How a lesser paying job makes sense to me

This may seem like a strange blog post. Why on earth would a finance blogger even consider a lesser paying job, and let alone be pleased about it?

Before you start thinking that I have lost my mind you better keep reading. Firstly, note that the new job that I have accepted is only at a 7% lower salary than my current position. This is not too bad although it does certainly impact on my day-to-day savings and financial goals. I did obviously negotiate and discuss things with the company, but in the end I am very happy with the offering and that is what this post is all about.

There are two ideas that I would like to share and hopefully you’ll understand that my decision isn’t as crazy as it sounds.

The Concept of “Zig-Zagging”

Have you ever climbed a really steep mountain and noticed how the path zig-zags up? You obviously want to get to the top, and the zig-zagging path is longer and seems more tiring. Sometimes you even seem to go the wrong way, but in the end you will actually reach the top. Unless you are a super-fit athlete, the zig-zag path is probably very helpful as it allows you to reach your goal at a slightly more manageable pace; sometimes it’s even quicker than the direct route!

Another example is using a GPS to find the quickest route through traffic to reach your destination. It may literally take you in the opposite direction in order to catch a back-road which will then quickly lead you to your destination.

The concept I am trying to bring across is that the most direct and obvious route is not the only route, and sometimes a slight detour can actually help you reach your destination quicker. As long as you know where you are headed of course!

In my case, the lower salary seems like a move in the wrong direction, but the experience, environment and opportunity is something that I feel confident will help me reach my ultimate goal a lot quicker. So for right now I just need keep focussed on my end goal and use this as a means to get there.

Money doesn’t always have to be the focus of everything, we need to look at the experience and work environment too. As well as the future growth opportunities.

The Happiness Factor

I don’t think that people pay enough attention to their happiness when it comes to their work. So many people are unhappy at work and simply plod along through the day doing what they need to whilst yearning to be somewhere else.

Being happy in ones job is seriously important as the consequences spill over to all spheres of life. Family, relationships, home environment and health are just some of the areas that will be negatively affected if you’re unhappy at work.

Wasting years of your life by being unhappy is really not worth the money – not at all!

I do however need to be honest and say that my current job is really not that bad, but I know that I can be happier with a few changes in the environment and setup and thus I am willing to sacrifice some money in order to increase my happiness.

On the positive side, when you’re feeling happy and motivated at work it also spills over to other areas of life. When you are positive, confident, motivated and happy you will find amazing opportunities that you previously just couldn’t see.

In summary

I may be sacrificing some income which should be going straight towards my investment goals, but I am excited about the new opportunity and environment. There is a lot of room for growth and development which will soon turn into money and place me in a better position.

When looking at a job don’t simply look at the salary, think bout the opportunities and work environment too. It’s a scary thought, but you probably spend more time at work than anywhere else! You better be enjoying it!

Know where you want to get to and enjoy the ride.

Start small

“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step” – Lao-Tzu

Financial Independence may seem like such a hard thing to achieve, and to many it seems impossible. However, as the famous saying goes, the journey begins with a single step.

As with all challenges, you have to start somewhere, practice daily and build on your experience to eventually reach your goals. It is really easy to start and although the daily decisions may not always be easy, working towards Financial Independence can be a reality.

If the thought of Financial Independence is too daunting and you think that you cannot achieve it, start with these 4 easy steps and enjoy the journey.

Decide to be in control of your money

The first step to any financial goal is to decide to be in control of your money. Being in control of your money has nothing to do with how much your have or earn, and all to do with how you spend it and invest it. It is knowing what every cent is going towards and understanding how different spending decisions can impact your goals.

All it takes in one simple decision saying “I’m gonna take control of my money”.

Right now you don’t need to know much about finances as you can learn it all; just make that decision!

Set a realistic goal to start with

The best way to motivate yourself is set a small goal which you can achieve relatively easily. Focus on achieving it and you will see how your perspective of finances changes as you see yourself reaching the goal.

When setting a goal though be sure that it is measurable and achievable. Instead of being vague and stating that you want to save “some” money, specify the exact amount and the date by when you want to have done it.

Start off with something that won’t be too hard, goals should be motivating and not depressing or something that makes you feel guilty.

Create a budget and vague path to your goal

If you don’t yet have a personal budget, then you need to create one as a matter of urgency! There are many resources online about this but the basic concept is simple:

  • List your income (stable and reliable income)
  • List your expenses (if you’re unsure if where to start have a look at the 30-day challenge to keep track of expenses)
  • Make sure that you earn more than you spend!

Have a look at this to get you started.

Reassess often

This is a very important step and something people don’t do often enough. You need to reassess your current situation, spending pattern, budget, goals, etc on a regular basis. Circumstances change and your own experience and confidence levels change. Embrace these changes in your journey to financial independence.

Allow yourself to embrace change and keep a journal of your experiences along the way.

A new take on Gifts : Guest Post

Mr & Mrs Quest are a Los Angeles based couple working to achieve financial independence and retire early at www.ourquestforfire.com See their take on buying gifts.

Mr. Quest and I have been together for over a decade and rarely buy each other gifts. Is it because we are stingy misers or do we struggle to get by? Not at all. We just hate the pressure.

By pressure, I mean the timing of it all. For example, Christmas always falls in December and we just feel that there is so much pressure to buy the perfect gift at that time. What if he doesn’t need or want anything? Am I buying something just for the sake of buying something? Am I just throwing away money for the sake of having a Christmas gift for him? It’s stressful. It’s especially stressful when I’m wandering around the mall or on Amazon but I just can’t seem to find the right present for him.

Ever since we adopted a more minimalism approach to our lifestyle, we really want to shy away from collecting a bunch of stuff in our house. Instead, for big yearly celebrations like Christmas, Valentine’s Day, birthdays, or our anniversary, we spend our money on an experience. For example, a broadway show, a short trip (with the help of credit card points), or even a nice dinner out. We have fewer things but we have so many more memories now. It’s more fun to look back at old pictures to see what we did together than having a random gift we bought each other for Christmas.

This doesn’t mean we never buy each other gifts. Because let’s face it, everyone likes gifts. Without the pressure of finding the right gift for that right occasion, we tend to buy each other presents during random times in the year. These random times are great little surprises because there is no expectation for a gift. These presents can be something he was eyeing for a while and I happen to see it on sale. Maybe it’s Mr. Quest buying my favorite chocolate candy bar as a small treat while he’s at the grocery store. By not being confined to a certain time to give a present, I can get him what he wants at a discounted price. Also, the more expensive the gift does not necessarily equate to the amount of appreciation I feel. Sometimes getting my favorite candy can solicit the same feelings as getting a nice sweater.

We like to keep things simple and our gift-giving culture works for us. More importantly, it helps us save too. Is gift shopping ever stressful for you? What is your gift-giving culture like in your relationship?

Take Charge of Your Money

Taking charge of your money has nothing to do with how much you earn or spend, but rather how and where you spend it. And knowing why! It’s being concious of all your financial decisions and realizing that everytime you spend money, you are actually making a decision to do so.

Looking at your spending pattern can show you what you prioritize in life. You may not even know how much you spend on what, but where your money goes is a good indication of what you value. If you find that your money is going to things that you don’t value then it’s a sure sign that you need to take charge and re-align your spending habits!

Taking charge of your money is all about knowing what you are doing with your money, and understanding the consequences of each transaction.

Consider how hard you work for your money, isn’t it silly to just spend it so frivolously?

Simplify your financial life

One of the best strategies that I have followed in order to take control of my money is to make things as simple as possible.

I have a super light-weight and skinny wallet and in it is all I need. If it doesn’t fit in there then I clearly don’t need it. I do have a few more cards which I cannot get rid of, but I keep them aside and only carry them with me when I specifically need them.

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Simplify your financial life with these 4 easy steps:

One Credit Card

I only have 1 credit card. This was not always the case. I think I had 3 at one point.

Think about how confusing it is to know what you can spend on which card because each has a different limit and payment cycle. And then of course, it is obviously far too easy to spend too much! Having all these cards available is just so tempting!

PS: Keep the limit low

I have set my credit limit far lower than what the bank has offered me and each year when they offer to increase it I simply decline.

This gives me peace of mind that my spending is in control. If I need a lot of money quickly I have an emergency fund available, or if it is a planned expense I simply transfer extra saved money to my card.

One Loyalty Program

Most stores, banks, credit cards, etc all offer their own loyalty program. These either come with plastic cards, apps or electronic cards to add on your phone. It’s great that they offer discounts and tailored offerings; but it does add a bit of complication to life.

I have chosen a loyalty program linked to my credit card and that is the only program I have signed up for. I may be losing out on savings at some places, but lumping all your “loyalty” into one scheme means bigger benefits on that specific program.

Whatever program or scheme you choose, just keep it simple and easy to manage. If you want to have multiple programs then at least do the challenge at the end of the article.

One Bank Account

I actually have a few bank accounts but my bank offers 1 main account and 4 linked accounts all for one very low monthly fee. On my baking app the accounts are are linked so it’s super easy to manage. I use these accounts for different savings.

It may sound as though I am ignoring my own advice, but I consider my linked accounts as “one” because they are so easy to manage and they incur no additional fees or admin.

The problem with having multiple accounts at various banks is that they generally come with an ATM card, an optional cheque book, monthly statements, monthly fees, marketing emails, etc. Having multiple accounts just means that there is more to keep track of. You may have valid reasons for multiple accounts, and that of course is fine. As long as you have a plan and know why you have the extra accounts. As mentioned throughout, just keep things simple.

One Simple Budget

It’s easy to get excited about one’s budget and to add all sorts of confusing details. It’s not bad to have a detailed budget, but you also need an easy-to-remember summarized version.

I like to keep my budget really simply with no more than 10 categories and within that I know what is paid for by electronic bank transfers or debit orders, what goes on my credit card and what is cash.

Because the budget categories are so broad it is easy to remember.

I also have a “general” category on my credit card budget for all expenses that I have not catered for specifically. These vary every month but as long as I stay within my overall spend I am happy.

Bottom line is to keep things as simple as possible. Close redundant bank accounts, credit cards, debit cards, store cards, etc.

Challenge

Jot down all the bank accounts, store cards, credit cards, debit cards, ATM cards, membership cards, loyalty cards, etc that you have. Also look for the electronic ones you have.

Look at what monetary value they have added to you over the past year, and decide whether you really need it. If not, you know what to do…