Finance

Pricing for Freelancers

Pricing is always a favorite topic of mine. I have always had a tendency to undervalue my own skills and efforts, and to price too low, then be just as disgusted as I am with people not valuing the work enough to pay what the actual price should be. Worse, it doesn’t actually get you more work to lowball yourself. There’s a psychological element with me. First, what I find easy, I can’t imagine people wanting to pay much for. Second, I have spent a lifetime at generally limited means, and I can’t imagine paying the amount that is generally charged for most services, including those I could provide. Third, I was raised, somehow, not to think well of my own work and skills. This has tended to make me sound to others like I brag when I state how good I am in some way, when that is more of an attempt to convince myself and perhaps thwart negativity from others that would persuade me downward. But I digress.

The actual point of this post is to link to pricing advice for freelancers that explains why you should remove the zeros. Excellent thinking.

Medical Elasticity

How elastic are medical costs versus demand? Higher deductibles, outpacing wages, are putting that to the test. Personally, if my cardiologist hadn’t switched me from visiting twice a year to once, I might have done that myself. I managed to get last year down to one physical and one cardiology checkup. A physical is fully covered, but the grand in blood tests associated with it are not. I’m still paying for the almost $500 my share of the cardiologist this spring, and a somewhat lower cost specialist’s bill should bring the running balance back up soon.

On the plus side, the more than $300 a month that I pay toward coverage through my employer is easily offset by what we save on prescriptions, and the dental part of the coverage, low in cost, was a boon.

In any event, a serious medical issue would likely mean the insurance keeping the medical providers from being completely stiffed by my total inability to pay, but would otherwise mean I’d owe and be unable to pay a bill that would amount to a substantial portion of my income.

In theory, if you need medical attention, you need medical attention. In practice, you can skip or delay appointments or tests to some degree, as the article discusses. Delays can be problematic, or they can simply trim the revenue from an overzealous business. After all, medical practice is a business.

I Didn’t Realize It Was THIS Bad

However, this corroborates my view that there is indeed a new/continued housing bubble and, naturally, the potentially for it to fuel another crash. I’m lucky to be in an apartment with rent that doesn’t routinely increase, but what was barely affordable market rent ten years ago is now slightly less affordable below market rent. In a world in which we need either an even larger apartment or, better still, a house rental. Neither of which will happen any time soon, though certainly they will happen sooner than home ownership. The only way I’ll ever own property is if I pursue my old dream of buyng a piece of insanely cheap land in the middle of nowhere so I can at least camp out on it now and then, perhaps build a cabin getaway, or if the housing market fully crashes next time and I am in a position to take advantage of it. It was a big surprise to me that houses didn’t deflate to what they were worth in the last crash, and tended still to be overpriced. The house next door last sold in a $100,000 short sale, at a price that was somewhere between 20 and 70 grand more than I’d have considered appropriate.

Realistic Monopoly

These are great revisions to the classic Monopoly board game. I especially liked:

These rule changes create opportunities for cooperation, as well as the possibility of crises. That’s because most players will probably end up owing far more than they can hope to repay if they ever have to cover all of their debts at once. A few unfortunate throws of the dice can create situations where there literally isn’t enough money in the game. This creates a great opportunity for players to learn how debts get restructured, as well as the importance of knowing everyone’s place in the hierarchy of the capital structure.