April 11th, 2011 — Careers, Life
My last day at my secure and decently paying job will be June 15th, 2011. I am not going to a new position even though I have gotten a couple offers in the last couple months. One of my friends said that I am spoiled for being able to pick and choose six figure jobs, and I guess I am a bit spoiled, but the true cost of keeping any job is just much greater than what I would gain right now. Here are some of my reasons why I quit.
1. Too Much Stress for Too Little Reward - My company was purchased by a large conglomerate last August, and after the acquisition many long time employees quit. In my part of the world I became the only person doing more work than I ever had before with no increase in pay. In fact, our pay actually decreased due to increased health insurance costs. You may say that if I went to a different company this would improve, and that maybe so, but that doesn’t change the fact I take home a very small percentage of my pay. Since we are a dual income family, my income is a second income and gets taxed at our highest marginal rate. Additionally, I have to pay for childcare. After getting gouged by a 47% tax and then paying for childcare, suddenly an above average income is quite below average and is no longer worth the stress of a full time job. Many people with children should do some math right now and see if it is actually worth having a second income. They may find that they are just working to pay for the privilege of working.
2. I Want My Time to be Mine - The part I hate about any job is that you trade your time for money. You are basically a profit center for someone else. Since I work for a public company now it is pretty easy to figure out how much they profit off each employee. The simple math is to take the yearly profit numbers and divide it by the number of employees. Believe me, I get paid a lot less than what they generate per employee. I want my time to be mine so I can spend it as I need to. Now that I have a young son I need that flexibility so that I don’t have to leave a ton of meetings to take care of a sick child. I need to have more control in my method of income generation. I can’t be just a pawn in a giant chess game anymore.
3. I Have a Plan – Since my company was acquired, I started to purchase some websites because that seemed like a logical way to grow my online income. So far I have thrown down around $12,000, but that has created a fairly stable monthly income of $1200 to $1500. I have run these sites for just a few months, but I have gotten quite a good chunk of my principal back already. With each site I purchased I learned a little bit more about how to run and monetize a site and what makes a website valuable. Right now I make enough online to pay for food and rent and I am determined to scale my operation further and make more than my salary by next year.
I titled this post “into the abyss” after the article written by James Altucher titled “10 Reasons You Need to Quit Your Job“. That article is in tune with what I feel and in the end of the article he says:
I think 90% of people should quit their jobs right now or do something utterly drastic to shake things up. “What would I do?” people can then ask, “I have responsibilities, mouths to feed, mortgage to pay. You don’t get it.” Yes I do. You throw yourself into the abyss. You get scared. You stay up late at night thinking and thinking and thinking. You feel like the death of emptiness is worse than the slow death of your job. But you’ll figure it out. One by one all of your old colleagues will disappear from your life. They will die.
You’ll still be alive.
So I am throwing myself into the abyss and I truly believe that I will emerge on the other side with a brand new life that is much better than the slow grinding death at a job at a gargantuan soulless corporation. The worst thing that could happen is that I get another “real job” again, but like I have written before, that is the easy way out. I am taking a chance on my own abilities, and it may sound crazy, but is it really crazy if you consider that multiple companies were willing to hire me to generate a profit for them? Why shouldn’t I trust my ability to add value to my own life? Why shouldn’t you?
A site worth reading: MyWifeQuitHerJob.comThoughts on Bloggers Quitting the 9 – 5GoalsReinvesting My Blog IncomeThree Years Down, Seven Years to Go
February 5th, 2011 — Blog
Last Saturday I attended a mixer for personal finance bloggers in the Bay Area hosted by Gobankingrates.com. I met quite a few highly intelligent and interesting folks and here is a quick summary of what I learned from them.
The people I met included The Silicon Valley Blogger of The Digerati Life, Lazy Man of Lazy Man and Money, DC from PFStock, Mr. Credit Card of Ask Mr. Credit Card, Barbara from The Upside of Money, and Jake from The Nerd Wallet. Additionally, the lovely ladies of Gobankingrates.com Danielle, Claire, Casey, and Erica were hosting the event. I’ve been reading The Digerati Life and Lazy Man for literally years so it was interesting to meet them in person. Lazy Man seemed a little shy, and his wife is quite pretty. SVB is sort of what I expected her to be, very talkative and engaging. Of this group, Lazy Man, SVB, and Mr. Credit Card are all doing their online business full time.
1. Network – I think one major lesson I learned from this even is that networking is important especially when you are trying to work on your own business full time. When you are working on something in solitary confinement you can only get so far. You have to make real connections with people beyond the internet to stand out. Since a lot of web publishing income is from advertising, it is nice to know who your potential clients are.
2. Staying small can be profitable – Mr. Credit Card is actually a super funny guy, and he talked for a while about how many large online publishers are unprofitable. For example, CreditCard.com was going to go public and revealed their earnings. Apparently it had $40 million in revenue and was still unprofitable. Mr. Credit Card said he was incredulous because he is just one guy and his site is profitable probably because he doesn’t have a CFO making a crapton of money. This is something my friend Jerry also wrote about on his blog. Jerry just recently quit his job at a large company to do his iPhone app business fulltime. I encourage you to read his blog, too.
3. Outsource – Many of these fulltime bloggers do outsource a lot of work. You can find cheap labor in many places on the internet, and I have done some of this in a small scale. Now I have more websites under my management I may outsource more content creation.
4. Stupid Stuff Can be Profitable – One recurring theme echoed by several bloggers is that thoughtful and well written content do not get the attention they deserve. Instead, dumb stuff usually get a lot of eyeballs. DC of PFStock said that all his posts that he spent tons of time on do not get a lot readers, but posts where he hides Coke Rewards points get tons of view. I think this is just true of the world in general. I mean, just look at crap like Jersey Shore and the millions of fans it has and you’ll see that most people are just drawn to stupid stuff and if you want to have a successful business you need to take their money. I have known this for a while and that’s why I have mostly separated out the stupid content and genuinely good content I have. This blog is where I write my more personal and real thoughts, but I do have other much less intelligent sites that are profitable. Sadly, I don’t believe that writing great content is the path to fame and fortune. When you run your websites like a business, you really have to know what makes a profit.
I am happy to say that I found the meetup to be very fun and educational. It was nice to meet a lot of like minded people. Both SVB & DC are also Berkeley grads so we had a little Cal group there. Hopefully I will attend one again and hopefully one day I will also be just running my business fulltime.
Frugality and conservatismCarnival of Personal Finance #111 with The Baglady!A Tale of Two Houses — Purchasing Homes Before and During the Housing Bubble in the Bay AreaWeekend Blog Carnival Roundup!Free Compact Fluorescent Lightbulbs in the San Francisco Bay Area
January 5th, 2011 — Economy, News
2010 went by way too fast for me since I became a working mom. It has been extremely challenging and I have not had as much time and energy to write very thoughtful posts. I would like that to change in 2011, but I don’t want to push myself too far, either. I need to take care of myself to take care of my family and everyone else, and that’s what I’m planning to do. Anyway, I have been reading an excellent series of posts on Calculated Risk analyzing what CR thinks will happen in 2011. I highly recommend these posts, and they will appeal to those who really care to read thoughtful data-backed pieces about the economy. I do agree with his analysis about what will happen in housing and unemployment.
Anyway, here are some of my predictions about 2011. I don’t claim to be a prophetess or psychic, and my predictions aren’t backed by hours of research so it is best to take them as entertainment.
1. More Bailouts for Underwater Homeowners - The Making Home Affordable program is not working as expected and is largely deemed a failure by everyone including the government’s own . I actually did predict this years ago (through common sense), but I am guessing that there will be more bailouts ahead to “help” the underwater homeowners. The problem is that there is no money, so maybe every troubled homeowner will get a $500 tax credit?
2. California Income Tax/Property Tax/Sales Tax/Pee in Your Own Backyard Tax Goes Up - Jerry Brown is now governor. Enough said.
3. Federal Debt Ceiling Raised - The Federal Debt is limited to $14.3 billion, and now stands at $13.9 billion. It’s pretty much a given that the ceiling will be raised because otherwise the goverment will stop issuing paychecks. That happened once in the past and it wasn’t pretty.
4. Savers are Still Shafted – I don’t expect the deposit rates to go up at all, so savers that put most of their money in CDs and savings accounts will still earn a pittance.
5. Social Security Will be in the Red – In 2010 Social Security was already paying out more than it was taking in. Guess what Congress decided to do about this. They passed a cut of Social Security taxes in 2011. My guess is that Social Security will be even more underfunded in 2011 since unemployment hasn’t really gone down but more and more baby boomers are at their full retirement age this year. So, basically Social Security will be taking in less money across the board, and increasing payouts when starting point is already negative. So I am pretty sure that I nailed this prediction, unless there is some miraculous increase of millions of jobs.
6. Sarah Palin Will Not Run for President – She will make much more money on reality TV and on the internet. Heck, even this Teen Mom chick makes 280k a year from MTV. I imagine Mrs. Palin makes a lot more than that from her role on Fox News and her show about Alaska on TLC. I think she’s actually pretty smart to just capitalize on her entertainment value since the media will make fun of her mercilessly anyway. So why should she take on a seriously stressful campaign when she can just collect millions by being herself?
7. Congress Will Not do Anything Meaningful about the Deficit - Yes, there was a deficit reduction commission, and some good ideas were thrown together in that meeting. I predict that none of it will actually be implemented because it is just much easier for the government to continue spending. Additionally, it’s going to be an election year and the politicians will want to be as popular as possible and they probably won’t want to rock the boat. Does anyone really think that these pansies will get rid of the mortgage interest deduction right before an election year for the future fiscal security of the nation? I don’t think so.
That’s all I can think of now, but hopefully 2011 will be a better year for everyone who is still here.
The Baglady’s 200th Post – A Summary of My Blogging AdventureThe Baglady’s Last Minute TaxCut Giveaway!2008 Goals Mid-Year ReviewWhy Would Anyone Want to be President of America Now?The Baglady’s First Financial Goal With Hubby
December 7th, 2010 — Career, Life, Uncategorized
Yes, I know this blog is being neglected, but my life is just running so fast that I can hardly find time to just sit down and write now. My son is now running around like a chimpanzee and I feel like I am constantly running after him. Anyway, I feel that I should record all the things I am thankful for since I last wrote here.
First of all, my sister in law is pregnant so I am going to be an aunt! It is still early but I can’t wait to meet the little guy or girl. They will be in another state, but we will definitely visit once the baby arrives.
Another big thing that happened is that my hubby is started at a new job after 4.5 years with his former company. He will still be working in the gaming industry, but he will no longer be making MMOs. He was extremely happy to get the new offer because it is 30% more than his current salary and he will be working in social gaming, which is something he wanted to get into. The funny thing is that my blogging had a small part in his job hunting. Basically, a recruiter for some gaming companies contacted me via my contact form and asked if I wanted to apply for a release engineering position for the company he was recruiting for. Currently I am not really looking for a new job so I asked him if he wanted my husband’s resume since the hubby has been looking for something new for a while now. Of course he agreed since recruiters love free referrals. After my husband sent him his resume the recruiter actually set him up with several interviews, and he landed this job.
Right now I am going through a transition phase at my workplace since it was acquired in August. It is almost like getting a new job because we were formally offered our jobs with the new company and had to go through all the paperwork once again. My duties really haven’t changed, but there are new processes that will eventually get integrated. As expected, quite a few people quit after the acquisition. It is unfortunate because this company is really the best company I have worked for. However, I know that my ex-coworkers have gotten better monetary offers elsewhere, and many of them have been here so long that change is good for them.
I don’t know if it is because the economy is turning up, but lately I’ve been getting recruiter emails and calls more frequently. I have ignored most of them because I am mostly content where I am now, and it would take an amazing offer for me to make a change. After working for five years I am much more clear in what I want from a employer, and ultimately, I want to just work for myself. Right now I am thankful to have all the things I have now, and I am still working towards financial independence.
GoalsThe Baglady’s Predictions for 2011GoalsAnother reason to hate California: California state budget shenanigansInto the Abyss – Why I Quit My Job
October 18th, 2010 — Children, Life, Retirement
Yes, it has been a full year since the little monster inside me decided to kick down the door and pop his head out. Now he is basically a mini-me with his daddy’s face. My husband wrote a very detailed reflection on the first year of fatherhood and I feel that I should write about how the first year of motherhood has been for me.
This year went by extremely fast for me just because I had so much to do every single day. Although I got up earlier every morning the days just seemed shorter because I spent hours feeding the little guy every single day. In the beginning he ate around 12 times a day, and yes, I was a human food dispenser. After I went back to work in January I started to pump milk to send to the babysitter, and at home he still drank my milk. I did do exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months, and although it took a lot of time, I felt that it was worthwhile because he did not get sick at all during that time period.
When he was around six months I started to make baby food for him, but soon we started to just let him self feed and stopped with the purees. He was still getting most of his nutrients from breast milk but he learned to self feed quickly. Now he eats a wide variety of foods by himself as long as I cut it up into small pieces. He still drinks breast milk now, but he is slowly weaning himself so he isn’t drinking nearly as much breast milk as before.
I also potty trained him starting at 4 months, and he was doing really well for a long time. It got to a point when he would just poop at home during the morning and evenings in his potty and his babysitter rarely had to change poopy diapers. Now he turned one and he is starting to stand up while he his on his potty, and much to my dismay, there has been more accidents just because he is less inclined to sit there and do his business.
In short, it has been a ton of work, but watching him grow has been quite rewarding, too. I guess I never understood why moms posted Facebook updates of their kids’ every little development until I started doing it myself. I think every parent has that unexplainable joy and pride in their babies’ achievements, no matter how small and silly it is. All this work is worth it to me because my child is absolutely amazing in my eyes. My husband said to me once that my baby is probably my biggest accomplishment, and my mom actually said that I am doing a better job than she ever expected with my child. That is a huge compliment coming from a critical Asian mom like her.
After having my baby, I am even more deeply convinced that being a wage slave for your entire life is not the way to live. It does not make sense to pay someone to be away from my child just to earn money, but that is the dilemma so many working moms face. My son makes me want to retire early even more because I want to be able to take him to the beach any day of the week. He is changing so quickly that I just feel like that I would miss something if I wasn’t with him. Although I have very little time now to write, I am still working on increasing my side income, and we are still saving very aggressively so perhaps we will be able to get out of the rat race sooner than planned. I do have a target for my side income. Basically if I can earn 50% of my current salary in side income for 6 months, then I would be ready to quit because we would actually come out ahead economically in that case. The main reasons are that we would pay a lot less in taxes, and I would not have to pay for childcare. Additionally, I will have more time to build up even more side income. Right now my side income is up to 20% of my salary, so I am hoping to reach my goal by the end of next year.
Plans for Reducing Our TaxesDeflation and TaxesGoal for this week: complete our taxesThe Baglady’s 2008 GoalsThe Legend of Chinese New Year