like to earn enough money such that I can sustain my life and with that income which comes to me I can continue to do the things in my life that make me happy and enable me to grow, develop and become the “best version of me”. I like having real flexibility with my time and being able to choose things that I want to do… whether these earn large sums of money doesn’t really come into it… it’s about does it make the boat go forward towards the vision… If it does it is in… if not then probably out…
A vision for the direction or place where we would like to be is really important. These days I don’t make goals… goals for me are out of date the day after they are written, as a curveball could render the whole plan obsolete anyway… flexibility, taking each day as it comes with the spirit of an enthusiastic, excited adventurer is how I roll these days.
I’ve settled into using visions of what I would like my life to be like instead of goals… that does include earning money at this stage… as things need to be sustainable.
But it is a different emphasis… I have pretty much enough of everything I need (that’s not a lot by the way) … what I’m excited about involves experiences, people, relationships and things that don’t involve swathes of money… so if my costs are right down, then so is the necessity to focus on income so heavily… basically the pressure is off.
It’s different to before and it wouldn’t have been possible at a different time in my life… but right now… I’m there with the guy who pays very little tax (none this year) … and for the first time I’m beginning to understand him better…