by Damon Carr, For New Pittsburgh Courier
I grew up in a single-parent, fixed-income household. Most of the people who lived in my neighborhood also came from single-parent, fixed-income households. I thought it was normal. First day of every month was like a holiday in our community. The entire street who typically sleeps in daily, wakes up early in the morning on that day waiting for the mailman. This is before direct deposit became a thing.
First couple of days of the month, everybody is doing the “happy dance.” Bills are paid, the refrigerator is full, and we got an opportunity to do some fun stuff. By the fifth of the month, money is all spent—leaving “too much month left at the end of the money”. We struggled to get ahead for the rest of the month. The cycle repeated itself month after month after month in perpetuity. The struggle was real!
As I was growing up, I had no clue what I wanted to be when I grew up. Today, I’m in my mid-40s and I’m still trying to figure that out (LOL). But then and now, I knew what I didn’t want. I didn’t want to be that person who waited an entire month for a check that lasted all of 5 days —if that. Then struggle to get by the rest of the month. Miss me with that nonsense! That lifestyle I lived for the first 19-years of my life inspired me to desire and aspire for more.
I’ve come to learn as an adult and as a Financial Advisor that working a job in and of itself doesn’t absolve you of my childhood experience of “too much month left at the end of the money”. 78 percent of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck, hand to mouth, struggling to make ends meet. That was before the Pandemic. That’s 8 out of every 10 people you know, regardless of how much money they make. The typical household is broke shortly after payday, struggling to the next payday only to be broke shortly after payday in perpetuity. The struggle is real!
I recall reading a marketing book years ago. In this book, I took away a couple of things: The author said that his goal was every time the mailman delivered mail to his home, he wanted the mail to include a check made out to him. Stark contrast to my childhood life. We got a check delivered once a month. Stark contrast to everyday people. We can count on bills being included in the mail daily but not checks. His goal became my goal. I was trying to get a check delivered every day. My best attempt at that goal was 7 days in a row, check in the mail. Talking about a “happy dance”. Imagine me twerking (LOL). Secondly, the author said, I can’t tell you with confidence one way to make $100,000. But I can tell you with confidence, five ways to make $20,000. The key is to be doing all 5. This too became my goal. I went from offering solely mortgage related services to also offering tax preparation and financial planning services within my company.
I was exposed during the economic crisis back in 1998. But thinking back, it prepared me to better weather the storm of this pandemic. Although I was offering three different financial related services and was becoming more and more known as a financial advisor, from an income generation standpoint, I only focused on mortgages. Income generated from the other services was gravy. Tax Preparation was a seasonal business. I was making 10-20 times more per transaction doing mortgages than I was preparing financial plans and preparing taxes. And it took less time to structure a mortgage deal than it did to prepare tax returns and financial plans. But once the bottom fell-out of the mortgage market in 1998, it impacted 70-80 percent of gross revenue—eventually forcing me back to Corporate America.
Due to the Coronavirus, upwards of 40 million people have been either furloughed or laid-off. Big, medium, and small companies are all fighting during this time to keep their doors open. We work hard for our respective companies and try to add value and prove ourselves valuable. Despite how valuable we think we are, what’s been made glaringly obvious during this time is that on the balance sheet of our respective employer, employees are categorized as an expense. In fact, employees are the largest expense employers pay. To stay afloat companies had to let many people go. Millions of people are out of work. Gratefully, the federal government gave unemployment a $600 weekly raise. That’s subject to sunset last week of July 2020. In addition, federal government mandated mortgage and student loan forbearances. Many car and credit card companies are offering similar work-out plans. All of these work-out plans will end soon, if not extended.
What we’re experiencing today as a country eerily reminds me of my child-hood upbringing. How do you combat living paycheck to paycheck or combat being without income should you be laid off? According to Forbes Magazine, “there are no downsides to a side hustle. There are only benefits to building more than one source of income. A side hustle is the new Job Security.
I agree! Solution is Multiple Streams of Income! Not only does income from multiple sources provide a needed additional source of income to your household, it can serve as a crutch or a safety net in the event income from a primary source is reduced or eliminated entirely.
We’re taught in investing that you need to diversify your portfolio in order to mitigate risk. It’s not wise to put all your eggs in one basket. If that makes sense when it comes to investing, wouldn’t the same hold true when it comes to our income – our most powerful wealth building tool? Why do most of us rely on our singular job as our one and only income source?
Chances are your favorite celebrity has multiple streams of income. Think about that for a second. Someone who earns 100 times the average person’s annual income with their main job, has income coming in from multiple sources.
In addition to your primary job, level up, take on additional income sources!
(Money Coach Damon Carr, can be reached at 412-216-1013 or visit his website at www.damonmoneycoach.com.)