Back to Saving (After Spending a Small Fortune)

August 27, 2013 Permalink

On Wednesday last week I posted about spending was is, to me, a small fortune. It was fun to just let loose and forget about how much interest the money could have been making in my RRSP or TSFA for just one moment. The euphoric feeling of “new stuff” goes away quite quickly, so here I am back to saving.

I have had the goal to increase my emergency fund in 2013, and to have added $10,000 to the fund by the time the year ended.

I have definitely made that goal, but after I hit it, I rerouted lots of my “emergency fund” to the emergency of paying off my car loan. I still have a healthy emergency fund, but I want to rebuild it back up to $10,000 and leave it there for the sake of my own peace of mind. Especially as a home owner, emergency funds on the larger side are necessary. I’m always worrying about disasters that will leave us broke. We have insurance, but that doesn’t mean that I’m a rational human!

The Accounts

I’ll be able to start saving quite a lot of my income in September (which yes, is only days away). Since I am already at around half of my emergency fund goal in one mid-interest savings account, I am going to be keeping what is already in that account there, and then find another account for the other half of the fund as I accumulate it.

I feel like if my furnace were to decide to kick the bucket, it would do so on the coldest winter day, and it would be really expensive. I know it’s not going to happen (our furnace is relatively new and just recently serviced), but Murphy’s law never fails. That being said, emergencies don’t wait for funds to be freed, so I’m trying to find the best easy access savings accounts for the other half of my fund. I think that would be a fun experiment, too, to see how each half of the EF does compared to the other.

Future Plans

If I don’t have an emergency within the next year or so, where I’ll need to access the funds, I may re-evaluate then. I may take a little bit out to travel a bit more (perhaps a honeymoon is in my future? That would be awesome).

We may make extra mortgage payments or something of that nature with anything over $7,000 that I accumulate over the next year, too, if we don’t have to use it. Don’t burn me at the stake, J also has an emergency fund.

I was talking about this with a good friend of mine (the one that got married last year and then moved to Australia with her new husband). She and her husband have decided to leave Australia for Europe, but they are starting off in London for a year. She’s trying to convince me to visit them for a period of time. We have too much going on though.

I feel like having a substantial emergency fund leaves more room for putting money away for other goals in your life. WIth money, things become possible that may not have been before.

What is your emergency fund goal? Have you reached it?

A Case for Treating Your (Professional) Life Like a Business

August 26, 2013 Permalink

As a business school graduate, I have a very business oriented mind. I see business in everything; opportunities are at every corner, and there is undeniable opportunity for growth if you are willing to put in the work and strategize.

I think this is the case for your life, too. Rather, your professional life; business has it’s place, and it’s place is not in your marriage or with your kids and friends.

Here’s why I think you should treat your professional life like a business:

Marketing Yourself

Your ability to make money, especially doing something that you enjoy, hinges almost completely on your ability to market yourself. Whether you work for yourself or a company, you need to know how to put yourself out there and present yourself and your skills to get the best of the best.

professional ecard funny

Marketing covers potential customers as well, not just current customers. This means that you need to be constantly marketing yourself to your network. I use LinkedIn, and ensure that I’m always professional on it. I don’t add friends to my LinkedIn unless they are also a professional contact, because LinkedIn is not Facebook and should not be treated like Faecbook.

Customer Service

If you work for yourself, the customer service part is obvious; you must provide good customer service to your clients.

If you work for a company, your customers are your bosses, direct reports, and whomever works with you. Provide only great customer service to these individuals.

As a professional, this can also extend to your network. If you help people out when they ask for assistance (looking over people’s resumes, providing contacts, providing feedback), they are more likely to help you out when you need it. There comes a time in almost every professionals career when they need help with something.

Finance

All businesses have a financial aspect, and your professional life should too. Don’t work in finance? That’s fine. You still have a financial aspect.

This could be part of your marketing of yourself (how much money did you save the last company you worked for?) or part of your customer service. Businesses (including your own, if you work for yourself) are in it for the money. You should be finding ways to save them money.

Finance is metric orientated, so make some metrics for yourself and demonstrate how you’ve reached them.

You also need to be negotiating your wages for every company you work for, and every contract you pick up if you are self employed. Get the best price for the service you offer.

Human Resources

Since your professional life is your own, you need to ensure that you have adequate work/life balance, compensation, benefits, and that you feel comfortable and that you “fit” with the jobs you are picking up.

Don’t work for a company that you don’t like. This will reduce your morale which will make you market yourself poorly. You must be choosy with your job (but don’t throw in the towel too soon, either, as this can be just as damaging to your reputation as low morale).

Management

Self management and leadership is a good indicator of whether or not you would make a good leader and manager of other people.

If you can manage yourself well, you’ll be more successful in your professional life.

 

Success is almost always a derivative of your reputation (and hard work, of course). If you treat your professional life like it’s a business, your reputation will precede you.

Alternatives to Quitting Your Job

August 23, 2013 Permalink

So you don’t like your job. That’s a common theme in the realm of personal finance; that’s generally what makes people strive for financial independence.

It seems like it’s trendy to hate day jobs and the corporate world nowadays, and people are dropping like flies to move to greener pastures – ie, working for oneself (a trend that I’m definitely not willing to hop on any time soon for many, many reasons). Too often, however, these people are quitting without a plan, without an income, and without a clue.(Tip: if you are thinking of starting your own business then do some research into online business sites like http://www.sundocumentfilings.com/ so that you’re well prepared for the legal and financial aspects.)

work for yourself meme

They say quitters never win, so I think there should always be an attempt to salvage your job before throwing in the towel. There are various ways to do that exact thing.

Switch Jobs

I don’t know why this doesn’t seem more obvious to some, but if you aren’t happy where you are, switch jobs. Whether it’s within the same company you’re currently working for, or a different field all together, why not try something else? That way, you’re gainfully employed but perhaps much, much happier.

Still don’t like it? At least you tried.

Go Part Time

Everything is more bearable in small doses. Why not request part time hours or switch to a part time job? That way, you can work part-time on whatever you’d be doing if you quit, thereby building up that venture so you eventually can start making a sustainable income from it?

At least part-time employment means that you can maintain your employment benefits (all of which you should be using, by the way).

Confront Why You’re Unhappy

I maintain that if you’re unhappy doing something, it’s most likely (but not always) because you are doing something wrong. You control your environment a lot more than you may realize. If it’s a co-worker that is treating you badly, that’s partially your fault – you need to learn how to play the game and confront the co-worker in a productive way in order to regain control over your working life.

Don’t like your job because you just don’t like it? Try adjusting your attitude first, and you may find that you enjoy it a lot more.

Request Different Work Hours

Believe it or not, the hours that you work may make a huge difference in your attitude about work. If you resent work because it takes too much time away from your family, ask your boss if you can start coming in earlier or work some hours from home. Many workplaces offer flexible work schedules.

Get a Side Hustle

Hate your job because the work just doesn’t fulfill and challenge you? You don’t have to transition into full-time self employment (or no employment) right away. Why not pick up a rewarding side hustle and maintain your job?

Sure, you’ll work more often because you’ll have a full-time gig and a side hustle, but you’d be working double time if you worked for yourself anyway, so why not?

I think side hustles are awesome, and in fact, I made an extra $3500 from mine (on top of my job income) from my this past month.

 

See? Quitting your job is not the only way to deal with being unhappy in it.