Plucking a Thread From the Cord

With each new year comes unlimited potential. An opportunity to create new opportunities. And I plan on doing just that.

My reflection on where I’ve come from and what I need to do to get to the promised land, a place where I don’t need a cord to feed me financial sustenance month after month, is part of the reason for an extended lull between by last blog post and this one. You see, on February 28, I will officially hit my tenth year working in marketing at a law firm.

That’s both good and bad.

The good is that by reaching this “milestone” I will get an extra week of paid vacation every year.

The bad is that’s 10 years of my life running through the firm’s hamster wheel day in and day out, all while not receiving more than a 1-2 percent raise every year.

I turn 42 this year and it’s time for a change. I can’t quit my job as I still have a wife and two kids to support. What I can do is force a change at work and get a better grip on my financial outlook following a full year of dedicated dividend growth investing that formally began in December, 2013.

On the investment front, I’ve created a spreadsheet to track every penny that goes into and out of the house every month sans my day job paycheck. This will give me a better idea of the divide between me working for the man and being able transition into my own controlled work environment.

January got off to a rough start as I had a nearly $900 car repair on my old jalopy, a beautiful hunk of junk that warrants its own post. On the flip side, December was quite profitable with my web income so it’s going to be a close call. I think I’ll fall short, but the divide should max out at three figures.

At the office is where I plan on making a noticeable change. I’ve already requested a meeting with the CEO/partner to discuss my annual review rather than my direct boss. That should come in March — hopefully.

There are two options I have been tossing around my head the past several weeks:

1) Ask for a substantial raise in the neighborhood of $25k a year, knowing it will be negotiated down, to both make up for being underpaid and to reflect the many hats I’ve had to wear.

2) Ask for a minimal raise and cut my hours to 32, thereby giving me every Friday off.

I struggled deciding which tact to take. If I were younger, I would fling open door number one and shoot for the much bigger salary. But I’m not younger; I’m over 40. And right now time is far more valuable than more dollar bills, even if those dollars will earn me more dividend paying stocks. Besides, I can use that extra time to both re-energize myself mentally, physically through additional exercise, and even earn some side money if I feel like it.

That’s the key: “if I feel like it.” Because if I can successfully negotiate Fridays off, which by the way my direct boss already enjoys so there’s a precedent, then I just about guarantee myself a minimum of three-day weekends for the rest of my life.

You can’t put a price on that.

With any luck I’ll be posting in March or April at the latest about the first thread in that financial cord being cut from my employer. I will have won Friday and will continue to fight for every other day of the week.

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