Unless you’re the working poor, philosophically speaking, it doesn’t matter how much money you make.
Yes, more is nice, but at a certain point, it doesn’t matter if your money management skills are completely shot to hell.
My perfect examples of this, are all of the people I work with.
See, you already know I’m a freelancer with a big paycheque when I work. You would think those words “when I work”, would scare my other fellow brethren into saving for when they don’t work (in our benched periods), or into being careful to save for taxes, and set aside bigger than normal contingency funds for working.
ALL THE LOLS.
In an informal survey of all the freelancers I have come to know, a solid THIRD of them, have no idea how to save their money and I daresay they
They are pulling in $15,000 – $30,000 paycheques each month when they work, but they don’t set aside any of that money when their contract ends.
Panic ensues, they start basically taking ANY job that comes their way because they literally cannot stop working for a single day.
Isn’t that insane?
They make the minimum yearly wage in a month or three, and they can’t seem to get it together.
Let’s say someone brings home about $240K a year.
Oops! There goes 20% or $48K to business taxes.
There goes another 50% of the remainder to individual personal income taxes; you’re left with a very substantial $101K to spend on housing, , or about $8400 a month.
$8400 to save and spend, not just spend!
But instead of saving, they just spend it, because for them, another paycheque is coming next month.
Their basic money principles are completely twisted, where they think, amongst other things:
- a vacation yearly (but a fancy one, y’all), is “normal” and “what everyone does”, and splurging on a vacation is when they go to a 5-star hotel and fly first-class
- eating out every day instead of cooking is also fine
- buying the biggest possible house, mortgaged to the hilt is just good money sense
It makes me wonder if they use these fictitious Joneses as a way to justify all this spending.
These vacations and eating out, all of that is fine if you can afford it, but they’re not really setting aside any of that money to then say — YES! Look at all of this EXTRA money we have left over after taxes, savings and so on, that we can now spend on ourselves.
Instead, it is just looking a the $8400 a month as “free money”. Sure, they pay their bills, but they don’t double down on their mortgage payments, they’re using that money to go on a vacation to Bora Bora instead.
I am not blaming them, and I only judge them when they tell me this, and then moan:
“I HAVE NO MONEY”
Whatchu talking about!? I give them the side eye, smile, and say — You just don’t know how to manage what you’ve got.
You should see the looks they give me when in a casual conversation, I said that I could go about 3-5 years without needing to work.
It was a shock. But what about the mortgage? What about the ___ and the ____ and the ____?
All paid, I got no debt, I tell them.
And it sort of shocks them because they have never imagined a life without debt, but I want to tell them that it is so DAMN EASY to live a life without debt if you choose to, if you just cut back.
But then they just keep continuing on with their daily expenses of wasting money in little places, and I continue with my own lifestyle.
It is one thing to willingly take on debt in an attempt to hedge that your money is better off in the market than having paid off a mortgage that was only 3% interest anyway.
I can see that 100% as being a great money strategy. You can earn an average of 8% in the long-term, invested in the stock market versus saving a piddly 3% on a mortgage.
But it just isn’t for me, I prefer not having to think about it, and as a freelancer especially, I do not have steady paycheques, so I would just be itching to put it to the mortgage and clear it.
Not only that, since that extra money is invested in the stock market instead of paying my mortgage, if I lost a contract and had to sell those investments, it would stress me the eff out (yes it has happened to me before).
Really… it would not be a good strategy for me as I’d have to continually take contracts to keep paying said mortgage. There are some contracts I cannot or do not want to take, and that freedom of where I want to work is then taken away from me.
I’d rather just have it all paid, be debt-free and know that my housing costs are at a minimum, about $600 a month, total, including fees, taxes, insurance, the whole shebang.
Then it’s living — food, car, whatever. But at least I have shelter covered.