School focuses on teaching reading, writing, and arithmetic primarily. How money works is rarely a topic for teaching or discussion. Too many students leave school with no understanding of personal finance, investing, or business and it shows. If a student is lucky they may get a home economics class to learn how to manage a checking account or do a budget. In high school, economics classes may also be offered for those wanting to learn about how supply and demand works in the economy.

However, school does not teach about how to convert your earned income into investments that either cash flow or compound returns for exponential growth. Schools don’t teach how to optimize for taxes. They don’t show the path of the entrepreneur focusing almost 100% on the importance of further education and getting a “good” job. The educational system is a self-promoting system, asking a teacher whether they think you should go to college is like asking a barber if they think you need a hair cut. If entrepreneurs ran the school system, everyone would be directed to starting their own business.

What school doesn’t teach is that there are multiple paths in life to making a living. Students can aspire to trade schools and learn to be an electrician, plumber, or other skilled trade, some of these people go on to start their own businesses using the knowledge of their skills and become millionaires. Others focus on investing and trading, they get their first capital and then grow it through buying and selling assets for profits, this can take many forms. The self-employed path has people that create their own job by providing a service, their only bosses are their customers. Entrepreneurs start their own business and live off the cash flow it creates. Almost none of these paths are mentioned in the traditional school system, or worse discouraged.

What is usually encouraged to everyone by default is to go to college, get a good job, have a career with an employer for 40 years and retire. This can bring many people into an unfulfilling rat race against others, where their main joy is leaving work for the day and going on vacations. I think it’s more important to find something you enjoy for a living that brings out your passion and creativity for money.

What is the meaning of the idiom a rat race?

The rat race is defined as an unfulfilling, unpleasant, and endless competition with other employees in a career to maintain a position and try to move higher in status and pay. The metaphor describes rats that will run a maze trying to find the way out or to receive cheese but it’s a pointless exercise with no purpose for the rat. The rat race is defined by expending a lot of effort with the inability to achieve much success or escape from the maze.

The rat race is commonly understood as a phenomenon found in the corporate world. It’s thought that bosses don’t care about their employees and everyone must compete with each other for raises and promotions in a race to the top. It’s usually considered putting in long hours at work each week that must be maintained to afford the current level of lifestyle like a big house, new luxury car, and expensive vacations.

What does escaping the rat race mean?

To escape from the rat race means leaving a high status job, large income, and a certain financial lifestyle at least temporarily for more freedom with your time, energy, and life to pursue other interests. Escaping from the rat race means to stop competing aggressively with people in a hierarchical corporate job ladder.

Escaping from the rat race most of the time means achieving some level of financial independence from a paycheck and pursuing another way to pay monthly bills. It can mean pursuing a side hustle full time, starting a business, or becoming self-employed. There are many paths of escape but the primary principle is leaving a career for a new financial path. Many times escaping the rate race can include selling a home, selling a car, getting out of debt, downsizing, moving, and living a more frugal or simple lifestyle.

How do you get out of the rat race?

  • A desire to find a way to quit your job.
  • Reading books about financial independence.
  • An open mind to options.
  • Minimizing your monthly bills.
  • Planning for an alternative way to pay monthly bills.
  • Minimizing your debt.
  • Working hard to develop a second income.
  • Downsizing lifestyle.
  • Selling a house that is too big.
  • Moving to a more affordable area.
  • Willing to do whatever it takes to escape the rat race.

You can escape from the rat race when you have enough money to achieve financial freedom, your monthly cash flow from assets is more than your monthly bills, or you have a way to make a living full time other than your job. The main factor for escaping the rat race is to keep your monthly bills and debt to a minimum. A large mortgage, new car payments, credit card debt, and out of control spending will keep you at your job forever just trying to keep up with your monthly bills and debt.

The two factors for escaping the rat race in managing personal finances by minimizing your expenses and maximizing your income. Don’t just count on your paycheck start creating other streams of income. Stop going deeper and deeper into debt and start paying off your balances and saving moving for a cushion.

Develop new skills you can monetize. Examine ways to monetize you hobbies and passions, in the 21st century there are endless ways to make money. You must learn the things about making money that school never taught you.

We only have one life and spending it in a thankless corporate grind is not the right path for most people. Change is scary but the potential rewards for finding a path to doing what you love for a living can even make you more money than your job if you do it right.

Forget the cheese, focus on getting out of the trap.

Escaping the Rat Race: What School Failed to Teach You About Money
Image created by Holly Burns