Downshifting through no fault of your own
Sometimes it's easy for us 'experienced ones' to understand
I've often found that people to say to me "I wish I could do what you've done"., aren't those who are earning large amounts of money, have money in the bank or a good early pension / redundancy pay out.
Stress at work isn't just for those +£50k per year people, it can affect the average or below average earner just as much and install a want of getting out of it, starting over again or maybe simply ducking out of modern society and living.
In some ways (and to a certain degree relates to me), it is easier to take a drop from say £35k per year to £15k per year (if that) than it is from £80k per year - get my meaning !
There are all sorts of things to consider, I guess the main one is the mortgage and money in the bank. You simply cannot escape that no matter how far you go down the self-reliance road, certain bills have to be paid, period.
The route and theme of this web site helps if you are lucky enough like me to have a large garden with space to grow vegetables and not flowers, a small area to keep a couple of chickens, scrounge the land for natures freebies, burn wood and not coal etc. All these individually don't seem a lot, but added together do make a difference.
Then, as I've said previously, there's the money you are NOT spending by going to 'the proper job' everyday. Working at home or getting out of the commuter madness can save a fortune.
So, with a strong heart, passion and a heck of a lot of courage, it can be done, maybe not without help from various means.As long as your partner and family are in there with you, give it a go ?
Beside the mortgage, there's probably going to be a big credit card
deficit, possibly loans on cars and TV with all the channels. The answer to the car and the TV are pretty simple - get the cheaper model and stick to Free Channels!
Whatever you start downshifting with, you are going to take it with you, bit like moving house in some respects - some of it you can leave behind, some of it you've got to leave behind !
I've had well over my fair share of money problems and there have been weeks, or months, where returning to a full time job has seemed to be the only option, but somehow by fate or blessing, I'm still here and having a good time - not without debt, but getting through it.
This could extend to those who are around my age to thinking 'Am I here for me and my partner, or am I here simply to accumulate so as to pass everything on to my kids when I leave this planet' !
We should not have a guilty consience about money problems. All too often or not it has been caused by the unexpected or just the rising cost of living against earnings and circumstance.
There are ways of clearing debt and there are ways to re-invest some of your home (if you own one) into your future. Even at a more mature age, there are such things as reverse mortgaging etc. which could be beneficial. Reverse Mortgaging is more aimed towards the over 60's and an interesting concept, similar to releasing equity.
The problem is that clearing financial problems etc. is an extra bill at the end of every month. Downshifting involves sacrifice of material, so the lesser the drop, the lesser the loss, albeit we have the level at which we can't go below.
So, if you aren't in a blessed situation of having a pay out and have overheads up to your neck, more careful planning is required and possibly a target date is more apt. A plan of say 'September 2012 is when I'm doing it', then sit down and work out a plan to get yourself as clear as possible by that date and begin the more frugal lifestyle there and then.
I know if I sat down and really worked out what I spend, I could lower that more. It's the silly things like the McDonalds when shopping, stopping at the Motorway Services to buy a coffee when a thermos flask would have done and the fatal buying on impulse mistake !
Maybe there should be an action alongside 'downshifting'; something like 'sideshifting', 'lifeshifting'. I know a chap who packed it all in, 'downshifted' and is now earning more than he was before with half the worries.
Avoiding 'business' seems to be the key. As long as you're paying the bills, feeding yourself and keeping dry at night, so what - the rest of the world can get on with it.
Perhaps a little harsh, but we're only here the once, don't know what's lurking around the next bend, so 'now' is just as or even more important than the future.
But, let's be positive ! Nothing is impossible, a 'b' movie film actor can become President of the United States' and a coal worker the President of Poland ! Personally, I became a dressing room attendant ! It doesn't matter how much you have in the bank, as long as you and your own are happy that way. So be it