My Special Number

I found my special number and I couldn’t be happier. Seriously. It made a huge impact on my psyche. Wish I had done it years ago. Do you have a special number? Maybe it would help for you to know what a special number is.

What is a Special Number?

It’s really simple. A special number is what it would take to set you free. This number is the one you want standing in your a special separate, new, savings account that would let you take the jump, quit your job, and go to work for yourself.

How to Find Your Special Number

Take all of your expenses for a year:

  • Mortgage
  • Utilities (*2 for a factor of safety)
  • Groceries
  • Car Insurance
  • Health Insurance (this will be huge without your cubicle company subsidizing it.)
  • Gym memberships, cigar spends, etc.
  • Anything else you would spend $ on in a year.

Now multiply by 1.25. Now jack it up to a nice round number. Lots of zeros. That’s what I have figured I need to have peace of mind to survive 1 year after quitting my cubicle job.

Is Your Special Number is Smaller Than You Might Guess?

Mine was. On paper it was actually far less than my annual salary. Amazing how important those post-tax dollars are, huh?

Remember, you work for yourself only a percentage of the week. You work the rest of the time for the government and to pay off your debt. Which brings me to my next point.

What Your Special Number Does Not Include

Your special number does not include debt servicing. You have to get rid of stuff like that before you jump ship. If not, the pressure will make you go ape shit. And not in a good way. Get rid of the following before going solo:

  • Rent – buy a house and learn how to maintain it. Bankruptcy laws are pretty lenient on primary residence homes.
  • School Loans – If you haven’t been out of school long enough to pay off your loans, chances are you don’t know enough to start a business and lack the credibility that comes with experience.
  • Car Loans, Computer Loans, Credit Cards, Layaway payments, etc. You get the point.

Why You Need a Special Number

Your cubicle is killing you. Or the stress of your forced occupation of one is. You might not notice it, but it is. You only have one choice, and that is to kill it back. Find your number and start trying to reach it.

Now, whenever work sucks, which it likes to do habitually, I can dreamily think of my special number. When the boss is like “I need you to make these TPS reports. On Sunday.” I can now be like “Sure. No problem. At least until I get my remaining $ saved up.”

The True Benefit of a Special Number

The true benefit of having a separate fall-back savings account is that it affords you options. Options, I realized long ago, are the most valuable thing in the world. With a large safety net you have the option of working or not working … for a set period of time at least. You also gain the confidence that you can weather the many kinds of financial storms that come your way.

I guarantee that you will become a happier cubicle denizen once you achieve your special number; whether you quit your job or not you’ll have the option of making that choice based on what makes you happiest, not out of need.

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