Spent all day yesterday doing taxes -- which is an ordeal.
I'm always surprised, somehow, by how little money I make. I mean, I feel successful and satisfied, but the money I actually earn would probably surprise most people.
But I've adapted so well to living at this level, that I don't feel it. With Linda's store (she does better than me by some distance) we're paying our bills, even taking a vacation once in awhile.
Thing is -- I just don't buy things. I "use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without."
Bottom line: I wouldn't take a job that paid twice as much.
I get to choose when and how much time to take off. (And if I worked my full complement of hours, I'd make more money, obviously.) It's given me a chance to start writing again.
I get all the books and comics I could ever want to read.
The store pays for my health insurance, which added to my salary would at least help the bottom line a little.
I love being in control of my own future, and I like what I do, and it's good for me to calibrate just how much exposure to the world I get. (Too little and I get weird(er). Too much and I get cranky.)
If I could control my whims, I'd make more money. But I would rather carry product I like --which makes a little money, than carry product I don't like, even if it made more money. I spend way too much just playing with the design and look of the merchandise. I experiment a little too much.
(Then again, it could be argued that my quirkiness and experimentation and merchandise mix is what has helped kept us in business.)
It could be argued that some of my pay is wrapped up in the inventory, which grows every year. But trying to unlock that value will be a huge challenge.
The low wage will probably make it difficult to sell the store if I ever want out -- I doubt the 'low income, but great store' argument will wash. That is, the store is worth more to me than I can sell it for, and worth less to a buyer than they could justify by the return on investment -- if that makes sense.
The low return on my years of effort is a little daunting -- I'm surprised that other people do it, too. Unless they just do better than me. The comic and card biz has been a roller coaster, which turned out all right, but has been way harder than I could have ever expected.
Thing is -- I know there is a way to make quite a bit more at my store. I just have to be disciplined and hard-headed. Every year, I think "This is the year I'll get serious about making money."
I still have some time to get the job done. I feel like the store is pretty much where I always wanted it.
On the other hand, I may have an opportunity for significantly improving the store again -- which would set the "making money" part back another few years.
Oh, well. It still is the best (slightly better than) minimum wage job a middle aged guy ever had.
3 days ago