Many of us, at some stage in our lives, find ourselves stuck in unfulfilling jobs or questioning why we are stuck in a perpetual rat race. While the COVID-19 pandemic has led to a wave of resignations worldwide – dubbed The Great Resignation – you shouldn’t be doing something so drastic like this before fully planning your financials.
What is the rat race?
The rat race refers to the constant engagement in work or activities in pursuit of money to get ahead in life. That’s where the image of rats running constantly on the wheel comes to mind.
For some people, the rat race could mean the long hours they spend toiling away at their jobs just so they can receive that monthly pay cheque in order to pay the bills and service their housing loan. For others, it could mean chasing that high-powered, high-income job so they can afford luxurious holidays or big houses.
In Singapore, the typical rat race trajectory often starts in school, with people striving to ace exams so they can enter good universities so they can get that first job so that they can then move on to the next higher-paying job and so on. All this is so they can get married, get their HDB and eventually upgrade to a condo and be able to hopefully enjoy the finer things in life.
The reality is, climbing up the corporate ladder in the rat race can often leave one feeling tired and unfulfilled. Many people want to escape the rat race, but the risk of giving up that job comes with giving up that pay cheque which you need to maintain your lifestyle and pay the bills.
Motivation for escaping the rat race
There are many different reasons for escaping the rate race. And this means different things to different people.
For some, it means being able to exit the corporate world entirely and enjoy early retirement where you can truly choose how to spend your time. For others, escaping the rat race could mean taking a less stressful job or a part-time job or a more fulfilling or rewarding job, but with side income to make up that loss of income from a full-time job. It could also mean being able to choose to work wherever you want whenever you want.
Financial freedom is key to escaping the rat race
To truly escape the rat race, attaining financial freedom is essential. When you have financial freedom, you can have work-life balance. This means you have the time to spend meaningful time with your children, contribute to society, fulfill personal goals, master a new skill, or go on holidays whenever you please. There are many possibilities.
Getting out of the rat race
But you can’t get out of the rat race just like that. You need to take baby steps. Set goals and ask yourself why do you want to get out of the rat race. Research ways to generate passive income so you can cover your regular expenses. Look for multiple ways to increase your income.
The ultimate goal is to build multiple streams of passive income so you can eventually partially or fully exit the rat race. There’s no quick way to go about it and you’ll need to put in the effort to learn to succeed.