Earn more, lose more.

For some people who think that earning more money equates to a “happier” life, I found this article by Cito Beltran particularly interesting. I am reposting it here because Philstar does a crappy job at archiving their past articles.

The article is quite long so you have been warned. 🙂

What matters
CTALK By Cito Beltran
The Philippine Star 02/09/2007

Having opted to live a less stressful lifestyle away from the limelight or the Rat Race, it’s but normal for people who made the choice, to sometimes wonder if they did the right thing.

They experience pangs of guilt about being under employed, less productive and certainly reduced in their income potential. While everyone else is BUSY making a LIVING, you ask yourself if it’s a mature thing to be at home or semi-retired at the farm.

Are you wasting all your God-given talents raising kids, growing your own food, or simply living on very little money and simple needs? Shouldn’t you be involved in today’s politics, today’s technology? And are your friends right about saying “Sayang Ka”?

Last month, a friend called me about an opening in a major corporation that was paying P300,000 a month, all the perks, and even a brand new Volvo. My friend asked me how I would react if the job was offered to me since I was very qualified.

It took me all of 5 seconds to tell her I wouldn’t accept it.

To begin with P100,000 would certainly end up with the government as taxes. That would leave me with only P200,000.

To earn that, I would have to be at work by eight everyday, instead of coming up with imaginative tricks to wake up my daughter like placing her puppy in her bed, or simply standing over her watching this angelic child in her field of dreams.

I would have to eat breakfast by six, leave the house by 6:30. That means no more breakfast conversations with my wife and certainly an end to our morning prayers not just for us but for family and friends.

In the absence of maintenance you can enter about P10,000 as your average monthly repair bill for labor and materials. So now, you discover you’re only earning P150,000 a month.

Instead of being in a HOME I own, I will have to try to be “at home” in an office where I will be spending more of my “awake time”. This finally solves the puzzle; why do we always fill our offices with personal stuff which we will have to take home in a box when we retire, resign or get fired?

From having my independence and personal views, I would then have a real live flesh and bones Boss (because of what I thought was P200,000 a month salary) can tell me how to jump! Someone who’s seniority or proprietary rights automatically makes him right even if he’s stupid.

Because you now have to spend most of the time at the office or behind a desk, you can’t do your regular walk in the park or jog around the village which is also your bonding time with your spouse, your kids, or your dogs. You either join a gym or get a personal trainer.

When you total fees, travel, and outfits, your monthly fitness bill would be around P5,000 which means your net pay just went down to P145,000 a month or less than half the original offered salary.

My dear wife reminds me to include clothing and image-related expenditures specially for women. The clothes, the make-up, the jewelry, as well as the business accessories such as the laptop loaded with Vistas program, the latest cell phones, iPod etc.

Even if you paid all of that on installment for 24 months, it would be in the area of P20,000 a month which further reduces your income to P125,000 a month.

The problem with this major part of the expense is many people mistakenly call them necessary investments, professional expense, but don’t see them as deductions from PERSONAL wealth.

It would also mean, not sharing the responsibility of taking our child to school, missing out on small talk that tell you big things in children’s minds, and dropping out on all the parent-child activities.

From the P200,000, I would have to spend at least P20,000 a month or 10% of net to pay for gasoline driving the brand new Volvo to office everyday.

So in effect, I would only be earning P180,000 or even less. Not to mention that my friends who sell Mercedes Benzes, Jaguars, etc. would brand me as a traitor.

From the net salary of +/- P180,000, I would have to give up the lunch I have with my wife 3 to 4 times a week at home.

Instead my power of choice adds another burden where I would have to decide daily where in the business district I ought to have lunch, merienda if needed, and from time to time even dinner. I would have to choose from a menu instead of whipping up something in my kitchen.

When you add up the bill, plus service charge, plus VAT you can easily average another P20,000 in expenses. Which means, that what we originally thought would be a net income of P200,000 has now gone down to P160,000.

I would also nullify all the adjustments we made in the last 5 years where we integrated home life with work in order to be more of a family than employees with a family.

Speaking of home life, anyone who spends a lot of time at work can testify that in your absence you will have to hire a full crew to do all the maintenance and repair you use to prevent or do yourself when you spend time at home.

In your absence, who’s going to fix leaking roofs, flooded toilets, busted aircons, creaking doors, or all the usual things REAL MEN with real tools do?

If I actually went out to get the job that pays P300,000 plus a brand new Volvo, it would have cost me breakfasts with my wife, trips to school with my daughter, morning talks and prayers with God, affirmation of my role as husband, father. I would be relinquishing responsibility for my house, as well as my home.

What we’ve done is determine what really matters, what and how much we really need, give up what we don’t need or care for and trust in God and not in men.

This is what I call real life cost-benefit analysis. To make an accounting of what we think we’re getting against what we know we’re losing. Sometimes earning more actually costs more.


5 thoughts on “Earn more, lose more.

  1. while i do not like him and his style of writing, I agree with some of his points…. I simply resigned from my job because I realized that as I was making a living, I was throwing away my life. yun na yun.

  2. Jher, thanks for sharing. I can totally relate — what we look at as sacrifices by living a simpler life are actually more rewarding than if we were to go for the big bucks. I am underemployed and can go for a career, but I’d rather go for quality of life.. and I’m happy where I’m at.

  3. wow! now I realized na Family man na family man si Cito Beltran. Saludo ako sa kanya dahil yung pamilya mismo ang dahilan kung bakit if ever e hindi nya tatanggapin yung job 🙂

  4. hi! just dropped by. thanks for sharing this!
    i’ll definitely pass this to my boyfriend. i also wish we can figure out a way to reconcile work, relationship, family, and money.

  5. cito beltran is indeed a family man…
    hope we can have him as one of the speakers for the 5th Spectrum National Campus Journalism Fellowship..

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