Earning A Living or Living An Earning?

So which is it? Are you earning a living or living and earning?3)Earning

What is the difference?

Living an Earning

Most people are living an earning. They get up everyday to head off to a job they don’t care about or even hate. They work hard and get nothing accomplished. There is no sense of satisfaction in their jobs and their careers are going nowhere. They are however, making some money, maybe even enough to survive.

Unfortunately everything they have earned has been spent. They bought the nice car three years ago and traded it in, upside down on another car this year. Their mortgage is greater than their house is worth thanks to the recession. Although it probably would have only been a break even proposition without the recession.

What they do earn, for the foreseeable future, is also spent not just on the mortgage and their new upside down car but also on the credit cards, revolving accounts and student loans. They are in debt up to their eyeballs and they know it, but they have no idea how long it will take to climb out.

They are working for a wage that will only sustain a long, slow decline deeper into the abyss of debt.

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Earning a Living

There are also people that are earning a living. They make enough to at least survive while some even thrive. These are the people that take a few minutes with each purchase decision to consider the impact it will have not just on their checking balance today but also on their financial future.

These are the people that realize there is always room for improvement, opportunities to reduce their expenses and the possibility to increase their income. When you are earning a living you recognize that the dollars earned today are not just to cover today’s expense but the costs you will incur in the future.

People that are earning a living recognize that they must spend less than the earn so there is always some earning left that goes towards a future free of financial worries, a future more likely to involved retirement and relaxation.

Which are You Doing?

If you are among the former it is time to switch sides. Come over to the side of fiscal responsibility, debt elimination and wealth creation. There is not magic pill or get rich quick scheme to take or buy there is only a change of lifestyle. You must be willing to sacrifice a little each day so that you will have the opportunity to enjoy tomorrow.

Are you among the latter? If you are already among those that are earning a living then you are among those that know there is still room for improvement. Are you already doing enough to ensure your future and financial well-being? It may be time to step it up another notch, reduce some unnecessary expenses or increase your income.

So what is it, are you living an earning or earning a living?

More importantly, now that you know, what are you going to do next?

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photo by Donald Macleod

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12 comments to Are You Earning A Living or Living An Earning?

  • Trying to work to LIVE and have that laser-like focus to be able to hang it all up within 10 years.

    I will never waver from a couple of my new year’s resolutions, otherwise things will be tougher down the road.

    Congrats on breaking 100,000 btw! Your Alexa chart looks like a nice ski-jump looking chart!


    .-= Financial Samurai´s last blog ..The Katana: Revisiting Our New Year’s Resolutions =-.

  • I like what you’re saying here and couldn’t agree more with the idea of not just spending everything you earn mindlessly. Still, I used to have a job I was highly passionate about that was still sucking the life out of me. It can happen. I was a tightwad with the money though, so at least now that I’m completely burnt out in terms of my last profession, I have time to pursue other options–hopefully less time-intensive ones! I can’t claim to be earning a living as I’m currently unemployed ;).
    .-= Simple in France´s last blog ..SIF community spotlight: Tree at Frugal is a Green Journey. =-.

  • Always like the play on words. A simple sentence reorganization makes you think.

    Much like, “living to work” or “working to live” – the emphasis is on which one dictates your life.

    To me at least, it seems like EVERYONE wants the “earning to live”, but don’t have the fortitude to delay the gratification and so end up “living an earning”.
    .-= FinEngr´s last blog ..Financial Lessons From Engineering =-.

  • The LeanLifeCoach

    @ Samurai-san – Thanks for the compliment, it would not have happened this soon without inspiration from you. & Please, don’t kid yourself, you may choose to do other things but you will never “hang it up!”

    @ Simple in France – Sounds to me like you did a great job earning a living or else you would not have the flexibility today to pursue options. A perfect example of taking control of your life! More power to you!

    @ FinEngr – I wonder! I am genuinely not sure how many people have really taken the time to consider if they are earning a living vs. living an earning?

  • I will hang it up for sure, you watch. The job I have now is exciting, but very tiring. It’s good to do something new in life, and not just one thing forever.
    .-= Financial Samurai´s last blog ..The Mental To Physical Connection For A Healthier Lifestyle =-.

  • I think sometimes being in a job one dislikes can sometimes cause people to splurge a bit more because of dissatisfaction (I know it may sound like excuses) and they justify purchases because the job just sucks so bad or they’re just having a hard time adjusting to the fast-paced environment.

    However, its those who approach each day positively, regardless if their job isn’t the most gratifying, and make the lifestyle changes as detailed in the Earning A Living section. It’s then when you see that embracing a more frugal and responsible approach to finances do you get to enjoy life more in general. On top of it, because of taking on these new changes, you may end up approaching your job differently and enjoy it more – even if its not the ideal scenario.

    Just my thoughts.

    Nice post.
    .-= The Rat´s last blog ..BIN Revisited: From Tantrum to Tantalization =-.

  • I wonder how many living to earn people read pf blogs? Probably not so many, if they are hopefully it’ll make em switch.

    Congrats on passing through the 100k on alexa… just keeps going up up up!

    Thanks for the review on alexa btw, and making me feel super young with the “kid” mention! 😉
    .-= Ryan @ Planting Dollars´s last blog ..Planting Dollars on Blog Talk Radio with Ask Mr. Credit Card =-.

  • The LeanLifeCoach

    @ Samurai-san – I’m all for variety, just don’t want to see you sitting around!

    @ the rat – Great comments, attitude goes a long way to a productive and happy life.

    @ Ryan – Thanks, I couldn’t do it without people like you…. kid!

  • Great perspective on the topic. Earning a living is definitely the way to go. Lots of people who read PF blogs only do it for entertainment, though, and never really apply what they read to their financial lives.

    I switched from living an earning to earning a living a couple years ago, and wouldn’t trade it for anything.
    .-= The Personal Finance Blog´s last blog ..Starting a Laundry Business =-.

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