When every sector of the economy is changing fast it makes sense to capitalise on your assets to create new opportunities for yourself.
By Maite Barón, CEO, The Corporate Escape™
For most people,good old-fashioned bricks and mortar is their major asset. Yet,in the UK at least, more and more are selling their properties to generate equity. In fact, according to the Equity Release Council, between July and September of this year,£375m in equity was released from property– the largest amount in any quarter since 2002 when records began. For the first nine months of 2014 the figure stood at £1 bn.
So why are so many home-owners choosing to liquidate assets this way?
- One of the main drivers is retirees either looking to cash in on their property wealth while the going is good, particularly in London and the South East of England.
- Or through simple necessity, to 'balance the books' in this age of uncertainty.
- Or to maintain a better living standard than would otherwise be possible given poorly performing pensions.
- While those who have experienced redundancy are using their assets as a financial lifebelt during their search for a comparable new job.
With banking, financial services and many other sectors all undergoing fundamental changes that are seeing many former roles and responsibilities replaced, this is a trend that's all set to continue for the foreseeable future.
Research suggests that as many as 140 million current full-time knowledge professionals around the world could find themselves with a 'smart machine' sitting in their seat.
In the meantime, on-going technological and social change will require us to rethink our perceptions of what work is and what it means to us. That will involve thinking differently about the future and how we use our assets altogether.
However, getting our heads around the new world of work is not always easy. After all, as humans we are instinctively biased toward the status quo as shown increasingly by behavioural economists'research. In other words, once our beliefs and assumptions are established, we simply don't like to change them, even when it's very clear from the evidence that it would be beneficial to do so.
This stubbornness to change, is something most of us have probably experienced at a personal level, but it's something that happens in the business world too. That's why so many companies base their investment decisions on past events rather than the potential of future opportunities. On the other hand, those who buck this bias achieve on average 30% higher returns.
Clearly,looking forward to the future rather than backwards into the past rewards companies who have the agility, speed and flexibility to adjust to change. And it applies to individuals too.
For those who think traditionally and only along well-trodden paths this can be difficult to embrace. Others however, are beginning to rethink their attitude to work in ways that will have an impact on large companies and corporations.
While money remains the overriding consideration for many, increasing numbers of professionals are rethinking what motivates them to work. In particular, they are looking for greater personal fulfilment from what they do. So while good salaries will still tempt them, they also want to enjoy their work and feel that they are doing something worthwhile.
That's good for them at an individual level, and it's also good from a corporate perspective, because research shows that when people are happier in their job, they are more productive and much less likely to leave.
For others however, the lure of life in a large organisation or company is no longer sufficiently strong to keep them there. They no longer want to work for someone else. They want to feel fulfilled by what they do, and they can't see that happening within corporate walls. So they are looking for their own corporate escape by going into business for themselves.
By becoming self employed or setting up in business they can align their work far better with what they want from life – and that's not long hours, tedious commutes, the threat of redundancy and the prospect of an uncertain future.
Which is why many experienced employees in sectors like banking who would previously have kept swimming on through the waves of corporate life are choosing to become 'silverpreneurs' instead.
The average age of self-employed professionals is 47 against 40 for employees, with 43% being 50 plus.
Of these, many will use the equity from their properties to fund their start up, a more positive way perhaps to take charge of their assets, rather than to view them as just a reserve for a rainy day.
And these days, the low capital requirement of most internet opportunities means you won't need to bite far into your assets to establish a business, and even less so if you choose to become an iPro.
These independent professionals with high value skills have become a Europe-wide phenomenon and rather than seeing their assets as a financial lifebelt are choosing to use them to set up highly successful businesses based on their knowledge and experience. Just ten years ago 6.2 million people were classified as iPros, but the figure now stands at 9 million, making them the fastest growing group of working professionals in the European labour market.
In the past, the future seemed to take care of itself when it came to employment – you simply headed off down traditional paths. It was easy, and you had the reassurance of knowing that what you expected to happen, actually did, more or less. For the lucky few, that perhaps still remains the case, but for many others in our fast changing world, it really is time to do something different.
It's in such ways that the world of work is being reshaped.
At The Corporate Escape™, developing entrepreneurial leaders and preparing professionals for success in a future world of work is our passion. You can start to take control of your career by downloading our free guide – '7.5 Strategies to Thrive in Your Career or Business'.And for more valuable resources on how to prepare your transition from employee to business owner, go to TheCorporateEscape.com.