The fear of spending savings

Ever thought about taking a long break from your job?

When I ask people this, the response is often that yes, they’ve considered it, but that either:

  1. They don’t have the savings to do this.
  2. They have the savings, but are scared to spend them.

Today I’d like to talk about the second scenario.

Let’s say you want to train to become a parachute instructor, or start selling online the woodwork you create as a hobby now. Or maybe your kid is entering a new and exciting phase of their young life and you want to be a bigger part of it.

When you think about quitting your job for a while to pursue something that excites you, you might have some negative thoughts, such as:

  • When you’ll want to get back to work, your boss won’t want to take you back.
  • You won’t be able to find a job elsewhere either because employers will look at your CV and be weirded out by a “gap” in your work experience.
  • Your friends and family will think you’re a lazy bum.
  • You’ll end up broke and living on government welfare.

These are all fear responses. And they can be overwhelming to the point of preventing you from taking action.

It’s a common human tendency to stop acting when something is scary. But if you pay close attention to your fear, you’ll notice a few things:

  • Fear comes and goes. It’s not around all the time.
  • Even if you feel fear, you can still do the scary thing.
  • You do scary things all the time, and most of the time, your fears don’t come true.

I’m in the fortunate position of having been able to live off of my savings for over two years now. Most of the time, I don’t think about my declining bank balances at all. I simply to try enjoy the day in front of me. Other times, I freak out about the imbalance between my income and expenses. I feel like I need to fix it now!

I’m telling you this because if there’s something you want to do, something that requires taking a break from your job—or quitting your job altogether—and you have the savings: realize that you have a choice.

Yes, spending your savings feels scary sometimes. But you can do it even though it’s scary. You can act despite feeling the fear.

If savings weren’t an issue, and if you could quit your job or take a long break from work—what would you spend your time doing?

Reply and let me know!

— Peter

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