A Tale of Two Careers
Two friends, Alex and Oscar, grew up in the same neighborhood, same type of house, same type of family. Their lives turned out very different, even though they lived next door to each other most of their lives.
(While this story is about two men, it could be true for any two people.)
Both liked to read as kids. Alex was given books about success as a teen, Oscar found himself reading sports magazines.
Alex and Oscar both did OK in school. Alex took extra classes which gave him college credit. Oscar took what he had to in order to graduate.
Alex finished off a two-year degree shortly after high-school and got an entry-level job at the local plant.
Oscar went to college and graduated with a bachelor’s.
Alex was promoted to a supervisor position in his company the same day they hired Oscar as a supervisor.
Each had a different approach to their own job.
Alex came a little early to ensure everything was set up for the day, and that all the work was lined up. He also stayed a little later to ensure everything was set up for the next shift and looked for opportunities to improve their production.
Oscar came on time, did his job as he was told, left on time.
While both received salary increases in good years, Alex’s was routinely larger, and he infrequently had bonuses in his pay because of the improved efficiency in his area.
After dinner with his family, Oscar sat in his favorite chair and watched broadcast TV or cable, surfing infrequently through the hundreds of channels available.
Alex spent his spare time reading about or working on his home-business, which he would change infrequently as he found more profitable passive business channels.
Both were satisfied with their style of living.
Oscar spent the weekends working on his boat between sports events on TV. He’d take his family on weekend trips to the lake.
Alex would spend the weekend with his family on home projects they all could be involved in. When they went out for a weekend, it was usually camping at a public campground. (While they had a TV, it was only connected to a DVD player, which was usually used for movies they checked out from the local library.)
Oscar would grumble occasionally at the end of the month that his paycheck was gone almost before he could deposit it. He had his college loan, his home mortgage, his car, his SUV, and his boat to pay for. Oscar got a new car every third year, as soon as the warranty ran out. He did the same for his SUV and his boat. He got a long-term loan on his house mortgage to pay as little as possible each month.
Alex had his check direct deposited, with 10 percent going to savings. He had paid off his student costs for that year in college with the first year of salary from his job. He’d saved up for his home so that he paid nearly 50% upfront, and then accelerated the payments so that debt was gone in a few years. Alex budgeted carefully and never bought on credit, but saved up for big purchases with a special account.
Alex paid cash for a truck that researched out as dependable and low cost. He had found it as pre-owned, with low miles and only a year old. He kept this truck well maintained and found that it was less expensive to rebuild the engine and transmission than buy a new truck. He followed the same policy with his wife’s car. Alex liked being called “frugal” and “cheap skate.”
Alex was living on less than 70% of his salary and was saving 10% and investing the other 20% in dividend-paying stocks and other conservative investments. His home business was made to pay for itself and to quickly pay back any personal loan he had to invest for its expansion.
When Alex’s home business began to routinely pay more than enough to replace his salary and all the benefits his job was kicking in, he then quit his job to start working on his business full time. Because that home business was all passive income, he was able to then diversify into additional product-lines which were also passive, and also paid their own way.
When people asked, Alex would tell them that now he was happier than ever. He was doing what he loved and had plenty of spare time (and money to spend) whenever he wanted. He said his work was like being paid to play baseball for a living.
Alex took up walking and running as soon as he started working only for himself, in order to keep in shape and his mind clear for his business.
Oscar continued to keep his job at the company, even though he was nearly laid off with plant-wide downsizing a few times. Eventually, he took a severance package near his retirement age and started to collect Social Security. Since he still had house, car, SUV, and boat payments, his severance package mainly went to pay these off. Social Security was eaten up by Medicade, so that was a wash.
It took Oscar 10 years after he retired to finally pay off his home. He had gotten rid of the boat and his main entertainment was now just TV. He got out of shape from sitting around all the time and his health worsened gradually.
10 years after Oscar retired, Alex was making several times more than he made from his old job’s salary, and continued to reinvest any extra into his businesses. His savings account was massive, but he never touched it. Occasionally, he would take his wife and any kids still at home on long weekend vacations, flying out to resorts in cities where conferences were being held. The expense was paid for by his businesses.
Alex was able to spend a great deal of time with his kids and grandkids. He taught them early how to have a goal for their lives, and how to start a passive-income business that paid its own way. He didn’t give them loans unless they could prove to him their businesses were able to pay the loans off as well as the interest.
At Oscar’s funeral, Alex paid his respects to the family and to the memory of his old classmate and co-worker.
While Alex was saddened by the loss, he also knew that Oscar had made very different choices than he had.
Oscar’s widow sold their house, car and SUV to pay for the expenses remaining. She then moved in with one of their children.
Alex and his wife continued living in their own home and welcomed their new neighbors and their kids. The new neighbor remarked about Alex’s classic truck, about how it was now cheaper to buy and rebuild than buy new. Alex invited him over for dinner, and to discuss a business opportunity that could be done in his spare time.
This was a story of two people, who each made different choices.
How are your choices turning out?
A Recipe for Personal Greatness and Financial Freedom:
1. Decide on a goal and work toward it constantly.
2. Give far more value on your job than asked to do. Earn salary increases and bonuses because of the extra value you give your job.
3. Live a frugal life, live within your means, pay down your debts early.
4. Save 10 percent of your weekly pay.
5. Streamline your budget so you can invest another 20% in dividend-earning investments.
6. Start a home business as your spare-time hobby. Make this pay for itself with passive income greater than costs plus reserve-building. Ensure that it aligns to your passion.
7. When your home business regularly returns passive income better than your salary plus all your benefits, shift over to full-time work at your home business.
8. Help everyone around you openhandedly. Teach those that will listen how to set goals and make them as a way of life. Be an example of successful living to everyone you meet.
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