We all doubt our professional choices but often some of us take a step further and change our whole career path. If you want to pursue what you love or what matters to you without accumulating debt or harming your retirement, you will need a financial roadmap for your career shift.

So here’s what you have to before taking the leap.

Is changing your career the best option?

Evaluate all pros and cons and differentiate between whether your career shift is a just a hobby or a passion. If you’re used to a certain lifestyle, be prepared to make some financial changes.

Test how well will you do at your new career by working part-time, or taking up an odd project to see if it’s the right choice. Always research into how much you will get paid in your new profession. It will give you an idea of how your lifestyle will change depending on your income.

If you’re an expat living in Saudi Arabia, keep your visa status in mind. Leaving your current job may require to leave the country or change sponsorship. Check the requirements of changing sponsorship before; especially if you have dependents.

What is the state of your saving?

Have a financial safety net just in case things don’t work out. Think about how much you need for the career shift. Besides covering living expenses and rent, factor in any additional training or cost of a diploma and family support. During your transitional period, get your own health insurance to save on hospital bills. Compare all health insurances plans in Saudi Arabia before picking one. Having the money to cover all this for six months or up to a year is a good amount to start with.

Start a new savings pool for your career and don’t dig into your retirement fund or other savings. If you’re close to becoming debt free, i.e. loans, credit cards or home loans, aim to do that before you make the shift.

If you don’t have any savings, start immediately. Aim to bring in extra cash each month to jump start the process through freelancing or by putting in those extra hours at work. If the career shift is something you can do within your current firm, discuss the options with management. Perhaps your can get on the job training while earning a steady income. If not, try to get external training and pay for it while keeping your current job. This is probably ideal for expats living in Saudi Arabia. You can remain on your employer’s sponsorship and not worry about your visa status.

What’s your current employment status?

If you’re out of work already, making a career shift would probably not be wise. Unless you have a lump sum money to depend on. Financial constraints can catch up without effective planning. Yes, you might have to take up a job similar to your old one, but once you are financially secure you can work towards making the change.

Lastly, downsize your life. Just the way you may have to take couple of steps back in your career, think of doing the same with your lifestyle. Get a smaller house, cheaper car and affordable education.