By and by, the personal finance community is a wonderful place filled with supportive people who offer sage advice. I spent nearly 3 hours on the phone with a friend from the community yesterday commiserating and encouraging each other.
And then there’s this guy:
Thanks, Good Luck (email firstname.lastname@example.org) for leaving me a supportive comment.
I like to think GL is genuinely trying to help me. Maybe he (I assuming) thinks I don’t know that I’m running out of money and thinks that offering this advice will help me wake up to my reality.
Well, guess what GL.
I AM WELL AWARE THE STATE OF MY FINANCES.
Sometimes I wake up at 330 in the morning and stress about the state of my finances. I have less than $3,500 in cash to my name.
That’s it. There is no more. Sure, I have tons of money in my 401k and some in my Roth IRA but that money is for the future. I could probably take some out of my Roth, but I don’t want to.
I am keenly aware of my dwindling reserves of cash.
It sucks. I hate it. I want to earn money. I am actively working on making money.
So far, not much has gone my way in terms of the plans I had made once I quit working.
Swing and A Miss
First, I was expecting roughly $7k coming my way from my pension cash out, which I verified I would be allowed to do more than once before I left. It turns out they were wrong and I can’t cash out my pension right now. I have to wait for them to offer that option to me. That is money I had planned on investing in myself and the business. That meant I invested less in myself and spent life money on business stuff.
Second, my online business adventures have not turned out the way I planned. I finally made my first digital download sale this week on Etsy. I have never been happier to earn $5! However, earning $5 doesn’t mean much when you have to spend $500. I have more designs to put up on Etsy so hopefully this trend will continue and I’ll start to earn more from Etsy. It turns out not many people want to buy stained glass patterns on Etsy, and even more so is this true in the summer.
I tried to shift gears a bit in my offerings and move away from the stained glass patterns, but that doesn’t seem like it’s working too well either.
Third, I had a gig for freelancing writing but it turns out that was basically the worst way to go about freelance writing. It left a very bad taste in my mouth regarding freelancing writing, but I’ve done one other article and didn’t hate it. My friend encouraged me to get back into the game and offered to make some introductions to people that are looking for writers, so I will give that another shot.
Fourth, my rental endeavor has been a miserable failure. I can (and will) write a whole post on what I’ve done wrong with regards to real estate, but right now what’s important is that I should be getting more than enough money to cover my property manager fees, the mortgage, and still have some left over. Instead, I have tenants who are apparently the worst drug dealers ever. I say that as my neighbors have complained about them, and they are late on the rent.
I am owed more than $2,000 in total by both my tenants.
The one tenant is behind more, about $1,600, than the other one. He promises he’s just going through a hard time, that he had a lot of expenses with his baby being born a few weeks ago.
None of that will pay my mortgage or what the property manager is owed. Fortunately, my property management company isn’t the best so he isn’t on a lease which means it will be easier for the new owner to kick him out. I would do it, but I’m banking on the sale going through literally at any time.
This just means I will have to drive 6 hours to file paperwork in court to get him to pay me the money he owes me. I doubt he’ll ever be able to come up with the money, but that is not my problem.
I started out my entrepreneurial journey with a lot of plans to make money, and they’ve not panned out in the way I expected.
So, I’m pivoting.
Pivot, Pivot, PIVOT!
Like any good quarterback who can see they’re going to get crushed on the next play, I’m calling an audible.
I started working part time for a local stained glass artist and I love it! She and I get along like gangbusters and I’m learning a lot. The pay isn’t a whole lot, but the knowledge I’m soaking up will pay off in the long run through better stained glass skills. I’ve created a few pieces of my own this summer with plans to sell more. I specialize in nerdy stained glass, so I’m making things like Harry Potter flying keys and Deadpool out of glass.
I’ve also been applying to a few part-time jobs to help cover the gap between my expenses and income. I’m several stages in on the interview process for a big airline to be a part-time customer service rep. They pay between $14–17 an hour, so that’s nothing to sneeze at. Plus.…. flight benefits will allow me to travel still without spending a ton of money.
I had lunch with a fellow FIRE community member last month. We were chatting and she offered to introduce me to a guy who runs a company helping high schoolers with their college plans and how they’re going to pay for them. However, they don’t have anyone at the company to talk to them about their finances after they get into college, so I’m hoping that’s where I come in. I have a meeting with him next week to discuss details so that would be amazing if that works out. I mean, when. When it works out.
Something interesting I’ve discovered is I’m not really happy doing all these entrepreneurial things. It’s amazing to get up and start work without having to go outside, but I miss the interaction I have with co-workers. I think I still want to work for someone and do work for them to feel fulfilled and get that immediate feedback of knowing I helped someone. My problem with my last corporate job was that is was taking over my life and I didn’t have enough time away, so I was getting burnt out.
Working for a company or for someone on a more flexible hours basis would be my ideal, I think.
So, to Mr. Good Luck, I say this:
Thanks for the advice, and I’m working on it. I don’t intend to sit around and mooch off my boyfriend.
Thanks for reading! What do you think of my financial state? Do you have any actual advice for me?
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