Some thoughts on financial solvency

Beth Hayden’s blog on blogging recently led me to a fantastic blog on personal finance, Get Rich Slowly (isn’t that a great title?). Although this blog is obviously not related to translation or even specifically to self-employment, it’s loaded with great advice for people in all types of financial situations; and of course, a big part of sustaining your translation business is managing your money.

In addition, I was pretty captivated by an article in the New York times last April, Don’t Hate Me Because I’m Solvent, which addresses some of the same topics.

Both of these items highlight that financial solvency is all about priorities and choices, which I think are very important concepts to most freelancers. In the case of our household, we are extremely frugal about many things; we probably average one dinner out per month, our house holds the distinction of containing not one item (excluding mattresses) of furniture that was purchased new, and we recently upgraded our only car after it reached age 17 and 224,000 miles. However, sports/outdoor equipment and travel are big priorities for us; at last count I think we collectively owned 13 pairs of skis and 7 bicycles, and we travel extensively, both around our home area and outside the U.S.

In large part, this is because when my husband and I decided that we both wanted to work as freelancers, we also resolved that we would never carry any debt other than one mortgage, and that we wouldn’t use self-employment as a rationale for going deeper into debt. So, over the years we’ve had to prioritize; a new couch might add some pizazz to our living room, but is it a better choice than a plane ticket to Mexico? Get Rich Slowly (which I wish I had known about when I first started freelancing!) offers some great tips on how to sustain this kind of financial strategy, including how to save money on your hobbies (maybe I should Craigslist some of those skis?) and how to avoid the psychological trap of spending more when you use credit cards. Give it a look!

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