Every Day Realities

As my dad put it, as of tomorrow, he’s going on 89. Today was his 88th birthday. I do like the way he looks ahead. And, I’m amazed at what he had to do to get here. Hard work has always been a reality for the majority of the population, unless you believe the anthropologist’s tales of pre-civilization subsistence living. (Really, only three hours a day?) For most people, hard work is a necessity, not a choice; because, when you’ve decreased expenses far enough the only way to go forward is to increase income. Time is money, so spend time making more money – even if it takes every day.

Take your monthly expenses, divide by 30, and get the amount of money you have to make every day. Remember, taxes are an expense too; even if they are only paid annually. $1,000 per month is about $33 per day, and is only half of the poverty level. $2,000 a month is about $66 per day, just about exactly the poverty level for a family of four, and works out to about $8 per hour – after taxes. It doesn’t take much of a mortgage to get to $3,000 per month which is roughly $100 per day – a rate that some folks make in an hour, including me when I get to charge full rate for consulting. Have anything go wrong with health, a house, or a car, and the annual, monthly, daily, and hourly expenses rise quickly.

The essence of personal finance is; “Spend less than you make. Invest the rest.” If you are able to do that, and are actually doing it, congratulate yourself. You are definitely headed in the right direction.

Considering that the median net worth in the US is less than $20,000 when housing prices are ignored (which is easy to do now because the market is so uncertain), there are a lot of people who haven’t had much to invest. As of 2012, one-sixth of Americans live in poverty and the majority of Americans will spend some time in poverty even if they aren’t there now.

It seems that it should be easy to stay above that poverty line, make more than enough every day, and eventually accumulate far more than one year’s expenses.

Of course, millions of people are making more than enough. Many are making just as much, and only need to change their spending habits to decrease expenses and increase investments – no job change required. Yet, there are millions that, despite low unemployment, can’t make enough or are close enough to the edge that they experience that perpetual anxiety of imminent loss.

The inescapable reality is math. Working every day is unsustainable. My Rule of 7 suggests I should work every day based on my net worth, but eventually I have to take a day off. Maybe next week. That should be my fifth day off this year, just about one every other month. Taking more time off makes a lot of sense. Productivity rises. Health improves. Stress is relieved. A sense of life returns. Yet, math remains. For anyone trying to make enough, working five days a week instead of seven means having to make 40% more on each of those five days. 7/5 = 140%. Have you asked for a 40% raise lately?

My situation is improving, as long as I work as hard as I have been. A few more consulting hours, sustained book and art sales, and a speaking event every month can relieve a lot of financial stress.

Others are working their way there, but as Bagpiper Don posted;
Feel like you’re working so hard you’ve become INSANE?
Give your “MY GHOD I’M FLIPPIN’ NUTZ!” battle-cry of a near-crazy person here.

He has one business (music), and is starting another one (biscotti – site under construction), and probably hasn’t had a day off in a long time. The easiest way to tell the days of the week is probably by the health inspector’s office hours. If they’re open, it must not be the weekend. Biscotti is coming soon. (Got a gluten-free version?)

Another friend has a business called Savvy Caddy Wallets (go to his site for details). Good products are not enough. Cash flow must be managed. Inventions must be pursued. Fellow inventors must be advised, especially if they recognize the value of his experience. Alan and his wallets can’t take a day off, unless the cash flow improves, venues open up, or the next invention comes to market ahead of schedule.

Both of these entrepreneurs could use some venture capital.

I’m amazed that my dad managed to maintain a similar pace for decades. My parents raised three sons, got us all through college with good degrees, and at least in my case sent me off into the world without a debt – except for the feeling of never being able to pay them back for the good things they did for me. Dad worked six days a week, and for years worked more than one job. Driving truck for a while, then managing a small oil depot, and even running a service station. I didn’t see much of him except on Sundays. Mom worked too, tending disabled kids and eventually establishing an ambulance service (volunteer, I believe.)

It wasn’t easy then. It isn’t easy now. But somehow we survive. And I suspect that part of the secret is every day meeting those every day realities; “Spend less than you make. Invest the rest.” And then, regardless of the math, take some time off and remember to live.

Happy Birthday, Dad – and thanks.

About Tom Trimbath

consultant / entrepreneur / writer / photographer / speaker / aerospace engineer / semi-semi-retired More info at: https://trimbathcreative.wordpress.com/about/ and at my amazon author page: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B0035XVXAA
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2 Responses to Every Day Realities

  1. Don says:

    Great post, Tom, Thanks! Music is a juggle around getting my baking company going, and getting my baking company going is more of a juggle right now itself. I’ve been working toward this for the past year+, if all goes right I look to ‘officially open for business’ the first Monday of September. I’m excited about it, and it seems Murphy (as in Murphy’s Law) is my business anti-manager in these days before launching — tech gear I’ve ordered to support my business has arrived, all of which performing less than 100%, but despite my pal Murph I’m working out the bugs.

    I’m looking forward to making my biscotti as a business because I find joy & peace in it, I’m also looking forward to it because I believe there is a deeper purpose in being of service to others especially when you’re doing something like feeding others — okay, so, in this case it’s through happy food, but nonetheless…. ‘happy’ is important too.

    Humbly, I could use additional FUNding — I’m starting this on a shoe-string* or probably more specifically the plastic tip at the end of a shoe-string. I’m entering the market with 7 flavours of biscotti that have flavour w/o being covered in chocolate, are about 1/2 the fat of other recipes I’ve seen, and my goods don’t break your teeth all while holding up to a good dunk in a favourite beverage. I’ve thought to get a loan or go the KickStarter route, but what I’d prefer to do is hold tasting parties for donations where I can connect with people as they sample what I do — that is more genuine than what one can do through a loan or a fundraising website.

    All that said … I gotta go — there’s a lot of work to do to get Whidbey Island Baking Company launched, and I need to practice for a USMC volunteer memorial I’m playing this weekend. I should probably also sleep sometime.

    Tom, thank you for your encouragement & support.
    ~ BagpiperDon AKA BiscottiDon (I’ll make you a biscotto you can’t refuse)

    (*after years of not being able to get employment)

  2. Don says:

    PS — I have a gluten free consultant, she’s also my accounting consultant. We’ve already re-worked my Double Chocolate Decadence and Ginger Citrus biscotti recipes to be GF. She’s gluten free and said said they turned out well but could use a bit more tweaking. After I’ve launched and the dust has settled a bit she and I have already planned to get together for more recipe revamping to GF. That’s an important (and interesting) part of the market I want to cover with my business. SO, my GF options won’t be available from day-one but they will be just as soon as possible. My (regular, not GF) Ginger Citrus is going to initially have limited availability too — the candied ginger I use is fantastic … I also have to order it in large quantities and I will need to get some income from the company first to be able to afford the supply. Between GF and other additional flavours, there is more to come!

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