“It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.” Mark Twain
I’m a 50-year old lawyer living in Scottsdale, Arizona. I’m married (second marriage) and I have two teenage children. My law firm consists of me and a paralegal. Here’s what the common knowledge tells me:
- I should own a home because it’s a good long-term investment.
- I should have an impressive office to attract clients.
- I should drive a fancy car to impress clients and people who might refer clients to me.
The reality, however, is that when you add up property taxes, water, electricity, landscaping service, and maintenance, it costs me $3,000 per month just to keep my nice Scottsdale home.
Furthermore, my office rent continues to go up. Plus, I’m not in the optimum location. Plus, I don’t have flexibility in case I want to downsize (like I do now with only me and one employee) or grow (by adding more lawyers in the future).
Also, my car never actually helped me get a new client. I think it helped me psychologically feel “successful,” and from that standpoint it may have helped. But no one ever said they would hire me because I had a fancy car.
Where does this all lead? I’m making some big changes in the coming months. I’m selling my house and moving to a smaller house (with fewer plants to water). I’m also leaving my current office and going into a nice executive suite – which will also save approximately $2,000 per month. And I got rid of my Cadillac XT5 (crossover) for a Jeep. The change in cars is saving me approximately 50%.
All told, I’ll have $4,000 more in my pocket each month. That’s a $48,000/year raise just by simplifying my life.
Has anyone else ever thought about making drastic changes like I’m talking about? Let me know. I’d love to hear.
Paul Deloughery is an estate and probate litigation, and law insurance dispute consultant in Scottsdale, Arizona. Visit his website to read more of his blogs or follow him on Twitter!