Diversified Income is key to financial independence
Having one source of income is sin, yes, being completely dependent on anything is being enslaved. Depending on one source of income takes away the flexibility of personal decision making.
Income is any monetary or non-monetary reward that we get in return of offering something of value to another person or entity. In a social gathering, you can quickly pick out high income earners, their clothes will be finely cut, their faces shining from expensive makeup and tables full of consumables viz food and drink, not forgetting the loud presence of the other gender. Of course, there will be a tinge of class in what they do, and low-income earners will notice and admire this.
To earn more, you must solve a bigger problem for your customer or organization, that means your skill and mental attitude must be higher. You cannot earn this right to earn a high income by simply being Gen-Y or Gen-X or by being pretty. You must build your earnings potential by taking steps to learn your customer’s needs and also continuously increase your skills to solve those needs.
To be financially independent, you must understand your earnings potential, i.e. how much income you can earn versus your actual earnings now. You must dig for information and clues that inform your earnings ability.
In one interaction with a group of friends, I asked them to list as many sources of income as they could think of, most came up with three and the longest list had five. The list read, employment income, inheritance income, business income, rental income, investment income, yet this list can go down to a large number, where is copyright income, patent income, leases, mining rights, performing fees etc.? Rich people most often than not have several of these income streams while dependent people mostly have one.
The first step to moving closer to financial independence requires that you can be able to name as many sources of income as possible, in this way, assessing your earnings potential becomes worthwhile because you have a rich menu of income sources to choose from and your mind has a variety to work with.
Assessing your talents and capabilities will inform which of the incomes are within your reach. Sometimes it takes checking your childhood passions to determine your talents, and your parents and teachers can assist nature them early in life.
If you come from most public schools in Kenya, you would be lucky to have had a reasonable career and talent guidance. You managed to settle for a career anyway, you were lucky to get a job you are now settled, you have arrived and you worry sometimes because this is your only income. What if your employer does not need your services tomorrow, you quickly push that thought aside and continue with life, never searching for a second complementary income stream. You are definitely lazy, sitting behind your flat screens after work to watch movies, which is another person’s seven generations income.
Talking about seven generation incomes, the list of incomes above can be divided into continuous effort and one-off effort incomes.
Employment and Business incomes definitely need your continued maintenance, while copyright and investment income will need a one off large effort upfront and will continue to accrue to your lineage for a long time, maybe past your seventh generation barring drastic changes in the macro environment. In a near future blog we will look at this phenomenon much more intensely.
Once you have a list of potential earning avenues, it takes courage to act and make it a reality. You are employed, you have a talent in singing, can you take time to practice this talent and in the process earn copyright revenue? Believe me, it requires discipline and consistency. You have marveled at stories of house helps who turned out to be great six figure earning singers and or actors.
As you contemplate your second source of income, remember as the bible says, “ give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to him ”, your current employer requires your faithfulness to contract, hence the effort and energy required for your new source of income should be considered. It’s foolhardy to start a business that runs during the day and requires your time hence distracting you big time from your daily chores. A colleague of mine once started a matatu business and he had to keep sneaking from the office every so often, because he would get calls from the driver such as, boss, the vehicle has been impounded by police and they need a bribe, and he had to run to go bail them out, and this really affected his productivity, to the extent of having to be fired.
The search for diversified income sources should be a continuous quest; it knows no age and or gender. It’s not in the realm of the lazy, but rather it’s a reward for hard work and thoughtfulness. Just as we seek to consume a balanced diet, so we should balance between the continuous and one off effort income sources. Surely, financial independence arrives when these two incomes balance out, this should be our target.