10 Ways to Increase Your Earning Power

increase earning powerWhen it comes to personal finance, it all starts with making money. To that end, we naturally want to make sure that we’re making the most of our earning potential.

Now, I know that there are other important aspects of managing your money. Saving is critical, and so many personal finance enthusiasts have a natural inclination to focus on frugal choices and living within one’s means. Believe me, if you’ve read my posts in the Squirreling Gone Wild series, you can see that I can relate :)

Beyond that, we need to invest our savings.   I’ve written before about how the rate of return is important to focus on, and how it can make a huge difference. Thus, investing is a vital part of our personal finance strategy.

There are other aspects we should consider as well, such as risks. But when you put it all together, before we can save and invest our money, we need to make money first.

I look at our earning power as something like the fuel that drives the wealth engine. Without incoming cash flow, we simply can’t get to where we want to go. If we’ve already reached a comfortable destination later in life, and the car stops, at least we’ve reach where we need to go. But we’ll be hard-pressed to get there without that engine working properly. So, we need income!

Exploring this further, I’ve come up with 10 things that we can do to enhance our earning power. There are probably countless other things to add to this list (please feel free to leave them in the comments below), and this might be a somewhat unconventional way to look it. But this is, I think, is a well-rounded starting point:

Understand the market

Okay, this might not be the first thing that one might think of. But the reality is that goods and services generally yield what the market will pay. So, if we are in a line of work that doesn’t pay well, we won’t make as much as we could if doing something that paid more. The concept of supply and demand for income is one to think about, recognize, and take advantage of!

Think career, not job

We should of course be thankful if we have a job, given that plenty of bright, well-intended people are out of work at any given point in time. That being said, I’ve noticed over the years that people that truly think of themselves as having a career rather than a job or series of jobs tend to advance more quickly in their field. To go back to the analogy of the engine, if income is the engine driving our finances, one’s career is the engine driving income

Value a formal education

I know that college is getting more expensive, and jobs are absolutely not guaranteed to anyone just because of a degree. While some spin this as meaning that college doesn’t pay anymore, I think it’s the opposite. To me, an undergraduate degree is more important than ever. In many fields, a graduate degree is essential as well. Valuing education while being cognizant of the cost/benefit proposition of different schools and degrees is the way to go.

Always keep on learning

Yes, the aforementioned formal education is a starting point and entry ticket to get started. Beyond that, we need to realize that we’ve only gotten started, and that learning doesn’t really stop. I’m not sure if this matches your experience, but to me it seems like the rate of change in technology and business in increasing. Thus, we have no choice but to keep learning about different business models, technology, software, and the like.

Stay persistent

I can’t really give any stats on this, but can go by my own observations and empirical evidence accumulated over time. In that regard, it seems to me that a trait of those who can really succeed is the ability to be persistent. This means keeping focused on a goal and being able to keep on going despite obstacles and frustration.

Be adaptable

Given that things seem to be changing at a faster rate it would seem to be a good idea to be adaptable. I’ve seen reorganizations in the workplace, layoffs, and many other examples of how things can often be fluid. Since change is a constant, we might as well try to be good at embracing it! Admittedly, this is something that is a work in progress for me, and I know there are people better at this, but working on it I sure am.

Network

As far as networking is concerned, what I mean is that it can be very helpful to regularly do so. Again, this wasn’t something that came naturally to me but I’ve learned to embrace it by trying to think of ways to give and help without expecting anything back. Ultimately, it indirectly helps (though not the explicit intention), as opportunities are often presented to those we know or to whom someone we know can recommend.  There is much to respect about having a strong professional network.

Maintain an entrepreneurial mindset

People have jobs in many cases because their work is needed in order to make money for the organization or to save it money. Keeping that in mind, if we demonstrate that we can improve the bottom line, it can make us more essential and valued. Plus, for those who take it to the next step, they could have a side hustle to diversify and even supercharge income.

Don’t rest on your laurels

I’m sure we’ve all seen this concept in play. What comes to mind for me are companies or communities that might have had great success in the past but then got a little bit too comfortable. It seems like to progress we probably want to keep our “edge” and always think forward.

Stay healthy

Do you think that this should have been at the top of the list? I can see how this might be the most important thing we can do. If we can’t stay healthy and have to deal with medical issues, we might not be able to stay in the game. Not only is keeping away from major ailments critical, but it’s also important to make the right decisions each day. I don’t know about you, but I tend to work so much better and more productively when I take care of myself. This means getting a good night of sleep each night, and I’m convinced that there is some correlation between sleep and wealth. Also, at least for me, eating the right food helps productivity.

My Questions for You

What do you think of these ways to improve earning power?

Do you focus on any of these in particular?

Do you have any others to add?

Drawing the Line: Monetizing via Tattoos

tattoos as advertisementsCreative solutions and novel ways to make money are often things I respect.  At the very least, I’m interested in learning about how people come up with different ideas to get ahead.  Innovation brings progress, and sometimes new revenue streams!

I just came across an article on Yahoo that caught my attention for those reasons.  The concept is that people can use their own skin as advertising platforms.  Yes, that’s right: tattoos as advertisements.

For a business, there is some value based on the media coverage and awareness of the brand that is generated by an actual person having a tattoo.  Of course if this became completely widespread, I wonder if the shock value factor would simply diminish.

For the person receiving the tattoo, there would be an opportunity to benefit in variety of ways.  Perhaps that person might want to get media coverage as well.  Or, maybe get free products or services.  Per the article, some people at one company even had the opportunity to get a pay raise by getting a tattoo of the employer’s logo.  Perhaps some folks out there could earn straight-up case or monthly payments for serving as an advertising platform!

It’s all kind of interesting to me, and in line with the idea I had when writing a post on how to monetize anything.  The scope of that post was really to share some alternative ways of monetizing and introduce the idea that many things could be monetized if we put our minds to it.  Well, in this case, tattoos represent just that!

Would you do this?

Personally – and this might be very different from what others would do – I would not do that.  That’s a line that I don’t think I could cross.  Then again, I’m someone who doesn’t like the ideas of tattoos on myself at all, and wouldn’t ever get one done.  Now, I’m most definitely not judging others who do, but I don’t want to get one for myself.

Of course, everyone has a price, and I’m no different.  If an offer was absolutely exhorbitant and beyond my wildest imagination in terms of how much I could make, I might consider it.  But nobody would waste a massive sum of money for regular ole me to get a tattoo!

But if someone didn’t feel that way about tattoos, it’s an option for making money.  The way I look at it, to each his (or her) own.  So while I wouldn’t go this route, I still think it’s still a creative, cool idea.  Another example of how there are so many different ways that people generate side income!

My Question for You

What would be your price, if any, for getting an advertising tattoo?

Let’s say it had to be on your arm.  Any number is okay to suggest, this is just for fun!

4 Types of Income

types of incomeIf we aren’t making money, it’s hard to save money!

I’ve written about this concept before, and I think it’s common sense that sometimes gets lost in the obsession many of us have to save money.  Yes, I’m one of those people that likes to save money, but I’ve also grown more and more cognizant of the reality that cash flow truly is king.  It’s important to get it, keep it, and secure it.  Easier said than done, I know, but it’s important!

So if income is the first step to financial success, it’s probably worth stepping back for a minute and thinking about the types of income that we can potentially earn.  Here are 4 that I came up with:

Earned Income

What I more specifically mean by this is income from your job or business.  There might be a more “technical” definition of earned income from a tax and/or accounting perspective, but for purposes of this post I’ll describe it as career/business-related incoming cash flow.

This, for many of us, is the lifeblood of our finances.  Without work, we don’t have money.  At least when we’re younger, anyway.  And actually for most people until later in life, that’s probably the case for better or worse.

Speaking of later in life, that’s when it gets tougher to make money in this way.  Health issues can pop up, and in that sense we simply have to expect the unexpected.  We can put the odds in our favor by making smart choices, but you never know what can happen, right?  So work when you can, and save as much money as you can when younger.

Investment Income

If you made money from your work, as described above, those savings can be put to work! If you let money work for you, it has to be easier than working yourself to the bone, right?

This can come from stocks, mutual funds, and other sources.  By earning the money first, we can then add an employee (our money) to keep making more for us.  The thing about investing is that we want to beat the rate of inflation and then some, as every percentage point counts with rate of return!

Inherited Income

Okay, this doesn’t apply to me.  And this is a category that I’m not sure too many others think a lot about.  But the reality is that there are people out there that get money from their family in one way or another.  Be it via an actual inherited lump sum, a trust, or simply money from wealthy parents, there are people that fall into this “inherited income” category.

This seems to me to be a matter of chance for most people.  But for those who benefit from this, there might be less incentive to deal with earned income.

Passive Income

This is an area that I think has a lot of shades of gray.  No, I don’t mean the book either :)  Rather, there can be some income that is low effort but not necessarily passive.  For example, some people consider blogging to be passive income.  I sure don’t!  There is a small percentage of people that do quite well, but for most bloggers the effective hourly rate makes it something that is more of a side venture as opposed to a full-time deal.

Truly passive income would involve very little work.  Maybe royalties? Continuing the blogging theme, perhaps you could create an online course in your area of expertise? If there is demand, each sale afterward could be passive income.  You already put in the work up front, and then you can get the income later.

Bottom Line:  When I look at all these types of income, what resonates with me is that unless someone is from a wealthy family, there will be hard work involved in making money.  But the best thing to do is work as hard as you can when younger, and do so in a deliberate way so that your money and accomplishments can then work for you later.  This means earn income, make sure you save it and invest it, and create income streams that can pay you later after the work has been done.  Personally, I’m still in the stage where earned income is going to be required for quite a while.

My Questions for You

How much thought do you give to types of income, and different ways to generate cash flow?

What stage are you in right now? The earning income stage (like me), or are you fortunate enough to be living off investment or passive income at this point?

 

It’s All About Supply and Demand with Earning Income

making_big_money_without_needing_academic_successI was talking with a friend recently about the topic of intelligence and how it doesn’t matter as much as many people think when it comes to financial success.   His perspective was that the more intelligent someone is, based on test scores and other discernible measures, the more successful that person would be.   My view is that while having a certain level of intelligence is probably necessary for success in many endeavors, at some point there are other variables that come into play.  Such as focus, persistence, interpersonal skills, and even other forms of natural talent.

Now, to be fair it wasn’t as black and white as that in our conversation.  But generally, I think that being bright is just one variable that comes into play in terms of financial success – and it can be overwhelmed by other variables in some cases.

Well, I found an example of this that’s interesting.  Think about the average salaries of professional athletes. This article from USA Today shows the average annual salary for the major professional sports in the U.S., and the results are eye-opening.

Of the top 4 (I’ll exclude soccer as it’s not really a major sport here in the U.S.), basketball has the highest annual salary at $5.15 million.  The lowest of the 4 majors is football, with a $1.9 million average.  Not bad!

The two in the middle were baseball and hockey, at $3.2 million and $2.4 million respectively.  Let’s take baseball as our specific example we can focus on.  At $3.2 million per year, the annual income of baseball players is pretty darned good!

Looking at this further, we can break this income down to the following approximate rates

  • $267,000 per month
  • $8,800 per day
  • $365 per waking hour (or $1,100 per hour for an 8-hour day)

If we look at it differently, such as based on a per official game played basis, we would still see impressive rates.  Based on a 162-game baseball schedule (excluding spring training), this comes down to nearly $20,000 per game.

How would you like to show up at work knowing that you’ll get paid $20,000 for your efforts?

Tying this back to the debate I had with my friend, please tell me how this relates to having “intelligence”?

I see this as a clear example of how there are often many other factors that can influence one’s success.

  • Special natural talents
  • Ultra-specific skills
  • Solving an unmet need

Of course, I’m sure that natural talents aren’t the only thing here.  My guess is that many ballplayers have natural talent, but the differentiating factors just might be some of those other factors we mentioned before would come into play here too.  You know: working hard, relentlessly pursuing success, tons of practice/effort.

Where this leads to me is the idea that simply being smarter than the next person doesn’t automatically elevate someone to exceptional financial performance.  Rather, it’s harness other talents and cultivating skills or providing service that meets a need that the market will pay for.  Supply and Demand at work!  And then, working really hard for it.

When I was right out of college, I didn’t get any of this.  It took me years to come to this way of thinking about growing net worth, but better late than never :)

My Questions for You

What do you think about the idea that there are plenty of other attributes that can be more important to financial success, beyond intelligence and academic accomplishments?

What factors have truly led you to your biggest financial success?  It doesn’t matter if these are grand accomplishments or modest – you must have done something to reach this success!

On a side note, can you imagine earning $365 per waking hour?  Wouldn’t that be a total game changer?

Keep it Simple: Buy Low and Sell High to Make Money

The idea of getting results through “passive” income is something that is popular in some personal finance circles.  I think there’s something about this that’s rooted in the human interest in getting something for nothing.  In this case, nothing means no time or effort expended.

Frankly, that sounds quite appealing.  I’m a believer in the notion that time is money, or actually more valuable than money since you can’t make more of it.  The less time we have to invest in something while still getting results, the better deal it can be for us.

Back to the “passive” concept.  Sometimes, I think there is a tendency for many of us to want to put things on autopilot.  For example, focusing on index funds and avoiding constant stock trades.  I like doing this, though admittedly there are transaction costs that play a role in my decision.  But the point is that we’re often looking for ways to make money without incremental effort.

But can we make more money for ourselves by simply taking a more active approach rather than a passive one?

Sometimes, maybe not.  Other times, possibly.  I think it comes down to remembering that when it comes to investing or making extra money, it’s often a matter of thinking about the concept of “buy low and sell high”. 

Here are a few examples of how buy low, sell high can be applied to make money:

Stocks

Yes, this may be the first thing many folks think about when it comes to buy low, sell high.  Yet, many of us also focus on index funds, dollar cost averaging, and other “autopilot” type of tactics.  I’ve been fine with that, as it allows me to focus time on other things.

However, there is something to be said about how the market does provide us with potential opportunities.  There is often some seasonality in monthly stock market returns, which may not occur all the time but trends seem to be there.  For example, a “June Swoon” is not a new phenomenon for stocks.  Additionally, sometimes markets overreact to bad news.  While risky, there are times we can actually strategically buy low and sell high.

Precious Metals

After years of being somewhat low profile, metals saw a resurgence of interest several years ago.  Many people likely made quite a bit of money buying gold low and selling at higher price points later.  Additionally, attention also went toward investing in silver, which showed great price appreciation before coming back down.  Is it a buying opportunity for metals today? Whatever one’s opinion it’s clear that people have made money buy strategically applying the buy low, sell high approach instead of passively buying and holding.

Real Estate

As we know, real estate surged in value in the early-to-middle part of the last decade, with fantastic year over year.  Then the bottom seemingly fell out, and prices plummeted.  If people bought low, when prices were at their nadir, it could have been a money making opportunity.  Around here, I’ve heard stories of people competitively bidding for homes again, and prices seem to be rebounding.  Unfortunately, so do interest rates as well.  Regardless, this could have been a good buy low, sell high opportunity.

Cars

Here is where we deviate from traditional investments.  Some people actually do make money buying and selling used cars, including different types of them.  Classic cars can sometimes be bought and sold for profit, and I’ve even heard of someone buying a hybrid car and selling it for a profit later as gas prices surged.  Again, examples of buy low and sell high.

Collectibles

Some collectibles have more clearly agreed upon market value than others.  Often times, some collectibles can have extra value for someone who really appreciate them for whatever reason, while having much less value for others.  For examples, a collection of Elvis Presley records from the 1950′s would have great value for some people but very little for others like myself.  There could be good opportunities to buy such things from people like me, and sell to hard core fans for much more.

Bottom Line – sometimes by getting out of the passive/autopilot/low effort mindset, we might actually make more money and get potentially out-sized returns.  No guarantees, but sometimes active effort yields extra results.

My Questions for You:

Do you ever think about the concept of buy low, sell high in terms of money-making opportunities?

Or, are you more of a buy-and-hold, or autopilot type of investor?

Can you think of any other situations in which you’ve taken advantage of buying low and selling high?

Making Money Flipping

make money flipping

Flipping can be profitable!

How can I make money flipping? That’s a question that came to mind recently as I made a relatively innocuous visit to a local financial institution.

So, the reason I was there was to get something from a safe deposit box.  As I’ve written before, the question of whether or not to get a safe deposit box is one that involves a series of trade-offs.  There are benefits, and there are drawbacks.  However, one of the positives that I didn’t even think about was the idea that they could be in short supply!

As I showed my ID at the bank, and got the signature card (which they required me to sign before accessing the box), I noticed that I’ve had the box for years now, longer than I had realized.  You can see the dates you have visited on the card, including your first visits.  Then, I commented to the guy that I was surprised at how long this bank had been open, since it was around the time I got the box.

He then said that I was smart to get it when I did, because there aren’t any more available.  In fact, he mentioned that there was a huge waiting list now.  He also noted that it was really, really tough to find a safe deposit box anywhere in the area.

I don’t know how many other people would have the same thought I had, immediately after.  Maybe it’s just those of us that are personal finance enthusiasts, but I immediately thought to myself: “hey, I wonder if I could sell this thing an make a profit. Maybe I could have flipped this a few years back, when they sold out?”.

I asked the guy (jokingly) if I could sell my rights to the safe deposit box to someone else who really wanted it, in order to capture a profit.  He laughed, and gave me a “haha, nice one but no way” kind of look.

Flipping safety deposit boxes…well, it was a good idea, while it lasted – for those few seconds, anyway!

Of course, flipping really involves buying something and then selling it soon after, to score a quick profit.  This got me thinking of ways to make money flipping:

Flipping Houses

This was a blazing hot phenomenon in the early 2000′s, before the housing market sunk.  People would buy a place, do some quick rehabbing, and resell for a profit.  Or, in some cases, they might just buy and sell soon after without doing much else.  When prices are increasing, that could be possible in some locations.  Given the recent real estate rebound in some places, it’s a good question: can people make money again flipping houses?

Flipping Cars

While I have never done this, someone I know told me about how he bought a vintage car years ago and then resold it soon after for a profit.  Clearly, depending on the knowledge of the seller and the buyer, as well as demand, it could be possible to do this.  There are people out there buying and selling cars for profit.  My thinking is that it would be much harder with newer cars, but with older cars that could be hard to find and have varying levels of demand, it could be more feasible.

Another good example I recall from not too many years ago was how someone bought a hybrid car, drove it for a year, and sold it for a profit after gas prices surged.  Not bad, as that person was effectively getting paid to drive the car, once that transaction was done!

Flipping Collectibles

This might be a related to the car example above, as vintage cars could be considered collectibles by some people.  But there are treasure hunters galore out there, scouring private sales for antiques and other collectibles.  Some of these same people can turn around and “flip” something they bought at a bargain price from an unassuming seller.

While I have never taken advantage of anyone, I remember how I would “flip” baseball cards when I was a kid.  This is back in the stone ages, when there was actually a big market for cards.  I have zero interest in any of this now, and haven’t for over 20 years.  But as a kid, I bought a few cards via mail that were hard to get locally, and then turned around and resold them for a profit.  Big bucks weren’t made, and in fact I would say that the proverbial one that got away - in terms of money-making opportunities – was a specific group of baseball cards I bought.  Anyway,  I did make some money flipping collectibles.  Enough to make me happy as kid at least :)

Flipping Websites

Since starting this blog over 3 years ago, I’ve learned a few things about the world of online business.  One thing I discovered is that there are people who flip websites.

You’ll often see how this is possible, if you pay attention.  People will start up a site, get it going, then cash out.  Or, they could buy a dormant blog and reinvigorate it or extract revenue from it in the short-term.  Then, turn around and sell it for a profit.  If someone buys an asset for $2,000 and resells it a few months later for $3,000, that’s a 50% return on investment in a short amount of time.  It’s not easy to find those types of return on an annual basis, unless you’re talking about the Japanese stock market’s returns!

Speaking of online flipping, another way people can flip is by flipping items purchased on craigslist.  There are people who might buy worn out furniture, for example, and rehab it at low cost.  Then, of course, try to turn around and flip.

Bottom line:  some might wonder how to make money flipping, but if we can time things just right in terms of supply and demand and think opportunistically, we just might be able to make side income flipping items.

My Questions for You

Have you ever flipped anything for a profit?

If not, have you known anyone who has made some decent money doing this?

What things would you be interested in flipping to make money?

10 Ways to Make Extra Money

A nice way to supplement regular income can be to find ways to make extra cash.  It’s fun to get some money in ways that don’t involve the main source of income, as it often ends up being excess that we weren’t counting on to begin with.  Extra money almost seems like a bonus of sorts!

Here are 10 ways to earn extra money

  1. Tutoring.  Surprised to see this first? Well, if you’re reading a personal finance blog, you’re likely interested in self-improvement and open to learning.  Why not pass on some knowledge to others who might need help?  Perhaps you can feel good about helping others, while earning some supplementary money as well.  $10 to $20 per hour might be possible, you never know.
  2. Freelance writing.  If you have specialized knowledge, or are simply passionate about a subject, you might be able to land a gig as a freelance writer.  Again, if you’re reading this personal finance blog, you probably have an interest in money and related topics. If you have writing ability, maybe somebody out there has a need for some help? Perhaps you could get $15 to $25 per article, who knows?
  3. Selling non-traditional ads.  I spoke about this in a post about how to monetize anything, where different ideas of selling “ad space” were discussed. For example, selling space on your car, side of a home, etc.  Sometimes thinking out of the box a bit, and doing something non-traditional, can yield extra money. There is value to the number of eyeballs and impressions seeing an ad, even if through such alternative channels!
  4. Participating in market research.  This might be more lucrative depending on your line of work or specialized knowledge, but there are opportunities to get paid to participate in market research.   I did this in college once, getting some money to answer questions for perhaps 30 minutes of time.
  5. Walking dogs.  I wouldn’t find this to be fun, and don’t have time for this anyway the way my life is structured. Plus, I’m allergic to them:)  However, if you have the free time, like pets, and wouldn’t mind a little extra exercise, perhaps you could try this.
  6. Yard work.  This is something I have outsourced, as I prefer to do other things with my time.  With plenty of people like me out there, why not take advantage of the situation and do some outdoors work? If you like time outside and can do things quickly, perhaps you can make a little extra cash with a short time commitment.
  7. Mystery shopping.  I’ve never done this and don’t know anybody who does this, but from what I understand there are people who can earn a little bit of money on the side doing this.
  8. Selling blood or plasma.  Okay, another thing that I don’t want to do.  Plus, I don’t think you can do this all that frequently.  But if you would like a little bit of extra cash, this is one source that might be good for a few bucks on a periodic basis.
  9. Entering sweepstakes.  This might not directly result in money, but there are some giveaways/sweepstakes/contests that might offer pretty good chances to win.  Some bloggers offer such contests, and the number of entrants might be surprisingly low considering the quality of some prizes.  Maybe you could turn around and sell your prize, or just save money you could have spent if you had bought it instead.
  10. Blogging.  Hey, you might earn a few bucks this way! J  If it’s something you might do for fun as a hobby anyway, maybe you could make a little bit of money in the process?

My Questions For You

How many of these things have you done, or would you actually consider doing, in order to earn extra money?

Are there any on the list that you just have no interest whatsoever in doing?

Do you have any other legit ideas for ways to earn some extra income?

7 Steps to Protect and Grow Income

Personal finance can cover a broad range of topics, including saving, investing, debt management, and career.   I definitely discuss them all here, along with other money-related topics.

Having said that, the thought came to mind that it’s good to sometimes ground ourselves in what’s important, how the process works, and in what order things occur.  This got me thinking about how the category of income generation – be it from career, business, etc – is a foundation to our overall financial success.

Think about it, working backwards: before we can invest anything, we need money to invest.  This is possible if we have savings.  If we have savings, it means that we needed to have income exceeding our expenses. In order for that to happen, we needed to be making money in the first place!

Thus, as the foundation of our finances, we need to be earning money and generating income.  Now, people that sponge off others or let others take care of them might not be attuned to this part, but doesn’t it make sense? We need income before we can save anything, and then in turn invest.  Income is the engine that drives our finances.

Along those lines, I came up with the following 7 steps to protect and grow income:

  1. Get a good education.  Enough of the notion that education is optional, or not important anymore. That’s crazy.  Some people question whether it’s best to choose college or entrepreneurship, but I say that education is foundation for success and that many folks are looking for shortcuts.
  2. Continuously learn.  It’s not enough to get a degree or even advanced degree(s) and say that we are done. Rather, we need to keep learning every day, and embrace the idea that every day brings new experiences and new knowledge to acquire.
  3. Protect your career.  Make sure you don’t take your job for granted.  Work to over-deliver and make yourself indispensible.
  4. Grow your career.  Your career is probably what brings in the flow of money. If we want to increase cash flow, we need to go beyond protecting our job.  Rather, we need to look for ways to become really good at what it is we do, get attuned to how things really work in business (or whatever field you’re in), and be savvy networkers.
  5. Invest in health.  If you’re not healthy, you either won’t be able to work or your ability to successfully do so will be compromised.  This happens as people get older, but many younger people simply don’t think of this or brush it off as a “someday” kind of event.  Someday probably comes quicker than we realize if we don’t pay attention, so it’s important to be healthy and ideally energetic too.  Even proper sleep and money can be related!
  6. Be insured.  What if you can’t work, and can’t make money? Depending on what the issue is, insurance might be a financial life saver.  You may want to spend the proper time focusing on protecting against losses – with disability insurance as a good example.
  7. Think entrepreneurially.  At some point, it’s important to remember that we are all essentially unofficial “business entities” of our own, even if individual employees.  We sell our professional services for wages.  We are the product. We need to be able to keep that mindset and thrive as people, rather than purely thinking of ourselves as simply employees.  Money can be made through different business structures with you playing different roles, be it employee or owner.  Being flexible, adaptable, and ready to operate in different environments is important.

My Questions for You

Do you agree that income generation and cash flow are the foundation of personal finance success?

What are your thoughts on the list? Do you follow all of these?

Do you have any additional tips or thoughts to add, on protecting and growing income? I’m interested in what you have to say, and what you can share with readers.

5 Ways Education Can Impact Your Net Worth

Education and Wealth Go Together

Most of us have probably heard some variation of this advice before: “Get a good education so you can get a good job and have a successful career”. It’s been a standard approach for years, where many well-meaning parents and other elders encourage younger people to build their foundation with a solid education.  In other words, get an education to increase wealth down the line.

However, the tried and true advice about getting a good education has been questioned of late. We discussed this in a post on college vs. entrepreneurship, debating the notion that college might not be worth it these days, it’s not for everyone, and that many people could be fine without it in this current environment.

Clearly, based on what I wrote in that post, I don’t agree that college has become less necessary. Rather, I believe that a good, solid formal education has become more important than ever, and included it as one of the top ways to grow and protect your net worth.

Sure, some people are entrepreneurs that strike it rich based on risk taking and innate business sense. And yes, some people do burden themselves by going to unnecessarily expensive schools that offer a poor potential for high ROI. Nevertheless, I think its great advice for a young person by recommending they focus on getting a good formal education.

Here are 5 reasons I came up with to support the notion that a good, formal education is worth investing in:

  1. College graduates make more money.  This has been documented over the years. Over a lifetime, this can truly add up to a substantial difference in net worth.
  2. A college degree is required for many jobs.  Many white-collar, professional jobs simply require an undergraduate degree as a minimum screening criterion. If a person doesn’t have a degree, they probably won’t get a chance to enter certain fields at all. Often, the requirement is to have a graduate degree as well. If you don’t have a degree, you might not get a chance to play the game – and might hit an early, low plateau even if you do get an entry-level chance.
  3. A college degree helps shape your personal brand.  Where you go to school can – for better or worse – play a role in getting into graduate school, getting certain jobs, and connecting with other people. It helps tell a story about you, and gives people a base level of confidence in your ability to show ambition and hustle.
  4. A formal education teaches you how to critically think.  Often times, the specific skills we learn in school are never used, but we develop the skills of critical thinking and learning how to keep on learning. I had a former college friends mother ask me, years ago after I graduated, if I was using the specifics I learned in college in my first job. I said no, maybe 5% of the skills carried over, but I’m so glad I had the education. She looked at me puzzled, like I was crazy, and asked me how I could be glad for the education if I don’t use the skills I learned. I told her that I wasn’t applying very many skills I learned directly in college, and learned most things new on the job. However, without my college education – even though there was minimal transfer of skills from my degree and stuff was all new – I never would have been able to be prepared to do this job without my degree and education. She didn’t get it, as she clearly didn’t understand the concept of learning to learn and having intellectual context.
  5. You form a network of other professionals.  It doesn’t matter what you do, nor does it matter if you aspire to make a lot of money. The bottom line is that the people you meet in school, as well as other alumni from your school, can help open opportunities to network, learn, bounce ideas off each other, and possibly find work.

Overall, the way I see it, it’s important to convey to younger people that a good, solid, formal education can help put them in a better position to grow their net worth over the course of their lives.

My Questions for You:

Do you agree with the notion that a formal education is truly necessary in this day and age?

Do you think that those who dismiss college for entrepreneurship are being shortsighted and caught up in get rich quick hype, or do you think that things are changing?

How has your level of education impacted your career, income, or other aspects of your financial life?