I recently leased office space for Get Rich Slowly.
For about a year, I'd been working out of an office I'd created in one of our spare bedrooms. This seemed like an ideal solution: I was able to work from home (with my cat companions!) while utilizing empty space.
In reality, this arrangement proved a blessing and a curse. Yes, it was convenient to have a home office. But I also found that the boundaries between Work and non-Work began to blur. I was working all the time. I wrote 10, 12, 18 hours a day — nearly every day. I love my work, but still…I had created a lifestyle that was anything but “rich”.
Last winter, Kris and I discussed the possibility of finding a writing space for me, but we never followed through. I thought it was crazy to spend a few hundred dollars per month to rent an office when we had plenty of room at home. It felt like a poor financial decision. So I continued to work long hours. This website consumed my life.
In February and March, I did a lot of soul-searching. I began to study George Kinder's notion of “life planning” and to develop my own philosophy about the stages of personal finance. I realized that although keeping a home office made me richer financially, it actually made me poorer in every other sense.
So, at the end of March, I gave in to my gut, and I leased a small office in a commercial building at the top of the hill. It was a mental struggle to move stuff up to the new space. I felt like I was kicking a grown child out of the house. (Part of the process was fun though: I used a little red wagon to haul books, and I carried a couple of the office chairs on my shoulders.)
Hard at work in my new office. I look old! Note the piggy bank watching over me.
I've been in the new office for two months now, and I have to say: this is one of the best decisions I've ever made. Yes, I'm spending $335 a month for 145 square feet of office space, but it's a business expense. (Translation: I'm not losing the entire $335 from my personal bottom-line.) Better yet, I'm much more productive here. When I come to the office, I come to work. I've created physical and mental space by moving out of the house.
Meanwhile, I've (mostly) been able to reclaim my time at home for other activities: reading, gardening, spending time with my wife. (I've done more pleasure reading in the past month than I had during the entire previous year, I think.) My life is much richer for having made this choice.
It's not always possible to know the outcome of a financial decision before you make it. Sometimes the option that looks best on paper is actually a poor choice. And sometimes it makes sense to spend a little extra money to obtain peace of mind.
Author: J.D. Roth
In 2006, J.D. founded Get Rich Slowly to document his quest to get out of debt. Over time, he learned how to save and how to invest. Today, he's managed to reach early retirement! He wants to help you master your money — and your life. No scams. No gimmicks. Just smart money advice to help you reach your goals.