The Covid-19 virus continues to grow exponentially. As the potential for quarantines becomes a reality, we’ve seen people rushing to grocery stores to panic buy food. Unfortunately, big groups of people are exactly what we should be trying to discourage to slow the spread of the virus.
Today I ran to the grocery store to pick up a bit more food when I saw frightened seniors walking through the store with dish gloves on trying to protect themselves. This was heartbreaking. I think we should be doing what we can as a society to prevent them from having to do this as much as we can.
Let’s Fire Up The Drones
I’m sure there are plenty of legal regulations and red tape that have slowed the rollout of using drones for delivery but how about we temporarily allow it and start using drones to get groceries?
Amazon had tested drones for delivery some time back.
Shop for a Senior
If you can help a senior in your area, please do so. If you have a neighbor or family member in your area and can pick up groceries for them. It can save lives than you might realize.
Help someone Order Groceries Online
If you know a senior or someone immunocompromised that is not a big technology user, please look into helping them learn to use online grocery delivery or some type of pick up.
The CDC and doctors like Dr. Agus in the video here are saying that it’s no longer a matter of if but when the virus will become local and quarantines will happen.
If you’re looking to monitor the virus counts you can do so here or by checking out the embedded info below.
Work from Home Schedules and the Coronavirus
While this has been horrible news for investors and the stock market has continued to tumble, there could be a silver lining to a pandemic. This could force companies to consider and implement full-time work from home schedules.
As the virus spreads and quarantines start to happen, it will become clear that for most, staying at home unless it’s absolutely necessary to leave will be the best course of action to slow the spread. Look to Wuhan to see how the city essentially shut down and people stayed in their homes.
For many workers that have remote work capability, it will become clear that if you can work from home you should. I’m sure company management doesn’t want to responsible for facilitating the spread of the virus and allowing full-time work from home is the best way to prevent that.
Could Government Mandate Work from home?
Governments are definitely concerned with the stability of the economy and keeping as many people working as possible should be a top priority. If an office employee gets sick and spreads it to coworkers, you can end up with entire teams sick and that halts the company.
I could definitely imagine governments mandating companies to implement temporary work from home requirements for all eligible employees in the interest of stopping the spread of the illness and helping to sustain the economy.
Long Term Repercussions
In the event of widespread full-time work from home schedules being implemented, it’s very possible that employers will finally realize the financial benefits that go along with such a setup. The virus could act as a catalyst for change forcing employers to implement policies. If they work well, employers may find little reason to return to the old way of doing things.
Immediate cost savings reflected in electric bills
Companies may at last consider the savings of closing the office and getting rid of their office leases
No longer needing to maintain a local network and the IT staff that goes with it.
Elimination in office equipment costs
Insurance costs that go along with maintaining an office
Some employees might even be willing to accept a slight pay cut in exchange for working from home full-time which would allow them to cut costs considerably.
Employers aren’t the only beneficiaries of a full-time work from home implementation. Consider the following:
Elimination of the commute will result in significant fuel savings and with grocery delivery available, many frugal folks may decide to evaluate if they really even need a car anymore.
Reducing the need or desire to eat out for lunch will help us save on food budgets
Less of a need for office-based attire and the dry cleaning bills that might go with it
There would be societal benefits to working from home as well. Consider the following changes.
The change in traffic flows could greatly improve the gridlock that occurs during rush hour in the morning and evening.
Significantly fewer cars on the road are likely to have a positive impact on the environment and air we breathe.
We’ll all have a bit more time if we aren’t spending it preparing for work and commuting to work.
How would a full-time work from home schedule benefit you?
I’d like to share what I think is an important secret to happiness. Perhaps it was a bit of hyperbole to call it “THE Secret of Happiness” but it sounds a bit better than “A Secret To Happiness.”
There’s nothing worse than someone hawking a secret to happiness and then giving a vague answer that is stuffy and vague answer that just isn’t too helpful and applicable to real people’s lives. So with that said I’ll try to be concrete and to the point.
I think a major contributor to happiness is to at any point in time, have something worthwhile that you are looking forward to in your life.
Let me go a bit deeper. It could be a goal. It could be just a fun event that you are looking forward to like a vacation or a big date or family get together.
It’s probably not possible for every moment of life to be blissful and filled with leisure, adventure, and pleasure. There are times we simply need to work. But it’s when it seems like there’s no end to the work that we start to really suffer through our daily tasks. Knowing that we have a goal we’re working towards makes the work meaningful.
So if you’re not loving life at the moment, set a goal in the near future..try to make it less than six months out and see how you can work towards that goal every day.
Here are some ideas for things to look forward to in the near future.
A vacation or mini-retirement
Starting a project that is personally fulfilling or financially rewarding
Set up a social engagement that should be rewarding or exciting
Recently, I’ve found myself less than inspired. After traveling the world for several months and returning to the US, I set a goal to rejoin the workforce and save. I found a great job and have been learning a lot and everything felt great. Then suddenly, the monotony started to return.
The daily grind started to wear. The days started to feel like carbon copies of the previous day. I realized that I set some goals and accomplished them and then just sort of stopped.
Times for some new goals or things to look forward to
So the moment I realized this I felt like I found my place and am feeling better about the future. At the least, I want to travel in the near future before the year ends. Additionally, I’m going to set a goal to try to go full time remote within less than a year. If I can’t go full-time remote I may have to cut the corporate cord again and return to full-time freelance and pack the bags again. Either way, I think I’ll be back on the road again soon enough. And of course, it’s possible I might get canned again.
So I’m on day three of my mini-retirement. I’m posted up in Chiang Mai, Thailand for a week or two and I’m thinking about the low cost of living and debating the merits of living in lower cost areas in Asia vs. the USA. In my opinion, the best reason to live in the US is to make a good salary. But I think if you really put US salaries under the microscope, they aren’t as big as you think.
Let’s consider a respectable middle-class salary of around $65,000. For the purpose of keeping things simple, I’ll consider a single person. A couple earns more of course but they often come with children and more expenses. After the tax man takes his cut, you’re likely left with around $4,000 a month based on a take-home pay calculator for someone living in Chicago. Before you’ve purchased anything, your $65,000 salary has shrunk to about $48,000.
You Don’t Dare stay in USA Without Health Insurance
If you’re going to reside in the US, you simply can’t go without health insurance because if health problems come your way you can be devastated. Medical expenses are the number one cause of bankruptcy in the US. Health insurance doesn’t come cheap with especially as you get middle age. Prices vary wildly depending on coverage but middle-of-the-road coverage for a middle-aged person might run about $300 a month. You’re $4,000 a month salary is now about $3,700. Your $65,000 annual salary is now closer to $44,000.
Never mind that American healthcare cost are absurdly high. Never mind that most health insurance doesn’t provide much value until you’ve spent over at least $1,000 a month out of your own pocket. We’ve come to accept these things as acceptable.
The Cost of Working
In order to get to your job, you’ll typically need to live within a reasonable proximity of your place of employment. It’s true that you can definitely reduce cost by taking on roommates but for some of us past a certain age, it’s less feasible. Living in a decent pace in our near major cities can often run around $1,100 a month or so and that’s not extravagant living at all. Your monthly funds are now coming in around $2,600 and annually you’re at $31,200.
Of course you’re going to need electricity. You’re also going to need internet access and you’re going to need a cell phone. If you’re frugal all can be had for just a bit over $100 a month. If you’re looking to get phone service for only $20 a month plus data, I recommend Google Fi. Get a $20 sign up credit here. It’s great for global travel too. Now were’ at $2,500 a month and an even $30,000 a year.
Here’s where you have a lot of flexibility in how you handle things financially. I did my best to be frugal buying a Japanese economy car at a decent price and keeping it for two years before heading overseas. I would have had a much better average total cost of ownership if I kept it for 10 years instead of two. But I ended up spending over $600 a month surprisingly to have this car. I’m sure most can do better with effort but I think you’d be hard pressed to keep a car and pay less than $400 a month for TOTAL cost of ownership. So that bring us to $2,100 a month and $25,000 a year.
I won’t go over every detail of expenses but consider what we have left. You need to eat. You’re going to be cooking and eating out sometimes. Even if you’re frugal and intentional with your money you’ll be spending at least some on entertainment. Haircuts happen. Trips to the doctor happen. Medical expenses happen. Birthdays and Christmas happen. You need to shop. I think it’s fair to say that you might budget around $500 at least for the rest. Now you’ve got around $1,600 a month left or $19,200 a year.
The Value of Your American Job
So you might put the value of your “$65,000” job to actually be a bit closer to $20,000. Things ALWAYS happen that could reduce this but this is a rough figure for what a typical person might have available to them to save from their time toiling at the office for some 2060 hours of work a year.
How to Do Better!
Avoid The Taxman
One of the best easiest ways to hold on to more of your money is to shelter it from taxes to the best of your ability. If your company offers a 401k plan, by all means participate in it to the fullest extent that you can afford. For a traditional 401k, you’ll be able to avoid significant taxes on the income you diver into your retirement account.
When you leave your job, you can rollover your 401k to a good broker that has low fees or even no fees like my favorite broker M1 Finance. Get $10 FREE for signing up with M1 Finance here.
Go to Where Living is More Affordable
This is a big part of what’s bringing me to Asia is the lower cost of living. At the time of this writing, I’m in a very popular spot for low cost living in Chiang Mai, Thailand. The prices here play a big part in driving tourists. I stayed at my hotel for around $23 a night. Check it out on Agoda below.
Consider lowering your total cost of living by ditching your car and finding some other way. Consider lowering your cost of living even more by getting out of the US. Look at the cost of some of these delicious meals in Chiang Mai.
The conversion rate for Thai baht is 100 baht is roughly about $3 US. Many of these meals are hovering around 50 to 80 baht.
Getting rid of my car felt great. There’s plenty of ways to get around in Asia without a car.
It’s not just food cost and housing cost that drop when you’re overseas. Medical and dental costs drop as well. I was able to get a dental cleaning for $700 Baht which is about $21 US dollars without any dental insurance. I got two free tubes of toothpaste as well!
Don’t Fall for the Illusion
A fat salary is only fat if you’re able to hold on to and save most of it. If most of your salary goes out the window to cost of living then the dollar amount of your salary is worthless. Focus on how much you can save when valuing your current situation. I know English teachers in Asia that were able to save up to $1,000 a month USD working part-timee. If your job doesn’t allow you to save this much then consider other lifestyles that might allow you to hit your savings goals sooner.
I’m getting rid of all my worldly possessions. Sounds a bit dramatic eh? That’s really not my intention. It’s just more of a minimalist thing and perhaps a bit of psychological purging.
As mentioned in my previous post, my job is wrapping up soon and I’m planning to depart soon for international travel in Asia. I don’t wanna deal with storage so am instead purging all my stuff.
When I say “all my stuff”, I do mean damn near all of it, at least to the point where what I own should fit in a couple suitcases.
A Few Things Stay
There’s obviously a few things that I won’t get rid of out of necessity and we can think of them as sort of the bare essentials of life. What are my essentials?
The Macbook stays. I can’t imagine being without a laptop. Along with a few peripherals like external hard drives for backups. Dongles and what not. I just wanted to say dongle.
Double Edged Razor and the basic toiletries If you’re a guy and you’re frugal minded or just want a nice clean shave that doesn’t irritate your skin. You really owe it to yourself to try a double-edged safety razor. After trying a few, I landed on a double-edged slant razor that cuts closer and easier. Best razor I’ve ever used in my life. You can literally shave for under $5 a year in blades if you order these Astras. I always buy the 100 pack for $10 and it lasts me like two years. I only shave a couple times a week though.
Smart Phone I currently rock a relatively unheard of OnePlus 5. These Android phones are pretty good smartphones that are on par with whatever the current flagship is for significantly less. The company is out of Hong Kong. It’s like a more affordable version of Google’s Pixel.
I’m keeping the basics for clothes of course. Boxers, t-shirts, socks, shorts, jeans, some dress shirts and I’ll probably store a suit I had tailored for me. I can probably wear it again if I lose 15 pounds. This might happen in Asia.
I’ve whittled down important documents to the point that they should fit into a safety deposit box. The rest I scanned to file. No idea why I didn’t do this years ago.
I’m undecided about the car. I might put it in storage for a return to the US this spring or I might sell it.
If you’re doing a lot of travel you need a good bag. I did a lot of research before picking up an Osprey. I highly recommend them.
That’s really it. It’s surprising to me that I’m not really missing anything. I think the reason people have such big inventories of stuff is a result succumbing to the ploy of marketing.
Everything else is either gone, about to be sold, given to Goodwill or the dumpster. Let me tell you something. This feels good. But why?
There’s an old saying that “Whatever you own, owns you.” I think there’s truth in this saying. If you have a bunch of things you need, then you’re dependent on them and carry some level of stress to make sure they are properly stored and safe.
Have you ever seen the show “Hoarders?” It’s reality tv with people that have everything they’ve ever owned stacked up around them in filth. I feel anxiety just watching it. What’s interesting, is in most cases, there’s some personal trauma that the person has dealt with and it’s clear that the hoarding is a way of not being able to let go of past pain. It’s some attempt to prevent loss.
But I think it’s also fair to say that for the extreme minimalist, there may be some trauma behind this behavior as well. It’s just a different way of dealing with things. It’s a form of loss avoidance. You can’t lose anything if you don’t have anything right?
There’s the old biblical idea of “not storing up worldly treasures” because you can’t take them with you to heaven. This is interesting to think about if we consider heaven to be a metaphor for living a pleasant life that is not wrought with suffering. Now if I can just get someone to pay a decent price for my used custom built desktop PC with a Ryzen 5 1600 processor. (Update..someone bought it. I hope they take good care of my baby)
This post contains affiliate links to products on Amazon. I may receive a commission if you purchase on Amazon at no additional cost to you.
Well wouldn’t you know it, the “Getting Canned” blogger is about to deal with job loss again. But this time around, I won’t classify it as truly getting fired because this is more like a contract wrapping up. Nevertheless, this is the end of a job and time to move on to the next thing.
At the time of the time of this writing, it looks like my current contract gig will end around November 26th. The death of this income stream is in line with my timeline and plan to get out of the Midwest by mid-winter to avoid the impending deep freeze. Chicago winters get COLD.
I’m planning on getting away from the Midwest as far as possible and leaving the country to head to Asia for the winter or longer. On the itinerary is
Chiang Mai, Thailand
Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam
I’m going to travel the world a bit and hit a few spots in Asia. I’ll make sure and do some recon on potential retirement destinations and report back here. Subscribe below if you want a reminder.
But before I go, let’s take a look at a few memorable pics from the times I lived in Taiwan in the past.
There’s the famous “Toilet Restaurant” where you sit on toilets and eat out of little toilet shaped plates and bowls. Good times.
You eat from little toilet-shaped bowls. Yum.
Oh, how I miss Asia! What other distant memories were captured? Let’s take a look. It was often the little things that were amusing.
In Taiwan, the majority of people get around by scooter. It’s an economical way to get around. The streets are flooded with mostly scooters although some people do drive cars. The first time I saw a parking lot packed with scooters it was pretty wild. It reminded me of that scene in “Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure” where he knocked over the motorcycles and they went down like dominos. I had a fear of scooters tumbling down in this way.
So Just What is My Plan Anyways?
Travel. Exploring. Earning side gig income through a variety of income streams. I’m doing some consulting for CRM databases. I imagine I’ll do a bit of remote English teaching here and there. I have a few clients that need WordPress sites managed. And then there’s this blog which has a little income potential.
There is, of course, the risk that my income will fall short of what I’m hoping. This is a bit of a trial break at life abroad and I imagine, I’ll likely return in the spring. Although nothing is written in stone. There is a chance that I’ll face a different job market from what exists at this point. Right now it’s a glorious market with plenty of opportunities. In six months that could change.
Another concern of mine is that our Western culture seems to really frown on time spent not working. “You haven’t been working for six months? Well, the only possible explanation is you’re incompetent and your skillset it now outdated…”No job for you!”
When most people think of the experience of getting fired from a job, they imagine it to be traumatic and painful; the type of trauma that can send some former employees away in tears. After all, getting fired is a rejection of sorts. Not just a single person, but an entire actual organization is saying, “We think we’d be better off without you.”
There’s plenty to be concerned with after your termination happens. Your income is getting shut off. You’re likely to lose your health insurance in the very near future. You near future also is going to consist of a fair amount of time sending resumes on sites like Monster.com, Indeed.com, and Careerbuilder.com. Who among us hasn’t felt the frustrations of having to log into Taleo and enter all the information that is already laid out clearly in our resume?
But all these things considered, getting canned is not that bad. Why? Well, let’s see.
1. Do I need to state the obvious?
You can look forward to a tomorrow where you can sleep in late. That’s right. Cancel your 6:00 am alarm. It’s time to catch up on your Netflix.
2. Your morning commute doesn’t require starting your car.
After you’ve been fired, you new morning commute may only be as far as a trip from the bed to the refrigerator. Consider the money you’ll save not having to fill up and sit in traffic every day now. Your car might last a bit longer as well.
3. You Can Do Your Job Search Right.
It’s possible you’ve had a passive job search going for a while but have been too busy to dedicate the time that is required to do it right. Now that your schedule is freed up, you’re going to have the time to interview and talk with those chatty recruiters and find the right employer for you.
4. If you were let go from your job, it’s safe to say it wasn’t a good fit for you.
Maybe your style clashed with the company culture. Perhaps your boss didn’t like the cut of your jib. You might not have shown enough enthusiasm because you were unhappy about your salary or career path. Your post-termination world is a chance to correct these things.
5. It’s about TIME.
If you’ve been diligent about money and have sufficient savings, it may be the right time to take a vacation. Aren’t you overdue for some “me time”? If you’ve secured your next job that’s even more reason to take a vacation. This rare time of having a job offer in hand and not currently tied down to a job is the ideal time to take a vacation. Why not go see the world?
6. Maybe You Don’t Really Belong in an Office.
If you find yourself receiving the pink slip more often than you’d like to, you might want to consider if your career is right? Maybe office life isn’t for you. You could do like Peter from Office Space and take up a career in construction. Or you can test the waters with freelancing and try to earn location-independent income.
7. Losing your job helps you be woke.
Cringey slang aside, doing the same grind, day after day, year after year, can cause us to go on auto-pilot with each day being a carbon copy of the last. We start to go through life like zombies sleepwalking. Ever arrive at work and barely realize how you got there or remember the drive? Once your income is cut off, you’re going to need to wake up and evaluate your situation. I’m a big believer that a lot of the happiness your experience in life comes from solving problems. Well, losing your job created a problem and fixing it will almost definitely bring some joy to your life.
8. You’re most likely going to be meeting new people soon.
Phyllis from Accounting may be a lovely lady, and her stories about her cat were captivating and inspirational. But there may be room in your life for new people with new stories. If you’ve lost your job, most likely you’re going to be meeting new people. It opens the door for all the linked in recruiters, new coworkers, new management teams. And while you’re executing the job search, it’s a great chance to get out there and network.
9. It’s going to make you stronger.
Losing a job forces you to adapt to your situation. Moving on to a new environment makes you a more rounded worker with greater perspective. I’ve met people that have worked at the same company for 20 years. And that’s an admirable level of dedication. But I always feel a bit of sympathy that they’ve only seen one company’s way of skinning a cat. Different companies have different cultures and different ways of accomplishing tasks. Typically no one company does everything the best way. If you work at several companies over time, you can cherry-pick best practices and have a unique perspective that others might not be able to provide.
10. You deserve a break.
Getting canned usually gets you away from a bad situation. Many people that lose their job feel a sense of relief to no longer have to return to a workplace that isn’t appreciating them and may have become toxic. Go where you’re valued.
If you’ve never had a green tea Kit Kat, you gotta try them. (A “break” get it? Ok, I’ll show myself out.) Available on Amazon. And I’ll get an affiliate commission if you buy from Amazon.
Tell anyone you’ve started a blog and you’ll inevitably get the question about how much money you’re making blogging. It’s pretty straightforward to answer how much money I made THIS MONTH. But it’s not at all easy to answer how much money you CAN make from blogging or how much you’re likely to earn in the future. It’s largely dependent on how much effort you put into being successful. But what could a person expect?
Different Way Bloggers Make Money
Well, there are many things to consider about making money from a website. There’s a great variety of ways to earn money. Here’s some that come to mind for me:
You can sell your own product
You can promote your own service (I do a bit of tutoring on the side)
You can promote a product of another company which is typically called affiliate marketing ( I promote a few services I have used and recommend)
You can run ads on your site and get paid for your views. ( I believe you need a lot of traffic for this to be profitable..probably not ideal for early on)
These are some of the fundamental ways to make cash from your website or blog. This blog “Getting Canned” seeks to provide entertainment and information about the experience of losing your job and I do hope to generate a bit of revenue from affiliate marketing to help keep the site running.
That means that on some of my pages, I refer to products or services like web hosting or scheduling software that I use and recommend. If someone clicks the links and signs up for a service, I can earn a commission. So how much have I earned from doing this so far?
Earnings From My Two Sites
Well I started this site in April 2018. So I’m about 3 months in and I’m just now starting to ring up a few commissions. I’ve helped refer others to sign up for web hosting and domain services and earned a few commissions that will pay out this month. The sales commissions were earned from either clicking my site links or me sending the customer the link directly. Here are screenshots of sales I’ll be paid for this month.
From Bluehost. I referred two signups and should earn $130.
And I’ve had one signup for the host I am currently using to host this site, which is Siteground. This resulted in $50 of commissions.
This felt pretty good to see earning commissions like this with minimal effort. Full disclosure: For web hosting signups, I typically have worked with the person to help them set up the site so it wasn’t totally passive income.
Earning my First Passive Income
I did earn my first passive income commission this month. Someone saw the value in the M1 Finance signup which paid out a commission of $100 to me. This resulted from them viewing my site and clicking the link. I wasn’t involved. To be honest, I didn’t even realize I earned this commission a few weeks ago because I’m a bit behind on my email. But how’s that for passive income? Thanks, fellow investor out there.
Dare to dream but perhaps someday I can earn the types of commissions that some of the top people do. It’s crazy to think some folks out there are making 10’s of thousands of dollars a month. Take for example Michelle Schroeder who made $136,000 last month from blogging.
So the question is could you generate income from blogging? This is capitalism so there are no guarantees. It will take a little luck and a good deal of hard work. Generally the harder you work, the luckier you’ll be. In my opinion, it’s certainly worth a shot. If you’ve been terminated and can spare around $90 that’s enough to get started. Ping me if you need help.
How To Get Started Making Money From Running a Web Site
The first step is signing up for web hosting. If you don’t feel like spending money and are tech-savvy, why not try Digital Ocean? Sign up here for a free $100 credit just for trying Digital Ocean.
Click here for a $100 Credit good towards hosting with Digital Ocean.
And What am I Doing With the Profit?
Some money gets reinvested back into the business and the rest gets invested into my new favorite no fee robo-advisor M1 Finance.
Disclosure: I have an affiliate partnership with M1 Finance, Digital Ocean and Siteground and may earn a commission on new signups over a certain threshold.