Saturday, January 31, 2015

Off the rat race (Or Am I?) (part II)

(part II)... so here I am, after almost a year and a half without working and solely living off my cash-out and my dividends, confronted with THE QUESTION : to work or not to work ?

I have to say, it wasn't even a plan not to work again. First of all, I couldn't afford it. Second of all, I wanted to work again. I just wasn't sure what I would like to do. (yes, it can happen even late into your thirties-- and beyond).

So when I was asked if I'd be interested in writing a speech for a well-known political figure, who shall remain nameless for the sake of this blog (not Obama, I am Canadian!), I answered by asking the one question important for someone on the financial independence trail : -- "how much"?

-- "Usually it's around 100$ per hour."

So I said : -- "OK!"

-- "Someone will get in touch with you soon".

I have to say, for the record, that I have previous years of experience as a speech writer. I have had written for many people, in many sphere of activities, especially in politics. I know the drill. But I didn't know how much, as a consultant, that someone would be paid. Now I did and I was pumped to get started.

This was at the beginning of fall last year. I did close to 20 contracts since then. The average cost of one contrat if for about 7-8 hours of work. So roughly 800$ per gig. Some of them were beyond 25 hours, or even 35. Each contrat was different.

It would take about 3 to 4 weeks to get paid. But I am always paid (believe me, it's not always the case for freelance). I had to learn how to bill, how to charge the taxes and so on. I will also learn pretty soon how this will all pan out on the tax front. It's actually quite interesting to learn all of this. I'm my own business now.

As a financial freak, I have made sure to put aside money for tax purposes and other things people that work for a salary forget they are even paying. Basically, almost 50% of my paycheque is swept aside. The rest pays the bills and a portion is invested in my TFSA and RRSP. I have set up an automatic purchase program and it works like a charm.  Every two weeks 100$ goes into my RBC US Index Fund. It cost nothing do so and eventually I will sell this fund and buy stock directly. . But for now, as you can see in my portfolio, it's doing just fine. I have more than 5 K$. The rest of the money is either invested in my 16 companies or just put in a saving account for later. I am hoping for a market crash, as you all should fellow investors.

So, all in all, I am quite happy with these speech contracts. I also made new clients along the way. They were told to get in touch with me by actual clients.

Sometimes, it's a little crazy and I have to work on Sundays or Saturdays. I even had to refuse work at some point. I didn't want to, but I had no choice. Better say no than giving back a sub-par product.

If I sometimes work on weekends, then I will be free on Monday or Tuesday. That's the thing : your agenda has to be flexible. You have to be disciplined. And, most of all, you have to love working for yourself and without a boss. It's a funny thing to mention, but some people need to have guidance. I don't. In fact, that's what I like most about it.

Oh.., and you have to like working alone, 90% of the time. You do have to call people sometimes, but generally you get your information from stuff that it's sent to you. Therefore, If you are the kind of person that misses your watercooler meetings in the morning, this job is not for you.

As I was starting working again, making money and enjoying it an old dream of mine caught up with me. Since I enjoy writing, I  thought I could maybe write a few pieces for, say, a newspaper...

A new side income is always welcome, no? I will let you know how this new adventure turned out.

How about you, did you ever get caught up by old dreams?

PS I recently sold some of my Cominar (REIT) shares thinking interest rates would go up and their shares would go down. The exact opposite happened! Timing the Market is a tough thing not to do. Oh well.

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