Would you invest in You, Inc.?

Would you invest in You, Inc.?There was a very interesting post over at StevePavlina.com today about considering yourself to be self employed no matter what your situation is. I was quite impressed by the post since I had never actually thought about it that way. Yes with the right mindset it’s quite easy to think of yourself as self employed.

Would you invest in You, Inc.?

Being that I happen to like myself and I think I do a good job most of the time yes I would invest in Me, Inc. Heck I’d even hire myself. But the post did bring up some interesting ideas. How much time does the average employee spend ensuring that they are in a good position to move jobs or upgrade their skills? My guess is that the majority of the ‘corporate’ workforce is stuck in the situation where they simply wait and do what they are told. If the ‘training’ courses are not part of their yearly review they simply don’t happen. I know this is what I fall into from time to time.

The Finances of You, Inc.

Steve Pavlina’s post centered on the concept of ensuring that you are the best company to hire for the job and that by changing your outlook on work you can make yourself more competitive in the market. I agree with his thoughts but rather than would you simply invest in You, Inc. What would you say if you were an investor and needed to see the financials of You, Inc? Would you be impressed or horrified about how that particular business was being run?

Personally if I were to look at my personal finances from an investor’s point of view I don’t think I would invest in myself (at least not without good reasoning). First off I’m in debt with very little to show for it. Many companies are in debt but it’s to grow their business, increase sales, or even to purchase capital items. Debt by itself isn’t bad but the reason why its there might be. Another aspect for me as a potential investor would be the company’s cash flow. Again looking at myself as the example I would be hesitant to invest any money simply because my cash flow isn’t quite under control yet. Its considerably better than it was only a few months ago but that doesn’t make it quite right yet.

I really like the idea of looking at yourself through an entrepreneurial lens; it forces you to consider things that you might never look at otherwise. To top this off by looking at yourself objectively you can possibly realize that some items such as cash flow are really important and if you were a corporate entity then you would be overlooked by a great many investors.

The Emergency Fund

Most people believe in the idea of an emergency fund regardless of what you call it. I believe that having that extra bit of saved up money just in case you need it is something that every one thinks you should have. But how many people actually have an emergency fund? Let alone one that is worth of that status; the answer would be very few.

I saw a post over at Blogging Away Debt where Tricia finally got her emergency fund up to the amount that she wanted to have it at. I applaud her; she’s managed to pay off half her debt and set aside a healthy amount of money so she doesn’t have to worry about the little things that life throws your way. It’s a challenge to set aside money for the just in case when you’re struggling to maintain the payments that keep you going from day to day and from week to week.

I firmly believe that the paycheck to paycheck life that many people in North America lead is partly to blame as is the excessive debt load too many of us carry. Right now I am not really in a position to set aside any significant amount of money into an emergency fund but that doesn’t mean that I don’t. I’m setting aside $50 out of every pay that goes directly into a mutual fund. Not exactly the ideal emergency fund but that $100 per month does add up fairly quickly and it’s bailed me out of a couple fixes already. Even a small amount can get you an emergency fund that can prevent you from needing to rely on your credit cards.

What is an ideal amount to have?

I’ve seen many different takes on this. Some people say that you should have 3 months of living expenses, others 6 months; others still say you should always save 10% of your money in your emergency fund. In truth I think this should depend on your lifestyle and your needs. I would love to have anywhere between 3 to 6 months of money set aside just in case. With this kind of a cushion I would not have a problem if I were to loose my job.

I am no where near that amount and realistically I might not get there for a little while. But I understand the need for it and I will continue to set aside money. Congrats again Tricia for getting your emergency fund up and running.

We’ve got a jumper

Today was probably one of the most surreal days in my life. I live in a city with a subway line that I take to the office each morning. To make sure that I get a seat that I can use my laptop on I sit in the first car at the very front. Its been a habit of mine for a while now. It lets me work while commuting. Unfortunately today someone jumped in front of the subway just before I was about to get off the subway in an attempt to commit suicide.

I didn’t witness this though I did feel the impact both physical and mental. The looks on the faces of people is what I will remember more than anything else. This one person who in their struggles with life decided to take their life and in so doing impacted so many people around them. I was a bit rattled by this but I’m not a stupid person, I managed to get out of the subway and walk the remaining way to the office. I wasn’t as productive today as I might normally have been but my mind was whirring.

I have been leaning to living outside of the city for a while; this pushed me a bit further in that direction. When life is a little slower you don’t have the same level of pressure under most circumstances. I was also amazed by the massive impact that one person in a selfish act can have. I know that I am probably going to offend someone but the act was very selfish. Rather than trying to find a way to resolve the problem they found a way out that would impact as many people as possible. The level of the impact was that 5 people at my office were delayed or knew about something that had happened. Two of them were late and one had to walk about 4 miles in the pouring rain. Let alone the poor people who had to witness this (some of whom I think may have been friends).

I will never forget the looks on their faces.

I do not want to diminish this person or their troubles but it amazes me that in our society a person can truly feel driven to the point of suicide. I am not talking about the petty impacts of cost and time delays. But what about the people who you are burdening with what you are doing? There are ways to get help. I hate to equate something like what happened today to persona finance but people get so far into debt that they contemplate suicide so it might be fitting.

If you can dig yourself into a huge financial goal all you have to do is ask for help and although people might not always be happy about it they are willing to help. Credit card companies will accept lowered interest rates and in many cases very small payments. You can find your way out of the hole that you are in. Financial problems are not the same as anything that a person contemplating suicide is going through but the help is there.

US Suicide Hotline

Canadian Suicide Hotline

I’m not familiar with all the possible numbers but like with any problems in life there are people who have been there and can help.

Mid November Update

I had some lofty goals when it came to this blog unfortunately time hasn’t allowed it and really when it comes to it I needed to pull back in a couple places of my life lest I loose my sanity and burn out. I did want to write a mid November update because aside from not being able to write as often as I was hoping the month is shaping up to be very productive on the goal front.

The side business is progressing, the business plan is mostly written (then again I don’t think any business plan should ever leave this state – its supposed to be a living document). The background work is being done and finished up. I’ve looked into what will be involved from a governmental point of view (Taxes, etc.). I was hoping to have everything in place for December 1st but that’s not very likely at this point. I underestimated the amount of work involved. The good thing is I’m probably not too far off it.

On the personal front I’ve managed to track all of my spending and to keep everything in check. I’m still overspending on a few categories but at least I’m keeping an eye out for it and conscious of my spending. I think this maybe the first month in a few where my cash flow balances on the side of positive.

Finally on the smoking front – I haven’t quit yet but there have been trial runs so to speak. A couple days here and there where I don’t smoke. For the most part I’m starting to notice what happens to me when I don’t smoke and I should be able to compensate for most of it. I’m still not great at recognizing when I’m being cranky. But I think people will simply need to deal with it if I am.

Thank you to my patient readers. I am toning back a few items that have been mentally sucking me dry as this happens I would like to start writing more again.

November Goals

I think the very first step in getting back into the writing is to set some goals both financial and literary. From a financial point of view I’ve been doing better than I have in previous months. My cash flow is starting to balance out which has been a serious challenge and is the root cause of many of my problems. To that end I need to continue to track my spending to every penny spent as this really paints a good picture for me what’s going on. Until my cash flow is under control I’m not going to worry about how my net worth changes (up or down). As for my credit cards the goal will be to not use them at all though realistically if necessary they are a fall back.

I have also mentioned in previous posts that I’m working on a couple side business ideas the goal for the remainder of the month is to continue this and ideally bring one of them to the point of operation. I’ve definitely caught an entrepreneurial bug somewhere this past year and now the goal is to focus these energies one at a time. If this works the way I believe that it will this will help ease the cash flow and debt issues a little.

Before I get into my writing goals for the month I’m also trying to quit smoking, which will make me a bit cranky here and there. Thankfully all of you reading this don’t get the pleasure of dealing with me when I am cranky. Wish me luck!

Now there have been a few topics that I wanted to write about and to ease myself back into the habit of writing daily I am going to start with posts Monday, Wednesday, Friday for the rest of the month (unless of course I manage to get some more inspiration and time). I enjoy writing on this site; it provides me with inspiration to do better while learning more about the world of personal finance.

Goals Summary:

  • Keep Track of Spending
  • Get Cash Flow to Balance for the month
  • Don’t use Credit Cards
  • Get Side Business ready for Launch
  • Write 3 times per week
  • Quit Smoking.

Overall I think this is a completely achievable month. Though I have to say that the last point might be a bit of a challenge and if it’s the only one I accomplish then I’ll be happy with this months results.

October Assessment

I may have not been writing very much in the month of October but I didn’t stop living nor spending money. You really can’t get around either without some serious effort. I managed to keep all of my finances tracked and my cashflow was only off by $100. All things considered that was a drastic improvement. This also means that I’m back in the habit of writing down all of my expenses, which I am very happy about.

The biggest issue I had with the month of October was how busy I became at the office. I would literally come home and try to avoid the computer as much as possible on the rough days. And on the days that weren’t too bad I was trying to work on my business plan. The good thing is that the business plan is in pretty decent shape and I’m actually starting to work on the details and parts of the implementation.

Overall the month was just way too busy. I had to start dropping things from my to do list that I enjoyed and wanted to do (like this blog). I needed to have time to calm down and decompress because of the 60+ hour weeks. The good news is that this is now starting to pass; the workload has lightened and there’s now help. I’m taking on a slightly different direction at the company and it won’t be nearly this rough for me anymore. At least I hope it isn’t.

I should be back to writing more frequently now, my November goals will be up tomorrow morning. I really missed the writing when I had no time for it. Now its just a matter of time getting back in the groove.