,Welcome to Money In Your 30’s, the occasional series where we on Chief Mom Officer chat with folks in their 30’s about their money situation. Taking a peek inside the personal finances of others is a fun way to learn about how different people handle money. Participants in this series also get a chance to ask questions of CMO readers, and Captain DIY has a few for you today.
He’s a family man who’s held down a variety of different jobs – some of which I didn’t know existed (chicken wing delivery driver?) – and is working towards financial freedom in the next ten years. Like most, he’s not interested in “retiring” in the sense of never working again. Instead, he wants to shift from a physically taxing job into different lines of work, and free up his wife to take on more of the work she loves. And guess what? He’s not in IT, or a doctor – he’s an electrician.
So without further ado, lets get to know him better!
Tell us about yourself!
I am a 36 year old man, married with two kids age 8 and 4. I have an associate’s degree in graphic design that took me six years to get, and I haven’t used it since. I’ve worked as an ice-cream scooper, chicken wing delivery driver, sign maker, waiter, chairlift operator at a ski mountain, and, currently, as an electrician. My wife is a social worker who has recently opened a private practice as a therapist, and I have a W2 job as well as a side business, both in the electrical field.
CMO Note – I have family members in the electrical field. My cousins husband is an electrician, and my brother is an electrical engineer. Great career choice!
What is your age, and location?
We live in New England, and we are both 36.
What is your salary, net worth, and debt?
My current earnings are just under $60k, and my wife is somewhere in the $30k range (hard to be specific with all of the side work). Our net worth, not counting our mortgage (around $135k left) is right around $200k.
Where do you hope to be financially in five years? Ten years?
Five years from now I am hoping to be creating enough income through side hustles and rental real estate to cover our basic needs, and hopefully enough to keep saving. I have several business ideas I’d love to work more on developing, including blogging and even some voice work (I’ve been told by two podcasters now that I have a voice for radio), and We are really hoping to build a healthy real estate portfolio.
Ten years from now I am hoping to be fully FI, although I don’t plan to stop work at that point. I would like to be moving away from electrical work by then, as it can be very physically taxing. I would also like to be in a position where my wife can take on as many or as few clients in her practice as she would like, as I know that is the work that charges her up and fulfills her. Also, she is seriously helping people!
I am also hoping to instill excellent money values in my children, and teach them the value of building up a financial safety net early on in life.
What financial questions do you have?
Most of my questions at this point are concerning the liability, insurance (specifically health), and monetary aspects of shifting into full-time self-employment.
- What is the absolute baseline of income I would need to cover our expenses?
- How would we provide health insurance coverage, and how much would that cost our family?
- What kind of liability is involved in making DIY tutorials on various home improvement projects?
CMO Note: Ah, great questions. I’ll let others chime in over in the comments, but I would suggest that you aim for a higher baseline income than you “need”. Don’t forget that things like self-employment taxes are higher, benefits are more costly when you work for yourself. Also, you lose some benefits shifting into full time self-employment. You’ll need to account for all those when determining your number. For health insurance, it’s hard to give specifics on cost since it varies a lot by area. I’d certainly recommend shopping around. And for liability, you’ll want to likely have a disclaimer on your tutorials. Check into business insurance to cover you for issues. An insurance agent can probably help here.
Where can readers find you?
CMO Here Again!
Thanks so much to Captain DIY for stopping by to share your story. I love how you’re thinking ahead in terms of your career choice. My father used to “side hustle” by painting houses nights and weekends, while working full time for a corporation. When he was laid off in his 40’s, his side hustle became his main hustle. Now as he’s approaching a more traditional retirement age, he doesn’t want to stop working. He does want to shift into less physically taxing work. So I hear you on preparing to make a long-term shift.
Also I love how you’re adding your voice to the FI conversation. So many people miss the fact that the trades can pay well too! Electricians, plumbers, HVAC technicians, auto mechanics – all those fields can pay very well. Heck, my cousins husband makes six figures as an electrician. I’m glad to see someone in the trades is writing about personal finance and financial independence. It’s very much a needed perspective.
Be sure to help with some of his questions in the comments! And if you’d like to participate in this series, pop by my request form.
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