As a Rugged Individualist, a man who is seeking to carve his own path in this life, you must pay very close attention to your Financial Armor. A man not in control of his finances is not in control of his life.
There is No More Corporate Loyalty
There is no longer any loyalty in the corporate world. It used to be you could get a job with a good company, spend 40 years there if you chose and retire with a solid pension.
Or perhaps you play the market and move around a little throughout your career. Blue collar, white collar, a good living was always available for an honest day’s work. This is not the case anymore.
Let’s have a look at several likely scenarios for your future here in the modern business world:
- At the stroke of a pen some unknown investment group or a direct competitor can gobble up your employer and it’s all over.
- Or one day your employer decides it needs to offshore operations to stay competitive.
- And finally, your tenure will eventually make you just too expensive when a younger or foreign replacement is available.
Just like that, years of hard conscientious work is forgotten. All that experience and knowledge is thrown away.
Don’t be Fooled or Complacent
If you’re earning a good living right now good for you. But don’t be fooled or complacent in thinking you are so valuable that your position can’t be cut outright or outsourced at half the cost.
It doesn’t matter what your education or past performance. The bean counters that report to the heads of the multinationals don’t care. These corporations are so large and distant and those in control have their feet so far away from the street that it doesn’t matter. You and your expertise, blood, sweat and tears don’t really matter at all.
Don’t fool yourself.
Can you eventually get picked up by another company who desires your talent and experience? Sure, but you are right back in the same vulnerable position. There is indeed a good living for many to be earned working for a wealthy public corporation, but forewarned is forearmed.
Presently here in the western world, the ruling and wealthy donor classes seem happy to rule over the ruins. Them and theirs will be fine, let the masses fend for themselves. National pride and elective duty be damned.
A man thus needs to be proactive regarding his finances.
How can a man protect himself and his family from the cold reality of the employment market?
Work for a Privately Owned Company
If you will be selling your services as an employee seek out a privately owned firm when all else is equal. In other words, target specific companies for relevant employment.
Generally speaking, a successfully run private company competes in the marketplace with massive sometimes billion dollar competitors by being nimble and caring about its employees. Ownership has integrity and realizes that a top down focus on hiring and developing good people for the long term is to their advantage in the marketplace.
It is a source of pride and gratitude for many business owners to work with and provide a good living to talented and dedicated people. There is still loyalty and honor in these companies. No guarantees of course, but the odds are better.
Private ownership can stand for generations, but eventually they too will sell out to what is probably a publicly owned conglomerate or larger private company.
Find Employment with Local Government
Local government is not a bad idea for stability and decent benefits. If you are a talented manager there is good pay available. If you are working class, the pay is not spectacular but the work is reliable.
Both decent pay and benefits combined with living below your means can play a significant role in your long term plan for financial security.
Staying employed full time is a huge advantage in the long run, even at a modest salary. Needless to say, even a few months of unemployment can cause a financial disaster for a man and his family – a disaster that could take years to get out of.
Perhaps a sure and steady track is best for you while you work your plan.
The reason I mention local government is that my experience is tells me the work is still meaningful and local authorities are still by and large accountable to their citizens.
If you are a couple, perhaps the reliability and benefits of a local government job for one of you could be a smart play. The end game here is to be a man in control. Steady employment will be a part of that control.
Embrace Minimalism and Live Below Your Means
If you are going to work for a paycheck or you own your own business, live below your means.
Take nothing for granted and live below your means, period. Always be putting some money away or paying down debt. Be disciplined.
Make it a goal to increase your net worth every month.
If you haven’t done it yet you are going to have to have the talk with your woman. Better to deal with a little discomfort now than down the road when you skid into negative cash flow after one of you loses your job. Discuss the real possibility with your woman and put a little worry in her heart. Prepare yourself for push back. Steel your Emotional Armor.
Don’t doubt it either. It will happen. Prepare for it. Work without fear. Live with confidence every day.
Even if you plan and you get caught before you are ready it can be difficult, but at least you are living as a man should. You are living with foresight and preparation and you will not be denied in the long run. Do not lie down as a victim to circumstance.
How does one live below his means you might ask? You’re not rich and already having some trouble paying off the credit cards. Well then you’ve got some learning and some choices to make.
Budget and Track Your Spending
Put a budget together and track your expenses. Pick up a copy of Quicken Personal Finance and Budgeting Software and download all your debit, credit and bank account transactions weekly. It’s quick and easy. After a few downloads, pretty much all expenditures will default to an expense category. Limit your cash withdrawals so that you can track exactly where you are spending your money.
In three months you will have an accurate sample of your spending habits. Adjust your spending to a reasonable budget.
If you’ve got a surplus afterward, you are on your way. Put the extra away in an IRA or straight in the bank in an untouchable savings account. Look for additional areas of waste or discretion that can be cut to increase your savings.
If you’re at break even or below you’ve got two choices: earn more income or cut your overhead.
Put in overtime if you’re an hourly, hire yourself out after hours as a tradesman, consult, or consider anything you can do to develop surplus income.
Work is good. The pride of your initiative will drive your energy and spirit.
More Minimalism -Downsize and Live off of One Salary
Cut your expenses. Downsize your home and your vehicles. It won’t be fun, but at least you are a man taking bold and deliberate action. This is a smart and proactive move to secure your fortunes. Better to be bold and determined in life. Set your financial principles and stick to them. Take the actions you need to control your destiny.
Set your financials up so that you can live off of one salary.
When the hammer comes down one day you will have the satisfaction of preparation. Talk to your woman about the powerful cut throat forces out there that do not care about her and her family. Put together a massive list of story after story detailing downsizings, offshoring, buyouts, consolidation, bankruptcies and sellouts.
Trade some immediate gratification for some control and security. You cannot and will not live hand to mouth. Not in this world. You will work as a team to control your destiny.
A man defines and relishes his destiny. He does not let others do so.
Live Off of One Salary and Start a Business
In my experience, this is how most small businesses get started. A man has some capital available for investment and he and his woman have structured their finances to live off of one income.
Then it’s off to the races and sixty to eighty hours a week for five or more years, but the satisfaction of attaining financial independence cannot be understated. This is Rugged Individualism.
As it turns out, this is the track that I took. Is it easy? Am I wealthy? No and not yet, but we now make financial gains every month and I cannot be put out on the street by the stroke of some pen from some conference room. I am answerable to my clients and I can lose business, but I will always have sufficient income coming in.
A full treatise on starting a business is beyond the scope of this article, but I would suggest you pick up a copy of Rich Dad, Poor Dad to start the process of thinking like an entrepreneur and an asset owner.
Choice and Peace of Mind
Give yourself the gift of choice and peace of mind.
Having strong financials in the long run will give a man options. If you want to live as a free and independent man you will want as many options available to you as possible.
As an employee or business owner, prepare for difficult financial times. Eliminate debt, save a year’s expenses and give yourself some breathing room. Reap the glory of self-determination when times get tough. Reap the glory of living without fear.
Be the master of your money, not a slave to it.
Set a long term goal to get yourself to the point where you have 20 times your yearly expense budget in savings. At that point you can consider yourself financially independent.
With discipline, investment and determination, this can be done in 10 to 15 years.
Will it be worth it? Think back to 15 years ago and then think about today. Would you be happy to have twenty times (or even five times) your yearly living expenses saved up? Yeah, I thought so.
In today’s world, you must pay very close attention to your Financial Armor. Be patient, be smart, but develop that armor. Just as you will every aspect of your life in the pursuit of your Ultimate Self.
All the best,