Nothing Is Promised To You - Plan Accordingly
You're fired - While the only constant in life is change, these two words have the potential to destroy what you and your family once knew and send you into a financial tailspin, particularly if you are the sole earner.
Just one short layoff situation will send many households into deep financial trouble because the average American household cannot stay in the financial black if they miss even one or two paychecks. However, two income households are not immune to the problems that a job loss creates.
Even being a good or excellent employee doesn't mean that you are safe from being let go. The reality is that if this happens to you, there is a fairly good chance that you will be looking for a longer period of time in order to replace that income with another job. However, many people are finding they have to settle for less income or work two or even three jobs to replace the income they lost.
Stuff Happens - Illness, death, accidents, lawsuits, fire, vandalism, or weather damage to your property just to name a few. The stark reality of this is that most Americans, no matter how well you may think they're doing, are living check to check and are just one crisis or unexpected bill away from serious financial problems. Rising costs of a variety of things also eat away at your income and so it is very important that you not only save but invest in areas that you have become knowledgeable in & comfortable with.
It is equally important that you have a plan B and C in place should something happen and your current income cannot dig you out of the hole. This is even more important if you have children or concerns such as ongoing medical needs. It is those who are financially unprepared, a very large number of Americans, who are typically are just a check or two away from serious financial problems that could leave them without food, utilities, transportation, or even a place to live.
Think About The Overall Picture
You or Your Family Likely Will Need More - Inflation, clothing, education related costs, medical care, food, shelter, utilities, and transportation all eat away at your income and the costs of these things will only rise as the years pass. Many people make the mistake of allocating for today at the expense of their own tomorrows. When you are no longer able or willing to work and are retired, the reality of living on social security (if it's around for you) means actually living at or below the poverty line for most people. Lots of people say they cannot save today. If that's the case, what do you think will provide for your tomorrows?
Many more people should count on Social Security not being there for them. This is something that too many people take as a given and it really should never be planned on as your only source of income because for many it equates to less than $1,200 monthly. In fact, in most areas of the country, this is simply not enough to pay for living costs and many people find themselves choosing between paying for shelter, medications, or food every month because they rely solely on social security. What will you do if Social Security is not available to you? Do you know how much it will take for you to retire and be comfortable, affluent, or even rich if that is what you want? Are you going to be self-sufficient or will you be in financial peril? What are YOU going to do right now to ensure you have a comfortable future?
Planned Purchases, Unplanned Costs
This is a common and preventable financial bump in the road. Many people try to make do with what they have and plan their purchases carefully according to what money is or will be available. However, the costs of life don't confine themselves to what money you may or may not have.
Even if you are making a planned purchase, you may be surprised with some associated costs. For example, a neighbor moved in and a couple months later decided to get a dog. Mind you no neighbors had EVER seen the dog outside of his home, but everyone heard it for several hours daily if their apartment shared walls, ceilings, or floors with his. This makes for a total of 3 neighbors who were not happy with the neighbor or his dog's actions. One day the downstairs neighbor was on their patio and the dog urinated on him through the neighbor's balcony above! He called animal control immediately as management didn't seem to care.
The initial cost of the dog and food is one thing, but the neighbor was then asked by his neighbors to hire a dog walker or trainer so that it stops barking constantly. He became very angry because these costs are nothing to sneeze at. He hadn't planned on paying them because it never crossed his mind that a dog wouldn't be happy in cooped up in an apartment 24/7. If he didn't find a way to quiet his dog, there would be consequences such as fines, having to move, or being forced to give the dog up.
Money Doesn't Grow On Trees
Needs With Some Wants
You or Your Family May Want More - No, not all good things cost money, but many valuable experiences and things are not free. This is a fact of modern life. Even when your expenses are being met, if you suffer a lack of discretionary income you may become frustrated and perhaps wonder what you are working for if you cannot enjoy hobbies or certain other things that are important to you and your family.
After all, we should be able to enjoy ourselves from time to time but not to the point where it jeopardizes our financial stability. Even when you truly enjoy your career, there should be things outside of that which you enjoy at least every now and then if not on a regular basis. If you have children, they may not have the experiences or opportunities that you might have hoped to provide. And for yourself, imagine working for decades and never taking a vacation or doing some of the things that you enjoy. Yet, this is the reality for a large number of people.
How To Become Less Dependent On One Income
You're Hired - Start your own small business. It doesn't have to be anything large, fancy, or complicated. In most cases you won't need expensive items such as office or warehouse space. You can even get free information from your local Service Corps Of Retired Executives/S.C.O.R.E. office and local library. In fact, starting something small is your best bet until the business covers it's own expenses or absolutely requires it's own space. Even then proceed with caution by finding the smallest size space to suit your needs for the first two to four years.
If you're operating from home, check zoning and any HOA rules in your area before hanging out signage or allowing customers to come back and forth from your home. In addition, beware of having too frequent deliveries via services such as UPS and FedEx before checking any applicable HOA rules. If you need a home office but think you have no extra space, clear out a closet and use it as your office if need be. If you truly have no space, look online or in the yellow pages for a virtual office setup. Virtual offices allow you to rent conference rooms when you need them and office space for yourself as well. The point is, where there is a will there is a way.
Some ideas for side businesses include using skills or talents that you already have. Many people enjoy things such as writing or are good with creating things with their hands such as woodwork, jewelry, or art. All of these things could be turned into a second income dependent upon the skill and perseverance of the individual. There are some people who have taken the skills they learned on their job and turned those skills into their own business where they control their hours and work environment as freelancers, landscapers, contractors, salespersons, and consultants to name a few examples.
The point here is that you may find an answer by thinking outside the box. Hiring yourself has a lot to do with wanting change and a willingness to try something new. Once even small checks roll in, you will see and feel validation in your efforts and skills and know for a fact that you can earn more with your own efforts and creativity. This will build your confidence because you have proof that you are doing a good thing for yourself independently. Many people involve their entire family in their business and this is often a good route to go so long as the individual's age and abilities are taken into consideration and their duties are clearly communicated to them.
It's Not Just The Name Of A T.V. Show
Moonlighting - This is a popular choice for many people. However, it is best to make sure that your primary employer has no issue with this arrangement or you may find yourself employed only at the secondary position. Usually, primary employers have absolutely no qualms as long as it doesn't interfere with your work hours and you are not working for a competing company. If it is absolutely clear to you that neither of these things is applicable, it is up to you whether or not either employer even knows that you are working another job.
Moonlighting can be a short or long term arrangement depending upon your goals. It is not uncommon for people to utilize a second job to pay off credit card or medical bills or save for tuition or a special trip. Just the same, this arrangement can allow you to pack some serious punch in your emergency fund to insulate you from rainy days that may come your way or save for a down payment for a new home or business.
If you have a small business and need a steady source of income, moonlighting can be your answer whether on a part or full time basis. Just don't let your business slide or you may find that you have re-joined the rat race on the same level you were likely hoping to escape.
Some income sources can be residual, isn't that awesome?
To Buy Or Not To Buy
Buy Into A Franchise - This is usually the most expensive route to becoming self-employed and is often touted as a sure thing by the uninformed, but no business is a sure thing. Perform your due diligence and find out exactly what the fees involved cover. Also, inquire if any special experience or skills are needed. Some franchise opportunities offer full training whereas others offer or require little to none. Talk to other franchisees to find out how they feel about the opportunity and if they had another chance if they'd do it all over again. Also, ask what they'd correct if they had another opportunity.
Research your market and your competition. It often will not do you or the brand any good to do business on a hunch or what you personally think will do well. Also, if there is already a similar business in your potential market find out if the market can truly support your business as well. A common fallacy is that if one company is doing business in a given area that another business can be supported by the same market. This is not always the case and if this is your belief, it is best to confirm it with research rather than jumping into that market with a franchise feet first.
Hey Big Spender
Live Below Your Means - There are still many people who spend nearly all, if not all or more than what they earn without taking care of their needs such as an emergency fund, retirement, and any other future goals. If you have no goals or plans, often any income not applied to expenses will be spent and often not tracked. In addition, many who increase their income are prone to increase their spending. Watch out for this trap and track everything you spend for just four weeks. It's likely that you'll see areas in which you can cut back or eliminate your spending altogether.
If you don't have any extras and still are feeling the squeeze, something must give. Only you can be honest with yourself as it's you who must pay in the short and long term. You must consider reducing your living expenses if you are not open to or able to increase your income. Extras/wants are simply things that are not necessities and are things that you want rather than need. Extras can often get in the way of your future financial stability as part or all of their expense could be used for your golden years or for large expenditures such as college tuition, medical care, or a down payment for a home. Only you can make the choice, choose wisely for your future's sake.
© 2012 Express10
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Angel Guzman from Joliet, Illinois on August 01, 2019:
This is a great article. I want to diversify my income streams more.
Anita Hasch from Port Elizabeth on January 03, 2017:
Thank you for an excellent hub. So true, after my husband died I rented the house out and moved into the adjoining flat. Unfortunately rental is not very high when you live far from town. However, I have managed to accumulated passive income from various sources. Not large amounts but added together certainly helps.
H C Palting (author) from East Coast on August 04, 2014:
I agree. There are so many ways that a person's income can be reduced or completely eliminated. Some may have warning while others will have none. Having more than a single source of income is very important for every individual, not just for today but for a person's future as well. A large number of people learned this lesson the hard way in recent years. I hope more parents raise their children to be aware of the need to have several streams of income.
Joanna Chandler from On Planet Earth on August 04, 2014:
Oh tell me about it! I need another salary just about now everything is sooo expensive the money disappears before you even get it. Golly!
H C Palting (author) from East Coast on December 09, 2013:
Similar to what they say on airplanes if the oxygen masks come down, put yours on first and then help others. If you try to help others out without first securing your own (oxygen), you put yourself and those you could help in jeopardy. Helping others is good, helping yourself prior to helping others is best. Those who are true loved ones and friends will understand. Thanks so much for reading and best of luck to you in this pursuit.
Oscar Jones from Monroeville, Alabama on December 09, 2013:
just talking and reading about this subject is scary.. I think I spent too much time helping others and cost myself. But really, if I hadn't helped others, then I might have had a lot more. but ok.. I grew up believing Psalms 23. The Lord is My shepherd, I shall not want. other scriptures say "Ive never seen the righteous forsaken, or his seed begging for bread." but what of the scripture reference, " see the Ants and how they toil". Obviously we're expected to do everything we can to take care of ourselves and our families.. voted up!
H C Palting (author) from East Coast on November 20, 2012:
There will be no social security for me when I reach retirement age and to be self sufficient and comfortable, I'm planning for this. As far as SS is concerned, many people either are unable to save or refuse to do so to their own detriment.
Michelle Dee from Charlotte, NC on November 19, 2012:
This is a great hub and makes a person think twice about their income streams, especially for those facing retirement in a few years and we don't really know if social security will be there or not.
H C Palting (author) from East Coast on August 30, 2012:
Thanks so much Peggy W. I wish that my parents taught me this valuable lesson. I have been quite lucky and grateful to learn it on my own though. I hope that anyone reading this can find something they can benefit from.
Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on August 29, 2012:
This is such smart advice especially in today's world where job security can no longer be taken for granted. Living below one's means is good advice always. Unexpected expenses crop up at the most inopportune times! Additional income streams are always nice to have. Up votes and will tweet.
H C Palting (author) from East Coast on May 09, 2012:
You are a smart lady. Additional income streams have helped me to pay for wants and needs.
LauraGT from MA on May 09, 2012:
Thanks for this important reminder. I have stayed in the job market after kids mainly because I'm committed to the work I do, but a close second is the security the second income provides for the family, just in case!
H C Palting (author) from East Coast on April 11, 2012:
You are a very smart Supermom! I hope more people think about these things and find ways to make their future's brighter and maintain or provide the lifestyle they truly want for themselves and their families.
supermom_in_ny from NY on April 11, 2012:
I advise everyone to find a form of passive income. Even with tons of insurance and an emergency fund, unexpected events can really have a negative effect on your lifestlye.
Voting this up!
H C Palting (author) from East Coast on April 08, 2012:
Thanks so much Alocsin. You are a smart man.
Aurelio Locsin from Orange County, CA on April 08, 2012:
I definitely agree with this. If you have 5 sources of income and you lose one, you only lose 20 percent of your livelihood, which is easier to make up. I have started expanding my income opportunities to avoid losing all of them in one swoop. Voting this Up and Useful.
H C Palting (author) from East Coast on April 07, 2012:
The idea behind this is providing yourself a buffer from any bumps in the road of life and the reality that all sources of income do not last forever or are always highly profitable. Thank you so much for stopping by.
jaswinder64 from Toronto, Canada. on April 07, 2012:
Five Reasons Not To Rely On One Income, is a great, inforative and detailed hub on the topic.
H C Palting (author) from East Coast on March 09, 2012:
Thank you Dr. Ope. There are many smart and hardworking people who become complacent. Being proactive with your finances is always best.
Olive Ellis on March 09, 2012:
Thank you for your tips Express10. It is always wise to have a plan B and C to fall back on in case of a job loss. I am about to create those plans right away. All the best to you.
sam209 on February 24, 2012:
Amen to this hub! Thanks for the tips my friend!
H C Palting (author) from East Coast on February 20, 2012:
I'm sure that there are plenty of more useful items, but addressed a few that I have had experience with.
Frank Atanacio from Shelton on February 20, 2012:
you bring up great points.. a clearly written hub and useful too :) Frank
H C Palting (author) from East Coast on February 19, 2012:
voyce on February 19, 2012:
Amen - great hub!
H C Palting (author) from East Coast on February 19, 2012:
You brought up a great point about the difference in time when your grandparents were young. Actually, a lot of our grandparents have a hard time understanding the trend towards having no pension or social security. The reality is that it's our responsibility to create our own financial security.
Alecia Murphy from Wilmington, North Carolina on February 19, 2012:
I agree Express10, the road to financial security is a lot different now than when my grandparents were young and had a definite trade. Especially with the past few years of the economy being in a strange flux, it is definitely a time to sharpen or improve your skills in various areas. A definite timely and useful hub. Thanks for sharing your insights!