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Are You Mortgaging Your Dream?
By Cathy Goodwin

Q: "I am ready to move to a new life."
A: So, what's stopping you?
Q: "The mortgage. Payments on furniture and cars. Clothes for us, and for the kids. And.."

Before you think, "Oh no -- not another coach who asks, 'Do you really need a lot of money?'" let me assure you: I believe you have to find your own comfort level. Some people move easily from a palace to a hut. Others feel deprived when their income falls below three hundred thousand dollars a year or when their checking account falls below five figures. If you feel anxious and needy, you will have trouble moving forward.

At the same time, every monthly obligation can become a source of stress. I don't remember where I read this story: A senior physician, addressing new medical students was asked, "How can we avoid the stressful lifestyle -- the early heart attacks, addictions and strokes?"

The older doctor answered simply, "Don't buy a big house."

What he meant was, "Don't stretch your spending to the limit." When you live below your means, you can build your Nest Egg for Freedom. Here are three principles to keep in mind.

1. When you agree to make payments, your new possession becomes a member of the family. You gain satisfaction -- but you also limit your future options. I know people who insist a dog or cat is too much responsibility, while they blithely sign on the dotted line for jeeps, pick-ups, boats and custom furniture.

2. When you enjoy your career and your life, you usually spend less. Many of my friends and neighbors have embarked on second careers as artists or writers. And many of them stopped their cable television service. They are too busy living their dreams to watch shadowy figures on a screen. And when you're feeling happy and fulfilled, there's no need to fill the empty places with trips to the mall.

3. Spending "for the children?" Every career coach meets midlife professionals who say, "I had to choose this path to please my parents. After all, they sacrificed for my future. Now I want to do something for me!"

Your children need self-reliance, confidence, flexibility and a sense of humor. Successful clients say their parents helped most by setting an example of a purposeful life, and respecting dreams that might be different from their own.

Bottom Line: Career freedom comes when you move from, "Can I afford this purchase?" to, "Is this purchase worth what it really costs -- future options, choices, staying in a life I no longer want?"

Sometimes the answer is "yes." Other times, you can truthfully say "no" -- and you find yourself moving to your dreams, faster and more easily than you believed possible.

See Also:

A Beautiful Heart
"Perhaps it's good to have a beautiful mind, but an even greater gift is to have a beautiful heart," says Nobel Laureate John Nash. A beautiful heart is that gift...that leads us...into the beauty of giving.

Tough Times
For most of us, life is a mixture of placid and tumultuous experiences. Like a roller coaster ride, life brings us periods of smooth ride punctuated with interludes of stomach churning, accelerating drops through the unexpected.

Simplifying Simple
A simpler life can be launched with a concept so simple it takes only a few words. For me, simplifying your life is not to add another "should." It's simply to recognize that your degree of happiness equals your degree of compassion.

Cathy Goodwin, Ph.D., helps midcareer professionals navigate business and career transitions. Weekly free ezine: "Your Next Move" filled with tips to raise your DQ: Decision Quotient. Website: http://www.cathygoodwin.com.

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