How a lesser paying job makes sense to me

This may seem like a strange blog post. Why on earth would a finance blogger even consider a lesser paying job, and let alone be pleased about it?

Before you start thinking that I have lost my mind you better keep reading. Firstly, note that the new job that I have accepted is only at a 7% lower salary than my current position. This is not too bad although it does certainly impact on my day-to-day savings and financial goals. I did obviously negotiate and discuss things with the company, but in the end I am very happy with the offering and that is what this post is all about.

There are two ideas that I would like to share and hopefully you’ll understand that my decision isn’t as crazy as it sounds.

The Concept of “Zig-Zagging”

Have you ever climbed a really steep mountain and noticed how the path zig-zags up? You obviously want to get to the top, and the zig-zagging path is longer and seems more tiring. Sometimes you even seem to go the wrong way, but in the end you will actually reach the top. Unless you are a super-fit athlete, the zig-zag path is probably very helpful as it allows you to reach your goal at a slightly more manageable pace; sometimes it’s even quicker than the direct route!

Another example is using a GPS to find the quickest route through traffic to reach your destination. It may literally take you in the opposite direction in order to catch a back-road which will then quickly lead you to your destination.

The concept I am trying to bring across is that the most direct and obvious route is not the only route, and sometimes a slight detour can actually help you reach your destination quicker. As long as you know where you are headed of course!

In my case, the lower salary seems like a move in the wrong direction, but the experience, environment and opportunity is something that I feel confident will help me reach my ultimate goal a lot quicker. So for right now I just need keep focussed on my end goal and use this as a means to get there.

Money doesn’t always have to be the focus of everything, we need to look at the experience and work environment too. As well as the future growth opportunities.

The Happiness Factor

I don’t think that people pay enough attention to their happiness when it comes to their work. So many people are unhappy at work and simply plod along through the day doing what they need to whilst yearning to be somewhere else.

Being happy in ones job is seriously important as the consequences spill over to all spheres of life. Family, relationships, home environment and health are just some of the areas that will be negatively affected if you’re unhappy at work.

Wasting years of your life by being unhappy is really not worth the money – not at all!

I do however need to be honest and say that my current job is really not that bad, but I know that I can be happier with a few changes in the environment and setup and thus I am willing to sacrifice some money in order to increase my happiness.

On the positive side, when you’re feeling happy and motivated at work it also spills over to other areas of life. When you are positive, confident, motivated and happy you will find amazing opportunities that you previously just couldn’t see.

In summary

I may be sacrificing some income which should be going straight towards my investment goals, but I am excited about the new opportunity and environment. There is a lot of room for growth and development which will soon turn into money and place me in a better position.

When looking at a job don’t simply look at the salary, think bout the opportunities and work environment too. It’s a scary thought, but you probably spend more time at work than anywhere else! You better be enjoying it!

Know where you want to get to and enjoy the ride.

Start small

“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step” –┬áLao-Tzu

Financial Independence may seem like such a hard thing to achieve, and to many it seems impossible. However, as the famous saying goes, the journey begins with a single step.

As with all challenges, you have to start somewhere, practice daily and build on your experience to eventually reach your goals. It is really easy to start and although the daily decisions may not always be easy, working towards Financial Independence can be a reality.

If the thought of Financial Independence is too daunting and you think that you cannot achieve it, start with these 4 easy steps and enjoy the journey.

Decide to be in control of your money

The first step to any financial goal is to decide to be in control of your money. Being in control of your money has nothing to do with how much your have or earn, and all to do with how you spend it and invest it. It is knowing what every cent is going towards and understanding how different spending decisions can impact your goals.

All it takes in one simple decision saying “I’m gonna take control of my money”.

Right now you don’t need to know much about finances as you can learn it all; just make that decision!

Set a realistic goal to start with

The best way to motivate yourself is set a small goal which you can achieve relatively easily. Focus on achieving it and you will see how your perspective of finances changes as you see yourself reaching the goal.

When setting a goal though be sure that it is measurable and achievable. Instead of being vague and stating that you want to save “some” money, specify the exact amount and the date by when you want to have done it.

Start off with something that won’t be too hard, goals should be motivating and not depressing or something that makes you feel guilty.

Create a budget and vague path to your goal

If you don’t yet have a personal budget, then you need to create one as a matter of urgency! There are many resources online about this but the basic concept is simple:

  • List your income (stable and reliable income)
  • List your expenses (if you’re unsure if where to start have a look at the 30-day challenge to keep track of expenses)
  • Make sure that you earn more than you spend!

Have a look at this to get you started.

Reassess often

This is a very important step and something people don’t do often enough. You need to reassess your current situation, spending pattern, budget, goals, etc on a regular basis. Circumstances change and your own experience and confidence levels change. Embrace these changes in your journey to financial independence.

Allow yourself to embrace change and keep a journal of your experiences along the way.

Paydays till retirement

How many paydays do you have left until you reach retirement age? Have you ever calculated this?

Perhaps you plan to retire early which means you have even less paydays left, you better work out exactly how many.

Let’s assume you work in a standard job where you get paid monthly. That would mean 12 paydays each year. If you are 35 now and plan to retire at age 65, that would work out to 360 paydays.

So what exactly does this mean?

This is simply a number to help you with your retirement planning and goal setting. You cannot simply have a goal to “save as much as I can”, or “save enough” as these goals are hard to quantify. In fact, you will never know if you have reached your goals.

Your retirement plan needs to include specific amounts. You will most probably want a large pension fund, perhaps you aim to have other income such as rental, and maybe you have assets which you specifically plan to sell when you reach retirement age. These are all great, but they need to be realistic and you need to reassess them often.

Using your “paydays ’til retirement” number you can easily plan and track how you are doing wth regards your retirement plan. You have a set time period and set amount and can use various methods to plan, predict and assess your situation.

Let’s assume you have 360 paydays left, and your goal is to have 2 million in a retirement fund at retirement age. You can simply create a spreadsheet with 360 rows. Show your current fund balance, your current contributions, assumed growth (rather assume a lower growth and plan accordingly) and assumed salary (and contribution) increase (again, take a lower assumption).


This will then show you whether you’re on track or not.

This kind of planning doesn’t take into account major life changes that could happen, and we cannot predict the country and global economy. In fact, don’t try to make things too complicated. Just do some basic calculations and see where you stand.

If you have a financial advisor they can of course assist you greatly with this as they have wonderful software and tools to take into account all sorts of scenarios. It’s definitely worth contacting someone if you feel you need help.

If you’re wondering how to decide what your goal amount should be, that is more complicated and we’ll cover that in some articles soon. In the meantime though, it’s best to read up as much as you can and to consult a financial planner who can assist.

Your number of paydays until retirement will slowly count down. Think of it as a ticking time-bomb… are you ready?

Set an intention

I’ve been struggling with my early morning yoga routine recently and I messaged my yoga instructor saying “Help – I can’t get myself out of bed in the morning! Need motivation”. Her response was probably something she was taught in yoga-school (some mystic place in India no doubt) because it’s so simple and yet profound.

Her answer was simply “When your alarm clock goes off, place both feet firmly on the ground and think ‘Don’t listen to your mind, do it for your body and soul’.”

Further explanation led her to say “Simply set an intention and when the time comes, follow through with it.” It’s really as simple as that.


So even though that advice is meant to help me wake up at 5am, it’s equally true for anything; especially things that require willpower such as sticking to a budget. Simply set an intention, and then do it! No need to think about it and argue with yourself. If you were in a conscious and focussed space when you made your intention (goal, plan, decision) then there is no reason to not follow through with it. Just don’t give yourself that option.

Not much more I can say other than “Set an intention; and just do it!”



Keep Motivated

It’s easy to lose focus on your goals and to get stuck in the relentless routine of working to survive and surviving to work. The day-to-day rush of life can be exhausting and leave you with little time to sit back and think. There are however a few easy things that you can implement to help you stay focused on your financial goals.


Remind yourself everyday

A great way to stay focused on your goal is to remind yourself of it every day! Try one of these ideas:

  • Create an image to save as your background on computer or other device.
  • Get creative and make a hand-drawn poster stating your goal. Stick it up somewhere.
  • Type it up in a word processor and print it out nice and large to display.
  • Create a business-card cut-out that you can keep in your wallet.
  • Display your goal on a small sticker on the inside of your windscreen so that you see it as you start driving.
  • Use post-it notes around the office or house.

Track it

Visually track your progress. Either with a spreadsheet or a hand-written poster. I like to track my goals by months (years or days) left until the “due” date as well as a percentage of achievement. Financial goals are generally easy to calculate progress – if you have an amount and a number of months you can quickly work out a percentage of progress. This doesn’t work for all goals, but you definitely need to be able to track your goal else you’ll never know if you achieved it!

Here are my pay days until retirement (sticky notes stuck to my monitor) – more on this soon…

Discuss it

It’s vitally important to discuss your goals and progress with someone you trust. If you’re married this really should be your spouse as financial goals affect you both as a unit. If you are not yet married you could discuss these with a close friend or your financial advisor.

Talking about your goals make them “more real” and helps you to stay focussed as you are now accountable to someone.


Find a like-minded community of people who can encourage you and keep you motivated. Real-life relationships are best, but an online community such as Twitter or Facebook can be very useful too.