Hi, my name’s Paul Benson and I’m a financial planner in Melbourne Australia.  Helping people plan for the major transitions in life is what I do.  Traditionally in financial planning that has meant retirement planning, but I believe planning for retirement only scratches the surface of the sort of choices people I work with are facing and the goals they are trying to achieve.

Financial autonomy

For the past 50+ years, most people in developed countries such as Australia have lived on an expectation that they will enter the work force in their late teens or early 20’s, and work through until somewhere in their 60’s, whereupon they will cease work entirely and live out their remaining days in “retirement”.   This scenario is perhaps a bit male centric, as for many women, paid employment is often put on pause when children arrive.  None the less, in more recent times this is a rough sketch increasingly applicable to both the sexes.

Whilst this trajectory remains applicable for many people, increasingly the feedback I am getting is that this is not how people wish for their life to unfold.  Instead they seek a path perhaps looking more like this:

Financial independence

Financial autonomy, or financial independence if you prefer, is about getting yourself in a position where you can move to the new yellow section above.  Where you have CHOICES.  Where you don’t have to work in a job you hate, or with a boss who is a moron, simply because that is your lot in life until you reach 65.

Financial autonomy might mean reducing your normal paid employment from 5 days per week to 3 or 4.  And in those now freed up days, you might chose to study, do a different job, care for your kids, or get involved in the local community.

Financial autonomy might mean a career change.  Initially the pay might be less, maybe even permanently so.  But you spend a lot of your life at work.  Do you really want to waste so much of the limited time you have on this earth in a job you hate?

Financial autonomy might mean starting your own business.  There will be many challenges and certainly risks.  But you will have the flexibility to work when and how hard it suits you. Do something you are passionate about.  Take holidays when it suits you.  And if your son or daughter is getting presented with a student of the week certificate at assembly, you can go without having to ask the boss for a favour.

I hope you find great value in the content on this site, and perhaps one day we can work with you to get you on the path to Financial Autonomy.


early retirement