Why the Global Financial Crisis has Improved My Work Wealth

Work at homeThis post is featured in the Carnival of Personal Finance hosted at My Personal Finance Journey

Depending on the industry you work in, you may or may not have felt the effects of the recent Global Financial Crisis.  For some it was barely a blip on the radar, business as usual, but for others it caused all kinds of problems and for a few it still is.  I happen to be one of those few, as my particular industry is manufacturing… given we manufacture in Australia I probably don’t need to say too much more, but it’s fair to say that it hasn’t been smooth sailing lately!

I’m sure that everyone has a theory about the GFC and methods to combat the effects, which in my case has been a serious lack of cash flow, but in most cases the general response has been to limit spending.  This response can vary from business to business, some are more strategic than others about how they spend, but I would go as far as guessing that just about all businesses feeling the pinch applied this to any form of pay rise for employees.  It’s a tough but necessary reality, I understand and appreciate the logic involved, a business can’t continue to pay it’s employees more when it isn’t making money.  In fact, if it lasts for any great length of time there is really only one way for things to go and it has nothing to do with increases!

You might think that it would be around this time that I jumped ship.  Things are starting to look up now in Australia and there are certainly more jobs around than there were a year ago.  I’m not going to lie to you, I have thought about it.  Despite the fact that my salary has been heading in the wrong direction lately, it would actually take a fair bit for me to leave.  Why? because I like what I do, in fact I’d go as far as saying that I love it!

Do What You Love

How many people can say that they love what they do?  I know that I couldn’t before I had this job.  If you have been visiting Money Cactus for a while you may have seen my guest post on Feelgooder about doing what you love, where I talk more about how you can do this.  In the post I also mentioned that despite doing something I love, my current desire is to look for something else that keeps me at home a little more now that my wife and I have a child.  Fortunately for me the good old GFC has helped me achieve this without even leaving my job, but probably not in the way you might think.

My work generally involves long days and frequent travel and despite the financial slow down, I have continued to do this as it helps to promote the business.  The thing that has changed is that I don’t get paid any extra for the additional work.  As I said, I like what I do so I’m happy to do this, but at the end of the day work is just that and as employees we expect some form of remuneration.  Many people expect this to be in a monetary form, but if you are creative you can end up with a lot more!

The Working Wealth Formula

Do you know how much money you need to live on?  If you have a budget then you probably do, but even if you don’t you could probably take a guess based on the amount of cash you spend on things you don’t need or have been putting away as savings (much better by the way).  Sure you need some money to do both, but after a certain point you begin trading your time for money that you don’t necessarily need.

Whoa!  I know what you are thinking, he’s going to tell me to move to the country and start growing my own food!  Actually I’m not, but feel free to do it if it makes you happy.  I know how much money I need to live on, including saving and buying investments and while more money is nice, more time can be even nicer.

Here is my formula to increase your work wealth;

Workday – Standard work hours = overtime (remunerated as time off)

Ok, not groundbreaking, but here is how my wealth creation formula works.  I had a talk with my employer and agreed to remain on my current salary and continue to work as hard as I can, if this involves longer days or extended travel then I am happy to do this as long as I can recoup it in time off.  To make this fair my overtime is capped at a 9 hr day (a standard work day is 7.6 hrs and no I don’t work overtime every day!).  Many people refer to this accrued time as time in lieu, but it doesn’t tend to get used so much these days as employees tend to except overtime as something they have to do.  That is fine if you are compensated for it financially, but I’m much happier to have the time at home if I can get it.  I still love what I do, but I love my family and freedom even more.

Hacks to Increase Your Workplace Wealth

Thanks to my accrual of time (and some annual leave) I have spent the last 3 weeks on leave enjoying summer and still have plenty left for later in the year.  During this time I have needed to tend to certain work matters, but I had anticipated this and implemented some strategies that would keep me from needing to go into the office.  Here is what I did:

  1. I diverted my work line to my mobile phone using the easy to follow instructions in the back of the White Pages directory.
  2. I used camscanner on my iPhone to take pictures of documents that I use regularly.  This way I can access them anywhere I am and still read all the print.
  3. I installed Teamviewer onto my work computer and laptop so that I could access my work computer remotely, use any software I needed and print orders and other documents directly to the office printer no matter where I was.

If any of the above sounds familiar, its probably because it is.  Tim Ferriss talks all about it in his book The 4 Hour Work Week and although I have substituted the applications I use, the concept remains the same.

The above 3 steps were dead easy to implement and took no time at all.  This has meant that I can now effectively work anywhere I like without needing to go into the office… do you see where I’m going with this?

What I have been able to prove over a period of 3 weeks is that I can remain productive and ensure business continues as usual.  What this means is that I can now strike up another conversation with my employer about working remotely (at home) for a minimum of one day per week.  If for some reason I can’t convince them, I can start looking a little harder for employment, but I’m confident I can work something out.

What will I do with the extra time I have up my sleeve?  Well if you hang around, you’re going to find out!

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  1. Hey now. I live in the country, and I grow my own food. What’s wrong with telling others to do the same? 😛

    I’m going to have to check out camscanner. I didn’t even know it existed.

    You are one step closer to running your business in THE cloud, my friend. 🙂

    • Ha! Nothing at all wrong with that, in fact I’m jealous!

      That Camscanner is a good little app and best of all it is free. With luck I’ll get a few things off the ground this year, THE Cloud sounds nice 😉

  2. I also think a lot of it depends on how you look at the world and the old glass half full outlook! I know plenty of people who are on the same salary as they were a couple of years ago and if anything their living costs have gone down yet them seem more miserable and I think it’s just what people hear in the media. Money doen’t make the world go round 🙂

    • Hey Niall,

      Unfortunately my costs haven’t gone down (I have a new baby ;)), but I agree that it really does depend on how you look at it. You can increase your wealth with more than just money and you can make money from more than one income source. Anyone can do this, they just need to be creative and stop making excuses about why they can’t.

      Thanks for your comment

  3. Great job on getting more productive!
    Four hours work week is in my reading queue, hopefully it’ll give me some pointers.

    • It really is a great book, despite being a few years old now. There are so many ideas that you can apply and tweak to your particular situation.

      Let me know what you think once you get to read it.

  4. Thank you for this nice post, Shaun. You really have a good way of coping up the financial crisis situation. Good luck to you.