• David R Thompson

How I made my own Universal Basic Income

Updated: Sep 9, 2019

I can’t wait for society to catch up with the thinking on Universal Basic Income – So I’ve organised it for myself.

I used to work. I still do, I just don’t work for the organisation I used to. Because I don’t have to.

That’s right – I don’t have to. So I resigned.

I have my own apartment, and overheads, and a life, and time out, and holiday. But they are all paid for by a regular income from a private investment fund. Despite this, I’m not rich. It’s only a modest income – but then it’s only a small apartment. This is not just early retirement – I’m in my late-forties. And whilst I’ve been hoping I would be able to do this at some point in my future for a while, it hasn’t been a long-term plan. I’ve been a bit more opportunistic than that.

I’ve organised a Universal Basic Income for myself. It’s universal because I get it whether I work or not (although I ought to get some kind of paid work if I want to improve my income in the future). It’s basic because it covers all my housing and sustenance needs, including bills and food. And I guess the income bit speaks for itself.

The thinking behind a true Universal Basic Income, as potentially provided by governments, is that everyone would get it. Otherwise, it wouldn’t be universal. (There is also debate around Conditional Basic Income, but that isn’t what we’re talking about here.) So, the discussion among those considering it as a type of social security, is around where to set the level of income for everyone (what does ‘basic’ mean?) and, of course, how a government could raise money to pay for it.

In order to accrue my investment fund, I’ve had to earn the money to invest in it myself. So, you might think that my belief is that anyone expecting to get a free income would also have to raise it themselves. That isn’t necessarily the case.

I worked as a specialist lawyer for most of my career, and that usually means you pay a fairly high price for what you can get, in terms of stress and working hours, so all this has certainly cost me. I also made some shrewd decisions to get me where I am today. But I also know that the more money you earn, the easier it tends to be to line your own nest, plan for the future, attract further opportunities and buy yourself some breathing space when things go wrong. I was also recently the beneficiary of an inheritance, which was a crucial addition to what I had already done for myself. So, I have an open mind on whether others can be genuinely expected to do what I have done, and whether people can be entitled to free money sometimes.

I’m intending to write this blog about these issues, and more, whilst providing some insight into my new life, over the coming weeks. I’m looking forward to seeking new opportunities, and also learning about the facts and prevailing opinions on Universal Basic Income. Feel free to help me out with your comments. But try to keep an open mind.

See you next time.

David R Thompson

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