Can a 50-Year-Old Make $400 a Month?

Posted: October 27, 2013 in McTrip posts
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

This is part four of “The Plan.” If you missed the previous three, I certainly hope you were doing something more important, like Sudoku or pumpkin carving. But now that I have your attention, it would be the perfect time to catch up on the first three: Fear, Debt and Savings. This is a complicated plot and I want you to be fully informed. (Ahh, who am I kidding? If I can get you to just read this post it’ll be the biggest achievement of my day.)

Income

d1325will-work-for-money-postersMy money issues just got a little more interesting. My expenses have jumped $400 a month (higher rent and debt management the main culprits). Years ago, $400 would’ve been a drop in the bucket. A $400 bottle of wine at dinner wouldn’t have been completely insane. Today, $400 is a cell phone bill and a credit card payment. I may never get over the juxtaposition of my then-and-now worlds.

But the reason I’m thinking in this small amount of money rather than a real adult salary is because it’s a bridge to a larger goal: to get a steady stream of writing gigs that actually pay money. But that’s going to take some time to cultivate.

The initial stage of this focus on writing has been incredibly time consuming without producing a single nickel of income—yet. Yes, I could be out looking for a full-time job that pays a livable salary, instead of cobbling together a smorgasbord of income here and there. But a full-time job would suffocate my writing aspirations. I just don’t have the energy to work full time, do all the other crap we have to do as humans, and also muster the creativity to write three or four hours a day. Not going to happen.

So, we’re back at the $400 issue. How hard can that possibly be? To make $400 a month? That’s only a hundred dollars a week for Chrissake! LESS THAN FIFTEEN DOLLARS A DAY!!!!

Oh, right. It’s the New Economy and I’m a Baby Boomer. This may take some thought. Some trickery, even.

I don’t want commission work, or temp work, or service jobs with unpredictable schedules. I need to know for sure that next week I’m working that job and I’ll be making this amount of money. Give or take some pocket change.

Earning $400 a month obviously pushes a person into jobs that pay by the hour. (Sad fact: 58% of the new jobs created since the end of the Great Recession pay $14 or less an hour. Obviously, these are not Silicon Valley-quality jobs. But, hey, it’s good news for me. The market has already told me my worth in the New Economy is $20 a hour—my catering wage. So I should be sitting pretty, what with all those newly formed crappy jobs out there. Oh, it’s such a great time to be in America!)

Of course, I’m certainly qualified to work as an assistant in a real estate office, but there’s only one problem: I can’t go back to that world. Even as an assistant. Even for a million dollars. I’m so much happier away from that environment than I ever was in it. I’m not a moth. I will not return to the flame. In this, or any other life.

So my plan today is to look for additional catering jobs (since I’m now “experienced”), or to wait tables in a restaurant. My preference, though, is to tend bar on “slow nights” (Monday-Wednesday, so I can keep the more lucrative catering gigs on the other nights).

It might even be fun. As long as I remind myself that it’s temporary and just a tiny piece of a larger puzzle. Oh, and feel free to chime in with suggestions and job offers. I’ll remember you when I’m famous!

(To be continued…)
JMcT

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