Making the kind of income I make is unusual.
I know this, and I have been on the receiving front (at work) of the kind of sharp remarks about how if I’m rolling in the dough it would be chump change for me.
These people don’t actually know exactly what I make (it goes through a third party who takes a cut) but can make educated guesses.
Why the difference in earnings?
Many freelancers themselves don’t know what to charge but based on what brokers offer me as an hourly rate I can imagine the rough ballpark of what is being offered.
Suffice it to say, these freelancers on the cheaper end still pull in an insane amount of money for what they do and we all own Apple products which is the #1 check for me if they make good money.
An iPad Pro is not cheap and not is an Apple MacBook Air (we all own one for work, if not an Apple MacBook Pro). Where I may differ from the rest is that I own a ton more Apple products.
We don’t discuss rates amongst ourselves when we work together (honestly, it is so we don’t feel bad when someone makes more or feel awkward when they know YOU make way more), but we all have a mutually agreed upon silence of income.
It also isn’t great as a freelancer to make TOO much more money than other freelancers because you’re the first one to be cut when budgets get tight.
“Why don’t you want to be an employee?”
Now that you have a bit of background, I’ve received a number of comments lately bluntly asking me why I don’t want to be an employee.
I don’t want to say it is because I only want to work for myself which indirectly implies that employees are in a lesser position and I don’t want to say the real reason is money and the flexibility that comes with it because then it just makes them look and treat me differently.
I’ve started downplaying my income as a result.
I guess I’ve gotten good at this because of the other parents in the playgroup I went to, who do not make our kind of income and I was very acutely aware of it by what they wore, bought, and talked about as being pricey (vacations, things they buy, price points, etc).
For instance one mother said she could NEVER imagine paying more than $20 for a pair of jeans.
I was very quiet and nodded silently, agreeing with her CHOICE and VIEWPOINT but not applying it to myself because I know what goes into $20 jeans versus $100 or even $200 from the quality to the fabric to the people who made it.
Instead, I say things like:
“Oh that is too pricey for me. Who can afford that?”, when talking about anything over $100.
“I can’t afford that with a mortgage and a family!!”, of which only the latter of that statement is true.
I also check my outfit nervously to make sure it doesn’t look too expensive.
My partner chided me once as I left the apartment and said: “You look too nice today, they’re going to get jealous and then not want to keep you on because they hate it when you make more money.”
To which I replied: “And that is why I drive a crappy car, so that they think I’m thousands of dollars in debt up to my eyeballs in a mortgage with a credit card bill to match for my shopping addiction and I’m just one of those poor fake rich people if they go only by my clothes.”
He laughed but he is not wrong, folks.
If there was a true fashionista where I work (luckily no, I’m surrounded by clueless fashion-mute men), they would be eying my clothes and things pretty sharply.
Isn’t it ironic?
I’m debt-free, making a good income, saving a reasonable amount of it (although it just feels like I’m bleeding cash lately and that stress doesn’t help when I then turn to shopping to alleviate the stress), and I have to be careful not to show off or enjoy what I have earned.
I am not even SHOWING OFF in a conventional sense. I do not own any logo’d bags, and any really expensive stuff I own is hard to discern just how pricey it was.
Other folks, have debt up to their eyeballs but drive luxury vehicles, and want to pretend like they have more than they do.
I’m the opposite to a certain extent.
Maybe it is also because I’m very sensitive to the fact that I’m a freelancer and I can’t show off too much in obvious ways.
Still, I still want to wear really nice, comfortable $200 jeans that feel like pyjamas and silk blouses with interesting handmade jewellery because I ENJOY IT.
I just have to be careful.
Very careful when it comes to income and money.
The funny thing is that a guy I work with (my age) is not like this at all. He BRAGS about his income! Saying things like: “Well I’m a freelancer so I make a ton of cash and can go out to splash on fancy dinners and things. Got lots of money, all invested in 6 properties….”
I smile, and say: “Wow!!”, but secretly suspect I have a better chance of retiring earlier than he does.
He just recently purchased a $75,000 luxury vehicle. I haven’t yet dared to ask if it was in cash or not. 😉
I would have to do some snooping and turn on the charm to figure out his rate, but ultimately at the end of the day, you can make a ton of cash but if you don’t budget it wisely and save it, it’s nothing at the end of the day.
It’s even worse when you meet people who have a ton of cash and don’t have it invested. It is SO EASY TO INVEST, it is insane!