What are "Golden Handcuffs" in the Law?
The struggle is real when it comes to golden handcuffs and lawyers. If you haven’t heard the term “golden handcuffs” or aren’t totally sure what it means, the Unbillable Life has a plain language description of what the term means and how it applies to lawyers. She writes:
“… golden handcuffs is the term used when those making large (e.g., Biglaw or investment banking) salaries get sucked into the world of “keeping up with the Joneses,” always needing to buy more and more to keep up with an inflated lifestyle they have created for themselves.
They become trapped in this lifestyle by a pair of invisible “golden handcuffs” wrapped around their wrists. In order to maintain this lifestyle of high-spending, they must continue to make the same, or greater, salary for the foreseeable future.”
You should check out the Unbillable Life’s post: Golden Handcuffs: A Cautionary Financial Tale.
I saved a 7-month Emergency Fund, so I thought I'd be immune from Golden Handcuffs
The "why" behind my Emergency Fund
The Struggle is Real: I can't walk away from my 6-figure salary.
Lessons Learned about Golden Handcuffs & Lawyers
I was disappointed in myself. I was disappointed that money was the deal breaker and not my mental health or well being.
- An Emergency Fund isn’t the only thing you’re going to need to be stronger than the power of golden handcuffs. I’m no longer relying just on my Emergency Fund to be my “out”. I’ve pivoted instead to living an intentional life and creating the life I want to live on my terms (or at least as many of my terms as I can). Money can solve a lot of problems, but money alone can’t solve them all.
- Find out and explore your WHY OF LIFE. If you want to learn more about yourself and discover your why of life, I highly highly recommend these 2 podcast episodes:
- For me (and hopefully not for you), it’s going to take something more serious than uncontrollably crying in my office or panic attacks (which I’ve had 2 before) for me to choose my health over money. I know this isn’t good, but the first step is awareness and at least I’ve got that.
- Constantly evaluate how you can live your life more intentionally and incorporate your passions into your every day, so you’re living for more than the pay cheques. As of 2020, I’m evaluating my life daily, weekly and monthly. I’m making myself accountable and honouring my calendar and commitments to myself. This has made such a difference just in January. I’ve already noticed differences.