Give up the rat race to become a Hero

Are you a Hero? Standard Life Bank thinks you may be. If so, you could be one of three key social groups who are finding new ways to break out of the 9-to-5 straitjacket.

Heros are High Earner, Risk Open individuals prepared to risk everything in search of adventure and in the pursuit of their dreams.

Aware that the 1940s baby-boomer generation has not changed the world in quite the way some of them think they have, Heros are the most prepared to take risks to change the way they live.

More likely to be in their early forties, most are fed up with toeing the party line.

The other two groups, identified by the author Martin Raymond for the forecasting organisation the Future Laboratory, are Cross-shifters and the New Authentics. Cross-shifters are abandoning the corporate rat race in favour of their own career paths, often by starting their own businesses, without compromising their ability to earn. New Authentics are willing to halve their salaries to improve their quality of life. They are seeking organic, hands-on, ways of life, perhaps by moving to the country, coast or abroad.

All three groups are equity-rich and are giving up the corporate rat race to do something more real, responsible and meaningful with their lives.

Mr Raymond said: "Property owners with valuable equity portfolios are using them to make the jump. These days we are richer than ever, which means we can release wealth to give ourselves the freedom to make lifestyle choices based on who we genuinely believe ourselves to be."

Standard Life Bank and the Future Laboratory polled 2,500 consumers and a panel of 100 work and lifestyle forecasters to produce the data on which the report is based.

David Macmillan, Standard Life Bank's marketing director, said: "These three groups have houses in which they have built up equity. They understand the financial power that gives them to change the way that they live. Since the millennium we've recognised a change in how and why people are borrowing money. Increasingly, they don't seem to be burdened by the idea that a mortgage is a financial millstone."

The report, The Shape of Dreams to Come - Living, Working and Changing Lifestyles in Britain, is available at www.standardlifebank.com.

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