Question submitted by Joe z
I’ve been working consistently as a remote contractor on a console game for about 7 months now… But when it comes time to sign my next apartment lease or make any big commitments I keep questioning whether my job/income will still be there. I feel that I should just work hard and go with the flow but how should I in factor all this ” uncertainty of employment” when I am making decisions about the future?
Hey Joe, that is a great question! Here is my answer:
Since job security within the video game industry can be very unstable due to cancelled projects, studio closings, and whatnot, your continued employment (even if you are working in house) is always uncertain. Therefore, when working in the industry (especially remotely/ freelance) it is always best to keep your expenses, bills and amount of possessions down to a minimum. I would refrain from making any large purchases for a long as possible (don’t buy a house or spend your check on a bunch of crap) because you may have to relocate to your next job.
Here’s what you should do when planing around the uncertainty of employment:
Always keep in mind that your job is never secure. and therefore live modestly, below your means. Ideally, your rent should not be more than 1/3 of your paycheck AFTER TAXES. (More than that means your apartment is eating into the money needed to pay bills, student loans, deposit into your savings, etc.). You can sign a yearly lease, although month to month would be better. If you ever have to break your lease, (to relocate to a new job) then you should negotiate with the company who is hiring you, to pay the fees involved.
While the money is coming in, DON’T SPEND IT. SAVE IT. Build yourself a “nest egg”. Ideally you will want to start saving enough money to cover AT LEAST 6 months of your living expenses.
This buys you some time if an emergency ever comes up, or if you lose your job. If you have monies left over, then set up/ add funds to your retirement fund (401k, or Roth IRA) Since you are young, investing aggressively now will yield you A LOT of profit, down the road. It also means you pay less on taxes. If you DO want to treat yourself to the occasional video game or toy, that’s fine, but just remember that you will have to carry all of that stuff to whatever town/ state/ or country your next gig will be at.
I hope that helps.
If anyone has their own questions, please feel free to send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, and I will do my best to answer them. Thanks.