Association between your job and paying the bills

I don’t associate my job or my income with being able to pay the bills. You hear so many people in the news complaining that if they lost their job, they couldn’t pay the bills, but that’s not the case for me. I could live off of my cash savings and taxable investments for about a year without reducing expenses. I could quite easily chop about $800/month of fluff out of my budget too and recast my mortgage to cut that payment down by $200/month, at which point, my savings/investments would last me for just over 2 years of no job. Based on how much of my income my disability policy would replace, I would even be able to set aside some cash while on disability. (I would probably just add all savings while on disability to cash savings just in case and not pay extra on the mortgage.)

This freedom means that if I’m ever worried about my job, I’m not also worried about money. Money just is.

Money comes in on the last business day of the month (and sometimes at another time when it’s a bonus month!) and money goes out at certain points of the month. My HOA dues, the automatic credit card payments, the twice-yearly property tax payments, and transfers to other accounts are now the only debits to my checking account, meaning that there are normally only ~4 debits to my checking account each month!

But at the same time, sometimes when I’m unhappy at work, I don’t feel like I need to find a way to work harder because I don’t worry about not getting paid. That feeling of waiting for the paycheck definitely seems to motivate many people, but for me, it means nothing anymore.

So it looks like I need to find ways to be motivated at work that are unrelated to the money earned, which is probably for the best anyways. It’s way better to be motivated by the projects and the people you’re working with than the money.

I’ve been trying to think back to the point where I stopped associating money appearing in my bank account with working. I would guess that it was around when I bought the condo last year and with the raise I got that gave me about $2,000/month in extra cash flow every month.

I’m thankful for this great condo I love, my boyfriend, and a career that I like most of the time, even if right now, things are a bit rocky. I’m also thankful for my general health though I wish this injury would go away because I’m definitely going stir crazy!

Readers, do you associate your job with paying the bills? If not, at which point did you stop doing so?


P.S. I apologize for not posting much lately. I am busier, but honestly, my finances have also gotten boring lately and there just isn’t as much to write about. Is there anything in particular that you would like me to talk about in future posts?


28 thoughts on “Association between your job and paying the bills

  1. Are things rocky for you at work right now?

    I don’t associate my job with paying the bills but I do feel like I want to be able to cover my bills with my monthly paycheck if that makes sense. The disassociation has been great in that it motivated me to take a job that pays less than my last one but that I like a lot better. This obviously is bad for my long term net worth but I guess I’ve built up enough in savings that I’m ok with this trade of for now.

    Get well soon!

    • I’m glad you like your new job a lot better! Sounds like it was a good move then. Rocky probably isn’t the best word, but this new job turned out to not be the fit that I wanted it to be, which is a little frustrating.

      Your long-term net worth is a lot less important than your health and happiness, especially when you’ve built up a good amount of savings already!

  2. Maybe it’s because I had more than a year of expenses saved up from summer jobs before I started working, but I never associated my job with paying my bills. I always thought of it as something I do so I can save up money so I don’t have to work one day. I’ve thought of being unemployed as an upsetting delay towards reaching my goals.

    • Actually, looking back, I had about a year of expenses in savings before I started working full-time after college too. I don’t know that I ever associated my job with paying bills, but definitely less so now that there is such a difference between my income and my expenses.

      I mostly see unemployed as me going stir crazy!

  3. I earn passive and residual income streams so for me, income isn’t really associated with bills. For me, the amount of money I earn is a reflection of the number of people I’ve been able to help become more financially independent. When I see $$ I see that I am giving people value in their lives.

    I earn an income online so my job never gets boring. There are always new trends, new technologies, new social media platforms, the list goes on…

  4. I was just talking to a friend who recently got fired from his job, and I felt the same way. He didn’t know how he’d pay his rent next month, which seemed like a foreign concept. I didnt say anything, but how do you not at least have a few months spending saved in an emergency find?!

    Earning money for me is totally decoupled from paying the rent. I just try to keep my checking account balanced while adding to my investments, high interest savings, and of course rent each month.

    • I am so with you on this, CR! One of my friends told me if I’m unhappy with work that I should just take some unpaid time off. I was so surprised because I assumed that I was one of the few people who actually have savings!

      Paying the mortgage is definitely decoupled from earning money because it gets paid out of my secondary direct deposit account, rather than the one that most of my bills come from. I do that to help practice for the day when I’m no longer paying a mortgage!

  5. Yes, I definitely associate my job with paying bills, which is unfortunate. I hope to get to a point where you are, having the savings and investments.

  6. Considering I haven’t had a job to pay my bills for about a year now, the answer is no. :)

    I can’t imagine living paycheck to paycheck, the thought of that is miserable. On the other hand, the uncertainty of when I’ll be working full time for a decent wage again is frustrating because I would travel more if I knew when cash would start rolling in again.

    • Yep, I’ve never really understood the paycheck to paycheck lifestyle at all. What have you been doing with your time underemployed?

      • I moved closer to the beach, so I’ve been going to the beach a lot. It costs a few bucks to park, but it’s manageable. also have spent quite a bit of time applying for jobs and such.

  7. Leigh, I often feel similarly about the job now that we are more secure financially. I don’t “need” it in a day to day sense, but I do need it to continue to push towards financial independence. In that way, I do still find it motivating because I feel fortunate to have a job that pays fairly well. There’s no guarantee I’d earn this much at a new position.

  8. Job income = funding for our future financial freedom. We live so far below our means that we could live for quite some time off our savings. BUT I hope to keep bringing in that paycheck because each time I save/invest the extra at the end of the month I know I’m just that much closer to financial independence. Without a job, FI would be a much more difficult goal to achieve, you know?

  9. I think i stopped associating when I stopped doing monthly budgets. It was clearer that each month paid that months bills, then some into savings when I looked at it every month. From a big-picture sense, at least, my job gives me financial security. On a day-to-day basis, I don’t need it to pay the bills.

    I still vividly remember the feeling I had when I was just starting out, and a $10k e-fund seemed like an insurmountable challenge and my emergency plan was to move back home with my parents.

    Try feeling motivated when you have already told everyone you are quitting in early december! I’m struggling, even though I really love(d) my job.

    • I don’t really make budgets specific to a particular month, but do general cash flow views for the upcoming year and then adjust at random intervals. The amount I use to spend is so little of my net income that I don’t really notice the spending anymore and instead notice the savings!

      I remember borrowing money from my parents while I was in college quite often, but that hasn’t happened in years now! My signing bonus at my first job was really the start to my emergency fund and then I’ve been good since then.

      Yep – I totally remember that feeling from changing jobs last year! It is SO hard.

  10. That’s awesome that you feel so decoupled with the job/money. Hmm… it seems like all I can ever think about is that next paycheck b/c I always feel like I need more funds.

    Then again, that also goes with the different strategy I’m using. I really do have no cash on hand, and if I lost my job… I wouldn’t last very long before starting to feel uncomfortable! I didn’t feel this way when I invested in dividend stocks, but real estate is just different. The money isn’t instantly accessible which makes it feel more detached. But I hope to have enough passive income where I can stop worrying so much. May need another 2 properties before I get there.

    • StackingCash said what you said in a different way – I have no real short-term goals. I’d like to pay off the mortgage, but that’s probably at least two years out although that timeframe will soon be short-term! I don’t have a ton of cash on hand, but apparently enough to feel comfortable for a year or two.

      It probably also helps that I only get paid once a month, so my paychecks are reasonably infrequent…

  11. Sounds like you might need some new short term goals, or even maybe long term goals. Until we decided to purchase an expensive home, we were just saving, saving, saving. Granted, even our combined incomes don’t come close to yours, we were able to pay off all debts and build up a decent savings fund. However, we have been spending quite a bit on food and vacations lately, which makes for a good case to start a budget…

    • Well, my medium-term goal is to pay off the mortgage in another 2-2.5 years and my long-term goal is to retire in my early thirties. It’s mostly just coasting until that point though with how things are going.

      If you’re unhappy with how much you’re spending, tracking/evaluating your spending might be a good idea..

  12. What do you think you are going to do when you retire in your thirties? Just curious. Would you find work after retirement for the sake for enjoying your work? I’m also someone that can live off my savings for more than a few years, but I do find working to be quite intellectually stimulating so I keep working. The pay is decent and I’m not fully to my financial independence goal yet.

    • I’m unsure on what I’ll do. For now, I’m saving the very large residual after expenses. I think that I could find ways to intellectually stimulate myself without working and there are a lot of things I also dislike about working that might make me eventually prefer to quit.

  13. To be motivated at work is very important. Getting paycheck was very motivational for me when I first started work. After working for years my motivation comes from the satisfaction of clients I works with. Thanks mate for the great post!

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