Have you heard the term “Golden Handcuffs”? I hadn’t heard of it until my brother mentioned it to me in a conversation a few years ago. Typically this refers to deferred benefits to keep an employee
with a company for a stipulated amount of time. What if you are self-employed? There isn’t anyone that is holding you there, but there is another type of golden handcuffs that has nothing to do with employment at all; whether you are self-employed or work for someone else. Golden handcuffs can be self-created. You forge them yourself through obligations that you have made to mortgage companies, auto loans, private schooling, vacation clubs, resort fees, etc. The list goes on and on. When we see the glitter of something that we desire that has a hefty price tag on it and bite, we are not much different than a fish striking an attractive lure. Many times we find that the lure isn’t real; it’s just a pretty feather, shaped like a fly or worm. Either way, it has a hook in it. It’s called monthly payments or the outgo of cash in exchange for that thing or service we desire.
Take this simple test to see what color your handcuffs are
Hopefully, you have some record of where you spend your money per month. You can go online and find a sample budget. Here is one here.
Step 1 Find out how much you spend
You have to remember to add all of the things that you spend money on per month. Don’t forget things like:
- Nail salon
- Coffee breaks
- Life insurance
- Home repairs
- Gifts (Christmas, birthdays)
- Auto repairs, licensing, taxes, and tires
- Lesson Fees
- Medical deductible fees for office visits
- Bank charges
- Credit card payments
These things above aren’t even big things like Rent, Food, Utilities, etc. Once you add all of these things up, write down the total. Now, take this amount and divide it by .70. (federal and state taxes) This amount is the gross amount you need to earn. Hopefully, you make more than this amount. Were you surprised?
Step 2 Go through and change the amounts or eliminate those things that you are willing to live without.
How did you do? You will quickly learn what color your handcuffs are. If you can’t cut anything, your handcuffs are made of gold. If you can only cut back on a few things, they are made of silver. If you can cut back 25%, your handcuffs are made of brass. If you can cut back 50%, your handcuffs are made of wood, and they aren’t handcuffs at all! What most of us find is that we have become accustomed to certain creature comforts and we aren’t willing to give up any of them, even to reduce stress and launch out on something that we are passionate about. We would rather have our stuff and perks than to change our lives. So, is it time to put up or shut up as they say? This depends on:
A. Do you enjoy what you are doing and the money is merely a result of doing something you love?
B. Do you dislike what you do and would instead do something else but the money that you earn from it is too hard to turn down?
If you answered A, congratulations, you are not wearing handcuffs of any color. If you answered B, what color are your handcuffs?