My previous solutions in this series of how to best afford a frum lifestyle focused on the expense side of one’s personal income statement. Eliminating unnecessary products and services and adopting a more affordable way of life are all reasonable strategies. However, it’s equally important to spend time on the revenue side of the income statement, determining how to generate more money to improve one’s monthly cash flow. Below I’ve outlined some strategies worth considering.
A dual income household: In decades past, it was more common for only one spouse to work. Today, it’s far more common to encounter families with both spouses working. A dual income has become a necessity in this expensive world in which we live. If you are under financial stress, and only have one spouse working, then it may be time for the other spouse to consider entering the workforce. Many readers will be quick to point out that it’s not always possible for both spouses to work, given the rigors and time commitment of raising a family. I’d counter with a reminder that entering the workforce doesn’t mean you need to work 40 hours or more a week. Even a part-time role that brings in another few thousand dollars a month can make all the difference. Some companies may even provide relatively generous retirement and insurance benefits to part-time employees that may also be helpful for your financial health.
Leverage your skills in another capacity: Sometimes folks simply do not cash in on their full earnings potential. You may like a particular organization, but if they are unwilling or unable to pay you market rate, there is nothing wrong with exploring the market to get a higher-paying role. Examples of this may be working for a small company or a not-for-profit. These organizations may be more strapped for cash and simply can’t afford to pay top dollar. However, if you take your talents in computers, marketing, human resources or any other in-demand skillset and move to a larger or for-profit company, you may be able to realize an instantaneous increase in your earnings.
Explore roles outside your geographic location: While Covid-19 has been difficult for people all over the world, the silver lining that came out of this pandemic has been the willingness of companies to hire employees outside their geographic location. This has led to people in all fields working remotely more seamlessly. I’ve heard of New York-based businessmen relocating to Florida, California-employed physicians moving to Israel, and a Chicago-based financial services firm actively looking to hire people from around the country. If you are in a location where the opportunities are limited, explore opportunities from other parts of the U.S. or even abroad. You may be surprised how many companies would be open to having the right candidate work remotely regardless of their location.
Develop a “side hustle” within your field of expertise: A “side hustle” is when an individual starts a business outside their regular employment to earn extra cash. I’m not a big fan of side jobs that are not relevant to your line of work. I think in many situations it leads to a lack of focus and it’s hard to do two jobs well. That being said, doing additional work that is within your line of business in order to generate extra income is sensible for some people. For example, it may make sense for a rebbe at an elementary school to tutor at night or on the weekends for extra money. He is just leveraging his existing expertise to help students outside of normal business hours. Furthermore, utilizing Zoom or FaceTime for these sessions doesn’t limit his side business to where he lives. He can teach Torah to students around the world from the comfort of his home. The only requirement is access to the internet and a phone or computer.
Rethinking how to generate income in retirement: Planning ahead is especially important for retirees since they will no longer have a steady paycheck from work. There are some creative ways for folks approaching retirement to generate a higher level of income. The silver bullet to solve many cash flow needs for retirees is simply to continue working in some capacity during retirement. This will allow their savings to continue to grow and shorten the period of time they need to rely solely on money from their nest egg.
If working longer is not practical, then other items to consider include delaying taking social security until age 70, getting more exposure to higher income investments, realizing capital gains in addition to dividends and income payments to meet your cash flow needs, and exploring annuities as a form of guaranteed income. Every one of these approaches requires specialized knowledge and proper planning. It behooves retirees to have an in-depth discussion with their financial advisor to determine a plan that makes the most sense for them.
Sometimes the best solution to a problem is to view it through a different lens. Evaluating how to maximize your income, instead of just minimizing your expenses, is an often-overlooked financial strategy. Hopefully, one of the above suggestions will relieve families’ financial stress and help them achieve their financial goals.