It’s no surprise that you want to escape the rat race. From disappointing paychecks to toxic work environments, nobody really wants to sacrifice their life climbing a ladder they can simply try to own. Besides, you’re not just some rat. You’re a smart person who can do anything you set your mind to. You don’t belong in some corporate race for over 30 years of your life, making some measly salary. You deserve not to have to worry about paying bills, to have the time to enjoy life, and not to dread Mondays. Can I get an Amen? Amen! So, let’s help you figure out how to escape the rat race once and for all.
What Is The Rat Race?
The rat race is an exhausting weekly routine of trading your time for money for your entire working life. Those in the rat race serve business owners and investors with minimal financial reward in return for their manual labor.
Why Does Everyone Want to Escape the Rat Race?
1. Living Paycheck to Paycheck
About 99% of the world population is either poor or middle-class. And so that means a sweeping part of the world wants to escape the rat race they’re stuck in. Imagine getting paid every two weeks, yet, you never have enough money to cover all your expenses. Your mortgage or rent takes up over a third of your salary. Plus groceries. Plus utilities. Plus property taxes. And then throw in some life in the way: weddings, birthday parties, funerals, and job loss. Plus, you’ve got to pay the taxman. And so most of your salary doesn’t even end up in your pocket because it gets deducted right away. Phew, this list is bumming me out. And it probably bums you out too. No wonder everybody wishes they could escape the rat race, few get paid enough to meet their basic needs.
2. Looking for a More Life > Work Balance
Life’s short. Do you want to spend 40 hours a week for thirty to forty years working? Wouldn’t you rather spend time with friends and family? Don’t you wish you could pursue your passions? Or creating something meaningful. Maybe you want to spend your life helping others. Having a job can make life more meaningful – it gives you a reason to get out of bed in the morning. But wouldn’t it be nice if you could choose when to work and when to play? Isn’t it better to have some freedom in choosing how you spend your days? Many of the world’s billionaires still go to work every day. But for them, it’s a choice instead of necessity. When you decide to escape the rat race, you’ll also have the power to make that decision.
3. Working for Others is Soul-Sucking
Okay, so it’s 7 a.m., and your alarm goes off. Ugh. You hit snooze. It goes off again. You start getting mad about it. But still, you hit snooze. And you keep doing this until you have no choice but to get out of bed because today, you do have somewhere to be– your 9 to 5 job. You go to the office, feeling exhausted, and need to spend the next eight hours of your day making everyone but yourself richer. Your CEO just bought a third home in Hawaii. And you’re thinking about how you probably shouldn’t have spent $7.04 on that breakfast combo from McDonald’s. By 11 a.m., your perfectionist boss has already had his “you’re not good enough” chat with you. And at lunch, you realize that every day there’s a new person to gossip about and today that person is you. By 2 p.m., you’ve sat through hours of meetings that have gone nowhere. And the only thing that has really changed is that pile of work on your desk. At 4 p.m., you decide to check the time every five minutes to see if it’s 5 o’clock yet. Because you’d rather be anywhere else. But remember, today’s only Monday. You’ve got to do this four more times this week. And that’s why everyone’s trying to escape the rat race!
How to Escape the Rat Race (And Never Get Sucked Back In)
1. Give Yourself a Why
In your quest to escape the rat race, you need to know your why. What’s the most irritating thing about being in the rat race? Is it the low pay? Maybe it’s having a boss? Or you want to leave the toxic corporate environment? When choosing a why you need to make sure it’s burning the fire in you? The biggest life changes happen when you’re raging mad. When you’re at that boiling point and can’t take it anymore. When you begin to feel that way, use that anger and frustration to motivate you to plan your escape from the rat race.
2. Stop Buying Things
You can’t escape the rat race if you keep burying yourself in deeper debt. Cut up your credit card. Stop buying things you don’t need. Instead, buy essentials like groceries and medicines. And there may even be some things you could cut from your grocery list too like bottled water when you have tap water at home. Look at reducing your expenses as much as you can. This will help you save more money long-term so you can live within your means. Plus, you can reinvest the money you’ve saved so you can grow it ten-fold long-term. That way, you can attain financial freedom. There’s one other thing you’ll need to buy, and we’ll dive into that in a later section.
3. Pay Yourself First
The secret to escaping the rat race is to pay yourself first instead of last. The average person tends to take their paycheck and pay off all of their expenses such as rent, phone bills, internet, and other types of costs. However, when you look at your paycheck after all those expenses are made, you’re typically left with very little – if anything at all. Instead, you should set aside a certain amount every paycheck to pay yourself first – maybe that’s $100 each pay period. Then, with whatever is leftover, you pay your expenses. If you fall short, that’ll motivate you to step up your game to find a new stream of income, so you don’t fall into debt. So, you might pick up a new side hustle, such as freelancing, to make ends meet.
4. Acquire Assets
The only way to escape the rat race is to own assets. With the help of assets, you can earn more income. For example, you might buy an online store from Exchange that’s already proven to generate a profit each month. Or you could invest in stocks when they’re affordable. You might choose to buy condos or houses while having a tenant pay for your mortgage each month. Ultimately, you want to acquire assets that’ll make you money each month so you can earn a more scalable income. The assets you acquire could also lead to a big payday one day when you sell it. For instance, if your online store becomes highly profitable, you may choose to sell it for a higher price than you bought it for. Or if the property you purchased went up in value, you can sell it for a profit in later years to earn even more money.
5. Learn Sales and Marketing
The most valuable business skills that’ll help you escape the rat race are sales and marketing. Those who pair their best talent with a sales and marketing skill will be able to escape the rat race once and for all. For example, say you’re a talented artist. You always paint beautiful paintings. You’ve painted hundreds of pieces of art that are lying around your home. The only skills you need to develop next are sales and marketing skills so that you move your artwork out of your home and into someone else’s. Those who don’t learn to master these skills will simply be left with beautiful artwork seen by no one. But this ability to self-promote your work as an artist can help elevate your wealth.
6. Pick Up a Side Hustle
To acquire new assets, you’ll need to have enough money in the bank to make purchases. The best way to make money is to have a side hustle. There are a few ways you can do this. First, you can use a trade time for money approach so that you’re guaranteed to make money. The downside to this is that time is finite, and you’ll still be working for money instead of having money work for you. For these kinds of side hustles, you’ll likely be doing some freelance work such as graphic design, writing, or programming or influencer marketing. Another option is to focus on a passive income stream, this inches you closer to having money work for you. Examples of low-cost passive income streams are dropshipping, blogging, online education, or app creation. The last option that could be low-cost comes down to your portfolio such as investing in stocks. Depending on which stocks you invest in, you could earn additional income that could be used to acquire bigger assets.
7. Invest Your Money
You can’t escape the rat race unless you invest your money in something that makes your money more money. The biggest mistake people often make is spending their savings in an emergency. However, you shouldn’t dip into your savings– ever. You need to let the process of compounding interest take its effect. The money should only be used to make more money. You might invest your money in a new business, the stock market, or in real estate. Keep in mind that in all three cases, there’s risk involved. Most businesses fail. As we’ve seen in recent weeks, the stock market crashes. And real estate doesn’t always go up in value. However, despite risk, there can also be major rewards. When it comes to investment, start small. Don’t throw your entire life savings into one investment and hope that it skills. There are learning curves in business, stock market investing, and real estate. Before making a financial commitment, make an educational commitment. That way, you lower the risk of investing your money. And you have a fighting chance of escaping the rat race.
8. Outsource Everything
So, let’s be clear about something. There’s a huge difference between being self-employed and being an entrepreneur. A self-employed person works in their business. In other words, their business is their new job. An entrepreneur owns the business. Or simply put, other people run the business. Rather than replacing your 9 to 5 job with a 9 to 9 self-employment gig, it’s important to have help with your business. You should aim to hire people who are smarter than you. For example, if you run a dropshipping business, you’ll want to find the best Facebook Ads expert, product descriptions writer, and social media expert. By hiring people who are better than you, you’ll help ensure your business’ success. Plus, you’ll prevent burnout from overwork. If your goal is to escape the rat race, you’re going to need some help building your asset anyway.
9. Save Money
As you prepare to escape the rat race, you’re going to need to save some money. A lot can go wrong in those first few months, so you’ll need to have money that you can invest, money for an emergency, and money to support you in your transition. You should have at least six months of savings just to cover your salary. The best situation would be to already have an asset making you money before you make your full transition. But sometimes, life doesn’t hand you your best situation. Sometimes, life hits you in the face with a curveball. Maybe you or your partner experience a sudden job loss, and you’re forced to scramble money together. If you find yourself in an emergency situation and don’t have enough saved up, focusing on a freelance opportunity can help you get back on your feet in the interim.
10. Quit Your Job
There will be a big day in your life: the day you officially escape the rat race. You’ll walk out of your workplace for the last time and take a big gulp of fresh air and think to yourself, ‘ah, freedom.’ It’s a huge moment that not everyone is lucky enough to experience. In some rare cases, escaping the rat race is a little unplanned. Maybe you experienced a recent layoff and were forced out of employment increasing a sense of panic. Losing the sense of security from your workplace, regardless of whether it was planned or unplanned, can be overwhelming. Even if you’ve planned this for months, you may find yourself panicking down the road. So, it’s important to create a quick plan for emergencies. There are many remote jobs where you can trade time for money in the short-term should a financial situation arise down the road. Always aim to do regular assessments each week of your financial situation to help prevent you from getting sucked back into the rat race you escaped.
While working in the rat race has the benefit of a recurring paycheck and some security attached to it, most people eventually realize it was all a facade. In times of crisis, we see the rise of mass layoffs. We also see that happen as technology advances, and automation replaces people’s jobs. The rat race was never a safe place. Your job is never truly secure. By following the steps in this article, you can escape the rat race to become more financially independent. And that independence is something you’ll never want to lose again.