It’s Thursday and I’m Crafting my Life! Today I’m talking about the financial planning and pitfalls that go into pursuing your dream.
I’ll admit right up front that I feel more than a little uncomfortable talking about money. It can be a touchy subject, after all. I’m concerned that I will somehow manage to offend every single person reading this, maybe even including myself. So let’s have a big group hug right up front, and promise not to judge each other, OK? OK.
In spite of my discomfort, I know that this is an important subject to broach. We don’t live on air, after all. I have two kids and a house and all the financial obligations that come with those sorts of things. I do have a husband who is still gainfully employed, and that does make a big difference. But, all the same, I am not currently in a position where I can go without income indefinitely. And even if I could, there would likely still be financial considerations, such as what I’m willing to compromise on in order to be at home full-time. Money is relevant when you’re deciding what you want your life to look like.
In honesty, I am able to take some time off from earning money and pursue my dreams because I am in a secure financial position. We have no debt, other than our mortgage. We are incredibly risk averse people in general, and this has served us well. It also means we have no fun, but we’re cool with that. In addition, I received a pretty reasonable severance package when I was laid off. So, for right now, the wolves are not at my door. If I were paying off student loans and credit cards and wasn’t receiving a pay-out, I would probably be pounding the pavement looking for work right now instead of crafting my life.
Starting a new life as a freelancer or small business owner is not going to pay off right away. You’re building a clientele and a reputation. You’re laying groundwork and learning new skills. You might even be investing in space and inventory and PR. This is OK and expected, but it’s important to know up front that you may not make much money in the early months, or even years. Financial planning may not be the most exciting way to spend a Saturday night, but taking the time and keeping on top of things will also help you to keep the lights on, because you will know what you have and where it’s going. This is what I’m trying to do right now – just mostly keep on top things.
Knowing that I am not going to be raking in the big bucks right off the bat has affected the way I’ve handled my severance money. I have not spent it. I have not bought myself a new outfit as a consolation prize for losing my job, or splurged to make myself feel better. I’ve occasionally felt tempted, but I know that if I start spending my savings on stuff it will add up quickly and the money will be gone. Plus, and this is the real kicker, it won’t actually make me feel better. Stuff, as it turns out, is not what I really want at all. I really want the love of my family and career satisfaction and all that jazz. The thrill of acquisition is fun, to be sure, but it doesn’t last.
I haven’t completely altered my lifestyle with my lay-off. I suppose we could start living on ramen noodles and turn off the heat to save money. I’m not really willing to make those kind of concessions, though. At least not yet. There will come a point when I’m going to have to make hard decisions. When I’m going to need to start earning money as a freelancer or go out and find a J-O-B. But that time isn’t yet. For now I would prefer to live the generally simple lifestyle I enjoy and seek out ways that I can earn money by writing.
Money. It is hard, but you need to think about it. And hopefully by thinking about it, you can make sure you don’t run out of it. I’ll keep my fingers crossed for all of us and our collective financial futures, if you’ll do the same. Now, let’s have another group hug. And, please, share with me how you’ve arranged your finances so that you can do what it is that you really want to do. Or, how you can’t do what you really want to do right now because of money. Like I said, there’s no judging here.