The increasing announcements of layoffs amidst banking news are amplifying the already stressful environment we live in.
And I can empathize because I’ve been laid off before too. And I also worked in the banking industry during the Great Recession. I’ve been through this crisis before.
And we are all still living through the pandemic with its own set of issues. There is one in particular experience I’d like to share.
In 2020, my main income source (speaking gigs) was impacted by my clients canceling or postponing events indefinitely. It hit my cash flow hard. It added to the already significant stress of the unknown virus.
And when many companies began hiring in unprecedented numbers, the onslaught of career advisors began sharing how much more money everyone could earn by making companies pay more.
I even had one such “expert” tell me I should consider getting a “traditional” job and sideline my entrepreneurial and free lifestyle for a solid and steady paycheck.
“You want security? A paycheck will give you that instead of your business,” he said.
I didn’t agree that a paycheck provided security. But, he had a point.
People should be paid more for the value they give an organization. And it was tempting to rejoin the corporate world after almost a decade of being an entrepreneur. I knew my skills were valuable and that my work ethic would help a company reach its goals.
I thought to myself: a consistent paycheck with benefits (and someone else who had to think about my welfare) was enticing. But I opted to lean into my consultancy and help companies do great things as a 1099 contractor. Strategic consulting with startups, credit unions, and small businesses was one of my income sources. And my passive income through my website, phroogal.com increased as people searched for financial resources in the quarantine.
You see, I learned something from my layoff and during the Great Recession — the importance of multiplying and diversifying income sources. We have to rely less on one income to live in this world. You don’t have to agree with me; you just have to accept the reality.
There are things you can control and many things you cannot. I’ve been a believer that we often cannot control how much a company pays for a job. But we can control whether or not we choose to stay or find one that pays more. It’s why I’ve advocated for people to continuously learn, become better communicators, and grow their networks. These are assets that we can lean into in abundant or scarce environments.
As a wellness advocate, there is one area in financial wellness that I continue to share: diversifying and multiplying your income streams. Become less reliant on one single source. It will help reduce the financial stress experienced during times like these.
I am not simply advocating getting multiple jobs. However, there is a case for doing so for a short time to help with cash flow issues. My family and friends know this: there was a moment when I had three W2 jobs. I did it, but I wouldn’t want to repeat it. That experience taught me there had to be a better way of earning money than simply exchanging my time whether at one job or three.
What I’m encouraging you to do is find ways to increase cash flow through other income sources.
I know it can be challenging to do so right now. But at the very least, I encourage you to learn about the different types of income sources. Gain the knowledge to help you make different choices or respond to different scenarios. (I talk about the importance of this for mental health in Happy Money Happy Life.)
Active, passive, and portfolio income
Active income is from any service or performance-based activity. This includes money from a job, tips, commissions, and bonuses. In comparison, passive income is received from limited activity. It doesn’t require your daily and active participation to generate income. And portfolio income can be considered a subcategory of passive income. But it’s essential to make a distinction as it’s treated differently by the IRS. Portfolio income comes from interests, dividends, and capital gains for tax purposes.
The great news is that you can have many of these income streams. The choice is yours to make. Ideally, you want to focus attention on passive income sources, including the “passive” income from investments. But it might be easier to start with active income as it requires less capital to start.
How many income sources do you have? How many will you plan for?
And remember to breathe.
Hi, I’m Jason, author of Happy Money Happy Life: A Multidimensional Approach to Health, Wealth and Financial Wellbeing. It’s a book on happiness that happens to talk about money. In the book, I share the eight wellness dimensions and how you can use money as a tool to live a healthier, wealthier, and happier life.
In 2023, I’m embarking on a 50-state journey to turn local money discussions into a national conversation on financial wellbeing. I’m working with credit unions and independent booksellers to talk money, wellness, and happiness. Learn more: www.phroogal.com/cuhappy