Two weeks ago, I published a post musing over the amount we’ve spent on home maintenance in the last couple months. For me, thinking about spending naturally leads down a rabbit-trail of thoughts to think about income and how we’re paying for all of it.
Are our incomes and decisions in line with where we want to go?
One of the basic assumptions in many financial models is that your income will increase over time.
For example, that’s one of the arguments in favor of home ownership: with a fixed-rate mortgage, you lock in a price that can’t increase. Theoretically, it will feel cheaper in the future because of inflation.
But that all assumes your income is increasing.
My husband works in education and gets regular raises based on a standard schedule. I, however, do not.
I’m approaching three years at my job and my employer doesn’t regularly give raises and bonuses don’t exist. Since I work in government, it practically takes an act of the legislature to get a raise. There’s also not really opportunities for advancement unless someone else leaves. Usually, people take a new job to make more money.
My problem is that I have a very specialized skill set and a job in my field. There is maybe only one other employer in town for my degree unless I was willing to move or take a completely different job. #gradschoolproblems
I wasn’t sure if I was acting entitled by starting to feel a little dissatisfied about this. So, I conducted a very scientific Twitter poll:
How long would you stay in a job without getting a raise?
— Femme Cents (@FemmeCents) May 7, 2018
Twitter, you made me feel like I wasn’t completely unjustified. However, I posed the same question to my Dad and he told me that most industries are experiencing wage stagnation and I should feel lucky to have a job. Thanks, Pops.
I don’t want to seem ungrateful, after all, I feel like I make a decent salary and do like my work, but with the price of everything insidiously going up around me, I’m noticing the effects of inflation. I’ve also learned about financial independence since starting my job and realized that it’s easier to save more when you make more.
I’m not making any drastic moves about this at the moment. Like I said, I do like my job.
However, trying to be conscious about intentional living and life planning turns dilemmas like this into thought experiments.
Recently, I had Mr. FC sit down with me and go over the “What is your Ideal Day” questions from Montana Money Adventures. We both realized that our ideal days would only be possible with self-employment or passive income.
So, in an attempt to act on being intentional we’re going to see about pursuing other income sources.
I don’t know what this will look like yet. We’re both pretty traditional job holding people and haven’t really been entrepreneurial in the past. It’s a scary jump to make. However, we have a couple of ideas and if they become anything more than vague dreams I’ll let you know how the journey goes.
Doing the Hard Things
It would be easy to just stay where we are. We could easily just stay at both our jobs for the next 20 years. They would likely be stable, we would make a decent living, and we could support our family.
By many standards that would be a good life. But we want more than that.
Having a baby around is a good tool for measuring how quickly time is passing. It’s probably not accurate to call her a baby anymore… she’s a walking,
talking babbling, full-fledged toddler now.
At our income levels, pursuing the traditional path to FI of saving up a bunch of money until we never have to work again would be possible, but it would take a good chunk of our daughter’s childhood. I want an option that gives us greater flexibility sooner.
That’s the hard path. It’s probably the path of most resistance, but ultimately I know that’s the path I will regret less in the end.
It will probably start by requiring some side-hustling which I haven’t been super enthusiastic about in the past. I wasn’t willing to give up time with my daughter for a side hustle, but I think I can make it happen if I am more conscientious about what I do while she is sleeping. After all, she goes to bed at 7. Farewell Netflix.
I don’t know how this is all going to go, but I think we have enough motivation to make it happen. Wish me luck! Because we’re going to need it.