Give me time over money any day!
I realise that the lack of posts since January place me firmly in the category of bloggers who predictably run out of steam after a short few months of starting out. My old lawyer friend’s advice – never apologise, never explain – is on my mind. But I’m going to explain (I don’t need to apologise because obviously you don’t give a shit). The truth is that for the first half of 2019 my business has billed a really nice chunk of money because I’ve been working a lot. I’ve really been working a lot for a new client. This is not only good for the health of the business but it’s represented a chance to ply my trade in a new and interesting sector. Regular readers will know that while I do rather enjoy my job, I’ve been doing it a while and some work, while reasonably well paid, is a a bit – well – boring. My new client is often a fun organisation to work for, gives me a new industry to learn about and offers good kudos to future buyers of my services. All good!
So there we are: I hate to use the B word, but I’ve basically been short of time to update this blog because I’ve been busy earning money.
One thing is for sure though. This new found spring in my professional step hasn’t dulled my determination to achieve financial independence and make work optional as quickly as possible. While I have enjoyed my new friends and the new challenge I know that I’d rather be in a position to choose work rather than have towork. If anything, the experience has made me all the more determined to get my savings motoring so that I can investigate jobs and projects that are interesting, without having to worry about how well paid they are. There are so many interesting things to do and ways to spend time out there, and I am wearing the golden handcuffs of having a trade that pays well. I want time more than I want money.
Anyway – there we are. I’ve been working hard. I’ve been enjoying it. I’m grateful for the opportunity and the change. I am still determined to earn well and spend sensibly so that work becomes optional at some point.
As you’d expect the financial element of my Mind, Body, Bank Balance model has had a good few months. I have decided on a way to manage the business’ finances and after allowing the matter to take up a lot of brain space I am happy with the model I have arrived at. Back in April I paid myself for the following year’s living expenses, and I will spend the rest of this year (April to April) saving 2 years of personal spending in the business (all being well). If all goes to plan and business remains positive I will pay myself a year’s salary in April 2020, leaving another year’s salary in the business bank account. This might seem an overly conservative approach, and a waste of cash lying around in a very low paying business savings account. However, I have experienced the security of having a whole year of spending in the bank, and the thought of having one year’s worth in the personal account and a further year’s worth in the business account is super comforting. I know too many people who live their financial life by the seat of their pants and I would rather not thank you very much. We cannot predict the next recession and I certainly cannot guarantee that my services will be in demand, so some months of pay in the bank is prudent good practice in my view. Once this threshold is reached, I also know that every month I won’t need to knock the lights out in order to remain on track to tick over to the next April ready to pay myself for a year with a year in hand. Every quarter I will shift any surplus into something productive (e.g., pension, mortgage, or ISA – probably in that order).
I have also crunched a few numbers and the data tells me that as well as being good for me health-wise, leaving paid employment for the world of having my own business has been net worth enhancing. This is pleasing.
My physical fitness and healthy living I will score 6 out of 10. There’s no doubt that there’s a negative correlation between income and healthful living in my game. When I’m working a lot, it can often mean early mornings for travel, nights in hotels, and the odd meal in a hotel / restaurant on expenses. I know that I have been less disciplined in the last six months with my diet, while I am pleased that I’ve been pretty good at keeping the exercise up. I need to up my game – and what I mean by that is say no to desserts and avoid the bread as successfully as I was this time last year. No big deal – not an emergency but the gain is there to be had. Simple as that.
And so to mental health. You have read that my work is going well and you have read that physically I’m doing well enough. This is all fine but I have to use other metrics to judge how well I’m doing ‘in myself’ (as they say in t’north). To illustrate how positive I feel about this kind of thing I have to refer to the freedom of choice that my life brings that I simply haven’t had in previous set ups. In the last month or so, both kids have been poorly. This cloud has brought a silver lining, because I have been able to down tools and spend the day with them. The opportunity to watch films, clean up a bit of sick might not sound especially glamorous but I am so grateful that I have the freedom to choose and without too much fuss get to put my kids (not some boss) first. I do experience some boredom and my drive sometimes rears and tells me that I should be doing more and pushing the business harder, but I’m good at challenging these thoughts and good at being grateful for what I have.
Thanks for reading. Good luck and enjoy the summer.