Three questions that will transform your life – Minimising spending to take your career to the international level

Have you ever been trapped into a mental dilema and into the symbolic complexities that come with purchasing things that you don’t need? Have you felt guilty after shopping? Have you stopped to think how many hours of your work and energy went down the drain as a result of a purchase? Are you a conscious shopper and what does all this have to do with finding a job in your dream location? The answer is, — a lot indeed!

As part of HonuGuava’s shopping-diet campaign, we have invited Marina Cvetkovic, our Board’s Financial Advisor, to provide us with financial-based expertise on how to minimise spending, increase the chances of living a truly fulfilled life, and how to free up resources with the objective of taking your global career to the next level.

Money and material possessions can effect a particular deterioration of the soul, as stated by Henry Miller’s excerpt below:

“The dilemma in which we find ourselves today is that no matter how much we increase the purchasing power of the wage-earner he never has enough. If he has enough money to own a Ford he wants a Packard; if he has a Packard he wants a Rolls Royce, and if he has a Rolls Royce he wants an aeroplane… Men imagine that they need money, that if they had it they could satisfy their desires, cure their ills, insure their old age, and so on. Nothing could be farther from the truth. For if it were so that money could accomplish all these miracles, then the happiest man on earth would be the millionaire, which is obviously an untruth.” – Henry Miller on Money and How the Hedonic Treadmill of Material Rewards Entraps Us (Brain-pickings)

Left - HonuGuava Founders Brittany Burkholder and Valentina Stoeckler, with our Strategic Advisors, Dragana Avramovic & Marina Cvetkovic (Istambul 2015) / Marina in Rovinj, Croatia / Marina exploring the Swiss Alps

Left: HonuGuava Founders Brittany Burkholder and Valentina Stoeckler, with our Strategic Advisors, Dragana Avramovic & Marina Cvetkovic (Istambul 2015) / Middle: Marina in Rovinj, Croatia / Right: Marina exploring the Swiss Alps

One of the vital elements when contemplating the idea of changing careers and perhaps even taking the risk of changing countries is definitely the financial side of things.

When comparing your current situation and package with a new potential, one abroad, we strongly advise you to not think about money in nominal terms. This is one of the biggest flaws of today’s society and it could lead to not only taking wrong decisions, but also missing the opportunity to live a more meaningful and purposeful life.

According to Vicki Robin, the author of the New York Times bestseller „Your Money or Your Life“, the first step in transforming your relationship to money from a nominal one to a value-based one, is analysing which expenditures truly contribute to your life fulfilment, and which ones are influenced by our social and cultural legacy, but which in essence leave you „empty“.

In order to do this, you need to first understand how much net income you currently really earn per hour of work.

From this step on, all income and expenses will never again be just nominal amounts. In fact, you will start expressing them in „life energy units“. Therefore, here there are the three questions that will transform your life:

  1. How much is one hour of my life energy worth?

When following steps outlined in the book, it is crucial to consider not only your normal work hours, but also all the money and hours spent in preparing yourself for work: commuting, decompressing, recreating, escaping, vacating, shopping to make you feel better if your job feels lousy, and all other hours spent in maintaining your job.

When dividing the new decreased amount (deducting all work-related expanses from above) with the new increased amount of invested hours, you will get to your real hourly wage in your current job. Now, reconsider – does that new job opportunity or even the idea of starting your own business, still look financially unattractive?

  1. How much of my limited life energy units am I investing in material things?

And this is only part of the transformational journey to which Vicki takes us in this inspiring and life-changing book. She further advises to start tracking all of your expenses and start expressing them in the life energy spent format (dividing them by your truly hourly wage), will help you realise that material things cost you much more work hours than you thought it would.

  1. Is your life energy expenditure in alignment with your life values?

Now, reconsider – was that luxury item really worth 200 hours of your life energy? Think about all the things you could’ve invested these hours in. This is a very powerful step as it makes the expenditure of our life energy much more visible, and also raises the inevitable question: are we spending our life energy according to our life values and purpose? Our appreciation of our life energy and ourselves enhances significantly through the process, which in return results in an increased mindfulness and ultimately minimising our expenses.

Know your „sweet-spot“

In this manner, Vicki pushes us to analyse our expending practices carefully so we can understand which ones do truly bring fulfilment to our life. Once you have successfully accomplished this step, you will understand where on the expense curve your „sweet-spot“ lies –

how much is enough for you to live a fulfilled life?

Vicki argues that for most of us, this spot lies far below our income and most certainly, much lower than our current spending.

Now-action please!

Once you find our where your sweet-spot lays, it becomes much easier to make the decision about that Next Career Step. Even if on the surface of things, financially-speaking, it does not seem to be a particularly attractive offer, consider the following:

  1. Will you be earning less than you currently are?
  2. If yes, will you be able to cover your basic needs?
  3. If yes, will this be enough to maintain your sweet-spot expenditure level?
  4. Even if you give up a few material goods, will your decrease in life fulfilment really be greater than the increased joy and energy coming from throwing yourself out of your comfort zone and enthusiastically grabbing all that new experience and know-how?

Honuguava knows the answer, and so should you!

And if you feel like you need help with this step of the decision-making process, please get in touch with us – we will be waiting full of enthusiasm and strategic tips to empower you and help you relocate to a different country!

With love,
Marina Cvetkovic, CFA, Dip CII
Financial Mentor @ Honuguava Advisory Board & The Honuguava team

marinaBorn and raised in Belgrade, Serbia, Marina embarked on her first Honuguava journey by moving to Switzerland seven years ago. Marina holds a master’s Degree in Banking and Finance, is a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) as well as a Certified Insurance Professional (Dip CII). She has spent many years with PwC in Corporate Finance, M&A and Corporate Tax department advising companies on various value chain (re)structuring and corporate valuation matters. Her finance know-how was further expanded through her education at the Investment Banking Institute as well as the Private Equity & Corporate Finance Association in Switzerland. At the moment Marina holds a Vice President position in the executive office of the second largest reinsurance company in the world, Swiss Re, leading their strategic as well as operational excellence initiatives from Zurich headquarters. She is a Mentor at the Swiss Re Start-up Academy and on the advisory board of reputable nonprofit organisations, amongst others 100 Women in Hedge Funds. Marina founded her first company when she was 19 years old and dreams of New York as a next step on her Honuguava journey.

To find out more about Vicki and “Your Money or Your Life” go to –>

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