Career and Finances of a Freelancer


Christina, 30, a mother of one child, has been working as a freelancer in a production house. At the moment, she earns more than Rp 5 million a month from various projects of translating documents, papers, or film scripts. This  income has enabled her to be more independent in financing her personal expenses, even though she is supported by her husband since they got married 1.5 years ago.

Let's see how she manages her money while earning fluctuating income.

freelancer“These freelance jobs have utilized my spare time,” she tells LiveOlive.

In a month, Christina sets aside Rp 2 million-Rp 3 million for her savings. Meanwhile, she pays Rp 1.5 million for insurance premium that she has maintained for herself. The rest is used for shopping or eating out to meet friends.

“This kind of job can be quite overwhelming at times. It is not bad to make use of my time and get some money on the side,” she says. She does not have to panic if she does not get new projects or only gets small translation jobs.

“Luckily, my husband covers all of our household expenses and some of my personal expenses,” she explains.

In the future, however, Christina wants to start investing on her own, without using her husband’s money.

LiveOlive comments:

Christina’s freelance job is mainly to supplement her husband's income and occupy her time. The downside, however, is that she may start treating it like a hobby and not take it seriously.

Before she knows it, she can undervalue what she is doing, just accept whatever jobs that come her way and eventually get frustrated and give up what is a very lucrative source of income for her and her family.

Thus, the first thing we suggest Christina do is to track the time she spends on each type of project. This will help her prioritize jobs and balance her work and taking care of her family, so she does not get overwhelmed. She can focus on projects that are more efficient to do, i.e. those that give her more income for the same amount of time spent.

Next, about managing her personal finances.

Saving is good, but it is even better to know what one is saving for. Given her situation and life stage, here are some goals Christina can think about:

Depending on the goals, the type of investment will be different. For goals with a longer time horizon – more than 10 years like child's education and retirement – she can consider equities – stocks and shares, whereas for goals with shorter time horizons – family vacation, for example, simply placing the money in a time deposit may make more sense.

For stocks and shares, she can do this either by buying unit-linked products,  mutual funds, or directly investing in the stock market herself. Since it seems that she already has adequate insurance, she can consider mutual funds or directly purchase of blue chip stocks – remember, only blue chip stocks.

[Read: 5 Steps to Open an Online Stock Trading Account]

Out of the Rp 5 million, she can allocate Rp 1 million-Rp 2 million per month to investments. Christina should invest her money regularly, rather than just  investing when she feels like it. This way she does not have to think about when is a good time to buy.

Read more: Why Women Make Good Investors

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