Get That Money!

Always be looking for opportunities to stuff your pockets full of cash!  I just finished up hustling through my fall outage season, hitting over 80 hours the other week between 2 employers, and 72 hours the week before that.  Whenever opportunity presents itself don’t be timid to take control.  I had two situations over the last month where I thought there was no way I could make a deal work, but I thought creatively and offered solutions to my potential employers and ended up making a decent chunk of money over the last couple weeks, during a time when I normally don’t have any work going on.  When it rains it pours! The best part? I was still off work in time for the kids’ Christmas break from school so no need for babysitters or for my wife to have to reduce her hours more than she wants to.

I’m extremely thankful I was able to book some extra work at the end of this season.  It’s rare to be so busy in the nuclear contracting world between Thanksgiving and Christmas. We’ve spent a lot more than normal this year and my income was a bit lower than projected and these 2 extra jobs put us back on track, allowing me to make a $7,000 extra principal payment on our primary residence!  We are down to owing around 55K on our home and it is on track to be paid off in 24 – 30 months, the finish line is in sight!

One of the projects I just finished up was on a reactor head repair job at a nuclear power plant.  I wish I had snapped a picture of it, but some of the guys drew a cartoon on the dry erase board in our work trailer of the reactor head with cash falling out of it into a wheelbarrow and a happy stick man pushing the overflowing wheelbarrow away.  Love it! I had finished up a nozzle dam job at the same plant and my employer called me 2 days later asking me to come back by noon the next day for 2 weeks of work on the reactor head project.  I originally turned him down because I had another job lined up that conflicted with it.  I thought about it for a little bit and in the morning I was able to arrange with my other employer to delay my start date allowing me to work both jobs.

On that, It doesn’t matter if you work 100 hours a week and are earning money left and right if you happen to be throwing all your money out the window.  So many of us start making some decent money and spend every cent that comes in, it’s absolutely insane.  You work too hard and too long to be broke!  Take that cash and invest it.  Buy a rental house, fill up your retirement account, take some classes to increase your earning power, do something with your money to move yourself forward!

On the other hand you can have the best investment plan in the world, but if you aren’t busting your ass to stack up your cash what does it matter? If you are only working 40 hours a week and saving 5% of your money then you won’t move the needle much and that brilliant plan is wasted due to a lack of fuel.

When is enough enough?  I work with so many people in their 60s who have put themselves in amazing positions, but can’t say no to the extra cash.  They can’t stop working because the money is too good.  I know it’s not a bad problem to have, but at some point you need to stop responding to incentives because as Bill Gates would say “at a certain point, it’s all the same hamburger“.  When you reach a point where the extra money won’t increase your standard of living why continue to work?  Or at least why continue to work physically demanding jobs that require you to leave home and work long hours?

Which reminds me of a conversation I had a couple years ago.  I was sitting down at break talking to a friend who had put himself in a great position in life.  He had his house paid off and had been maxing his 401K since his early 20s.  He was in his late 30s and worked a job that required extensive travel away from his family, but was high paying (probably around $100K a year with overtime included.).  We were talking about financial independence and the 5% rule and how we can use our wealth to make options.  We talked about how using the rule of 72 every 10 years your money should double without adding anything to it if you are getting a 7.2% return.  So if you have $250K at 35 it will be $500K at 45, $1M at 55, and $2M at 65.  After our conversation the guy put on his hardhat said he was doing a walk-down, left his lunch box and tennis shoes behind and walked out to the gate, then got in his car and drove home.  I never saw him again.  THAT IS WHAT THIS BLOG IS ABOUT!!! Being in your 30s and able to say I’ve made enough money, I’m going home.

So here are some questions for you:

What are you doing right now to increase your earnings?

At what point is “enough, enough?”,

What’s the most hours you’ve worked in a week?

Are you in a better spot today than you were a year ago?  than five years ago?

This post was more of a “stream of consciousness” rather than a normal research post. A symptom of the long hours I’ve been working.  I’m off work for the next month so I should be able to get some more in depth articles together shortly.  Merry Christmas Everyone!

John C. started Action Economics in 2013 as a way to gain more knowledge on personal financial planning and to share that knowledge with others. Action Economics focuses on paying off the house, reducing taxes, and building wealth. John uses the free tool Personal Capital to track his net worth and posts quarterly updates on his finances. Check out the Action Economics archives section for all past posts.

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