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How Low Can You Go?

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Follow these exercises to realize financial security—and so much more. In the third and final article in her series on personal health and finances, Megan Hottman shares a tool that helps her stay on course for financial success. Megan, also known at The Cyclist Lawyer, is a lawyer, entrepreneur and athlete. She  formed her own law practice in 2010 at age 29 and joined EO in 2018. Review the first article, “Are You in Over Your Head in Overhead,” and the second article, “Investing In You.”

financial freedom

I’ve wrangled my personal overhead down to US$2,000 per month. That includes health, house and car insurance; cell phone and Internet; groceries and consumables; home maintenance and taxes. What this means: I must earn only US$24,000 per year to meet my basic needs.

This fact makes me feel invincible!

There is no noose around my neck threatening to choke me with financial stress. There is only freedom, excitement and curiosity about how I can continue to build a life I love—one that I don’t need a vacation from.

Consider being an entrepreneur—whether you’re a trial attorney like me or a marketing guru or a tech innovator—and stepping into your arena with the sense of fearlessness that financial security and low overhead provides. There’s no longer any desperation—just a desire to do well for your clients and earn a healthy fee for your work. You can focus on the true issues and priorities, instead of lying awake at night panicked at the thought of not winning the trial or the business.

In the movie Fight Club, main character Tyler Durden says, “be careful what you own because it will own you.” This expression appeared in my head every time I found myself taking a car to the shop for service or bringing clothes to the cleaners or dropping off jewelry for checkups in order to maintain its warranties, and on and on.

I checked in with myself. I realized I felt resentment, anger and even loathing toward many of my possessions. They were dragging me down, sucking my energy, my happiness and my time! Enough was enough.

So, I conducted a major purge of my home and office. I sold vehicles and trailers. I traded in jewelry or simply sold it off. I ridded myself of gadgets and “stuff.” I donated boxes and boxes of items to charities. I removed anything that incited feelings of resentment or shame for not using. Most importantly, I did not replace those items, those energy vampires. I savored the white space they left. The elimination of physical and visible clutter in my life was palpable, noticeable. I could breathe easier.

This exercise tied in perfectly with my goal for 2018, the #YearOfNoShopping. Because as I was purging, I was also noticing how I didn’t want to buy new things to replace them. Going into my favorite shops, I found myself looking at items I would normally buy. But I would pick them up and then consider how I would likely feel after the purchase—how I would feel giving up that refreshing white space that I’d created. I left stores empty-handed and feeling jubilant. Triumphant. Lighter.

More white space, less clutter. Watch your energy levels soar. Watch your feelings of being in control of your own destiny increase. Watch how it becomes easier to say NO to things like bad clients, because you don’t “need” their money.

Play the game: Lower your monthly overhead

  1. Complete the chart below with your overhead items.
  2. Review the list and highlight the things that bring you joy. For example, the mortgage payment on your house, which represents the home your family loves. Or perhaps you financed a piece of jewelry that makes you feel confident when you wear it. Maybe you’re paying for a monthly yoga pass to support wellness. 
  3. If you realize that none of those things you purchased are adding value or bringing you joy, revel in this wonderful discovery! Sell them or donate them. Be rid of these things that suck your time, energy and money.

SAMPLE MONTHLY OVERHEAD CHART

  WHAT Monthly Cost Annual Cost Other
(Ex: Car Insurance) ‘17 Toyota $200 $2400 (paid 2x/year in $1,200 installments) Increased Deductibles and Limits on 1/2/18
(Ex: Home Internet) High speed Internet $50/month + taxes (increases after 1 year—call to negotiate same rate in 13 months) $600 Call provider 1/3/20 to negotiate.
TOTALS:

Megan Hottman has raced three Ironman Triathlons and won state and national championships on her bike—all while running a successful law practice. She’s also known to lead circuit-training classes in the lobby of legal conferences to reinvigorate participants. Megan is an EO Colorado member who joined the organization in 2018. Read more from Megan at maximumenthusiasm.com.

Categories: Business/Finance Tips Entrepreneurial Journey Inspirational Lessons Learned Women Entrepreneurs

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