Is there any way to protect ourselves from the financial insecurity (and drudgery) of work in today’s economy?
Studs Terkel once said that working should be “about a search for daily meaning as well as daily bread”. Too often our work is disconnected from our life values and passions, leaving us disconnected from ourselves. We then try to compensate for unfulfilling work by spending our money on things to make ourselves happy. Unfortunately this work-spending cycle creates a drain on our money and life energy.
The best way to rescue ourselves from this cycle of money/life drain is to stop spending our money and start leveraging it. When we spend money the face value either stays the same or decreases. This happens when we trade our hard earned money (and life energy) for a car that depreciates as soon as we drive it off the lot. Or when we spend it on food and experiences that are consumed and no longer have value.
Leveraging allows us to increase the overall quality of our lives by using money according to our life values and priorities. When we leverage our money, we receive a bigger return than the face value of our initial investment. Purchasing a house that appreciates in value or financing education that enables you to earn more money in the future are common examples of leveraging money. But so is moving closer to work so you can walk and save gas money, or buying a large freezer so you can buy food in bulk. One often overlooked, but very useful way of leveraging money is through self-employment.
There are many advantages to self-employment including:
wealth/asset building, tax advantages, increased autonomy and flexibility. While self-employment has always been a core component of the American Dream, some groups have historically been blocked out of these opportunities. OIC of America has launched an Entrepreneurial Mindset Initiative to increase under-represented populations preparation for and involvement in self-employment.
Self-employment need not be an either/or activity. Many people engage in self-employment on a part-time basis or use entrepreneurship as a way to phase themselves out of a current job they dislike. Having multiple streams of income can serve as an important resource to protect your financial and life energy.
Consider how you can transform your current spending practices into business that leverage your income. Do you enjoy baking and purchasing the latest cooking gadgets from Williams-Sonoma? Perhaps you can add an additional income stream baking cakes for birthday parties. Love working out? Have you ever considered teaching an exercise class or becoming a personal trainer? Enjoy helping people? Consider becoming a life coach or a life coaching consultant. Or perhaps you can grow extra vegetables/flowers in your garden to sell. The possibilities are endless.
The key is to investigate ways to turn your passions into sources of revenue. You work hard for you money, shouldn’t it also work hard for you? The best use of money is to leverage it to create security and self-sustaining wealth. Your current passions and interests are the clues to discovering your wealth potential.