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Margaret Atkins MunroLet's Talk About MoneyLeave a Comment

What can anyone say about a person who quits a good, well-paying (if slightly overwhelming) job for the uncertainty of self-employment in a new place, far from family and friends?

I think I’ve heard it all – from questions over my sanity to expressions of envy to concern over the absence of any sort of business plan. There’s no question that, on the frosty Saturday morning late in 1998 when I yelled down the stairs to my husband and son to get dressed because we were going to Vermont, I wasn’t paying attention to practicalities – I was grasping for solutions to a life that just wasn’t working and was out-of-control. Excessively long days spent in an office with no windows deprived me of more than just sunlight – I was missing out on all my son’s milestones and was losing connection with my husband.

Six months after that epiphany, we were in Vermont for good. Now, more than seven years later, my family and my tax practice are both thriving (although the business plan is still somewhat fuzzy). I make breakfast and lunches every morning before work, spend the workday in an office with windows (a mixed blessing on cold and cloudy days) and, at the end of it, get to pick up my son from school. True, I often work non-traditional hours (4:00 a.m. is a particularly popular start time, and I can work long into the night during tax season) and we eat dinner out almost as often as we eat in, but I have the freedom to structure my life so I have time to lunch with my husband and take my son to his after-school activities.

And I have the good fortune to do work that I enjoy. I like creating order out of chaos (the mess in my office notwithstanding), and producing a neat packet of tax returns out of a shoebox of receipts feeds that need for order. Even more, though, I love helping individuals and families learn to use money as a tool to create a life that suits them. Whether I do it face-to-face, over the phone, by e-mail, or through my books and articles, helping people to stop chasing money for money’s sake and begin crafting a life built to fulfill their dreams, is incredibly satisfying.

Is my life perfect after my “do-over?” Of course not – the eternal juggle of every person to balance the needs of family against the requirements of work still exist. Now, though, I can exert more control over the variables so that, while Paradise still remains slightly out of reach, this is pretty good!