Net Worth Week 58 – Graduation Edition

Gentle Readers,

My gig continues to be managed very poorly. Once the supervisor who hated this project got a new job, it has gone downhill faster and faster. They promise there is a ton of work to do, but they are not staying enough ahead of us, me really, to ensure that there is work available when necessary. It’s frustrating. I sit at my desk waiting for work. At least I get paid when I wait. Their mismanagement messes up my ability to get overtime as planned.  Nothing is promised and I have to keep remembering that. Thankfully, I am still doing well.

A coworker I like on another project let me know about some job postings within our field but a level up. He found the pay rate and what skills we would need to show in order to qualify for it. I appreciate that he looks out for us.

I am off to my family member’s graduation party this weekend. It is important to show up for significant milestones. I’ll also get a chance to have a girl’s day with my best friend from middle school. Since she has children, I am letting her pick what we do. She gets less downtime than me. If she wants us to hang with her family or if she needs away time, I’m happy. I love her family, and I will do my part to contribute to its happiness.
My TMJ is acting up. I’m trying to do a better job taking care of this pain, but stress triggers it.
The markets were rocky this week. I wonder what they’ll have in store for us with all of the ridiculous goings-on in our Administration. My IRA is down, but my net worth is up. I’m heading in the right direction. This is the fourth week with a positive change in my net worth!

This week’s net worth numbers

5/12/2016 5/19/2017
 Joy 1106 1106
 Travel 1  1
 Down Payment 19 19
 Retirement 21 21
 Health 45 45
 Moving 285 285
 EF 11 11
Business 1003 1003
Life 832  1644
 IRA  13002  12883
 Brokerage 693  685
 Rewards Card 2 -1572 -1474
 CC (largest) 0  0
 CC (longest) 0  0
 Rewards Card -999 -918
SL 1 -104577 -104693
 SL 2 -46068 -46121
 Earnest -4862 -4872
 Net Worth -141059 -140374
 Percentage Change .95% .49%

Have you noticed the rocky market or just kept on with your plan?

Why I Started My Own Small Business

Gentle Readers,

There are many reasons I decided to start my own small business two years ago. These reasons are still compelling to me even though I have been working full-time on top of my business, and started the business in a niche I did not yet fully understand. I am a queer woman and the professional world wanted to wipe that off of me.

Like many young professional women, I don’t necessarily fit in many work settings. I have worked for small businesses, fast food, county government, local nonprofits, national nonprofits, retail, and a variety of temping opportunities, first as an admin and now as a professional. I fit in maybe one of those work environments, and that organization no longer exists.

A little over two years ago, the female editor in chief of the NY Times was fired for daring to ask why she was being paid less than the male editor who occupied the role before you. Fired for asking why.

Work environments were not designed with women in mind because sexism said they didn’t have to be.

Most women I know contort themselves to fit in to work environments. We ignore the subtle and not-so-subtle sexism. We ignore clients hitting on us when we are not free to leave their vicinity. We ignore that desks are built with the average-sized man in mind, and are not comfortable for our bodies. We beg to have office buildings not burn us in winter and freeze us in summer since we are more likely dressed for the actual weather and not insistent (conditioned into) on wearing a three-piece suit regardless of the appropriateness to the season.

We read the articles telling us that we are considered harsh if we act confidently. We read the articles that bemoan our poor negotiating skills right next to the articles that say we are not appropriately ladylike when we negotiate well.

We are chided for our very voices with new concepts like vocal fry and commanded to talk in masculine normative methods of expression. EVEN when it is proven that women’s general style is more collaborative and more effective.

We contort ourselves. Many of us have extra things to contort. Our colleagues ask about boyfriends we aren’t interested in having. Our preferred styles of dressing can be read as unprofessional on a body read as femme, but would be fine on a body read as masculine. Our bodies themselves are not read as belonging in public due to disability. Our relationship styles may not value marriage or monogamy the way the government and dominant culture would prefer.

We can contort all of these things and still not succeed. We can still be fired for daring to simply ask about our pay rate.

I opened my own small business to avoid these controls on my personality and dress-code.

Two years ago, I was fed up with my gig-centered work-life and my inability to get hired for a career-based job in my profession. I had applied for so many things. I had contorted. I was not getting what I wanted.

So I decided to create it.

I am creating a space that focuses on a niche in my profession and allows me to serve my community through it. I am creating a space where I own the keys to the door, and set the dress code. I am still a professional, but my fantastic dyke hair is fine with my supervisor as she is me. She still makes me wear the pearls when it is required, but she never tells me to grow my hair out. She never requires me to wear heals. She never tells me to dress like a lady. She knows that I am a human and that being a good human is the true goal.

I am creating a space where I do not have to say yes to potential clients that I find distasteful to work with. I can focus on serving the LGBT community. I can serve my community competently, because I know from personal experience some of what they are facing and I know where to research the specific problems that impact us.

I am creating an environment where I do not have to punch in. Eventually, I will not have to be there to “get my 40,” but rather must get the work done in a timely manner for my clients. I work better after 10 am, and can set most appointments after that. I adapt my work life to me. Should I decide to have a family in the future, I can schedule my life and career together far more easily. I am creating this because I am dissatisfied with the work environments available to me.

I don’t want to just show up. I want my work to reflect my values. I am creating that work.

What made you start your own business?

Planning For a Graduate’s Future

Gentle Readers,

A family member is graduating from high school and intends to move out of his home immediately. I’ve racked my brain to come up with a suitable present for my hopes for him.

Naturally, I got him a bunch of personal finance books.

Everybody’s favorite, “The Millionaire Next Door,” because I want him to have honest examples that frugality, and choosing businesses and careers wisely will make his life different than he is accustomed to. Stealth wealth is a phrase I want in his heart. I know that he is exceptionally kind, and I want him to put on his own mask first.

Less popular among people pursuing financial freedom, but a useful framework that may appeal to him, “The Money Book for the Young, Fabulous & Broke.” I want something to reach him, and this may be the most accessible at this point in his life.

The one I’m least sure of, because I have not yet read it myself, “I Will Teach You To Be Rich.” So many people recommend it; many people whom I respect. I wish I had more time to read it, but there is only so many hours in the week.

Lastly, the most esoteric one, that just may be precisely what he could use as a life framework, “Early Retirement Extreme.” Walden knew what he was doing, and this could give my relative all the ideas he needs. I want him to grow in skills especially, but still focus on being a good person.

I chose a variety of books in the hopes that one would appeal and sink in enough to keep him on track. He’s made excellent decisions so far, but his nearby influences are not the example I want for him.

I think that traditional education is not the best current route for him. I’d love to see him gain some more skills and perhaps start a business. I also think he has what it takes and the time to learn how to buy fixer-uppers and make them lovely places to live. Real estate is still not my favorite, but I think it would work well with his personality and current and future skill-set.

What do wish you had read at 18?

Net Worth Week 4 – first milestone

Gentle Readers,

Things are progressing in my negative net worth, but I anticipate some personal volatility in the short-term.

For the first time in a very long time, my negative net worth is under $150,000! WHEW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Barely. And, of course, it will fluctuate, but it got there. This tiny bit of momentum is so encouraging. I hope to keep these milestones in sight.

The situation at my W2 job is growing more complicated. We’ve recently been told that we should anticipate working through mid-June at least. We’ll see. The timeline was previously through August, and began as through March. These sorts of gigs are not known for honesty.

If this gig ends faster than I’d like, it should be possible to find another gig quickly. However, many of the gigs currently available pay 20% less than my current gig. Not ideal. This is one of the reasons I am learning a new skill that will make me more marketable on a number of fronts, but I am not quite up to par. I’m in a group class, and I’m considering investing in a personal tutor to get me up to snuff faster. May has a time deficit for me, but I am preparing to add in time for tutoring beginning in June.

May is also a month of mini-travel. The biggest part of the necessary purchases were previously made via the Rewards Card, but finances will still be impacted because it will be harder to get 40 hours at work in every week this month. The trips will be rejuvenating, and provide nourishment to my relationships. Definitely worth it.

My first Earnest payment is done! My finances feel so much more manageable because of being able to use Earnest to pay off my highest APR credit card.

The percent change has remained at .99%. Trending towards zero.

Date 4/15/16 4/24/2016 4/29/2016 5/6/2016
Joy 1097 1097 1097 1098
Travel 322 322 322 322
Down Payment  18 18 18 18
retirement  21 21 21 21
health  45 45 45 45
Moving  31 31 31 31
EF  9 9 9 9
Business  1 1 1 1
Bed  .29 0.29 0.29 0.29
Life  907 963 1097  1526
IRA  7026 7100 7045  7346
Brokerage  221 222 219  218
CC (largest)  0 0 0 0
CC (longest)  0 0 0 0
Rewards Card  -3000 -3060 -3558  -3426
SL 1  -101892  -102041 -102123 -102222
SL 2  -45001  -45046 -45072 -45102
Earnest  -10036 -10054 -10078 -9632
–$150,230 -$150,471 -$150079 -$149746
  .99% change -1.0% change .99% change   .99% change

Are you feeling any financial momentum?