HomeSC WIL Online Leadership CoursesElected Office CourseLesson: Can I Afford to Run?

This lesson will help you explore the implications of a run on your personal finances, mental, and physical health.

Think through the questions below and use the exercise to create a budget to assess the financial impact a run may have on your personal finances.

Ashley Peele, former candidate for Mayor of North Charleston and Charleston County School Board, on cost considerations when contemplating a run for office.(5 min. 15 sec. watch)

Personal Costs

What are the mental and physical health impacts of putting yourself out there?

Opportunity Costs

What are things you may want to do but can’t because of your campaign?

Financial Costs

You may need to take time off from your job, dip into your savings, spend money on yourself. These investments will pay off with you making more money in your career.

  • If you don’t have a personal budget, use the exercise below to create one. This exercise will make the impact a run will have on your personal finances seem less abstract and frightening.
  • Chart a financial plan – How could you bring in extra income or what expenses could you cut? Think of this as revealing possibilities.
  • Consider the salary you’d earn in your elected position and any changes in your income from your current job if you are elected. Would you have to work part-time in order to serve? Does the elected position make up for any losses in income from your current wages/salary?
  • Are you willing to dip into your personal savings to make up for loss in income or to help fund your campaign?
  • Will the connections you make and experience you gain serving as an elected official help you increase your future earning potential?


Use the Simple Monthly Budget worksheet below to capture your monthly expenses and income. Be realistic and honest with yourself about your current monthly spending and for variable or uncertain expenses, it’s better to estimate high than low. For variable or uncertain income, it’s better to estimate low than high.

Additional Resources:

Tameika Isaac Devine, former Council Member and Mayoral Candidate, City of Columbia says, “don’t let not having a ton of money keep you from running.” (54 sec. watch)
Ashley Peele, former candidate for Mayor of North Charleston and Charleston County School Board, on getting comfortable with letting smart people around you jump in to help where you may have to step back in order to campaign and serve. (1 min. and 52 sec. watch)

Thanks for financial support from