Finding your Fastlane
We have all seen this before: You’re on the highway in your brand-new Audi, driving 120-140km/h and you’re in the Fastlane. As you’re cruising along, a Yaris is hogging the fast lane, driving 80km/h. You flash your lights at them, they flash a finger at you.
A friendly exchange.
You decide to overtake on the left, but as you check your blind spot and mirror, cars are speeding by. You put your indicator on, jump to get an opening and speed by the Yaris, and the person in the Yaris smiles and waves at you as you speed by.
Some people are in the Yaris situation. Hogging the fastlane when you feel like you know you deserve the fastlane much more than they do.
I drive a Nissan 1400 Champ. Top speed 146km/h.
For me, the fastlane was never an option unless I’m cruising and there’s no hills coming up. Audi’s, BM’s, Mercs and Golfs would zoom past me, and there I was, chilling. Hoping. Wishing I could get my shot at the fastlane one day.
The Finance Fastlane
So what is the fastlane in finance? The fastlane is cruising speed. Income machine is firing all cylinders and you don’t have to worry about slacking down any time soon. Your salary is large, your side hustle is fattening your wallet and your business is thriving. You’re getting paid in spades and in dividends. Living the life. You have money, and it shows.
This is much like the Merc, the BM or that Audi that sped by my Nissan 1400 bakkie. They’ve made it to the fastlane. I’m not talking about the driver. Even a douchebag driver can drive a car in the fastlane. I’m merely talking about the car.
Faking the Fastlane
Faking the fastlane is what the Yaris is doing. They’re in the fastlane, but they don’t actually belong there. This is what Gary Vaynerchuk, Dave Ramsey and Fight Club was referring to: “We buy things we don’t need; with money we don’t have; to impress people we don’t like”
Fat apartment in Waterfall with no views, SMEG appliances, Golf GTI car payments and bottle service now that we’re back on level 3. Pushing yourself into such a deep hole of consumer debt and you just keeping digging. Now you can’t get rid of that 9 - 5+ office gig because all your cash is tied up in debt payments… and you know what’s worse? Knowing that you need to get rid of all that flash in order to work at a job you don’t hate with your guts.
From the slow lane!!
So what was my move? It’s simple to explain, but not easy to do.
You keep your debt servicing low and use all the extra time and energy you have to:
- Educate yourself
- Make friends with people where you want to be at
- Work as if you have nothing better to do
- Take some risks
There I was. Saturday morning,13 April 2013, 05:30, sitting in my packed up Nissan 1400 to say goodbye to Mossel Bay, and hello to Cape Town. Everything I owned at the time, was in that bakkie. Everyone I knew, was left behind.
Over the following 8 years in Cape Town, I slowly progressed from my Nissan 1400 Champ from the slow lane, to the middle / fast lane in a Volvo S40.
- I took out a credit card with FNB to pay for an HDipTax course
- Took the train and went to social things like Meetup.com to make many friends and potentially land a better job or network a bit
- Could’ve worked harder, and perhaps I would have been further in my career, but I started my YouTube and Twitter accounts talking about tax in my free time.
All this time, I had one thing on my mind - don’t fake it.
You might be reading this and thinking. Man, it’s just privilege and all that. Well, I was privileged, but also - none of what happened in my career was without me putting in time and effort in two things: Educating myself, and using my extra and free time to go after something that would elevate me. Something that would get me to that fast lane.
Now think about your story. Where are you now? Are you faking the fast lane and need to make sacrifices to move further forward? Are you in your Uno, struggling on the incline with everyone zipping past?
- How can you educate yourself? University, a short course in property, BankerX university, Udemy course in graphics design?
- Where can you get experience? Volunteer work at a church or charity, internships, weekend odd jobs?
- Who do you need to meet? Slide into their DM’s, speak to your manager or boss, email that person on LinkedIn?
- What risks do you need to take? Sell everything and move to Japan, a small loan to further your own education, starting your business that you’ve been hustling at for the last 6 months, quitting your job?
A final remark, and I’ll close off with this. Know your why.
Why do you want to be in the fastlane? What is the fastlane to you? What does your fastlane look like? Do you just want to drive in the BMW because that’s what all your friends are doing?
My attempt at moving to the fastlane was to step out of my grandfather’s shoes, to create my own path and my own way. I’m sure he’d be proud regardless, but that was my why. And now, I’m very close to making another move in the fast lane… quitting my job to start my own company.
So those were my moves.