Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : October 5th 2014 Contents What if he had an emergency or even needed to
pay for something important? Would the surplus
cash flow from this be directed to savings to insulate
him from further debt? Hardly likely. The surplus
cash might be a ticket to a little more (much needed)
rest and relaxation.
The other question is: would the extra $5,000 in
hand be best utilised repainting the car?
Let s first look at Reggie s monthly finances (Table
1) to get an appreciation of his situation. We have
made some estimates regarding his deductions and
Before he got the consolidation he probably had
a surplus of about $88. Now, with installments lower,
he would see $1,500 extra cash in his hands. The
challenge with this improvement is that for most
people who have been living on a shoestring budget,
when they experience any amelioration in cash flow,
living expenses invariably consume it.
The key to Reggie s breakthrough may reside in
what he is paid per hour. If somehow he could earn
more in less time then this not only would mean
more sleep but also a better quality of life.
Using the last job he turned down as an example,
we can estimate how much more he could have
earned per hour: $7,000 divided by 16 hours (two
days work) = $437.50. It begs to ask the question:
why to this point hasn t Reggie taken advantage of
this latent talent?
Clearly it would change his life in a very short
space of time! One word: capital!
What separates him from this opportunity is a
trifle $10,000 which, in his mind, might seem out
of reach but he already has $5,000 and an extra
$1,500 coming in per month. In less than four
months Reggie could have the capital he needs to
be equipped with the ability to earn eight times
more money in the same time, but he has to tem-
porarily suspend his gratification of fixing his car
and some relaxation.
Without sacrificing his secure paycheck he could
now forego some of the 20 hours overtime work
and 24 hours private security jobs.
With 42 hours at $437.50 per hour he could rake
in $18,375 of tax-free dollars in his spare time!
Reggie is a 40-year-old
security supervisor at
a chemical plant. He
earns $10,000 per
month before deduc-
Five years ago he separated from his
wife and four young children and
agreed to pay child support of $3,000
monthly. The rent for his one-bedroom
apartment is $2,500 and loan install-
ments total $4,000 per month.
Reggie works six (8-hour) days per
week but, because of his commitments,
is forced to take on a maximum 20
hours extra overtime to top up his
salary by $2,100.
At least twice every fortnight he gets
private security jobs at special events
that earn him on average $300 (tax
free) per night from 8:00 pm to 2:00
am. He is often very tired and spends
a lot of his off days sleeping. He
approached his bank to consolidate
his debts to reduce his monthly pay-
ments. They agreed and proposed pay-
ments of $2,500 plus an extra $5,000
he plans to spend to repaint his car.
We also found out that Reggie is a
talented carpenter but has put his trade
on the back burner because he is just
too busy and does not have key pieces
of equipment to do the jobs that come
The last job he turned down would
have earned him $7,000 for two days
work. The challenge: the tools he needs
costs about $10,000, which he simply
cannot afford right now.
Reggie would not mind working for
himself but the prospect of jettisoning
out of his spiraling financial situation
is beyond him but is open to any ideas
that could offer hope and a fresh per-
This is a classic case of exchanging
units of time and effort for units of
money; then afterward, exchanging
units of money for units of time and
It is tiring thinking of how many
hours Reggie puts out to make ends
meet. I am certain if he could afford
to, he would provide a more secure
financial future for his four children
but---as the cost of his commitments
increase at a disproportionately faster
pace than his earnings---he is forced
to invest more and more units of time
to catch up.
In light of this situation, it may be
difficult for him to even consider sac-
rificing the security of a steady pay-
check and venture out to the world of
self-employment. The reality is: like
everyone else he has the same 24 hours
in a day and there is only so much he
can do---or can he?
Reggie has managed to consolidate
and restructure his loans to afford a
smaller monthly payment but, in doing
so, he has committed more of his
future paychecks to servicing debt.
OCTOBER 5 • 2014 www.guardian.co.tt SUNDAY BUSINESS GUARDIAN
FINANCIAL ROAD MAP | SBG7
Creating windows of opportunity
As he begins to exchange more and more security
work for carpentry whilst maintaining exemplary
customer service and quality workmanship his clien-
tele will grow and the sky is the limit.
(Details were modified to protect client s identi-
ty)Nicholas Dean (Cer-Fa) is a financial coach and
mentor who is the managing director of the
Financial Coaching Centre. He can be contacted
at: firstname.lastname@example.org www.FinancialCoach-
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