Those dimes add up. Regular readers know that I’m a major advocate of sensible financial planning and reducing unnecessary spending (at one point, I would have been an “extreme budgeter,” but now some hedonic adaptation has kicked in and I’m enjoying the fruits of my labor a bit more). I also promote hustling—working hard and spinning different side gigs—to generate extra income.
Indeed, in my late twenties and early thirties I overdid the side hustles, to the point that I became quite burned out and even a little bitter. Long-time readers may have noticed the tone and mood of my pieces have improved over the last year. One silver lining of The Age of The Virus—not one, by any means, that is worth the loss of life and liberty—is that it forced me to slow down and shed a number of extracurricular responsibilities. It’s amazing how much difference being at home by 6 PM on a weeknight, as opposed to 9:30 or 10 PM, makes on one’s mood and outlook on life.
Nevertheless, I like being busy and working hard. I also think it’s very much a necessity, especially for my generation, to diversify income sources as much as possible—and to live frugally. As I wrote in a long end-of-the-decade post on SubscribeStar (preview), the major milestones—marriage, family formation, home ownership, and the rest—has come much later for my generation:
[O]nly at the comparatively ripe old age of 34 […] I was in the position, financially, to purchase a home. Further, I still don’t have any dependents. I put most of my money into retirement accounts, which I could adjust, but even with substantial additional earnings from private lessons and some gigs, I’m essentially on a savings hamster wheel.
After the economic disruption of The Age of The Virus, that “savings hamster wheel” will continue, and major milestones in life will continue to be delayed. Even someone like myself with many natural and environmental advantages—supportive parents, good friends, a good job, multiple sources of income, God-given musical abilities, and the rest—struggles to build wealth (granted, my retirement accounts have done well over the last five years, for which I am thankful; it’s just money I can’t touch for another three decades).
To be clear, I’m not complaining: I love teaching music lessons (lucrative and fun!) and playing gigs, and adjunct teaching online is not a heavy lift with my schedule. My day job—which has shifted more towards teaching music than social studies—has improved dramatically over the past year, in part to the more Virus-subdued school calendar, but also because it’s fun playing bass with middle and high school students all day. I’m also eager to serve my little town on Town Council (my first meeting is coming up this Monday). I am very blessed—and incredibly thankful for your support.
All that said, I am excited to keep working towards financial freedom. Unfortunately, the only way to truly experience freedom in the United States is to possess enough wealth to become uncancellable. That’s probably a staggeringly high number, but I wouldn’t be opposed to living humbly off of savings. Of course, now the Left is targeting even payment processors and brokerage firms. Accumulated wealth means nothing if investors can’t access or dispose of it in the time and manner they see fit.
Nevertheless, it would be unethical not to work towards self-sufficiency. To do otherwise is to make one’s self a burden on others—first the family, then the state. Working towards that goal requires long-term planning and loads of patience. It also means creating and providing something of value for others, while also fulfilling one’s vocation—one’s true calling in life.
I hope this humble blog provides some value to your life. It’s a labor of love, and I’ve found that I truly enjoy the daily activity of writing, no matter the topic. Sure, not all of my posts are memorable or profound, but here’s hoping readers have gotten something out of it over the past couple of years.
Of course, it being Bandcamp Friday, it’s the perfect time to purchase my music. If all this writing about Hector Berlioz and Beethoven has you in the mood for programmatic music, might I recommend Electrock EP: The Four Unicorns of the Apocalypse?
Finally, I have an announcement: I’m beginning to edit a collection of satirical, two-minute mystery stories I wrote between fifteen and twenty years ago about a grizzled flatfoot, Inspector Gerard, into an eBook, which will be available on Amazon. $5 and up subscribers to my Subscribe Star page will begin receiving one or two stories a week as bonus content. All others can pick up the eBook (I hope to offer it in paperback, too) upon its release, which will hopefully be within a few weeks. Stayed tuned for The Chronicles of Inspector Gerard.
Like I say—always be hustlin’. Keep working hard!
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