Making A Financial Plan For Career Change



The group Abba had a hit with Money, Money, Money, in 1976.

You may remember the opening words…

“I work all night, I work all day, to pay the bills I have to pay, ain’t it sad. And still there never seem to be a single penny left for me.  In my dreams I have a plan.”

Any kind of change causes upheaval, but a career change has emotional and financial implications in ways you are unable to predict.  Being organised and having a financial plan in particular, is beneficial regardless of the circumstances.

Plan, what plan?

I would recommend you have a plan in place for both the emotional and financial aspects of a career change, especially if it involves moving from employment to self-employment.

Your financial plan

Your financial plan should include some if not all of the following:

  • A budget or spending plan
  • Funds to cover 6 months bills
  • Funds in case of unexpected expenses

A budget or spending plan.  This will ensure you are able to afford the career change, or if not know what other actions you need to take to cover all you living costs and then some.  A spending plan is the same as a budget, but it has less restrictive connotations, therefore making it easier to accept.

Funds for 6 months of bills. This is highly recommended, as you never know when something unexpected is going to happen, and you may not earn, or get paid for whatever reason.  It is even more important when changing careers as it gives a buffer for the payroll problems, or lack of clients initially.

Worrying how you will pay your bills puts pressure on you at a time when you least need or want it. If you have put your financial plan into place, you will head off these concerns before they arise.

Unexpected circumstances. No one knows what is around the corner, and being prepared with an emergency fund in place, makes it so much easier for everyone concerned.  It could be the lifeline you need in trying times.

Your personal plan

You should also plan your own personal support in three key ways:

  • A supportive friend or coach
  • Managing family expectations
  • Knowing your own expectations

Find a supportive friend or coach.  Have you noticed how you are able to get more done, to be more focused when you have someone supporting you and helping you bounce ideas off?  When changing careers, especially if you are going self-employed, it is important you have that encouragement, support and help to stay focused and on track.

Family expectations.  Ensure you have managed your family’s expectations of you, what are they expecting from you.  The last thing you want is to be put under pressure to achieve an outcome that you have not bought into.  You will have enough to manage, with the changes you are implementing without undue pressure from family members. If you can share your financial plan with them it will reassure them that you have thought things through.

Your own expectations. Be clear about what you are expecting from your career change.  Do you have realistic expectations of what you can achieve of your first year in a new job or in running your own business?

Define your desired outcomes, both financially and personally.  Why are you making a career change, what financial benefits are you expecting, what personal and family benefits are you expecting?

Knowing your reason for why you are changing, and what you want to achieve, will allow you to focus on finding the right job, or ensure you set up a successful business.

Being prepared

Being prepared makes all the difference to your ability to weather life’s storms.  Even if you are not making a career change out of choice, life is to be enjoyed, and having both a financial plan and a personal plan will give you the opportunity to grab the change with open arms.

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