I never want to be caught wearing golden handcuffs. By that, I mean I never want a lifestyle that is so extravagant I’m stuck working to pay for it, hence chained by golden handcuffs.
It’s something I’ve seen happen way too often with friends of mine. They now work 13 hour days at jobs they tolerate just to afford their massive lifestyle choices of mcmansions and SUVs.
Getting trapped into paying for an outlandish lifestyle is a fate I’d like to avoid.
What Does Golden Handcuffs Mean?
In my definition, golden handcuffs are the income and financial benefits that keep you chained to a job because you need them to support your lifestyle.
Another definition, via Wikipedia, says golden handcuffs are a system of financial incentives designed to keep an employee from leaving the company.
Either way golden handcuffs keep you chained to a job, chained to a company, chained to a lifestyle you may want to break free from but can’t leave.
Avoiding Golden Handcuffs In Life
Right now I have to work to pay my expenses. That’s a given since I’m only in my mid twenties and did not come from a wealthy family (despite my father’s wealth acquired over a lifetime).
Obviously at this point I have to work, but I do envision a day where I don’t have to work at all and at the very least don’t have to work a high paying job I hate just to afford my lifestyle.
I imagine a more excessive lifestyle would be great fun as a twenty something. It’s nice to buy things and must be nice to buy whatever you want regardless of price. That sounds great! I would love some designer clothes and handbags. Oh, and a nicer car! I trendy apartment downtown sounds pretty nice too! Maybe a vacation home, too. Please, can I have some more?
However, when I think about doing work I hate or being stuck at a job just to afford my lifestyle? Doing this for decades? It sounds awful.
For my future I envision a simple lifestyle with a smaller home, a couple of kids, and regular budget travel. I don’t expect great things or want to grow as wealthy as I possibly can. I definitely don’t want to buy stuff and more stuff and even more stuff. A simple, non-materialistic lifestyle is enough for me.
It’s hard to deny the calling of material goods sometimes. Moving has showed me how much I crave newer, nicer things quite often. However, I also desire debt freedom and the ability to have enough money in the bank that I can walk away from any job I am working when it no longer fits.
I just want freedom.
I don’t want to be chained to a job in order to afford my stuff.
My Plan To Avoid Golden Handcuffs
I plan to avoid golden handcuffs and being forced to do work I don’t love. How do I plan to do this?
I plan to do it by keeping my lifestyle meager and keeping my bills low. When you spend less than you earn you can save and invest the difference. You can build up a buffer that gives you more options and more freedoms and keeps you less chained to a particular job or salary.
Additionally, I plan to create my own income and grow my own side gig of online income. I plan to keep blogging and growing this income over time so that I do not have to be chained by a job’s golden handcuffs. If I create value and receive compensation via blogging then I will be able to support my lifestyle without needing a traditional job. For me this would be ideal as I personally love to create.
Ultimately it’s about freedom for me. I know that if I allow myself to get on the materialistic treadmill of the rate race then I will never be free of it. It will be a constant chase of more and bigger and better. I don’t really want to cycle through that for the rest of my life – I’d rather be free to do as I please.
Debt freedom, work freedom, freedom. That’s all I want and to do that I’m going to avoid those golden handcuffs that often come when you are in the rat race.