Q1 2021 ends much like last year's Q1 ended in the middle of a pandemic. One full year of the corona pandemic; crazy to think a year ago, it all started. Now with the first quarter of 2021 finished, it's time to take another look at my portfolio and see how it faired during these challenging times. Did my portfolio continue to rocket to the moon, or did it orbit a bit and crash back down?
I’ve been struggling with getting extra income for years. Initially, I expected my investments to cover my expenses, but this turned out to be a lot more difficult than expected, at least in the short term. So what did I do? A Flexi-job!
I already alluded to this in my 2020 look-ahead and I’ll now elaborate on this craaa~zy plan of mine. Given my income, some might ask, why? My main reason is safety. We live off of one salary at the moment and since it’s not clear how my GF’s job hunt will go I’d rather earn some extra cash now while there is still some flexibility.
At my main job, I can’t do overtime in the strict sense of the word. Only with the approval of my lead is this possible and it’s a last resort. Getting a pay raise isn’t for right away either, especially since I got a large one recently. Changing jobs is tricky because of the requirements for family reunification we want to apply for this year.
I played with the idea of an extra job for a while now. I vigorously tried to make Forex trading a long-term income stream that could offer enough per month. It’s a part of my past I haven’t talked about much yet but I will do so soon. Just remember: it cost me too much.
As explained earlier, earning more in my day job isn’t as straightforward either, at least in the short term, so I looked at alternatives. These alternatives never interested me till now.
The catalyst that drove me and triggered me to take the leap were the huge changes happening this year.
First, I will earn about 300 EUR net less than December 2019. The main reason for this reduction is the salary car that I will receive on Tuesday (21/01/2020). Of course, I get a lease car in return so I can’t complain at all since it will improve our lives (family and friends live further away, groceries, road trips, etc.).
Just received the mail my salary car is delivered! I can pick it up next week Tuesday at 11 am 😀
— fightToFIRE (@fightToFIRE1) January 16, 2020
Second is a changed personal situation: I went from living with my parents to living on my own with my GF who is still studying. We are living on one salary and the money my GF saved to study abroad. With that combined, we can purchase the food that we want or go out from time to time, but we are more restricted.
The third is the apartment I bought. The mortgage payment (or at least the interest) will start in March. As I also carry a larger part of the living expenses, there will be even less wiggle room.
This reduction in salary together with the higher expenses caused me to stop using excuses and apply for a second job.
To be clear, we can still save a bit of money. It’s the fact that it’s only a bit I dislike personally. I know full well that I’m in a luxury position. I did not take a pay cut, nor are we struggling. This sense of urgency is a personal feeling. The changes that happened will impact my FIRE goals so to counter that I looked at alternative income streams.
What the job!?
There are actually quite a few jobs changes possible to get extra money:
- Salary raise
- Tax free additional income: occasional odd jobs for others, Working for a non-profit, and side hustle on a recognised share platform (up to 6180 EUR)
- Working as a part-time independent
I’m not mentioning stuff like selling on eBay, starting a blog, etc. I’m suggesting these 4 options as they are realstic short term options that actually provide decent short-term return.
The first suggestion is fairly straightforward. While it’s not an option for me, it might be for you: getting a higher salary for your regular day job.
Option two is something specific for Flanders, because of the high progressive tax brackets, the Flemish government introduced a method to earn up to 6180 EUR per year tax free (a limit that gets indexed every year). This is restricted to a certain job market.
The third part is more difficult and will depend on your personal capabilities. I see myself still lacking certain skills to consider this as an alternative course. It also brings an uncertain income which I do not need at the moment.
Finally, you have the Flexi-job. It combines stability (able to keep my main job), flexibility, and decent pay (tax-free). It’s the main reason I opted for this for my alternative income.
The flexible job
A Flexi-job has restrictions like the aforementioned point 2. These are:
- Work at least 4/5 for one or more other employers than the flexi-job employer. They must have worked at least 4/5 for this employer in the third quarter that precedes work in the flexi-job.
- Only for jobs in the hospitality industry or the retail trade (including bakers, butchers, department stores, chains, neighbourhood supermarkets, hairdressers, etc.)
There us one additional big difference: there is no limitation on the amount that you can earn. This was the major motivator to look for a job that fits the flexi-job requirements.
After looking around on job sites that offer these types of jobs I could find an interesting temp agency specialised in HoReCa.
I signed the contract right before the year-end and after training in February I will take my first jobs which hopefully will return about 350 to 500 EUR net extra per month.
I already took the necessary steps to start with my first job.
- Go to the info session
- Have a small interview with a manager
- Sign a contract
The next steps that are left are:
- Get the required work clothes
- Receive training
- Start my first job