Last Updated on Dec 20, 2019 by James W
Here’s a sobering thought for you to take in – if you live in an average family in the US, the chances are you aren’t saving nearly enough money. According to statistics, a considerable majority of households have less than a couple of hundred dollars in the bank, and are really only one paycheck away from hitting serious financial trouble. The big question is, how can you ensure a positive future and avoid becoming one of these statistics?
Cutting spending is an obvious starting point, and then it’s a case of putting aside what you save. But there is also something you can do that will be far more effective – focus on increasing your lifetime earnings.
It’s a simple concept to understand, in all honesty. It doesn’t take a genius to work out that the more you earn, the more financial protection you will have in terms of your future. You’ll be able to put some towards retirement, some towards an emergency fund, and maybe even give your kids a boost by saving for their future education. And let’s not forget – you can only save a certain amount. But there are no limits to what you could – potentially – earn.
With this in mind, we put together some key tips to help you get started. And the quicker you begin, the better. Every month that ticks by without earning extra money is a month wasted – and they soon start to add up over the course of your working lifetime. Let’s get started right away.
Learn to negotiate your salary
Are you one of the majority of workers that has never – or would never – negotiate a better salary with your employer? Many people feel incredibly uncomfortable with the concept of asking for more money, but in reality this is largely a cultural thing.
It’s important to snap out of your polite slumber. First offers from a new employer are almost always lower than they should be and the majority of recruiters report that most people settle for $5,000 a year less than the employer expected to pay – as well as settling for a 50% smaller annual rise. If you add that up over a 30-year career and compare it with a better starting wage and double the annual pay rise, that’s well over half a million bucks you lose out on.
There are likely to be good reasons for being worried about negotiating a higher salary. And one of those is that someone else will offer to do your job for less – and you end up losing your place in the company. It’s a normal thing to feel this way, but that doesn’t mean it’s right – or that you are incapable of controlling your own destiny.
Ultimately, feeling more secure involves become indispensable. Build up your skill set and talents and your employer will find it very hard to refuse to give you a raise – within reason, of course. And if you aren’t getting what you think you deserve, you will be better placed to look elsewhere. Prove you are a top hire and your employer will not want to lose you.
Work a side gig
At some point in time, you may find that your salary from your usual job is maxed out. It happens, but once you reach the ‘top of your tree’ you still have options – like getting a part time role in another job. Nearly a third of the country does this, so you are in very good company. And the beauty of working a side gig is that if you are getting by OK on your current income, everything you earn can be put towards securing a better future.
Even earning an extra $500 a month can make a huge difference. Let’s say you save all of that every year in an IRA with a return of 7 percent – you would have over $500,000 as a nest egg after thirty years – just on that second income
No matter what industry you work in, there is always room for earning more money. And the more educated you are in your subject of choice, the better chance you have of maximizing your income. In fact, you can earn well over 50 percent more than someone who does your job without a graduate degree over your lifetime.
Sure, education is expensive but it’s important to remember the opportunities it gives you. And taking your education further can also result in a higher income – especially if you specialize. And you can take advantage of modern teaching resources these days, which should lower the cost. For example, if you are a natural engineer, a Bachelor’s degree will be worthwhile. But if you want to specialize further, something like an online civil engineering degree will give you a qualification few others have managed. It’s a real opportunity to put yourself at the head of your field.
Develop a passive income stream
The sad reality for almost everyone bar the very wealthiest is that situations change all the time. What is a safe job today might be in a different position tomorrow. And given the average unemployed worker is unemployed almost half a year, it’s important to be able to earn money without working.
This is where passive income streams come in – sources of earnings that you don’t need a job to rely on. We’re talking about things like investments in stocks and bonds, or looking into real estate. You could also build a website and try to earn some side cash from advertising.
Apply for new jobs
Applying for a new job is a daunting feeling for many, and lots of folk will not bother unless they meet 100 percent of the requirements. But this is a mistake.
Even if you don’t check every box, the chances are that not many other applicants do either. As a rule, hiring managers aren’t just interested in what you write on paper, they are also interested in the skills and personality you have. The reality is that you might end up with that high-paying gig after all – but only if you try.
Network like you mean it
Nobody really likes networking, but the reality is that your lifetime earnings are as much to do with who you know rather than what you do. A recent report on Linkedin suggests that around 8.5 out of every 10 jobs are filled through networking, so that tells you a lot about the current employment landscape. Ultimately, if you want to boost your odds of landing your dream job with a great salary and benefits, it’s an important step to take.
Start now. Head down to your local community business meetings and hook up with people in your area. You never know when you will find someone with a good idea of how to better use your skill set – for a good price. And start taking names – a black book of contacts will prove invaluable over the years, and you never know what might come from it as a result.
Don’t underestimate how much you can affect your lifetime earnings. Some of these ideas are used successfully by people all over the world, and although they may seem alien, they are valuable tools in ensuring your financial security in the long-term. And the quicker you get started, the better. Even managing to set aside a thousand dollars a month every year for your 30-year career – without any interest – would leave you with a lump sum of $360,000. And the more money you can earn over that time, the better.