Is the New Freelance Economy Such a Bad Thing for You?

One of the trends becoming apparent following the recent global financial crisis and worldwide recession is that the “new economy” is likely to be a freelance economy. Since the economic troubles that swept much of the globe, there has been an increase in temp jobs, freelance jobs, and adjunct jobs.

I’ve seen this trend first hand. First of all, my client base has expanded dramatically as I’ve done more work for corporate clients. When companies hire me as a freelancer, they don’t have to pay overhead for my office space, and they don’t have to worry about payroll taxes and benefits. On top of that, my husband is seeing something similar in the academic world. There are a lot more openings for adjuncts, visiting professors, and lecturers. Not a lot of full-time professor jobs out there. He’s an adjunct at a local university, and often refers to himself as a “freelance teacher.”

But is the new freelance economy such a bad thing? It depends on what you make of it. I’ve found some silver linings to the new freelance economy — at least the way it’s affected my family where I live in the United States.

More Freedom and Flexibility

One of the things I love about freelancing is that it comes with a large degree of freedom and flexibility. I can choose to say no to gigs I don’t want, and I work on my own schedule. My husband has a similar arrangement. Since he’s not contractually obligated to teach a certain number of classes each semester or hold a minimal number of office hours, he can choose not to teach as many classes, and he can decide his own office schedule. Sometimes he even holds virtual office hours, since he’s not required to have office hours at all, and only offers them as a courtesy to students.

Our freelance lifestyle allows us more freedom and flexibility than a set job with an employment contract would allow.

Technology and The Rise of Work From Home

I don’t think it’s much of a coincidence that the freelance economy is expanding as technology becomes more widespread. Thanks to technology, it’s possible to work remotely. Two of my husband’s classes aren’t even taught on campus; they are taught online.

The freelance economy has the potential to change the way many of us live and work. If you want to work from home, the rise of technology, as well as the fact that many companies are becoming accustomed to the idea of hiring freelancers and temps, this is an interesting time to be changing the way you view your work and your lifestyle.

What About Benefits?

The main downside to a freelance economy is the loss of benefits from employers. In the United States, our biggest difficult comes from affording health care. However, even in that area things are evolving to fit the new realities of the freelance economy. We’ve long had an insurance policy I found through an aggregator online as a result of my freelance work. There are other benefits that you can get as well. The United States and Canada both have ax-advantaged retirement accounts and education savings accounts are available to anyone.

While it means a little more work, it’s still possible to take care of your needs when working in a freelance economy. What do you think? Have you seen an increase in freelance-type work? Would you do it?

Should You Get an Eco Technology Loan?

Do you have an older home?  If you do, you know all of the quirks an older home can have–newspapers stuffed into walls instead of the insulation we use today, old windows that let in drafts and are not energy efficient, sloped floors and crooked doors that let air in.  You know what I’m talking about. 

If you’re house isn’t that old, you still likely could find things that you’d like to change about it to make it more energy efficient.

You may drive down the highway and see houses with solar panels and wish that you, too, could install them and begin to live a more eco-friendly life.  You know that once the panels are installed, you’ll save money, just like you know if you insulate your house better and replace drafty old windows you’ll make not only a difference in the environment, but in your wallet.

The problem is that making energy efficient changes cost money upfront that you may not have.  But there is a solution you may not have heard about: eco technology loans.

What Is an Eco Technology Loan?

Simply put, eco technology loans are ones you can get specifically to make your home more energy efficient.

How It Works

There are companies that offer loans with competitive prices so you can finance your projects to make your home more energy efficient.  Because these companies can be a peer-to-peer lenders (meaning the money comes from other individuals, not an institution), they can offer a competitive interest rate.

Often these types of loans offer the borrower the chance to pay off the loan early with no penalties.

What Countries Offer Eco Technology Loans

Many developed countries offer these types of eco technology loans.  You can simply search the Internet for “loans for solar panels” to see if your country is one of them.  You can easily find many companies in Canada, the United States and England that over these types of loans.  Some countries may also offer a rebate or a tax credit for making your home more energy efficient.

Why Get an Eco Technology Loan?

Take out a loan to make your home more energy efficient?  Is that financially responsible?  While many people may view installing solar panels or more insulation a luxury or something “extra” to do if you have the money available, the truth is, doing so can save you a great deal of money.  Replacing all the windows in your home can be very expensive and may run you $20,000 or more.

Yet, making eco friendly changes to your home can result in immediate savings.  You may be able to recoup your initial investment, depending on how large, in just four to ten years.  Then, you’ll continue to  benefit for years beyond that.

We’d say that is a worthwhile investment, even one worth financing to get it done.