17 Apr 2010, 8:44am
simple living:
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  • It’s still lovely and quiet out there with no jet aeroplane noise

    Looks like  Eyjafjallajökull is still doing its stuff, though we are starting to hear military jets which presumably go at different heights?

    It’s not just me that is enjoying the peace from the incessant low-frequency rumble at the threshold of hearing, though I do feel for all the poor sods who are stranded through no fault of ther own. Particularly as it looks like the travel insurance companies are going to welch on their responsibilities, surely unforeseen circumstances are exactly the reason why people buy travel insurance? D’oh…

    The BBC have a graphic on why this is taking the UK out in particular.

    This is bringing up other interesting stuff, such as that air freight is 25% of all imports to the UK by value. Some of the things that are air freighted are shocking. Fresh fruit, okay, but clothes? What the hell is up with that, importing clothes by air, are we nuts or what?

    There is something deeply wrong about what is reported in this article

    There are fears that British supermarket shelves could soon be empty of green beans, mangetout and sugar snap peas, among the main vegetables sent from Kenya each day.

    We shouldn’t be airfreighting low value stuff like this. For all sorts of reasons, including

    Supermarkets’ ‘just in time’ delivery schedules mean that while there is some stock kept in reserve, it is only enough to last for two or three days.

    One day, we will come to bitterly regret the brittleness of our distribution systems…

    17 Apr 2010, 8:17am
    personal finance:
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  • freelance income compared with employment income

    Feel The Fear and Do It AnywayI have always have employment income as the vast majority of my income, and this has always been working for a company. I have run a limited company on the side, so I’m not a total noob to working for myself.

    As I contemplate transitioning from employment income to other forms, it strikes me that the nature of my income in future will be very different. And the difference gives me the willies. As Susan Jeffers’ book title implies, that isn’t a good reason to not do it, but these are some of the differences:

    Paid employment income

    • Stable (till you lose your job)
    • reliable
    • easy budgeting
    • usually the single or main source of income

    Compared with that, the business owner, writer or freelancer’s income is

    • highly variable month to month
    • very difficult budgeting, either needing borrowing or a large cash float/emergency fund
    • diffuse – several strands of work at the same time

    I’m glad that I paid off my mortgage while running on steady employment income, I’m not sure I’m cut out for such a large and critical regular outgoing on a variable income. There again, I have been lucky enough to be able to weather two recessions without losing my job, for the downside of employment income is that it is usually the only source of income. An employee is stuffed when they lose their job, compared to a freelancer who happens to lose just one income stream of several.

    The feast or famine income pattern of freelance work isn’t to my taste at all. In some sorts of work I am looking at clients have a quarterly cycle of payments, add a couple of 90-day terms to that, and you can end up flogging your guts out but still being skint for six months, and when it comes through the temptation will be there to kick back for a while.

     
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