Charles Givens, the American personal finance guru, gives this advice in Wealth Without Risk: “Ask yourself: ‘If I had unlimited, time, talent, money, ability, self-confidence and support from my family, what would I do?’ Then, list the steps necessary to achieve these goals.”

OK, so you don’t have unlimited time and money . . . but what he wants you to do is envision goals beyond the constraints of your current situa- tion. This is hard but not impossible. It’s amazing what can be achieved by breaking big objectives into step-by-step activities.

One of the first things you should do when planning a career escape is define your needs and wants. What is your 100% non-negotiable minimum annual income? Or not even minimum . . . what is the figure you want to be earning after you’ve successfully escaped?

Realize that there may be a period of transition when you don’t earn this amount (“the Hit”). It’s up to you how long this period is. Just as it is up to you to reject situations where the period is longer than you are pre- pared to accept or can afford. This is a very personal and subjective part of your career transition.

If escape begins with definition you need to be clear on two things:

  1. That you know how much money you need for the life you want.
  2. That you have been really honest that this genuinely is the life you want (and not the life that you think you want).

Money has no value without context. In the bank it may provide you with a feeling of security. But the pre-requisite is that you value that feeling of security . . . otherwise it is just a number. In order to have congruence between your financial goals and your objectives in life, you need to set goals for what your money will ENABLE you to do.

Therefore it can’t just be a number, it should be a number plus an objec- tive (it could be a house, it could be private school for your kids, or it could be owning a hotel on the beach in Africa). The objective is entirely up to you – just make sure it is yours and no one else’s.


By now, you’re probably aware that we wrote a book (you helped!) and we’re excited to be really close to the final publish date. The Escape Manifesto (#escapemanifesto on Twitter) is the book behind the movement and is here to support, inspire and encourage us all to make big and brave transitions in our lives. Over the next few weeks, we’ll be sharing snippets on this blog.

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