Category Archives: Career

4 Side Hustles That Have Paid Off

When it comes to personal finance, there’s plenty of advice out there to budget and control expenses. But I think it’s equally important to pursue multiple sources of income. Let’s face it, there’s a ton of benefits to having more than one income stream: security from a job loss, additional income to pay off debt or to save, opening the door for new opportunities, and so many more.

Frankly, I find that I just have difficulty saying “NO”. Combine that with the fact that I’m a complete busy body and a finance nerd and I can’t help but get my hands into a number of side hustles. Trust me, I’ve jumped into quite a few opportunities that haven’t panned out; but here are 4 side hustles that have paid off:

1. Construction Accountant/CFO

A friend of mine recently got out of the military and started a construction company in 2013. Initially, I was pretty apprehensive to take on the accounting and finance strategy for his budding business.   Not only was it a fairly large commitment, I really had no experience in the construction industry.

I’m technically a contract CFO for the company and oversee all things financial. But the employment relationship is very informal. I get the payroll and tax filings done in a timely manner and handle the bookkeeping throughout the month on my time.

In the end, this has turned out to be a great opportunity. The income isn’t significant, there isn’t even a set pay schedule. I’m typically paid once jobs are completed depending on the profit margin. However the knowledge that I’ve gained is incredible. I had no idea all of the ins and outs of job costing, required filings, and accounting specifics for the construction industry.

Income: Ranges from $2,000 – $4,000 a year.

2. Adjunct Accounting Faculty

Back in 2012 I saw an opening for a part-time accounting faculty at the community college in my area. It was one of the few positions that didn’t require a Master’s degree as long as I had a CPA license.

With no prior teaching experience, I figured I didn’t have a great shot at landing the job. Luckily for me they recently had a resignation and really needed someone to step in on short notice. I was hired on a probationary period beginning fall quarter and I’ve never looked back. Since then, I’ve been teaching the Accounting 200 series (1 class each quarter).

Class is held twice a week for 2 hours, so it’s definitely not a passive income. But it’s an evening class which allows me to teach outside of my 9-5. The greatest benefit to me (besides the additional income) is that I’ve been able to improve my public speaking and coaching skills (which helps as a Manager). I’ve also discovered a big passion of mine and who knows? Maybe I’ll pursue teaching as a career.

Income: $3,100 per quarter x 3 quarters = $9,300 a year.

Continue reading 4 Side Hustles That Have Paid Off

4 Lessons Learned from Job Loss

I started my first “real” job at a global risk consulting firm in Seattle. I had completed an internship at the firm my senior year of college and was selected for a full-time consultant position following graduation.

I was halfway through the CPA exam and was studying for the last two sections while gaining the experience hours necessary to get my license. I remember my first few projects at the firm. Great clients and fantastic opportunities to develop on the job. At the time, the world was my oyster and I couldn’t have been happier with my new career path.

As you can tell by the title of this post, not everything went to plan. In 2008 the great recession hit. By the middle of 2009, our firm’s consulting contracts started to dry up and we were experiencing company-wide layoffs. The Manager that I was working for at the time was let go in the first round of cuts. It was pretty disappointing since I had spent the past year being mentored and building rapport with him.

I continued to see the office numbers dwindle as I survived the first few rounds of layoffs. But eventually I received that ominous email for a meeting with the Managing Partner of the firm.

I was still at that phase in life where I thought I was fairly invincible, so I was a bit in shock when they let me go. The job loss definitely impacted me. It forced me to reflect on my life, my financial plan and career trajectory. Shortly after being let go (and a couple of nights of debauchery later), I vowed that I wouldn’t let the layoff define me.

Here are four key lessons that I learned from a job loss and how surviving a layoff, reviving my career and dedicating myself to building long-term net worth has propelled me to new heights. Continue reading 4 Lessons Learned from Job Loss

Financial Predictions and Goals for my 30’s

Recently I covered some of the biggest financial mistakes that I made in my 20’s. Looking back at your mistakes and evaluating the progress you’ve made is a great way to ensure that you not only continually improve your financial situation, but improve as a person as well. It’s equally if not more important to look forward. What do you expect to accomplish in the next 1, 5 and 10 years? What type of financial plan do you have in place? I started thinking about the next decade (as I’ll be turning 30 very soon) and trying to envision not only where I’ll be financially but what my career and lifestyle will be in my 30’s.


The past decade has been a great starting point for me to begin accumulating net worth and benefiting from the long term effect of compound returns. Financial independence was something that I focused on early in my 20’s but it was a slow process. Although I’ve always maintained a healthy savings rate (as a % of income), my salary and investment balances were low. It wasn’t until we started to see some great market upswings starting in 2010 that I began to see the tangible effect of compound returns. By the end of 2014 I realized that saving early and often is the only way to accumulate substantial net worth at a young age. Not counting home equity or other personal assets, our investment and savings accounts have grown well into the six figures. Looking back, there are plenty of things that we could have improved to better position us financially, but I think that we’ve made some great progress toward our goals. So now as I enter my 30’s, I have high expectations for where we will be financially by the end of the decade.

In order to be conservative, I assume a 5% average annual rate of return on our investments over the next 10 years and that our contributions or gross savings will not change (although I plan to increase my income as well as my savings rate). With these assumptions I project that our investments should total approximately $750K – $1M before I enter my 40’s. I think as long as we continue to invest in a balanced and diversified portfolio, we should be able to hit that goal. Ultimately, I truly believe that if we’re diligent during our 30’s, we may be able to amass even more net worth, especially if we take into account home equity and other personal assets.

Goal #1: $1M in investments and liquid accounts before I turn 40. Continue reading Financial Predictions and Goals for my 30’s