Do You Want a Predictable Income?

by Martin

Are you looking for how to find a career?

“Planning is bringing the future into the present so that you can do something about it now.”

I’ve read amazing blog posts and points in personal finance books where the author mentions how they break down their paycheck and how they track where all of their money goes. This is amazing. I hate tracking my spending, yet there’s people out there that have conquered their finances just by doing so.

Personal finance advice usually assumes that one has a steady income (aside from raises and random windfalls). Why is this? Why do we assume that everybody has a predictable income?

My question to you guys is: do you want career with a predictable income?

With the end of my college run coming up in less than a month I’ve been really pondering this thought. I went from thinking that moving up the corporate ladder was just what business management college graduates did, to realizing that there’s more out there.

One can take risks and try something outside of the box.

Today I wanted to open up the discussion of a predictable income and financial tools.

Benefits of a predictable income:

You can plan well in advance.

With a steady income you can budget your money (retirement contributions, savings, vacation, and debt payments). You know how much money that you’re going to make and you can plan around this. This way you can set goals for how much money you’ll allocate towards each area.

You can sleep well at night.

For those of us that are not as risk averse as those that invest in the stock market and quit jobs when they’re not happy, we want to sleep at night knowing that we have a steady income and that our bills will be paid. A predictable income is ideal when you don’t want to deal with the swings that come with working for yourself. It’s much easier to sleep well at night when you know that money isn’t a problem.

Now that we looked at the main benefits, let’s take a glance at the setbacks of finding a career with a predictable income:

No entrepreneurial vision.

Okay nevermind, where are your guts? This is what I ask myself. How could I be afraid of income? Am I not smart enough to make money? Is my work ethic not strong enough to survive? When I think about holding a steady job, I think about why I’m not willing to take on a little risk.

You don’t exploit your situation.

As a twenty-something, living at home still or even living on your own, your actual fixed expenses are not that high at all. You don’t have to worry about kids. You don’t have to worry about feeding anyone but yourself. Why not exploit this situation? This feels like the ideal time to ditch the steady paycheck to take some chances.

At the end of the day, what kind of income do you want? Do you want a steady paycheck or do you want to take some risks with your income?

When looking at tips for how to find a career, please try to consider pay stability in the mix.

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Edward - If You Can Read, You Can Cook

I vote for the predictable income. I want that stability. There’s nothing at all that says you can’t do both, work full time for somebody else and for yourself on the side. I did that with my computer sales business in college & after I dropped out. Right now, I’m writing a cookbook and have two ventures of which I am in the beginning stages. Not that they are likely to, but I have no interest in any of them growing large enough to take me away from the work-for-a-steady-paycheck career I am trying to launch.

My father is an over-the-road truck driver; he gets paid based on how many miles he drives. Some weeks are good and he makes over $1000; some weeks are bad and he makes under $300. Being an entrepreneur is a lot like that. You may have a little more control over which weeks are good and bad, but not that much.

Working for yourself, aside from requiring a lot of work on business tasks unrelated to what you want to do, is just too stressful financially to be a long-term solution for survival. Its much better relegated to extra spending money purposes.

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2 MD

That’s an interesting story about your father Edward. How does he deal with the fluctuations in income?

“Its much better relegated to extra spending money purposes.” This statement is what most new entrepreneurs fail to understand. I’m not delusional in any sense. I completely understand that for the following few years possibly, my income from my side business will just be “extra money.” I do hope to earn a full-time income from entrepreneurial ventures one day, but I also do understand how stressful financially this could be.

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3 Jessica07

I say do a little of both. Climb that corporate ladder, but don’t forget to let your entrepreneurial spirit out to play. As soon as I graduated college, I had two degrees (English and Pre-law), so I immediately landed a job as a paralegal, with the intention of going to law school. Life interceded, and people began to like my writing and research skills. So, now I get to work from home, doing what I love. Work full-time doing the “corporate ladder climb,” and work part-time trying out your entrepreneurial ideas. That way you can measure for yourself which you’d rather have. However, don’t quit the ladder climbing until you have a large enough base to make that entrepreneurial income more predictable as well.

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4 Edward - Entry Level Dilemma

I’m pretty sure MD has written about it before, and I’ve seen the advice many, many times. If you have your own business, it can be helpful not to introduce yourself as the “owner” or “president” because that can make you look small-time. If MD is talking to a potential advertiser, as says he is the VP of Marketing, that makes Studenomics look more professional.

The advice is the same for resumes. Unless you are applying to be the owner or president of a company, you shouldn’t market yourself to them as having been the owner or president of another company. It makes you look like you are taking a step down. I had a business in college, but I list myself as Technology Analyst & Technician on my resume.

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5 MD

Some interesting points Edward. I would like to treat my blog as more of a business. I also support a multi-author format. This is why I wanted to give myself a title. I also didn’t want to call myself a CEO or anything along those lines. VP of Marketing just sounded good at the time. Who knows, maybe I’ll change it in the future?

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6 Kelly

I used to always think I just wanted a normal job with steady paycheck so I always knew what to expect. Just recently is when I started to discover there are so many other things I’m interested in that I would love to be able to spend my time on – but that also come with unpredictable income. It does take a special strength to endure that kind of unpredictability, but it just comes down to what is more important to you. I know I’d rather sacrifice some things now to find what makes me happy, than to end up somewhat financially well-off but miserable in the future.

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