Financial flexibility is the feeling that you can change and adapt to a new situation – whether it’s having children, or purchasing a home – despite the challenges. It is the feeling that you can take calculated risks, and try something new – without risking everything financially. It’s an important part of the Money Pizza – and I talk about it with my clients all the time.
What does it mean to be financially flexible? Let me give you an example. Sam (name and details changed for confidentiality) came to me feeling trapped in his job, overburdened by a mortgage and worried about how to manage the future costs of his children’s education.
Sam lives in London with his partner and two boys in preschool. When we first talked, he said this: ‘Right now, I feel as financially inflexible as I can be. I can’t bend and I can’t move. I know I am on a good income, but I feel like we are running hard to stand still. We have a mortgage on the house, and if I’m honest with myself, I think we overpaid. I don’t see how we can get out of our current situation. Heaven knows how we’re going to deal with the kid’s schooling.’
I feel like we are running hard to stand still.
Sam was really stuck, and felt weighed down by his financial obligations. He was regretful about his house purchase – and now saw it as more of a burden than a haven. His partner was also working and co-parenting, yet Sam had not shared any of his money worries.
What if you are stiff as a board?
Over the course of our coaching sessions, Sam made a number of changes which helped increase his financial flexibility and greatly reduced his stress.
Sam again: ‘We checked the terms of the mortgage, and they were still quite competitive. But I had been looking at the problem in a narrow way, and had more options available to me than I thought. I realised that I had a whole lot of things (which weren’t money related) that could help.
‘The very first thing I did was talk to my partner. I used the Money Pizza tool to start the conversation. My partner had not realised how worried I had been – because their point of view was quite different to mine. It seems trite to say it, but it took a change of perspective and a bit more communication for me to consider our situation in a different way. I understood that I wouldn’t want to be kept in the dark if the situation was reversed. I feel much less stressed about my finances, and am enjoying my work more.
I wouldn’t want to be kept in the dark…
‘Beforehand I had felt trapped, like I couldn’t even consider changing roles because I couldn’t afford the risk. I had started resenting my work because it seemed like a pair of golden handcuffs. Making decisions about delaying big projects, like renovating our place were not the battle ground that they used to be – because my partner and I both understood the situation. I could see how much I was onto holding myself, because I thought it was my role.’
For you, it will be different
So, what does financial flexibility mean to you? Do you think you could flex with the changes in your life – or do you feel locked in to what you have now? Start talking with the people around you – and maybe you will change your mind.
Want to talk?
Remember, this is my bag baby! I have helped so many clients reduce their money stress, increase their flexibility and ultimately their wealth. How much is that worth to you? Book here for a free 30-minute consultation. Or sign up for my newsletter here.