Millions of Americans are escaping the rat race - or at least, they're hoping to. According to several reports, in recent years millions of workers have been quitting unfulfilling, often low-paying jobs in troves.
For instance, the higher-than-normal quitting rate in recent times has befittingly been dubbed The Great Resignation. It's clear that more and more Americans are looking for a better way to live.
If you find yourself wanting to escape the rat race, this article is for you!
What is the rat race?
The rat race is a phrase that describes the futile pursuit humans engage in to get ahead financially. The phrase evokes an image of rats running ad nauseam on a wheel, working hard every day but never gaining distance.
Similarly, many people working long hours in unfulfilling corporate jobs often feel as if they are toiling their lives away without ever seeing the financial gains they desire. For some, the rat race means working 60 to 70 hours a week just to be able to go on vacation for two weeks during the year.
For others, the rat race means spending their lives working a job they hate to afford large, expensive houses or cars. (Which admittedly, they then don't get to enjoy very much.) Those in the rat race often feel exhausted.
They feel unfulfilled and stretched thin. They never have enough time to spend their lives how and with whom they want. And they can never save enough money to feel comfortable leaving the rat race.
Why so many women want to escape the rat race
Even women with higher incomes are more likely to quit their jobs this year than men. And the truth is, ladies… we deserve better!
We've spent the last several decades climbing corporate ladders, breaking glass ceilings, and narrowing the wage gap. And one of the things women have realized through all this hard work is that there has to be a better way.
We envision a world with a sustainable work-life balance. Of course, we want to be successful in our careers. But we also want to be leaders of our families with the ability to enjoy financial success and freedom.
So what does it mean to escape the rat race?
Getting out of the rat race can look different for different people. For some, escaping the rat race means early retirement and the leisure to truly spend your time how you want.
For others, getting out of the rat race means work-optional. Escaping the rat race can mean working a job that pays less, but is more fulfilling, without experiencing financial distress. Or it can mean only working part-time at a high-stress job that pays well.
For many women, escaping the rat race means having:
- The freedom to work from wherever you want.
- The freedom to build a successful financial future.
- Sustainable and energizing work-life balance.
- The freedom to work and raise children without losing your mind.
- The opportunity to make yourself rich, rather than someone else.
- The opportunity to make progress toward your goals.
Whatever escaping the rat race looks like for you, know that you are not alone. There are many ways to get out of the rat race. It's all about finding a way that works for you.
How to get out of the rat race: 7 Key steps
To help you get started, here is a general path you can use that will help you create a plan to get out of the rat race and take back your life.
1. Write down your goals
Escaping the rat race means you'll be taking the road less traveled, which can be scary and intimidating. If you want to escape the rat race, you need to know why. You need to be able to state your reason(s) clearly so that if and when things get tough, you're motivated to keep moving forward.
Writing down your value-based goals is a powerful way to clarify your vision for your life and cement your goals on paper. When you write down your goals, you can post them somewhere in your home, so they're a constant reminder of what you're working toward and why.
I like to post my goals near my bathroom mirror since that's the first place I go to get ready for the day. I also post my goals in my office so I can see them when I'm working. Looking at my goals during my work hours is a great reminder of why I'm doing what I'm doing.
No matter where you post your goals, make sure they're easily visible in a space you visit often. Your goals will be the motivation you need to make daily choices that take you further along the path you want to travel.
2. Track your spending
Next, you need to track your spending for several reasons. Tracking your spending helps you know exactly what your monthly expenses are and how much income you'll need to generate so you can escape the rat race.
People who are looking to escape the rat race typically need to think of ways to generate "passive" income. Passive income means that you don't have to constantly trade your time for money. If you can figure out a plan to generate enough passive income to fund your monthly expenses, you're well on your way to getting out of the rat race.
3. Cut your expenses
Tracking your spending can also provide clarity on ways to cut back your expenses. If you can cut back your expenses, you'll have an easier time escaping the rat race. Cutting your expenses doesn't have to be painful.
Sometimes, all you have to do is think more creatively or spend more time planning for your expenses. For instance, finding frugal ways to save money such as couponing, automating your savings, and finding free fun things to do.
Another way to cut your budget is to find ways to reduce your grocery bill, such as shopping online for groceries to avoid impulse purchases and buying generic brands instead of name-brand items.
The good news is you can find ways to reduce expenses and save money even if you're on a tight budget. So start as soon as possible because cutting your expenses is how to get out of the rat race faster!
4. Increase your income
If you can't cut back on your expenses, or if you want to double-down your efforts to escape the rat race, you can also take steps to increase your income or create multiple sources of income.
There are many ways to increase your income, and not all of them require you to drop everything and start a business with a brand-spankin’-new idea that no one else has ever thought of before.
Increasing your income may also not be glamorous, but it can be life-changing. For example, you could get a side hustle like driving for Uber or DoorDash that allows you to work for extra money whenever you want.
You can also explore real estate investing options for beginners using strategies like house hacking that could potentially snowball into huge amounts of passive income.
And finally, it's no secret that entrepreneurship – or starting a small business – is an excellent way to increase your income.
5. Invest your savings
Unfortunately, you can't just save your way out of the rat race. Not only will you have to save an astronomical amount, the impact of inflation means that cash sitting in a bank account is actually losing value.
Investing your money is essential to being able to get out of the rat race. When your money is invested, it has the potential to earn a higher interest rate than money in even a high-yield savings account.
If investing makes you nervous, or if you have no idea where to start, check out our guide on How to Start Investing For Beginners. And rest assured that you do not have to be an expert to benefit from the power of investing.
6. Take baby steps
Unless you win the lottery or receive a huge inheritance (don't count on it), it's not likely that you'll escape the rat race in a single day, month, or year. Escaping the rat race takes time and consistent small actions. But small actions can compound over time into true financial freedom.
This is why it's important to post your goals in writing so that they're always top of mind. Escaping the rat race isn't easy, but it is absolutely possible. Keep reminding yourself of your why each and every day.
7. Keep at it
My most important piece of advice on how to get out of the rat race is to persevere. Escaping the rat race is one of the greatest gifts you can give to yourself and your family. However, it takes a lot of little consistent actions over time. No matter how small, remember that any steps forward are steps forward nonetheless.
You can escape the rat race to live better!
So now you know how to escape the rat race! I hope you can use the steps above to create a more fulfilling life. When you're writing your goals, make sure to visualize what your life will look like when you finally escape the rat race.
To help you on your journey, be sure to check out our 100% free courses and resources. You can participate in various challenges that help you save money, build a solid foundation, and more. It also features The Clever Girl Finance Roadmap, where you learn how to manage your money, ditch debt, and create a sound financial future.
Don't forget to subscribe to the Clever Girls Know podcast and YouTube channel for more financial tips and motivation. You've got this!