I had lunch with a friend of mine today who recently completed a stint as a contract CFO. It was his decision to resign as he felt the company was not progressing and it was time to look toward new horizons. What I found to be particularly interesting was that he has incorporated himself as his own LLC and we agreed that more people should consider that option.
Different from freelance, incorporating oneself positions the worker to gain health insurance and retirement benefits as a corporation of one. It requires research to find the best prices for those things but it can be done at a much more reasonable cost than as an individual.
The agreement in Congress on Tuesday , highlights my idea that people should not expect to be taken care of by the government or the company they work for. Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security account for 40% of the budget spending in the United States. Clearly this has to change if the U.S. is going to make any headway in reducing the ever-increasing deficit.
Many people stay in jobs they do not care for, working for bosses they cannot stand and with people they despise. Why? Mostly for the benefit packages offered. Healthcare for an individual is beyond an affordable reach for most Americans and a retirement plan without a corporate match can be daunting. Yet the current 9.2% unemployment rate is in part due to corporations’ reticence in hiring full time employees due to the benefit packages they must provide – as well as the government mandated family leave and unpaid time off statutes.
Incorporating oneself is one way to approach the situation. Since corporations prefer to hire contract employees, hiring a ‘company of one’ to provide a specific service over a specific time offers flexibility to both the employee and corporation. People under 35 today do not expect loyalty from their employer. In fact they appear to embrace the idea of changing jobs and finding new and interesting work challenges. Of course obtaining healthcare and benefits as a corporation of one isn’t always easy as it takes discipline and planning.
On the other hand it is a possible new way for many people to work. If you do not care for the engagement that you are working on you can exit that particular engagement. The idea being that you should have more than one engagement in the hopper at any given time. As a corporation of one you command a higher fee than a salaried employee. Without healthcare and benefits mucking up the works a company can pay you for your true value and not the aggregated value of having to cover everyone the same regardless of performance or need.
It’s not for everyone and I realize for many people this is an unthinkable approach, but in times of turmoil there have to be alternate ways of thinking about how people wish to conduct their professional lives. What I am suggesting is that the days of hooking on with an employer who would nurture your career and keep you on independent of personal or company performance – are gone forever. It’s a mercenary world out there and people need to know that there are other ways to make a living than simply working for the man.
How about working for yourself