Your biggest asset is likely your ability to work and earn a living. It’s probably bigger than the value of your house and it’s probably bigger than any retirement savings you have in place. This is even true for most people who own their own business!
If you don’t think this is correct, let’s pretend it’s true, at least for this post. You might end up thinking about your job in a different way.
Most of us don’t think of our earning power as our biggest asset.
I can’t say this is a fact. I can say that in conversations I’ve had with people when I bring the subject up I usually get a blank stare. I then spend a few minutes explaining why your earning power is your biggest asset.
Let’s say that you’re forty years old. You have another twenty-five years of working and for fun, let’s say that you’re making $75,000 per year. Let’s now say that you can find a way to make $90,000 instead of $75,0000. Let’s hypothetically say that you’ll save the extra fifteen thousand dollars you make and that you’ll earn 5% per year on your money. That extra $15,000 per year would grow to an account value of $727,000. For most people who earn this sort of money, this is more equity than you’ll have in your house after paying a mortgage for twenty-five years.
If you can improve your skills, you’ll be able to earn more money.
Here’s a question you might have. OK, I want to earn more money. I don’t think my boss is going to just give me an extra $15,000 per year.
If that’s your thought you’re probably right. What if you decided to upgrade your skills? What if you spent time on your own to learn things that would add value to what you can provide an employer? If you spend a couple of years working on yourself, you probably can learn valuable new skills. These skills could either get you a raise with your present job or give you skills to take to a new job.
Don’t fall in love with your employer.
I really hate writing this section. I want you to fall in love with your employer. I also know that if you do so you likely aren’t going to maximize how much money you can earn. If you’re not willing to change jobs, you won’t know what your real value is. If you don’t test the waters you’ll never know how much other employers are willing to pay you.
This is even true if you own your own business. If you’re not making enough money running your own business it might be time to think about closing your business down and getting a job. Some people are good at creating value for their own business and some people are better off working for others. Only you can make that decision.
When you start to earn more money, make sure you put the extra earnings in savings.
This is a really important issue. If you are able to upgrade your skills and earn more money, you have to save a large portion of the extra earnings if you want options later in life. Too often I see people do a great job of learning how to earn more money. The only problem is they then decide to spend all of it on improving their lifestyle.
There’s nothing wrong with improving your lifestyle. When you do so and you don’t save you’re saying you never want to retire and you don’t even want the option to retire. The choice is yours. If you don’t save you’ve taken away your choices. If you save a significant portion of raises you get you’ll have a much better chance of deciding whether you want to retire or continue working as you get older.
Remember, you should always enjoy your work.
This is another biggie. Don’t just change jobs to make more money. If you really love what you do and you love the company you do it for, visit with your boss and explain your dilemma. Let your boss know that you really want to make more money. Ask your boss what it’ll take for that to happen.
If there’s no way to make more money, then you’ll have to look around. If you don’t like your job today, then start looking for a new job today. You might find that your skills really are worth more money. That’s information that you might just be able to take to the bank.
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