When a new chunk of money shows up in my business bank account (I use Wise’s multi-currency account – it’s boss), I allocate said money in the following way:
- 50% – “take-home pay”
- 30% – set aside for taxes
- 12.5% – “future-self fund”
- 6.5% – emergency fund
- 1% – give away to others
I haven’t always rolled this way, but this is how I’ve been doing it for the past, say, eight months.
You see, when you secure a job through our platform, you’re being hired as a contractor, which means that here at Growmotely, we are all technically self-employed. Which means that we all receive our full gross income (from a tax standpoint) in our bank accounts every month. Which means that we are all responsible for asking – and answering – the following juicy question each and every month: Where should I direct my dosh?
When we’re working as an employee – and siloed in a country – in most cases, we will receive our ‘net pay’, and not our ‘gross pay’. So, what we owe in taxes and potentially what we would like to invest for our ‘future self’ (aka pension) will be deducted before it hits our bank accounts. Whereas not ever seeing this money carries a number of advantages (if we can’t see it, we can’t spend it!), when we are locked into this type of system, we are also locked into a system that is organized by country. And when we are locked into a system that is organized by country, not only are we not able to (easily) change countries, we are often paying into “future-self funds” that unwittingly incentivize us to root in the country we are in.
Here at Growmotely, we organize ourselves in a way that is not rooted in – or siloed by – country, which means that we are free to roam the globe as we see fit. It also means, however, that we are extended an invitation to grow up and level up when it comes to money, because no government or company is necessarily going to look after us. (In other words: we can easily fall through the cracks.) As is true in almost all realms of levelling up, this can feel scary at the beginning, but – once embraced – can lead us to a space where we experience more empowerment and ownership (one of Growmotely’s five values!)
There’s – of course – no one way (or right way) to direct your dosh, but I’m going to share with you where I’ve landed on this front just to get the conversation rolling.
50% – “take-home pay”
I allocate 50% of any sum of money that comes in for me towards money that I can spend. Either on regular expenses – or on anything else. If I were running a proper budget (“abundance allocation plan” as I like to call it – ha!) – which I’m not officially doing at the moment – this is the money I would use for my budget.
What this means for me, is that when I am in negotiations for a piece of work or for a job, however much money I need or want to ‘take home’, I need to multiply that amount by two – and request that much. (Perhaps food for thought when it comes to filling out the ‘Monthly Rate’ field on our platform!)
30% – set aside for taxes
This percentage can be a bit of a guessing game – especially if you are a country-hopper. The most important thing, I suppose, is not the specific percentage, but simply that you siphon off money for your estimated tax liability as soon as the money comes in – rather than try to scrape it together when ‘the bill’ arrives at your doorstep. (I’ve tried the latter – trust me, it’s not as fun…nor is it as zen.)
I keep my money for taxes in a separate bank account – and in a different institution – than the money that I spend. Let’s keep it out of sight, and out of mind, so that it’s there for us when we need it! 😎
12.5% – “future-self fund”
I ‘landed on’ this language during one of my coaching sessions with my first financial coach – the brilliant UK-based Simonne Gnessen. Language – and what we call things – is important, and I resonated with this term more than say pension or retirement fund.
For any regular payments coming in for me (e.g. the monthly payment I receive from Growmotely!), I’ve set up an automatic transfer so that 12.5% of that amount is sent to the appropriate account every month. For me, this money is 100% invested in stocks – it’s a simple index fund.
The incredible company SafetyWing – one of our partners here at Growmotely – is building a social safety net on the internet, and we cannot wait for them to launch their ‘Remote Pension’ product! “A pension savings plan that prepares you not only for retirement, but has built-in sabbaticals so you can enjoy some of what you are in the prime of your health.” Stay tuned! The rumor is that this product is launching this year…
6.5% – emergency fund
Surprise! I also keep my emergency fund money in a different account and institution than where my spending money is. COVID-19 demolished my emergency fund of yesteryear; I’m now enjoying the task of building it back up.
My favorite hack for building an emergency fund is to – in some shape or form – build in ‘the buzz’. What’s ‘the buzz’? For me, ‘the buzz’ is what I get when I spend money on things or experiences I love (e.g. a plane ticket, or a to-die-for latte). ‘The buzz’ doesn’t come naturally when I send money to my Emergency Fund, so I have to create it. At the moment, I get ‘the buzz’ from (1) a big posterboard I have where I get to add a sticker every time I add $22.00 USD to this fund – celebrating small wins is key! and (2) calculating my net worth every month and seeing the number go up on the spreadsheet.
1% – give away to others
Don’t be fooled by the fact that I am talking about this one last. I have SAVED THE BEST FOR LAST on this occasion. Directing this 1% gives me SO MUCH JOY – and perhaps for some unexpected reasons.
One reason I love giving money away every month is that it leaves me feeling abundantly rich – in all of the ways one can feel rich – when I do this. Carving out a set percentage – regardless of how much (or how little) – is coming in is an incredible reminder that if we are making any money at all, we can choose to see our money through the lens of ‘our cup always runneth over’. If we have any bread at all, we always have the potential to share some of that bread with our neighbor.
Author and musician Joe Vitale has suggested that we can only receive to the extent that we can give away. Giving, therefore, is an exercise in opening ourselves up, and when we open ourselves up, we are creating fertile ground for beautiful, life-affirming exchanges.
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Here at Growmotely, you may have noticed that we’re all about alignment. We want you to find a role and a company that is 100% aligned with who you are and what you value. When it comes to money, it’s the same. When you are hired as a remote professional via our platform, you are hired as a contractor and you are paid the totality of your gross salary – from a tax perspective. It is then up to you to decide how you are going to direct your dosh. There’s no right or wrong way to do this; there are only ways that are more aligned or less aligned with who you are and what you value.
For us, we see the Future of Work as a place where money is but one of many types of currency, and we use this currency – and others – to direct our lives in aligned, and meaningful ways. We would love for you to join us on this journey of exploring how best we can direct our dosh, and our lives, so that we are living in the highest alignment possible. ✨
Written by: Vanessa Kettner (Growmotely’s Creative Writer and your Remote Work Cupid)
Dedicated to: David Bach – author of ‘The Latte Factor’; this book helped me direct my dosh in a way that feels aligned to me