Thursday, September 20, 2007

More about the perks

While I have explained the points and the perks, I have not yet gone into too much detail about the early retirement plan. In a moment, it will all come together; but, for now I still need to continue with the points.

As I mentioned, you will start accumulating points for all of your travel necessities. In time, the accumulation of points will enable you to have very fancy vacations. For example, I flew my family from St. Louis to Orlando in first class and it did not cost me one cent. For my second honeymoon, I will be staying at a Marriot World resort (any of them) for two weeks with a rental car; and it will not cost me a cent – it is all from reward points.

All right, lets get to the meat of this early retirement thing.

First, you have to live with your parents. You will not really live with them, but you need to have a place or residence and it would be nice for someone who can take care of your mail. Don’t worry about living at home because you will be spending very little time with mom and dad.

Second, let the consulting firm know that you are very willing to travel. Once they understand you WANT to be a road warrior, they will make sure you get the opportunity.

Third, establish your relationship with the reward-point systems each provider offers. If the company is a partner with an airline, do not (DO NOT) take air-points in lieu of reward points. New consultants fall for this one. Believe me; you will start racking up the air point from just flying. You will be very surprised how quickly you will earn free tickets and upgrades.

Forth, find out about weekend options for the project. Many times the company will let you stay over the weekend because it is cheaper than flying you home each week. If this is an option, then find out if they will provide per Diem; if not, no worries. You would be spending money on food anyway. If you plan your week out, you can save enough per diem to cover most of your weekend food needs.

Fifth, use your expense card for everything. The more you use your American Express card, the more points you will earn. Make sure you pay it off each month. Make sure you are registered in the rewards program. Some card charge an annual fee – pay it!

Sixth, do not splurge. This, by far, is the most important aspect of this whole equation. I have seen many young consultants tempted by this amazing lifestyle. What other job could you have where all of your living expenses are paid for by the company? Since their salary is not being used for “Real Life,” they end up buying fancy things, like BMWs, Porsches, and extravagant electronic devices (i.e. home theater systems and industrial margarita machines). I knew one guy who bought is own soft-serve ice cream machine!

Seventh, max out your 401K and make wise investments with your “Unused” salary. While some might say this one is the most important part of the equation, you have to understand that you can not invest if you blow all your money on crap.

By now, you should understand how this plan works. The key is to keep yourself on travel projects so you can live off your per diem and invest your regular salary that is not being used. In time, you will build up a very large nest egg, much like you have been building up reward points! If you are prudent, you should be able to retire early and enjoy many months of leisure travel as you start cashing in all of those points you have been accumulating.

On my next installment, I will be talking about the down-side of working at a top-tier firm.

1 comment:

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