MONEY Careers

A Good Reason to Tap Your Roth IRA Early

Concentrating surgeons performing operation in operating room
Alamy

You shouldn't always wait until you retire to pull money from your retirement account.

The Roth IRA is a great tool for retirement savings. But here’s something not as well-known: It’s great for developing your career as well.

Many of my young clients in their 20s and 30s struggle to balance current spending, saving for the next 10 years, and stowing away money for retirement. With so many life changes to deal with (weddings, home purchases, children, new jobs), their financial environment is anything but stable. And their retirement will look completely different than it does for today’s retirees.

To my clients, separating themselves from their current cash flow for the next 30 years feels like sentencing their innocent income to a long prison term.

They ask, “Why should we save our hard-earned money for retirement when we have no idea what our financial circumstances will be in 15 years, never mind 30? What if we want to go back to school or pay for additional training to improve our careers? We might also decide to start a business. How can we plan for these potential life changes and still be responsible about our future?”

The answers to those questions are simple. Start investing in a Roth IRA — the earlier you do it, the better.

There is a stigma that says anyone who touches retirement money before retirement is making a mistake, but this is what we call blanket advice: Although it’s safe and may be correct for many people, each situation is different.

The Roth IRA has very unique features that allow it to be used as a flexible tool for specific life stages.

Unlike contributions to a traditional IRA, which are locked up except for certain circumstances, money that you add to a Roth IRA can be removed at any time. Yes, it’s true. The contributions themselves can be taken out of the account and used for anything at all at any time in your life with no penalty. And, like the traditional IRA, you can also take a distribution of the earnings in the account without penalty for certain reasons, one of which is paying for higher education for you or a family member. (Some fine print: You’ll pay a penalty on withdrawing a contribution that was a rollover from a traditional IRA within the past five years. And you’ll have to pay ordinary income taxes on an early Roth IRA withdrawal for higher education.)

Although you shouldn’t pull money from your retirement account for just any reason, sometimes it’s a smart move.

Let’s say you graduate from college and choose a job based on your major. This first job is great and helps you get your feet wet in the professional world. You’re able to gain some valuable real-world experience and support yourself while you enjoy life after school. And this works for a while…until one day, 10 or 15 years into this career, you wake up and begin to question your choices.

You wonder if this career trajectory is truly putting you where you want to be in life. You think about changing careers or starting a business, but you need your income and have no real savings outside of your retirement accounts.

Now, let’s also say that you were tipped off to the magic of a Roth IRA while you were in college and you contributed to the account each year for the past 15 years. You have $75,000 sitting in the account, $66,000 of which are your yearly contributions from 2000 through 2014. It’s for retirement, though, so you can’t touch it, right? Well, this may be the perfect time to do so.

I recently spoke to a someone who did just this. Actually, his wife did it, but he was part of the decisionmaking process.

The wife has been working for years as a massage therapist for the husband’s company. Things were going quite well, but she had other ideas for her future. She wanted to go back to school to get her degree as a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist. The challenge was that this education was going to cost $30,000, and they did not have that kind of money saved.

So, they brainstormed the various options, one being to tap into his Roth IRA money. They determined that this would be a good investment for their future. Once the wife became a CRNA, her annual earnings would rise an estimated $20,000 — money they could easily use to recoup the Roth IRA withdrawal (though the 2015 Roth IRA contribution limit is $5,500 for those under 50 years old).

This decision gave them a sense of freedom. The flexibility of the Roth allowed them to choose an unconventional funding option for their future and gave the couple a new level of satisfaction in their lives.

And, that’s what it’s all about. We have one life to live, and it’s our responsibility to make decisions that will help us live happily today, while still maintaining responsibility for tomorrow.

Whether your savings is in a bank account or a retirement account, it’s your money. Although many advisers will tell you otherwise, you need to make decisions based on what is best for you at various stages of your life. The one-size-fits-all rule just doesn’t work when it come to financial planning. There is no need to rule out a possible solution because society says it’s a mistake.

———-

Eric Roberge, CFP, is the founder of Beyond Your Hammock, where he works virtually with professionals in their 20s and 30s, helping them use money as a tool to live a life they love. Through personalized coaching, Eric helps clients organize their finances, set goals, and invest for the future.

MONEY salary

MSNBC’s Mika Brzezinski: What Women Do Wrong When Negotiating Their Salary

MSNBC Morning Joe co-anchor Mika Brzezinski explains the mistake that she and other women have made when asking for a raise.

MONEY salary

How MSNBC’s Mika Brzezinski Responded to Being Underpaid

When Morning Joe co-anchor Mika Brzezinski learned she was making less money than her on-air partner, she tried to fix that.

MONEY salary

How to Get the Raise You Deserve

Two-thirds of people asking for a raise get at least some of the money they request. MONEY's Donna Rosato has tips on how to ask for more pay.

MONEY College

The 6 Most Promising Industries for the Class of 2015

These businesses will be booming until 2020 and beyond.

Graduating from college in a few weeks, and looking to start a career where the most growth is? Research firm IbisWorld recently delved into its database of more than 700 industries and came up with a list of the fields most likely to show strong revenue and employment growth, along with above-average salaries, for at least the next five years. Here are the top six businesses for new grads now:

Hospitals/health care. Projected to grow by 19.5% between now and 2020, the medical industry will benefit partly from an aging population that will need more health services in the years ahead. Current average industry salary: $66,567.

Engineering services. The industry “is expected to hire thousands of new graduates over the next five years as business confidence increases,” along with higher government spending on infrastructure, the Ibis study says, for a growth rate of 19%. Average industry salary this year: $87,246.

Management consulting. With an 18% growth rate from now until 2020, profitability — and demand for new hires — has been climbing as the economy recovers and companies invest more in strategy, Ibis reports. Average 2015 industry salary: $58,702.

Accounting. The industry, projected to grow 17%, benefits from the recent rise in financial regulation, which keeps auditors busier than ever. More globalization will also “lead to more cross-border corporate deals that require expertise in U.S. accounting standards.” Current average salary: $67,474.

Semiconductors and circuits. Demand for “advanced wireless consumer electronics, such as smartphones,” including new chip technology that can integrate existing WiFi and mobile networks, will generate 16% growth by 2020, with electrical engineers in especially big demand. Average salary now: $93,167.

Software development. The job market for software engineers, developers, and programmers has been rosy for years, but the Ibis study projects that demand for smartphone app developers in particular will soar at an annual rate of 37.6%, far outpacing the projected 15.5% growth rate of the software business as a whole. The industry’s voracious appetite for talent shows in the average annual 2015 salary: $147,274.

This article originally appeared on Fortune.com.

MONEY Careers

Surprising Ways Older Workers Find Second Act Jobs

150331_RET_Job_1
Alamy

If you're older and have been out of work for a while, try these strategies to land a new job

What’s the secret to landing a new job when you’ve been out of work a long time?

A new report by the AARP Public Policy Institute uncovered some surprising strategies that older workers are using to get back into the workforce.

That’s important because, while the job market is significantly better overall, the situation is still dismal for the long-term unemployed. The jobless rate for people out of work six months or longer is 30% vs. 5.5% overall.

Older workers make up a distressingly large portion of that group: 45% of job seekers 55 and older have been looking for work for six months or longer.

The AARP report examined the job search strategies that led to reemployment for people age 45 to 70 who were unemployed some time during the last five years.

It found big differences in job search strategies between older workers who landed jobs and those who are still not working.

The overall picture is mixed: Among those older workers employed again after a long time out of the workforce, some were earning more, getting better benefits, and working under better conditions. But for many, the jobs were not as good as the ones they had lost: 59% of long-term unemployed older workers made less money, while 15% earned the same and 25% made more.

So, what set the successful job seekers apart? These moves stand out.

  • Embrace change. Almost two-thirds of reemployed older workers found jobs in an entirely new occupation and women were more likely to find work in a new field than men. Of course, some of the unemployed didn’t choose to switch occupations. But for others, the change was a decision to do work that was more personally rewarding and interesting or even less stressful with fewer hours. Whether it was by choice or design, broadening your job search may pay off.
  • Go direct. Older reemployed workers were much more likely—48% vs. 37% of those still looking for work—to contact employers directly about jobs instead of just applying to the black hole of online job postings.
  • Network strategically. Everyone knows that networking is the best way to get a new job but apparently talking to everyone you know may not be the most effective method. While half of those who landed a new job reached out to their network for leads, only 34% of the unemployed used personal contacts at all. But the reemployed were less likely to rely on friends and family to find out about job opportunities, focusing instead on professional contacts.
  • Move fast. When hit with a job loss, many people use it as a time to take a break or think about what they want to do next. That lost time can cost you. The reemployed were much more likely to have begun their job search immediately or even before their job ended than those who are still unemployed.

A couple other surprising findings about what works and what doesn’t: Conventional advice is that the long-term unemployed need to keep their skills up to date if they are jobless for a while. While that can certainly help, additional training didn’t make much difference between those who landed a job and those who remained out of work.

As for social media: While 56% of the reemployed found job boards a good source of job leads, just 13% said online social media networks such as LinkedIn and Facebook were effective in helping them get a new job.

Among the most ineffective strategies: Using a job coach, talking with a headhunter, and consulting a professional association.

MONEY Financial Planning

4 Things You Need to Change Your Career

Want to change your career or launch a new business? A financial planner explains the four things you need.

A few years ago a client, Peter, came to me and said, “I’m doing all the work, but my boss is making all the money. I could do this on my own, my way, and make a whole lot more.”

Peter was an instructor at an acting studio. He was working long hours for someone else, knew the business inside and out, and felt stuck. He wanted a change.

We talked through his dilemma. Peter wanted to know what he needed to do to venture out on his own and start his own acting academy.

Many of us find ourselves daydreaming about making such a bold life change, but few of us do it. So what is stopping us from taking the leap? Why don’t we have the courage to invest in ourselves?

Peter and his wife, Jeannie, sat down with me to chart out a plan. We determined that they needed four major boxes to be checked for Peter’s dream business to have a real shot at success:

  1. Support from the spouse
  2. Cash reserves
  3. A business plan
  4. Courage to take the leap

Let me break these down:

1. Support from the spouse: Peter and Jeannie had to be in full agreement that they were both ready to take on this new adventure together. In the beginning, they would have significant upfront investments in staffing, infrastructure, and signing a lease for the business. Money would be tight.

2. Cash reserves: Peter was concerned. “How much money can we free up for the startup costs?” he asked. We discussed the couple’s financial concerns, reviewed financial goals for their family, and acknowledged the trade-offs and sacrifices they would need to make. We determined a figure they were comfortable investing in their new business. Then we built a business plan around that number.

3. Business plan: It has been said that a goal without a plan is just a wish. Peter and Jeannie needed a written plan in place so that their wish could become a reality. Their business plan would serve as a step-by-step guide to building and growing the acting academy. It included projections for revenues, expenses, marketing strategies, and one-time costs.

Once we wrote the business plan, we had one final step remaining: the step that so many of us don’t have the courage to take. Peter and Jeannie had to trust in themselves, believe in their plan, and…

4. Take the Leap: Regardless of how confident we are, how prepared we feel, and how much support we have, this is a scary step. We have to walk away from our reliable paycheck, go down an unfamiliar road, and head out into the unknown.

I’m happy to share that Peter and Jeannie’s story is one of great success. They faced obstacles and bumps along the way, but Peter persevered and succeeded in accomplishing his goal. He is now running a thriving acting academy with multiple instructors and a growing staff. If you decide to invest in yourself, you will need to take the four steps too.

———-

Joe O’Boyle is a financial adviser with Voya Financial Advisors. Based in Beverly Hills, Calif., O’Boyle provides personalized, full service financial and retirement planning to individual and corporate clients. O’Boyle focuses on the entertainment, legal and medical industries, with a particular interest in educating Gen Xers and Millennials about the benefits of early retirement planning.

MONEY women at work

How to Get Heard in Meetings

mouse talking into megaphone
Jan Stromme—Getty Images

Making your presence known during meetings can be tricky -- especially for women. These tips can help you make an impact.

It pays to contribute confidently in meetings. You don’t want to end up in a six-month performance review with a boss who complains that you “don’t speak up.” But it can be hard to speak up when others speak over you, interrupt you, and are apparently in love with the sound of their own voices.

There are ways around this — and I’m not talking about psyching yourself up in the bathroom mirror before going into a meeting. You don’t need to become louder and more aggressive. You don’t need to become part of the problem.

Read on for tips on speaking up and getting heard.

Interrupted? Interrupt Back

Soraya Chemaly in the Huffington Post wrote that there are ten words every girl and woman should learn:

“Stop interrupting me.”

“I just said that.”

“No explanation needed.”

But for a meeting involving your boss, “Stop interrupting me” is probably a bit harsh. You need to have some meeting-appropriate alternatives at the ready so you can get back to what you were saying before the interrupter runs away with the conversation (and possibly takes credit for your idea).

I’m a fan of the joking-not-joking approach. For instance, “Hang on, I’ve still got the floor.” Or even, “Do we need to use parliamentary procedure?! Hold the phone, buddy!”

Also, get in the habit of confidently turning attention back to other people who get interrupted. As in, “Hang on, Sameera wasn’t finished. Sameera?”

If you do this consistently for everyone, then even when you do it for yourself you’ll come across as someone with a good attention span and an appetite for order, rather than as someone seeking attention for herself.

And, of course, some of the people you lend a hand to will, hopefully, do the same for you.

Create a “Teaser” via Email

If the meeting’s agenda is set in stone (or a Google doc), and the person running the meeting doesn’t seem to care that you exist, pump up your contribution the way you’d promote an indie film you’re hoping becomes the new sleeper hit — with a teaser.

If it’s normal in your company to “reply all” with the group attending your meeting, wait for the email reminder about the meeting, reply all, and write, “Can’t wait! I have some ideas about how to solve the LogicCorp problem! Looking forward to everyone’s feedback.”

Ooh, teaser! Now it would be weird if the whole meeting went by and you didn’t contribute. You’ll get your opening. You’ve created suspense.

If the group email won’t work, try the same thing in person. Catch others who will be in the meeting later at the proverbial water cooler, and tell them, “I have some amazing data that will help us decide X.” If pressed about the “amazing data,” say, “Let’s save it for the meeting so we can get everybody’s feedback.”

Get on the Agenda

Do meetings just come and go, while you barely get a word in? Set the agenda.

Even if you’re the least powerful person in the room, you can often set some part of the agenda. Who called the meeting? Run into that person a few hours before the meeting and ask what the agenda is. If you get a vague answer (“Well, we’re just going to talk about…”), try something like, “Great, I’d like to make sure I get to share [this thing I’ve been doing] so we can all coordinate [other parts of the project]. Can we make sure we give that five to 10 minutes?” Or, “I’d like to give a progress report on X. Can I get five minutes for that?”

If what you really want to do is have your ideas heard and get credit for them, don’t say that, exactly. Couch it in language no boss could say no to. For instance, you’d like to give an “executive-level briefing” about Project X. Ooh, executive-level briefings are for important people! I want one of those!

If you can’t quite pull that off, “briefing” is still a great word. It puts the emphasis on the importance of the listener, which can help to get you airtime.

Practice Socially (Not at a Podium)

If you have trouble speaking up (or if the trouble isn’t yours, but rather a personality problem held by sexist coworkers), you’re going to want to practice.

But you don’t need to join Toastmasters. In fact, taking a public speaking class isn’t very good practice at all, because speechmaking is pretty much the only time ever that you get a specific amount of time to speak. This will not happen in a meeting. Even if you get 10 minutes on the agenda, it is quite likely that you will be interrupted and talked over during much of that time. You need to practice in a situation that is very much like a meeting. That is, a conversation with a bunch of power dynamics going on.

Go out to dinner with a male partner, friend, or your brother. Tell him ahead of time you’d like to share some interesting things you’ve been working on, because you haven’t talked about work in a while. Think over a five to 10-minute update. Plan ahead of time what you’ll say to deal with interruptions. For instance, “Oh, I want to hear about that, but let me finish my story.” Or just, “Hold up, I wasn’t finished.” Of course you’ll get normal conversational interludes and feedback, but stay on-message like a politician: You specifically invited someone out for the purpose of giving your update, so bring the conversation back on track and make sure you get your airspace. And then, of course, return the favor and listen.

Then, try it in a group. If you don’t have a social event with six friends planned anytime soon, join a Meetup on some random topic where you’ll be the new person. Maybe even pick a group that seems mostly older, or mostly male. And then show up at that Barnes & Noble cafe and make your opinions about The Fountainhead known. Did you get steamrolled and have a terrible time? Better at the Objectivist coffee klatch than at work. Pick another Meetup and keep at it until you can hold your place in any room.

Think Posture, Not Just Body Language

There are a lot of mixed messages out there about professional women and body language.

Amy Cuddy’s TED talk on power poses tells us that standing in a “confident posture,” even when we don’t feel confident, can affect cortisol and testosterone levels in the brain (oh please, why did I even go to college when I could have just upped my testosterone!).

However, I am opposed to advice that tells women to try to puff themselves up to look larger, like blowfish. What is the point of advice that, when applied to women, will allow most women to come in a distant second to most men, at best? Furthermore, pop culture telling women to be smaller and business articles telling women to seem larger — well, it’s a bit of a double bind, isn’t it?

Casey Erin Clark, who runs Vital Voice Training in NYC with Julie Fogh, also finds fault with the artificial power pose:

“We’ve all heard that stress can cause a fight or flight reaction — but there is a third response, and it’s the most common one we see: freeze.

You know those “low-power pose/high-power pose” example pictures? Yes, sometimes we do shrink when we get nervous — but we also see clients who find that formula of good posture and then lock into it. Contraction (freeze) is about tension, whether you’re crossing your arms and receding into your chair or standing in a full-out ‘power pose.’ Neither reads as compelling, and locking into ANY position prevents you from accessing your full breath, voice, and physical presence.”

Also, here is a picture of Sheryl Sandberg standing with her ankles crossed, like some kind of submissive sucker — it seems to have worked out pretty well for her.

There’s something to be said for body language. However, if you are small, you are not fooling anyone by trying to act tall — or worse, sitting like you have giant testicles that need an airing. Everyone looks better with good posture, though. Here’s a tip from Julie:

“Want to ‘take your space’? Think direction, not destination. Space originates from your center (core, lungs, ribcage, back), not peripherally (Wonder Woman arms). Practice breathing into your back. It seems simple, but it’s seriously effective.”

Be Concise and End On Point

Most of the little speeches people make in meetings would be more powerful if they simply ended sooner. For instance:

Typical: “I’m not sure that assigning two new people to the project is the solution. If we do this, we may just be prolonging a project that ultimately isn’t going to work, and we lose the opportunity to put the new talent where it counts. So I think we should consider some other options. Not that the new people aren’t great….”

Better: “I’m not sure that assigning two new people to the project is the solution. If we do this, we may just be prolonging a project that ultimately isn’t going to work, and we lose the opportunity to put new talent where it counts.”

If you’ve made your point, simply stop talking. Make (piercing!) eye contact with the other person. You’ve made a point, ended decisively, and you expect a meaningful and on-topic response. Don’t pad your statement with softening, relationship-building conversational chitchat that just trails off at the end.

Sometimes I find that I’ve already made my point, and I’ve even gone a few words past — usually something like, “So, well, I really think….” I just stop right there, mid-pointless sentence. It’s abrupt; that’s okay. Then I say something like, “So is 5,000 the right number or should we go higher?” or “Can I count on your support?” Prolong your command of the situation by asking a direct and specific question (not, “So what do you think?”).

When you say something meaningful and follow it with a bunch of wishy-washy, wasted verbiage, you’re training people to think that half of what you say doesn’t matter. Don’t do it. Cut the crap. Say what you mean. Then stop.

Jennifer Dziura is the founder of GetBullish and the Bullish Conference.

This article originally appeared on DailyWorth.com.

More from DailyWorth.com

MONEY Self Employment

This is What it Takes to Make $2,000 a Week Working on TaskRabbit

See how the company's "elite taskers" earn big money doing other people's errands

Moving is the worst. Yard work is the worst. Building IKEA furniture is the worst.

You have probably said one or more of these sentences at some point or another. And therein lies the business model for TaskRabbit, a web platform launched in 2008 that specializes in connecting people who need chores done with people willing to complete them.

Consumers in markets where TaskRabbit operates—19 U.S. metro areas and London—simply have to enter information about the task at hand, pick a date and time slot to have it done, and select from a short list of people who are oddly willing to schlep your stuff, rake your yard, or build your unpronounceable shelving unit.

Most of us hate running our own errands, let alone other people’s. So what’s in it for the 30,000-odd people who’ve signed up to be Taskers? A flexible workday is one perk of the job, according to Jamie Viggiano, vice president of marketing for the company. She notes that 60% of Taskers come to the platform wanting to be in control of their own schedules

Oh and then there’s the money, which isn’t half bad. Taskers set their own rates and those who fully commit to the platform, roughly 10% to 15% of them, can earn $6,000 to $7,000 a month, according to Viggiano.

We spoke to three of the company’s “elite taskers” to see just what it takes to earn those big bucks, the perks and pitfalls of the job, and the goofiest tasks to which they’ve subjected themselves.

  • Brian Schrier

    working for TaskRabbit

    Age: 45

    Location: San Francisco

    Tasker Since: 2014

    Why He Started: I had a friend staying with me, and he got a job with TaskRabbit. He was always coming home every day bragging about it and wanting to show me things on his app. So I decided to close down my petition management company and start working for TaskRabbit instead.

    Hours: I typically spend half the week living and working on my boat in Napa, and the other half in the city completing tasks.

    His Rate: $150 an hour for any kind of job; he’s willing tackle most types of TaskRabbit jobs, from shopping to carpentry and construction.

    How Much He Makes: My first week, my take home earnings were $1,500. Once I realized I could do it, I started to average a little over $2,000 a week, or $6,000 to $7,000 a month. I think I can do even better than that, too.

    Craziest Job: I got paid $70 an hour to fold t-shirts for a start-up company. They were supposed to come folded, and the company was desperate to get them folded before an event. It taught me that if someone is desperate enough, they’ll pay what they need to pay to get people to help.

    Best Job: The first time I got a hug from a client was amazing. I don’t remember what the task was, but it was something that was easy for me and just overwhelming for the other person. Also, the first time someone fed me. A lot of times when a task goes long, you have to clock out to go get food. This client just realized I’d been working for a long time and they brought me a sandwich. I’ve dealt with a lot of really nice people doing TaskRabbit.

    What He Likes About Being a Tasker: I have the freedom to do everything I want to do. I live on a boat, and I started doing a major maintenance project on it. I can’t imagine getting a job and within a month or two pulling the boat out of the water and undertaking this project. Also, there’s always a last-minute friend gathering, and not every job can accommodate that.

    What He Doesn’t: Not having any kind of backup if something goes wrong, but TaskRabbit does offer different perks from insurance groups they’ve aligned themselves with. Also, I kind of miss having coworkers. But you do end up experiencing and learning a lot of things from this diverse crowd of people you’d never normally meet.

  • David Cordova

    David Cordova
    David Cordova

    Age: 31

    Location: New York City

    Tasker since: 2012

    Why He Started: I had just lost my job in the finance industry, and a friend mentioned that he read about this website TaskRabbit in an article. Originally, I started to work with them as a way to have a little extra cash coming in.

    Hours: About six hours a day, but it depends how long the tasks take. Jobs normally run two hours, and I try schedule two to three a day. I try to stick to Monday through Friday, but recently extended through Saturday.

    His Rate: $25 an hour for events and $60 or $65 an hour for heavy lifting tasks and furniture assembly; $80 an hour for moving. I bought my own van and raised my hourly rate because I have to pay for gas and tolls. But it pays off; no one has a car in New York City!

    How Much He Makes: I can make about $500 to $750 a week. When I really push hard, I can make close to $4,000 a month.

    Craziest Job: Stroller bouncer! I had to stand outside of a school for one to three year olds and tell the nannies and moms where to park their strollers. I did it for eight days. I felt like a bouncer, like I was outside of a club. It was like, “If you guys don’t move that stroller, I’ll have to kick you out!” The looks I got from the nannies and affluent women were something to behold.

    Also, I also picked up some admin work, but the company didn’t really need administrative assistance. They just needed people to sit there, so when clients left the building they wouldn’t walk through an empty room.

    Best Job: One time I helped a girl move at eight at night. Whatever setup she had arranged cancelled on her. She posted to the platform that she, her mattress and her stuff were on the street, and she needed some immediate help. Within a half hour I was there, picked her up and helped her move. She was like, “You really, really helped me out tonight. You don’t know how much this means.”

    Also the heavy lifting for some of my… seasoned clients. If I called them old, they’d hit me! When you’re in someone’s home, helping them out, it’s rewarding. You’re building things for people that actually matter. I’ve built dollhouses for children, and the child would come out and have a look that just says, “Yay! Thank you!” Those are the jobs that put a smile on my face when I’m walking away.

    What He Likes About Being a Tasker: The ability to work when you like and setting your own hourly rate really gives you control over your day and the amount of money you make. I’ll never go back to a 9 to 5.

    What He Doesn’t: The only downside would probably be the same downside as all independent contractors – a lack of benefits. But I’m married, so I get them from my wife.

  • Jonathan Lal

    Jonathan Lal
    Jonathan Lal

    Age: 28

    Location: San Francisco

    Tasker since: 2014

    Why He Started: I was looking for something with a flexible schedule, and something that I could start and stop easily if I needed to. I’m waiting for an internship in the medical field to start, and I wanted something I could easily stop when it kicked in. I’ll still do a little on the side. I can go to an internship in the morning, then do TaskRabbit on evenings and on the weekend.

    Hours: In an average week, I work 25 to 30 hours. Most days I set my availability from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., but sometimes I set it 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

    His Rate: I adjust it based on the skill needed to complete a task. I tend to do a lot of furniture assembly and minor home repairs. For that I charge $35 to $45. When I’m a personal assistant it’s $26 and product testing is $25.

    How Much He Makes: I average between $500 and $750 a week.

    Craziest Job: I’ve done some pretty cool tasks. I helped out at a media event for the opening of a park by Union Square in San Francisco, and I got to meet the mayor.

    Best Job: I had one where I actually got to help a guy propose to his girlfriend. There’s an outlook that has a really good view of the Golden Gate Bridge. I was on the phone with him and able to set up a blanket, pillows and a bottle of champagne. And she said yes, so it worked out for everyone! I also did one not too long ago where I delivered flowers. It’s neat because you get to see the person enjoy the experience right then and there. I kind of look for tasks like that, where you can bring about really good customer service to the person.

    What He Likes About Being a Tasker: I definitely think some of the benefits are flexibility in schedule and flexibility in pay. TaskRabbit is a good company and they take care of their employees. You don’t feel like you are out there by yourself; you feel like you have someone backing you and supporting you.

    What He Doesn’t: There are some things I don’t like about the app, but nothing major.

     

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    How I Outsourced my Most Hated Chores for $15 an Hour

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