So last week I talked about some basic level stuff with income, expenses, and mindset. My plan is to slowly unpack that and dive deeper into each of those categories to uncover some basic truths as well as hopefully introducing some newer concepts to think about. On that note, let’s jump into today’s topic. One that doesn’t get as much attention as perhaps it should.
Today’s world is one that is a bit less stable, for a wide array of reasons. With the amount of people roaming the planet and vastly different ways of life, it is an unfortunate thing that we fabricate artificial boundaries between each other and even start wars over seemingly absurd things. I’m not trying to be a Debbie-downer, but this is our world, and to enjoy the good things, we have to put up with (or change) the bad things too.
Consider the following shifts and changes that have occurred just in the past few decades. As global population increases, so do the number of jobs. However, there is inherently less stability and job security for many. Also, as technology (among other factors) changes our world, wages become higher. That doesn’t always add up to us being richer though, instead many of us just get further into debt. Also, consider the change in perception of retirement. Once a foreign concept, let alone being something that rarely anyone did, is now seen to be an entitlement. Not only that, but consider how we are often locked into salaries instead of hourly wages and working way more than is considered to be healthy. Add all these together and what we get is a mess where it’s easier to be in debt, overworked, at higher risk for health concerns, and perhaps not fully appreciated in your job. Sure there are some positives, but allow me to make a point! It is very reasonable to say that job security and satisfaction are rapidly declining for a significant proportion of global employees. And in an increasingly expensive world, it is ironically more necessary to have a stream of income that is both adequate and steady to pay for our countless amenities.
So what is the solution to increase your lifestyle survivability in the chance you do lose/quit a job? Similarly, what if you want or need more cash but are unable to get that through your current job? The answer is in another job. But, don’t freak out yet! This doesn’t mean that you need to sacrifice all your evenings and weekends working at some minimum wage superstore stocking shelves or learning the bizarre ways of ‘customer service’ (been there, done that!). Why not work for yourself?! Set your own schedule, work when you want to, and only answer to yourself (or someone you choose). This is all possible if you are willing to put in the work. For example, mow lawns in your neighborhood, shovel driveways in winter, invent something, do work online like proofreading, writing, take and sell photos, blog, vlog, or various forms of testing for various companies, etc.
So what’s my point? It’s easier to lose a source of income now than in years past. But there is also a stronger dependence on our income for survival in our commodity driven world. As such, having a second job, side-gig, or side hustle is a great way to ensure there is some money coming in more regularly even in a host of potentially dangerous financial situations. Plus, if you can maintain the same lifestyle despite more income, you can significantly improve your savings. Whether that be in preparation for a newer car, a house, raising kids, retirement, or any other goal you have. Also relevant here, but not my focus today, is the idea of passive income. Maybe you don’t even have to work extra hours to make more money. Maybe your money can put those hours in for you and provide extra cash! Consider the pie charts below. The one on the left is my income diversification prior to marriage and before I was more financially aware of my actions. The one on the right is this past years results. I can tell you that not only has our income gone up significantly, but we are incredibly more resilient to changes in income now than I was before. In fact, we are currently on the way out of a phase of reduced income due to my health. We still were able to pay all bills on time, and even retain some of our ability to contribute to savings. If nothing so far has convinced you, perhaps think how common the following phrase is, “don’t put all your eggs in one basket”. That saying didn’t become so commonplace by accident. But yet many of us struggle with everyday instances where implementing that idea could potentially prevent unnecessary lifestyle damage or even improve our lives!
How does this all apply to me? Well to started off life with one source of income. It was decent, even with my foolish financial decisions. But eventually I outgrew it, almost exclusively due to my poor financial planning. Fast-forward to today, I am fortunate to have 3 sources of income between my wife and I. Even beyond that, we occasionally ask our employers if our work is deserving of a raise or promotion. That has already paid off to the tune of a couple thousand dollars per year. Nothing life-changing, but still an appreciated gesture to match (or at least minimize the gap between) the level of commitment we show at our jobs. Despite all of that, I am also seeking out yet another source of income. If I can get this blog to take-off and get more interaction from all of you readers, it too could (potentially) become a source of regular income. But beyond just seeing money with this blog, I am truly and sincerely hopeful for meaningful interaction with you readers. I may be on a better financial path now, but I’m by no means perfect. We all have our weaknesses and something to offer. My hope is that we can develop a community where sharing tips, concerns, and relevant news can be a regular thing. My mind regularly wanders to the possible positive impacts this could have on someone. Hopefully that can actually happen, and be reported so we as a community can get additional proof that we are capable of making a real difference.
Also, (a quick side-note) as you diversify sources of income, it is equally important to make sure that your existing money is earning the highest possible interest rates wherever it is (stocks, bonds, savings accounts, CD’s, etc). In addition, and perhaps more important is to stay on top of paying off all debt, but especially high interest debt. More will undoubtedly come on those topics later.
So, stop doubting it’ll work and do it! If you want or need more money, look at what’s out there, and try something. Most of those coveted weekends and evenings can still be yours to keep and you can still make some extra money. Plus, you’ll never know until you actually try! Even if that’s not something you want or need now, comment on here and maybe help others see a way to help themselves.