In my wife’s interview of me, and in her blog post about what it’s like it being an entrepreneur’s wife, she asked me about how…
In my wife’s interview of me, and in her blog post about what it’s like it being an entrepreneur’s wife, she asked me about how I plan for my “golden years”. In other words, am I planning for my retirement? Do I worry about not having a pension plan or a 401(k)? Do I worry about not having a steady paycheck? In her blog post, she says:
So I guess part of me does feel somewhat insecure about having a blogger for a husband. I do think about what it will be like when we get old and have no 401k or any other income to fall on, I think about the $2500 we have to shell out of our pocket before the health insurance kicks in if any of us gets sick. I think about the economy and how it is going to affect our small business.
She also mentions my small ordeal in getting approved to buy my first house. This is true. In retrospect, I may have stressed about it more than I needed to, but I did have to jump through a few more hoops to get approved for that mortgage because I did not have traditional pay stubs. Plus, they saw my income (from my tax returns) go from a small amount (due to a college job) to a full-time income even though I was technically unemployed. It didn’t make any sense to them because I didn’t fit the normal template. Who knows, maybe they thought I was a drug dealer or something. 🙂
All of this speaks to the various “downsides” of running an Internet business and being self-employed. But, are they really downsides? I put that word in quotes for a reason.
Is The 9-5 Job Really That Secure?
I think it is an artificial faith to think that having a 9 to 5 job makes your finances more secure. With the economic worries happening right now, you may worry about whether your company will lay you off in order to save money. If you get a 401(k) or other retirement plan, how secure is it really? There are quite a few people out there who have lost a lot of value in their retirement nest eggs because of the stock market fluctuations. If you need to make more money, what do you do? Beg your boss? Cross your fingers? Kiss the right butt?
What it comes down to is one thing: you are not in control.
When you work for a large company, your financial security is only as secure as that company. And, most likely, that company is not controlled by you. It is controlled by management and is dependent on whether they make the right decisions. And when it becomes necessary to cut expenses, for THEM to make the decisions necessary to see through tough times, who do you think is most susceptible to getting the axe? You are, of course.
On the contrary, when I need to make more money, I can create a new product, run a sale, get inventive. In other words, I can make it happen, on demand. And it is based on one person – me. I have no boss to beg.
So, who is more secure in an economic downtime? The person who has to hope their boss makes the right decisions? Or the boss himself?
Working for a large company, you might think they are so big that nothing will hurt them. Well, look at the current situation with General Motors to see that’s not the case. Remember Enron? Big companies can and do fail. They are subject to the same rules as a small business. In fact, many times, big companies are LESS able to maneuver in tough times than a small business.
What About Retirement?
It’s true. Being a professional blogger doesn’t provide a retirement plan. But, I don’t care. Because I realize that there is nothing secure about any retirement plan I might get from a company.
Besides, would retirement be a reason to get a 9 to 5 job? Am I supposed to suffer my way through that slavery for most of my life so that I can sit there and be lazy on a retirement pension when I become old?
No, I can create my own retirement plan – one that I know will be there when I’m older because I have control over everything involved.
I’m only 30 years old currently, so I’m not sitting here thinking about my retirement. But, that doesn’t mean I’m short-sighted about it. I plan to succeed in my life so that I have enough money to work less when I’m older. Do I plan to stop working? No, just work less. The day you completely stop working is the day you start dying.
Will I still be blogging when I get to that age? Who the hell knows. The Internet is changing pretty quickly so I expect this field will be drastically different at that time. I have absolutely no idea. But, I do know that I will be in full control because I will adapt.
My retirement is to be successful, to put money aside, to make that money work for me, and to set up my business so that it can operate independently of myself so that it can continue to write me paychecks even though I am not working on a daily basis.
What About Health Insurance?
I pity people who go work for the sole purpose of health insurance. Look, insurance is supposed to be a protection against losing your shirt. If something unexpected happens, you don’t have to lose everything to pay your medical bills. That’s smart, and I do provide myself and my family health insurance. It would be stupid not to have it. Yes, we have a deductible, and I guess my wife worried about that. But, I don’t. If I need to pay a $2,500 deductible, I can afford it. Beyond that, I’m covered.
I do not live my life in order to provide protection against sickness. I do not let the small chance of sickness dictate what I do with the other 95% of my life. When I get sick, I deal with it. Group health insurance, where they pay for everything, might give you a warm fuzzy, but jeez, what a shame if you make that the focus of your life.
You can either focus on living or focus on sickness and death. Your choice. The medical industry would love to have you at their beck and call, sell you expensive “treatments” while knowing they can get paid by your insurance company. This whole society focus on health insurance is being SOLD to us as a bill of goods. All it does is turn everybody into good, paying customers.
Yeah, don’t even get me started…
What About the Steady Paycheck?
Some might find security in getting a steady paycheck, every two weeks, as expected. But, look at this: It’s the same size check. Every time. Life changes. Your paycheck doesn’t. Where’s the security in that?
It’s true – my income changes every month. But, I get paid a LOT more often than every two weeks. Plus, I have the GAME of increasing my income. I CAN make more money if I want. I don’t have to ask for a raise. And, I make more money than most people with a 9 to 5 job.
It’s a Mindset Thing
My wife, like a lot of people, is a slave to the mindset that our society teaches: to fall in line, keep your head low, work for the paycheck, retire and die. When you do as everybody else does, it gives a sense of security. And when people like me decide to go another way, we have people telling us it’s risky. That there is a chance of failure. That we have to work too hard.
The one thing, in this society, that is consistent is that when you stick your head above the crowd, somebody might try to shoot it off.
The first step to success, in many ways, is to DISAGREE with the status quo.
Perhaps it is true that being self-employed just isn’t for everybody. I have a hard time believing that, but it’s true that somebody out there has to screw the lids on the jars for us. But, I believe the American dream is to be your own boss, make a good living, have the FREEDOM to do what you want. And I will continue to remain an evangelist for that lifestyle.
I feel as if I’m living it, right now at the age of 30. I create my own schedule. I have a beautiful wife, cute kid. We live in a nice house. We’ve got two cars in the garage. We’ve got nice furniture. We can afford to go on a vacation. My wife and I are going on a cruise in January. And on top of that, I really enjoy what I do and I enjoy the GAME of expanding my business so as to create more wealth for me and my family.
I’ll take this over a slave job and an artificial security blanket any day of the week and twice on Sunday.