A turkey is fed for 1,000 days by a butcher, and every day confirms to the turkey and the turkey’s economics department and the turkey’s risk management department and the turkey’s analytical department that the butcher loves turkeys, and every day brings more confidence to the statement. But on day 1,001 there will be a surprise for the turkey… Nassim N. Taleb,
The above quote was originally with economists in mind, but it can also be applied to employees whose belief in their job security (based on past positive indicators such as performance reviews, bonuses, raises, accomplishments, etc.) remains strong right up to the moment their employer gives them notice.
Here are some headlines found on the Web this month:
- Citrix plans 900 layoffs
- Johnson Controls cutting 277 more jobs in Milwaukee
- Teck Resources Ltd. cutting 1,000 jobs
- ESPN laying off several hundred people
- Tyson To Close Plant In Jefferson, With 400 Layoffs Expected
I have to wonder: How many of those newly unemployed have a second or third source of income in place, such as investments, side hustle business, or rental properties? My guess is very few. But for those that do, I’m sure they sleep more soundly than those whose sole cash flow just stopped flowing. These headlines make it obvious that, despite being well into the economic recovery from the Great Recession and an improved job market, companies are constantly adapting and restructuring. No matter how secure you think your position is, when you’re 100% reliant on a single source of income, you ARE vulnerable.
With even a modest secondary income, you can mitigate the impact from becoming suddenly unemployed. During the good times, additional sources of income provide OPTIONS (there I go again, raving about having more options…). And when times inevitably turn bad, a second or third source of income can spell the difference between keeping afloat or sinking.
One advantage to a non-job secondary income is that it has no limits. Unlike a job position, which has a defined pay ceiling and typical growth rate of 2-4%, a non-job income source has no such artificial restrictions. Having a large active source of income with an average growth rate of 3% is fine, but when supplemented with small passive income sources that can grow at an annual rate of 15% or more? That’s a much better position to be in.
Another advantage to multiple sources of income is that of redundancy. If one fails, there are others to fall back on. When 100% dependent on a single income stream, you have to scramble to find another source of income while your savings are steadily devoured by your expenses .
I’ve been laid off twice in my life and it sucked, but I was fortunate enough to have a decent amount of savings at the time, so it wasn’t as devastating as it could have been. If I had a second source of income when unemployed, it would have helped to stretch my savings further, plus it would have also made me feel less desperate and more selective about the next job offer to come my way.
Developing a second source of income via dividend investing ranks among the best decisions I have ever made in my life. My current monthly dividend income isn’t enough to completely cover my monthly living expenses, but it’s more than enough to cover the utility bills and other lesser expenses. Another option is to apply dividend income to paying down the mortgage principle more quickly, taking 15 years off the 30-year mortgage and saving thousands in interest payments. If necessary, I could apply all of my monthly dividend income towards my minimum monthly mortgage payment, which is over 80% covered by dividend income. That would nearly eliminate any foreclosure worries.
Real security comes from having multiple sources of income to build financial resilience. Nassim Taleb’s parable is clear: Don’t be a turkey.