background

i don’t want to be my own boss

world's best boss

Are you entrepreneurial? I’m not. I’m just not and I am completely ok with this fact. Some people have a deep desire to direct their own destiny and set their own hours and be their own boss. Certain aspects of being an entrepreneur appeal to me. Is there anyone that doesn’t find the idea of working from home and setting your own hours appealing? But as I approach 30 (I’ll be 29 this summer) I’ve become more accepting of myself and one of the things I’ve accepted as truth is that I operate really well inside boundaries, especially if someone else set those boundaries.

Work provides me with the structure and a set of expectations and I function really well inside those clear expectations. I also really appreciate someone else signing my paycheck. I don’t want the responsibility of making enough money to pay myself.  While I am grateful to know that I operate best with outsider expectations sometimes I am critical of myself for not being more entrepreneurial and taking fate in my own hands. The employment market trends all point to the fact that employers are more and more moving towards independent contract workers. Where does this leave someone like me who prefers to have a boss?

Honestly, it leaves me a little scared. I understand the move towards independent contractors’ from both an employee and employers’ perspective but understanding it doesn’t make me less scared to face the changing landscape of employment. My current employer is very traditional. Along with a 40 hour work week I receive health benefits paid in full, a pension fund with an optional 401K, flexible health spending account, paid vacation, paid Holiday and overtime paid at time and half – all benefits you would assume you would be getting if you worked at Sterling Cooper in 1963.

If I were to leave and strike out on my own all those traditional benefits would disappear too. The movement to entrepreneurial work is incredibly apparent on the internet today. Boutique shops and personally crafted goods can be found everywhere, not to mention all the blogs turned business and independent creative services offered. The shift is notable and powerful. This monumental shift in the way people present their wares and talents to the world is inspiring until I think of all the benefits I would leave behind if I left the traditional work paradigm I currently have.

I’m not thinking of leaving my job – we need the money to live on while we pay off our house. But I have been day dreaming of ways to make extra money during weekends and at night. Weekend and night entrepreneurial pursuits seem a good way to dip a toe in the scary water for me because I wouldn’t have to leave behind my traditional benefits. The gravitation towards entrepreneurship makes me feel old-fashioned for liking the structure of a 9-5 job.

What about you? Would you love to be your own boss or are you left wondering how you will fit in the brave new landscape of contract work? Are you your own boss now? How did you transition? Any suggestions?

diggin’ deep for motivation

timeclock  1.29.14If we are going to stick with a plan to pay off our house for 3+ years we have to dig deep to find enough motivation to carry it out. The way we got ourselves psyched up to do this was to dream about what life would look like after we accomplished our goal. Basically for both of us it came down to freedom. Freedom to make choices not based on paying the bank, freedom from working regular 40+ hours a week, freedom to explore what we really want out of a career besides a paycheck, freedom to do what we want with our money, freedom to give more money to the charities and people we value, freedom to take time off work and travel. Freedom. My husband and I both like our jobs, but they aren’t jobs we dreamed of as children. Astronaut and Ballerina curriculum wasn’t offered at our in State University and we both made more practical/feasible choices.

Without a house payment we could comfortably live off one regular, full time income, or two part-time incomes which would give us more time to enjoy the real parts of life that work just pays for. These are our big dreams; slowing down, having more time to be together, being more relaxed, have more time to enjoy our real life and less time at work. A break from a regular job would give each of us the opportunity to figure out what we actually want to be doing. It would also afford us the opportunity to take on more volunteer work or more meaningful work that doesn’t pay as well as our current positions. Basically our options would be wide open.

The idea of actually owning our home, not owning it with the bank lurking right over our shoulder as partial owners is very appealing also. I find the idea of nobody having any rights to our home except us comforting.

These are the big dreams that are driving us to make smaller sacrifices in order to achieve our BIG goal. Why would you want to pay off your house? What are some of your big dreams?

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financial history

In October 2012 we reached our 2012 goal of saving $20,000. We decided to include 401k and retirement savings in that amount to make it more feasible. Once we reached our goal we took November and December off from saving large chunks of money. It felt really good to not be thinking about how to put $1700 a month in savings each month. We had done alright considering we met our goal in October instead of December as originally planned. It felt like a break to not worrying about putting money away for a couple of months. The money we saved in 2012 went to several things. First we started and finished an emergency fund that would cover six months of household expenses or a major disaster/repair. Secondly we put aside money to update the electrical system in our house. In June of 2012 we sold our fist house and bought a new (to us) house. So with $20k socked away for a rainy day we relaxed and spent in November and December.

Then we started thinking if we were able to meet so a challenge in 2012 what could we do in 2013?  I started crunching numbers and discovered that if we took the $1700/month we were putting in savings and applied it to our brand new mortgage we could pay off our 30 year mortgage in roughly 5 years. I told my husband and he readily jumped on board with the plan. Then one day in December he came home and said, “What if we paid it off even fast?”. My initial reaction was that it wasn’t possible. But the thought kept rolling around in my brain. We had already saved 80% of my take home pay in 2012, which meant we lived off of my husband’s take home. What if we switched and lived off my take home and put all of his take home towards our mortgage since we brings home more money? Living on just one income while we had two was my husbands idea; and after I cut down some spending here and there we saw that while challenging it was completely within reason to live off one income. The same day my husband suggested we live on one income and use the other to pay off the house this post from Kelly at View Along the Way was delivered to my inbox. It was a sign, proof that real people could do exactly what my husband had just suggested! I knew it couldn’t be coincidence. And thus the plan to pay off our house in 3.5 years was officially born!

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