Living alone and freelancing can be a precarious way to live! Here, Lynn juggles it all and with the help of her support network, tells us how she managed to buy her own home.
At 48 years of age, working in PR and events I most often get paid in full, once the job is complete.
In order to dodge being thrown from the tracks, crashing financially (so to speak), avoid eviction, starvation or the humiliation of ending up with a set of unkempt and wiry roots, I have gotten into the habit of paying for essentials up-front.
Hairdos might not be a basic need on Maslow’s Hierarchy, but you can’t pitch for PR work with hair like a mad woman’s mirkin!
bahados (this is not Lynn btw, but you get the drift!)
My hairdresser and local café have grown accustomed to me paying fares in advance. They occasionally allow me to run a tab if I am absolutely rooked as they both understand the nature of being self-employed. My housing association less so. But I have managed to avoid life as a hobo thus far, as I am seldom out of work.
Living solo with no dependents, affected by an amusement ride approach to money management, I often ponder…what if I lived with a partner? Would life be more stable? A second income? Splitting the bills? Less tight turns, steep slopes and no more of the occasional gut-wrenching freefall?
Recently, I was forced to confront my financial behaviour. My housing association offered me the opportunity to buy the flat I Iive in for a significantly below market price and heavily discounted sum.
On applying for a mortgage, having never owned a credit card and very occasionally bouncing the odd mobile or leccy bill, I discovered I have a pretty crap credit rating. Plus, my current business is only seven months old and although doing well, I would not be able to get a mortgage without at least one year’s complete books.
On the verge of a breakdown at the prospect of missing such a great opportunity, I went in search of a solution. How could I raise the money to buy the home I was living in? Would it be possible? I found myself widely discussing the dilemma with my vast and varied network of clients, co-workers, family and friends. I experienced two brilliant breakthroughs!
The first sprouted from conversations with my very bright sister-in-law who inspired an excellent idea.
She pointed out that my brother can get away with contracting and freelancing because she brings in a reliable, regular income from the oil industry. Very reliable, stable…and very highly paid. She is a super bright sister-in-law who also has a very big pension and will probably retire at 50.
She often pesters me about hitching a decent, supportive man. If only…but she set me thinking. As a 48-year-old singleton, looking across the current barren landscape of decent men, I came to realise I would have to be my own reliable, stable companion!
But, what if I was to work part-time, in a permanent role where all my basic overheads would be covered and at the same time run my business? – I would be able to enjoy the flexibility, autonomy and creativity of the small quirky projects I yearn for – an outcome of the past where I would find myself demented, working in a full-time corporate environment.
Before launching my own business, I had a pattern of working in full-time jobs for two to three years and then an irresistible, hard to-say-no-to freelance project would pop up and it would normally be based abroad!
I’ve had a lot of fun with my career, but settling down to a less frenetic work pattern, the security of having a regular income and still being able to freelance and run my own company, seemed to make a whole lot of sense.
The second breakthrough was discovering how utterly brilliant my support network is.
Randomly, at a recent beach hut warming/painting party (yes…it was very random!), a friend of a friend offered a sizeable lump sum of cash. He then suggested I ask my clients, friends and family to each chuck in £5k or £10k until I arrived at the full amount needed to buy my flat.
Once done, he then went on to suggest going back to speak with my bank, telling them I own my flat outright and request to release equity. Either, through a secured loan or by re-mortgaging for the initial amount I owed my investors, with an additional 10% I could then pay to each individual loan giver for extending their goodwill. Genius!
Hey, presto! Problem solved. Three wage slips from the permanent role and a flat to secure a loan against and I would have the money to pay back my initial investors within 3-6 months of buying my flat.
All in the passing, I now own my flat. I will probably live in it, on my own for the rest of my life. But I will do, in the knowledge that I, am my own stable, secure financial partner and I have the most amazing network of people around me, who literally transferred money into my account without a minute’s hesitation. They made me feel most trusted, valued, loved and most of all – not alone!