Following on from the email a couple of days ago regarding £1 Jersey notes, here’s some more thoughts on misconceptions of wealth.

I’m writing this on the morning of our final day in Jersey, and although we’ve visited loads of times before, this is the first time I’ve been here since I left the corporate world rat race.

I climbed my way up the ladder to Chief Risk Officer level by the age of 34, figuring out along the way that it’s hard to get pay rises if you don’t move company fairly often, and or get involved in some serious profit driving areas of the company (to justify your demands). It’s mentally exhausting.

As I said before, Jersey’s main industry is financial services but not so much lending (as is a massive area in the UK), but mainly wealth management type services. These companies earn a load of money through fees (as regular readers already know), and as their costs are mainly salaries and office rent etc – they’re able to pay people pretty well.

If you’re on a big salary, it’s easy to “feel” wealthy – as I know all too well.

You tend to improve your lifestyle in line with pay rises: bigger cars, bigger houses, more expensive holidays etc. But you’ll be putting in the hours to get these things.

I decided my six-figure (just) gross salary for my banking job didn’t make me wealthy, in fact leading up to when I left it made me really not very well.

That’s what 60 hours plus a week lining someone else’s pocket, alongside frequent overseas travel and trying to raise two young kids will often do to you.

Although I’m not on that “big salary” now, I feel significantly wealthier two years after I left my CRO job.

I work around 25-30 hours a week. Every Wednesday morning I do something with my son, plus I take my daughter swimming on Thursdays.

I can take days off whenever I like, and I only work on things which will benefit me and my family and the Guerrilla Investors community. I read pretty much a book a week, and haven’t read any fiction in ages (although I will take a Neil Gaiman to Menorca next week).

With each new alternative investment I dip my toe into with our own money I’m working out how it fits into our short, medium, and long term plans which involve a fair amount of overseas travel and living (but not to attend meetings).

None of which was possible when I was slogging it out at work as my brain was mush by the end of each day and subsequent weekend.

That type of exhaustion is how our friends have arrived back from work most evenings.

So maybe earning big salaries is a misconception of wealth, and having time and geographical freedom is getting it right. It is for me, but I have no idea what you’re looking to get out of your time on this planet.

In Jersey it seems like the cost of living will trap most people in the rat race (average price for a four-bedroom house is £975,000). There’s a pretty simple solution for most people in their late thirties or early forties over here, but it requires a leap of faith to cash in and relocate.

And most importantly, knowing what your options are for generating income when you’ve done so.

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All the best,

Stephen Wallis

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