When is the best time to Downshift?
Is there a right or wrong time?
First of all I think we have to see that downshifting is a voluntary process, an alternative to the normality of career or other work which usually involves a reduction in money coming in, a reduced way of life in the material sense, but most of all a change of lifestyle which will be a completely new experience. It's in many ways a survival exercise but filled with the adventures of self reliance.
Age for many is a key issue. Downshifting is going to take your family with you and the dreams of a simpler lifestyle and still feeding hungry kids and educating them requires brave souls and a very positive approach. In that sense I guess a probable age for mkost is when the kids are packed away to University or have tied the knot with someone.
Equally, leaving what may be a fairly secure job at the age of say 50 - 55 will decrease your chances of returning ton equal full time employment should the downshifting challenge fail miserably!
My downshifting experience was done with virtually no planning and it was only after 8 years that I could with an honest heart say I was surviving within my means. Up until then I was scraping and scavenging. Looking back, in a strange way they were entertaining times mainly because you didn't know what each day would bring and where the next pound or two was coming from.
Downshifting for most is seen exactly as the word states, going down financially but shifting into an alternate way of life. Where people get it wrong is that they see it as a move to 'The Good Life', one of home grown vegetables from which you mnake your own food and keeping a few Chickens, sometimes solely for the reason that it makes you more like the Television series - harsh, but often very true.
The thing is there's more to it than Vegetables, Chutney making etc., there's keeping yourselves warm in Winter (OK for me because I have solid fuel and collect most of the fuel from the Woods), there's the unexpected Car breakdown, the Dentist bills when the Crown falls out, the Holidays, the list is quite endless.
So the answer to when is the right time is absolutely in your own hands, it's the time when work is causing you too much stress, the time when you feel the family can take it, the time when you all collectively feel comfortable and up for the challenge. It is certainly not a decision where you say 'well I guess so', you need to be more determined than that or it will fail.
In some ways it's a decision which has no exactly the right time pinned to it, but you still need to be pretty sure it's as close as it can be.
The obne thing I would probably suggest as a key is that you have sufficient funds available to last you at least six months should something go wrong but only go into those funds if you absolutely need to, there's a chance you could be worse off in another two years, so use the first negative experience as a learning process, you'll be very surprised at how we can survive when we really want to.
To those considering a downshifting path I wish you every success. Although eight of the eleven years of my own experience were quite bad, I've come out of it the other end, I will be quite vane and say I think I've finally sussed it!
Would I go back and do things differently, no I wouldn't, I'm me and you are you, we all have a different approach and yours is probably a lot lot better than mine ever was!!!
Garden Farming.. Ideal in the Summer
Sometimes not so ideal in the Winter!
Maybe on the back burner for a while! BUT who knows!!