You know how it goes. The bumped pebble that hits a stone that dislodges a boulder that means a major portion of a mountain can become a flow that can reach the sea. Geologically speaking, landslides reaching the sea don’t have to be imagined around the Salish Sea. Our volcanoes have histories of landslides. For me, one event has released plenty of positive pent-up energies in many aspects of my life. Prepare for a series of events that start with real estate and visit imaginary space, and further proof that personal finance plans must be fluid or get run over.
Near the end of July I wrote a post called, Good News Is Swirling. Lots of good things were happening. The most obvious one was the release of my book about tea, Kettle Pot Cup. It is a fundraiser, so I don’t expect to make money from it, but it was an accomplishment and something fun to do.
Two days later I received an unsolicited phone call from folks who wanted to move to Whidbey Island. Yesterday the deal was recorded at the County and they officially own it. Yay! And I got paid. Yay!
Getting paid wasn’t much of an issue prior to the pandemic, but helping these people ended a dry spell in my business. I hadn’t been paid in real estate for almost 18 months. Prices were up. Clients were bidding. But the people I was working with were being outbid, out-priced, or deciding to buy outside Washington State. I was busy, but I wasn’t paid.
Unsolicited phone calls are hard to plan for. Year-long dry spells aren’t easy either.
So, am I taking my doctor’s advice to TAKE A VACATION? Nope, at least not yet, or in the way most folks might expect.
I bought a bit of THC as TLC. But the larger purchase was repacking my pantry. Food shopping as retail therapy, and also expanding my menu selections. Hello, salmon. Welcome back.
But take a vacation? Ha! I have to and get to get ready to give a real estate presentation at one of the local libraries. Every few months I compile some data about the real estate and affordability trends on Whidbey Island, where I live. (Which is also why the state requires the following disclosure: I’m a broker at Dalton Realty, Inc. http://whidbeyrealtor.com/.) The next one is scheduled for September 8th. The freshest data are delivered on the first working day of the month, so I have a lot of work to do that I couldn’t start doing until today. So, yeah, I’ve got that to get done, soon. Fortunately, I’m comfortable with data.
(Freeland Library Thursday, Sept. 8, 2:00 PM – 3:30 PM
Data? Math? I’m finally to the point in publishing my sci-fi novel that I’m creating title pages, character descriptions, and acknowledgements. I had fun adding thanks to a simple yet insightful equation that inspired some of the story.
It was a very geeky moment. The book should be ready for sale within weeks.
But first, that check provided the cash I needed to restock my inventory of the books I’ve already written and produced. The costs weren’t much when seen from this side of a deposit slip, but from the other side I had to dole out examples gingerly. It is hard to have a marketing campaign when the inventory is described by waving my arms. Within a week or two they’ll be back in stock.
That timing works out well because shortly after that I’ll be co-hosting a workshop/seminar about self-publishing, From Inspiration To Publication. Fresh examples and anecdotes added to my twenty years of self-publishing. That’s another presentation to prepare, but maybe not until after the 8th of September.
How does all of that work its way into my personal finance plan? I can anticipate some costs but can’t predict any sales. Most books do not make enough to cover the author’s costs; but books are also like odd lottery tickets. As one publishing executive pronounced before a governmental panel, the publishing industry is mostly random. They rarely know if a book is going to sell well or if an author is going to succeed. Celebrities are celebrated, but most authors have to work harder to spark their applause.
And then there was the call from Kingfisher Bookstore in Coupeville as they decided to join the other island bookstores that are selling my book about tea. Unexpected but appreciated. It was also an excuse for a drive up the island.
Life is not spelled w-o-r-k. They both use four letters, but remember my recent post about splitting my pants? (I Split My Pants) Well, now I can afford a new pair.
I can also afford to visit people who help me work on various ailments and injuries. There’s a long list of home maintenance items for various contractors. Remodel and renovation will continue to wait. Repair and replace come first. Planning for those costs are guesses, too. My house was built in 1964. Fix one small thing and it may uncover something else. Which to fix, first?
My check was deposited yesterday. I’ve spent the day unleashing pent-up projects, mostly with bits of cash that weren’t even large enough to pay for a new pair of pants. (I’m surprised at the cost of hiking pants. The last ones I bought were at least a decade ago.)
For the price of a pair of pants I:
- began refilling my pantry
- began restocking my book inventory from one publisher (KDP)
- began restocking my book inventory from one publisher (iUniverse)
- began restocking my book inventory from one publisher (blurb)
- began restocking my book inventory from one publisher (Lulu)
For a little bit more I hope to:
- buy new pants
- see a physical therapist
- see an eye doctor
- see my regular naturopath
The total will add up (that is the way math works), but from this side of that deposit it seems simple, easy, and something that could’ve been done earlier. From that side of the deposit, each one had to be evaluated, compared, and if possible delayed because each item may be worth a day’s living expenses.
I’ve mentioned #ALAYCPYB before (As Long As You Can Pay Your Bills) because advice that seems simple and logical frequently has the implicit assumption that all bills can be paid. Even before the deposit my situation had improved to where I could pay my bills, but only by going into debt by borrowing against my house’s equity. This deposit roughly equally a year’s frugal living expenses. Another such deposit would largely go to taxes. Another such deposit would just start to paying down debt, especially after my truck broke down. (A Jeep Dancing And Credit)
Personal finance plans sound deterministic, a way to control a life. Personal finance plans can seem silly, because life is too capricious. My life has been chaotic enough that I have more of a strategy than a plan. As I described in my book, Dream. Invest. Live., my frugal approach is basically,
“Spend less than you make. Invest the rest.”
As a member of the Gig Economy, I still have to adhere to a prelude which is, “It takes money to make money.”
It really doesn’t take much to create a great impact. It all starts with a pebble, right? But it is too easy in this economic system to get into a situation where even moving a procedural pebble can be a monumental task. Thankfully, my business’ dry spell is over and I can move more and get more done. Imagine the energies that can be unleashed that are bound up in people who could use help moving a pebble or two.