The draft of what I am currently calling my LARGER PROJECT — or, if we want to refer to it by its filename, THE BOOK — currently includes 18,921 words.
That’s roughly 15% of the 130,000 words it might take to finish THE BOOK — which isn’t bad considering I started writing THE BOOK at the beginning of March, not including the notes I began taking at the beginning of the year.
I also just finished running my freelance earnings for Q1 2022. So far I’ve earned $26,789.50 and received $22,231.54 (all pretax, of course), which means I’ve earned 21% and received 17% of the $130,000 I hope to generate by the end of the year.
However, those numbers suggest that I might want to devote more time to freelance writing and less time to book writing — because I’m ahead of my BOOK DRAFTING goal and behind my MONEY EARNING one.
If I were to continue BOOK DRAFTING at my current pace, I would have 130,000 words by the end of October.
If I were to continue MONEY EARNING at my current pace, I would have $107,158 earned and $88,926 received by the end of the year.
Is that a fair trade?
I’m giving you these numbers first because I like numbers and second because I told you that this week’s installment of Personal Finance for Writers would focus on how to divide your time between writing that yields an immediate financial payout (also known as freelancing) and writing that may not yield a financial payout, immediately or (in some cases) ever.
I also gave you an assignment to complete, in last week’s class, and I hope you took it seriously. If you did the math and figured out how much money you needed to earn to 1) maintain your current lifestyle, 2) cover your basic expenses and 3) never have to worry about money again, you should have a better sense of how much time you can afford to spend on YOUR BOOK and how much time you might want to spend on YOUR FREELANCING.
If you cannot cover your basic expenses or maintain your current lifestyle with the money you are currently earning, you might want to put more hours towards money-earning activities (freelance writing or otherwise). As I wrote last week: do not go into debt to draft a novel based on your grandfather’s wartime letters.
But what if you’re me?
If I only (“only”) received $88,926 in freelance earnings by the end of 2022, I would have more than enough money to maintain my current lifestyle. $25,000 would go towards 2022 expenses. $17,000 would go towards IRAs (trad/SEP) and my HSA. $17,000 would go towards taxes. The remaining ~$29,926 would go into a high-interest (“high-interest”) savings account, which would put my EOY cash net worth at around $280,000.
Perfectly fine, of course.
But not what I might need to earn if I wanted to have a $1M cash net worth by the time I turn 50.
If I earned the full $130,000 required to keep me on target for my $1M goal, $25,000 would still go towards expenses. $25,000 would go towards IRA/HSA and $25,000 would go towards taxes. The remaining ~$55,000 would go into my savings account, bringing my EOY cash net worth to around $313,000.
How much is THE BOOK worth?
What if THE BOOK is as good as I think it could be?
What if it isn’t?
Could THE BOOK earn the $40,000 I’m theoretically leaving on the table by putting my extra hours towards BOOK GOAL instead of EARNINGS GOAL?
Should EARNINGS GOAL be adjusted to accommodate BOOK GOAL?
These are the kinds of questions you should ask yourself, when you are considering whether to put more time towards writing that yields an immediate financial payout vs. writing that may never yield a financial payout.
You should also ask yourself whether you are missing out on any potentially valuable client relationships by choosing to work on your own projects instead of working on someone else’s projects. Freelancing compounds; the more assignments you complete, the more opportunities you have to build both your reputation and your value. Take a few months off from freelancing, and the assignments that would have been sent your way will go to someone else — who will receive not only the financial/reputational benefits of the current work but also all the work that follows from that work.
Freelancing also compounds in the sense that it gives you the opportunity to develop expertise. I may have the chance to do a really interesting freelance project simply because I’m one of the few people with a particular knowledge base and skill set — which, of course, derives directly from my previous freelance work. This project, in turn, is likely to take more time out of my day. Should I pull those hours from FREELANCING (that is, should I turn down other assignments in order to make time for this project) or should I pull those hours from BOOK WRITING?
When it comes down to short-term financial goals, medium-term career goals, and long-term writing goals, which takes precedence?
That’s the question I’d like you to think about this week. ❤️
In the meanwhile, here’s where I got published since our last installment!
Most methods of paying off debt require you to pay interest, which means that you could end up spending a lot of extra money as you work toward a debt-free life. While 0 percent intro APR balance transfer credit cards give you the opportunity to pay down your credit card balances before they start accruing interest, many consumers are carrying too much debt to complete the payments before the interest kicks in.
Keep in mind that using a personal loan to pay off your credit card debt isn’t the same thing as becoming debt-free. After you pay off your credit cards, you’ll still need to pay off your personal loan. However, paying off your high credit card balances, and saying goodbye to the high interest charges that accompany them, can be a huge financial relief, and is one of the biggest benefits of paying off debt with a personal loan.
If you have a taxable debt of $600 or more canceled by the lender, that lender is required to file Form 1099-C with the IRS. The lender is also required to send you a copy of the 1099-C Cancellation of Debt form so you can use it when you file your annual taxes. If the debt on your 1099-C Cancellation of Debt form does not fall into one of the IRS’s excluded categories, you might owe debt forgiveness tax.
Can you use a credit card at an ATM to get a cash advance? Absolutely. Should you? Not unless you need to. Cash advances come with additional fees and high interest rates, so they should only be used as a last resort. Here’s what you need to know about how cash advances work, how to get cash from your credit card at an ATM and which cash advance alternatives you should consider before taking money out of your credit card.
How to report credit card fraud, Bankrate
Any time a credit account is used without the owner’s knowledge or consent, that account is being used fraudulently. If you fall for a phishing email and unusual charges begin appearing on your credit card account, that’s credit card fraud. If you swipe your card at a gas station without realizing you just inserted your card into a credit card skimmer, that’s credit card fraud. If a family member or roommate steals your credit card and goes on a shopping spree, that’s credit card fraud. If you borrow your spouse’s credit card without their permission, you might be unwittingly committing credit card fraud yourself.
Your guide to Visa Infinite Benefits, Bankrate
Each Visa credit card falls into one of three categories: Visa Traditional, Visa Signature and Visa Infinite. Of the three categories, Visa Infinite is the most exclusive and comes with the most valuable benefits. Because of this, cardholders need excellent credit to be eligible for a Visa Infinite card, and these cards generally come with hefty annual fees.
Many people have trouble paying their credit card debts—but not everyone realizes that they could be sued for unpaid credit card debt. An occasional missed credit card payment might lower your credit score or raise your interest rates, but after four or five months of missed credit card payments, your credit card issuer might turn your account over to a debt collector. If you continue to ignore your debts instead of settling them, the debt collector might send you a court summons.
Can you use one credit card to pay off another? CreditCards.com
Using credit to pay for credit is generally a bad idea, which is why credit card issuers don’t allow you to pay your credit card bill with another credit card. In most cases, using one credit card to pay off another credit card will simply add to your debt and make it even harder to pay off your credit cards in the future.
Guide to the Greenlight Debit Card for Kids, CreditCards.com
The Greenlight card is a prepaid debit card designed to teach children about the fundamentals of personal finance. Parents can deposit money into their kids’ Greenlight accounts and help them set savings goals, make charitable donations and budget for everyday purchases. The Greenlight mobile app allows kids to track their balances, complete chore lists in exchange for allowance money and learn how today’s choices affect tomorrow’s possibilities.
The cost of moving closer to aging parents, Haven Life
Some of us, especially those with young children, may be interested in moving closer to aging parents in order to give our kids the opportunity to bond with their grandparents — and, of course, to give the grandparents the opportunity to provide free childcare! Others, especially those of us with an elderly parent, may be asking ourselves whether it’s time for us to provide the care.