Being More Businesslike

To be honest this post and belonging to this group is mainly an effort to get myself on track financially.

Although a professional (attorney) I've (except for a few year stint as consultant to Government a decade or more back) have never been financially successful. This is in part to do with having a schizophrenic wife, but also to do with a lack of business sense on my part.

Because of some in hindsight bad decisions (eg selling our house and renting in 2001, then buying back at much higher prices in 2006, and investing in risky shares!)we have slowly drifted down from a well to do suburb to a lower middle class suburb.

My earnings in the business have been pretty pitiful (less by a fair way than the average wage for all persons in my city) over the past decade or so. There are a lot of costs in keeping an office, but I think that is unavoidable and I have to lift my earnings instead - although we keep costs as low as possible. And then the recession hit (more like a depression in my property related business) and the past three years have been very difficult, with not a huge amount of improvement in sight. (I haven't been to the dentist in five years or more, we have one $1500 car which is starting to rust, any "extra" money such as it is is is spent on little items at the supermarket for the kids and my wife as we don't have the money to go out, our credit cards are approaching their limits ...)

My wife has gone out to work elsewhere but her earnings as the most basic supermarket worker are very low and not working for me now puts extra strain on me.

I do work long hours (usually about 7.30am to 9pm Monday to Friday) but the area of work I got into (after being made redundant from Government, having a small child and a sick wife, and having to start my business was basic property law work which is very price competitive here and unfortunately I've specialised in that and it just doesn't pay enough. I could work harder when I am working, and I could also work some of the weekend (although I have usually been assisting my sick wife then).

I have diversified to some extent, thank goodness, otherwise this recession would have taken me down. Obviously that is one area I have to look at. It takes time to learn new skills and new work in areas you don't know is not initially properly paid.

Because a lot of my work is fixed price work I am not sufficiently good at keeping time records. That is a critical issue. You rarely get paid for the actual time you spend, but at least it gives you the backbone to charge a bit more. I should make it clear to clients from the outset that urgent work will be at extra cost.

I have a few bad debts (one significant one) where the client just refused to pay (although my work was impeccable). I think she has skipped the country, but I should put her in the debt collectors anyway.

Anyway, let's see if I can make some necessary changes.

Comments are welcome.

It is so brave of you to go out there and just be the professional that you are even with your financial problems.
I have financial problems too that are substantial but they are getting better I keep working at it and it looks like you are too.

oh bo hoo for u. I make a humble salary and am debt free. I've just started saving and yah it's not easy. Watch the show Debt for life, it helped.

its good to face these problems head on an know exactly what your debt is and what the income is and when everything is due. i finally took control of my finances and am working hard to make smart choices. Good luck!

i think any type of support is about being positive for each other and not trying to bring anybody down. thanks victoria for the well wishes. Alleen I think you're doing great!

browngirl - thanks for the positive thoughts - they are appreciated. You are doing great with dealing with your ED too!

victoria1981 - thanks for pointing out that I need to work out all my finances. I've tended to think if I just work hard enough these things will sort themselves out, but really you are quite right that I need to work out all the debts and that might give me a bit of a fright but it will focus me on billing my clients out properly!

many problems, yeah, I don't think this site is the place for sarcasm, but thanks for the tv suggestion and good for you for being debt free!

I worked quite well these past couple of days although am still struggling with doing the timesheets properly. Don't know why, but it is just hard when you are running around doing a lot of things, but I will keep working on that. I am rearranging things so that I will be working Saturday too, because I need to do that for now to get on top of things.

Cheers and have a good weekend all.

finances are just hard to want to deal with and can seem overwhelming, and it still stresses me out. But now that i have everything out on the table each month gets a little less overwhelming cause i know exactly what my bills are and have on a a schedule.

you can do it alleen, trust me it is not fun but kind of like pulling off a bandaid when you finally do it. good luck! and yes lets keep this a place of support and positivity!

I got quite anal about my finances years ago. It took years to really be vigil at it & well worth it later on though, so it can be done even with other on going private battles in life. Do your best Alleen thats all you can ask of yourself.