Advice: "I make good money in sales, but how can I deal with the inconsistent income?"

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Dear Quota Team

I make pretty darn good money in sales. Last year, I came in at just under $133k. This year, I am off to a slower start but usually I end up higher at the end of the year than I expected.

Here is my problem: I cannot handle the inconsistency of sales income. Our base is incredibly low ($15/hr), so the vast majority of my income comes from commissions, which fluctuates like crazy, even though it balances out at the end of the year. 

Do you guys have any advice for how to handle the ebbs and flows? Like I said, I understand that I will make a certain amount of money every year, but the way the money comes in seems to always put me in a panic, and I worry about being unable to keep up with bills because of the inconsistency of the income. Thanks in advance for any advice. 

Nervous in Location Withheld      


Dear Nervous,

There are two things you can do that might help:

1) Find a job with a higher base pay. Your base of $31,200 per year is generally on the lower side, though your total comp sounds fairly competitive (this is without knowing what industry you’re in). A higher base would alleviate some of your concerns about inconsistent pay, though you run the risk of reducing your overall comp (impossible to say without knowing more).

2) Build up a bigger nest egg. A lot of people’s anxieties about money come from the fact that they have a small or non-existent emergency fund. If you have at least six to twelve months of expenses in the bank at any given time, there’s no reason you should be freaking out over your pay, given that you’re comfortably in the six figures. 

This might also require you to take a better look at your personal finances and get a better understanding of money coming vs money going out. But if your expenses are reasonable as compared to your income, and you build up an emergency fund, there’s no reason why you should be as worried about your income as you have been. Good luck!

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