Do you always need to make more money? I'm making six figures a year, but that is likely to change.
For several years now, I've been blessed to have a great career as a freelancer. I've built my reputation up over time, and, for the most part, I set my own rates and choose my clients. I've been fortunate to be the primary breadwinner for my family, even before my husband asked for a divorce.
Not only have I been fortunate to support my family, but I spent several years making six figures — a milestone that many freelancers and others aspire to. Now, though, I'm seriously considering stepping back from making six figures a year.
Here's why I'm thinking of taking a “pay cut”:
I Don't Need the Money
First of all, I don't need the money. As part of my fresh start, I moved back to my hometown of Idaho Falls. One of the great things about living in Idaho is the fact that the cost of living is much lower than when I lived in the Philly area.
Since moving here, I can meet my needs and my son's needs. All my priorities (retirement, college savings, etc.) are met. We even have money for many of our wants. I know I'm fortunate to be in this position, and as a result, I'm thinking of cutting back a bit. Making six figures doesn't matter if it isn't adding to your happiness or your ability to enjoy your lifestyle.
I'm Interested in Other Projects
I love what I do. I enjoy freelance writing, and I discovered, as a result of fortuitous circumstances, that I love writing about money. But that doesn't mean that all I want to do is write for other people — or write only about money.
I hope to devote more time to other projects I'm working on, like the Money Mastermind Show and the Money Tree Investing Podcast. I'm also excited to be working on another podcast project with a good friend. I want time for these projects.
On top of that, I'd like more time to write on my own blogs. I like writing about writing, and I like working on some of the other blogs that I have in partnership. I wish I had more time to work on them, even though I'm not getting paid immediately. There is potential for more in some of these sites, and I'd like to develop them more.
Working less and stepping back from making six figures frees up a little more time. I'll keep writing for money (I need to eat, my son needs fencing gear, and I like working with the clients I have), but I can also concentrate on other things now.
Finally, I'm engaging more in the local community. I've joined the Chamber of Commerce, and I'm involved at the county level with a political party. So far, I've enjoyed networking, attending interesting events in town, volunteering, and feeling as though I'm making a small difference.
Working less means that I have even more flexibility in my schedule. In fact, I've been slowly adjusting my schedule so that I am more productive during the afternoon, evening, and even at night. In the past, I've been practically incapable of working at any time other than the morning. However, with some of my new (self-imposed) obligations, I need to be available during what were my peak productivity hours.
My Son, Self-Care, and Health
Finally, I'm getting serious about self-care and my health. I make exercise a priority each day, working out at home or swimming laps at the pool. Additionally, I spar three times a week with my son. I've also been making meals at home more often, with the help of Blue Apron. It's healthier, even though it takes more time. Making my health a priority provides me with more energy and I'm in a better mood. I feel better and I'm healthier.
My son and I have more time to work on homework, go on little adventures, and just hang out. It's been good for our relationship for me to work less.
I'm also making time for self-care, including getting to the spa, and taking time to read, practice piano and guitar, and meditate. I still put these things behind other priorities, but I'm getting better at it.
I'm still making six figures for now, but I probably won't be for much longer. I'm trying to decide how to change things up a little bit to make a little less to free up more time.
Making more isn't a goal of mine; enriching my life is the goal.