Is it really 4 years? Apparently, it is, I hadn’t noticed.
Actually, it is nearer to 5 years ago that my wife, Kaye, my partner in our Oxfordshire based firm handed me a glass of red, looked me in the eye and said, “Do you really mean it?” A few minutes earlier I had suggested that we’d had enough. FRS101 was looming and I’d actually run out of the energy and enthusiasm (or was it belief) to go through it all. I was 59, Kaye was younger (no, I’m not saying!) and I felt older. The answer to her question was “Yes”. It was a good glass of red too….bribery?
We had always said we’d get out when we felt we had peaked, not hang on until the bitter end. I was certainly feeling bitter. So, we sold! Nicola asked me to write her something for her blog to “make ‘em jealous about you selling and having so much fun”, so here it is.
Please be assured we are having fun and lots of it.
The most fun bit is having the time. Time to do what you want. The old joke about not knowing how you had time for work is true. But you do have time, you just must make sure you do what you want to do….so we bought a big Motorhome and we have travelled here, there and everywhere. We reckon we spend between 1/3 and ½ of each year in it. Sorry “it” is Bertie. We love Bertie, particularly as, being ex-accountants, it doesn’t cost us anymore to be away than it does being at home. We have travelled extensively in both the UK and Europe, going where the fancy takes us. When we need a change, we park Bertie and jump on a plane….travelling on a Tuesday is a lot cheaper. We now have family in Canada and it’s nice to be able to pop over and visit a few times a year, just when we want to. Which brings me to the next fun bit.
No planning, or not much. We have the time and the freedom to be spontaneous about life. Ok, I know accountancy and spontaneity are not good bedfellows, but see how we’ve changed! The number of times we have seen some event on the internet and then just decided to go. Just like that.
We’re also much fitter and healthier. We walk and cycle as much as we can. We have time to cook properly and hence eat properly. We have much more energy to do the things we want. All that stress took a lot of energy out of us. Now we don’t have that stress; we have much more energy. We’re currently walking the Thames Path as a bit of a project. Already we’re thinking about what might be next.
Now you might be thinking that this is all a bit selfish and frivolous. But having time means that you can give some of it to others. So, we both have several “things that we do”….. Kaye has become a School Governor; I play on the local steam railway. We both have a local “pet” business that we look after and thankfully both are doing well. I help with the local community shop. They are all very enjoyable and we can afford to give something back. They also give some balance to life… but to be fair to us, we’ve always done things for the local community, squeezing them in with everything else we used to do. Now there’s not so much squeezing.
So, what else can I make you jealous about? Sunday evenings have become lovely because you’re not going to wok on Monday. You can read what you like; no more studying tax, law, whatever. Now you can study what you want; I’m doing Spanish, Kaye studies photography. We’ve become interesting at dinner parties. We can go to the local pub without being ambushed for cheap tax advice (we’re not up-to-date so can’t say anything). You need a new wardrobe; it’s all bought at Cotswold Outdoor now.
Of course, what we’ve done might not be your thing, but that doesn’t matter. Being the sort of person who ran their own accountancy practice makes you the sort of person who will make things happen. You’ve been doing it all your working life. So just make sure that what you do is what you want to do and start by calling Nicola, she has the keys to your future fun and now you know it.
Thank you Mike Leggett for your insight into life after working in your own accountancy practice, much appreciated. If you feel you want to sell up and enjoy life and need want to discuss this in confidence then give me a shout, email me, Nicola Draper firstname.lastname@example.org.
Remember, we only deal with accountants in practice and so understand the pressures you are under, especially with GDPR and MTD looming. Perhaps now is the time to talk to me to discuss your options?