Have you ever thought about how crazy it is that there are people out there that make your annual salary in a month and some even in a day? It makes you wonder what they know that you don’t. Well, one thing I know is that improving your financial life requires certain principles to be in place and I want to share with you three that I believe are the most important for your own financial progression!
Principle #1: Learn the limitations of your current income
You’ve probably never thought about this before but our lives are full of things that restrict our actions. For example, speed limits dictate how fast we drive and budgets, when used correctly, limit how we spend our money. If you ask me, these are good limitations however not all limitations are this beneficial. For instance, we all have friends or family who question our every move and decision and quite frankly this often slows us down. Now, besides the limitations I just mentioned, there are also limitations in how we make our money. As such, if you want to start making more significant strides with your money then you need to be aware of these limitations and eliminate them immediately.
Now, If I’m being completely honest here, I don’t think there are a ton of people who actually take the time to sit and think about what factors may be holding back their income. You see, for most people life is so demanding that having time to pause and reflect is just not something that ends up working its way in their schedule however this truly is to their own financial detriment. Why is that? Because unfortunately, the majority of people operate in the most income inefficient model there is. What is this model you may be asking? I call it the administrative model and this is by far the least efficient way of making money.
So first off, what is the administrative model? The administrative model consists of jobs that act solely as expenses to the company. Examples include finance staff, janitorial services, human resources and the like. Even me, who works as an accountant, operates in the administrative model because, while my efforts help the company meet certain goals, I am not directly making the company money. In short, these roles cost the company money but yield no direct financial gains.
Now, you may be wondering why this income model isn’t an ideal method for making money and I will explain that to you right now. First, as I just mentioned, while operating in this model, you are not helping boost the bottom line of the company. In fact, as an expense, you are detracting from it. Therefore, your company really has no incentive to pay you more for your services because this just further increases their expenses. This is why these positions tend to receive average raises of 3–5% which in most years is barely enough to get ahead of inflation.
The other problem with this income model is that it operates under the time for money model. Whatever hours you put in, you are paid for. Given that we can only work so many hours a day without our partners leaving us or our health going in the toilet, you can see how this model fails in its ability to make you money.
Now, if you’re currently operating in the administrative model then this wake up call is probably having you ask yourself what other income models are out there and let me share with you an alternative that can have you making a ton more money.
The other income model to consider is what I call the profit model. The core principle of the profit model is that your actions directly contribute to positive movement in the bottom line of the company you work for. Now, for some you may be thinking this means you need to start your own business to harness the power of this income approach but that’s not true. Yes, if you start a business then your actions will directly impact your bottom line and if this is something that appeals to you then you should give it a try.
However, I know this idea doesn’t appeal to everyone and as such I want to present you an alternative. If you’re more comfortable working at a company than running your own then what I suggest is that you find opportunities with your employer to make them more money. For instance, an easy way to do this is to get yourself a position in sales. Every time you make a sale, both you and the company profit and because you are positively contributing to their bottom line, your income potential is much greater than that of an administrative worker. You see, no employer is going to have an issue paying you $500,000 a year if you’re making them $10 million.
Fortunately, if sales doesn’t appeal to you then there are other ways to bank on the profit model. For instance, you could try and help your company find ways to save money or start side projects within the company that can be promoted and sold.
The main takeaway here is that you need to ask yourself, am I helping or hurting my company’s bottom line. If it’s the latter then realize this limitation and aim to either switch your income approach or tweak it so that you give your boss a reason to give you more money and when you do I can guarantee you will start to see bigger paychecks coming your way!
Principle #2: Understand the importance of starting now
When I was in school, I hated doing homework and given that I went through 7 years of college, I’ve done a lot of homework in my life. Now, I will admit that some days it was easier to get motivated to work than others and often I would push off my homework so long that I would be up until midnight working away. After procrastinating and losing sleep one too many times, I came to craft a mantra that would serve me for the entirety of my educational career. The saying went like this, “the sooner you start, the sooner you finish” and when I truly started to embody this idea, getting motivated to start my homework became ten times easier.
Now, I am not here to give you studying advice but what I do want to tell you is that this mantra is also very applicable when it comes to upping your money game. In fact, there are two instances where starting now is key to financial success.
The first, is starting to build out alternate streams of income. Especially if you are currently operating in the administrative model, you need other forms of income not only to offer you more overall income but also to insulate you from the risk of job loss. For me, I used my YouTube channels and my high-income skills to complement my 9–5 income and I can honestly say that this has been a huge help in seeing the financial progress I want in life. For you, it could mean starting a blog or mastering the world of e-commerce. Regardless of the endeavour you pursue, there’s one thing I know for sure and that’s that every worthwhile means of making money will take time to get off the ground. Just like it takes 4 years to get a degree and that entry level job, it will take an appreciable amount of time to get any side hustle or business up and running as well.
The other instance where starting now will pay off handsomely is in your investing efforts. You already know how important it is to invest your money but you probably don’t realize the importance of starting as early as you can. As such, let me share with you a quick example.
Take two friends, each of which have the goal of retiring at 65 with $2 million in hand. One invests $300 a month from ages 18–27 for a total contribution of $28,800 and receives an annual average return of 10%. He can stop investing at 27 and have almost $2 million at age 65. The other friend only starts investing at age 27. Given that he started later, not only would the second friend have to invest $400 a month to end up with his goal amount of $2 million but would have to invest for 38 years and put in more than $180,000 of his own money to get there. Therefore, as you can see, the best time to start working towards your financial goals is now!
Principle #3: If you want to stack, you need to track
Is there anything cooler than having a stack of money by your side? If you ask me, few things compare however you don’t get to the point of financial abundance without proper financial due diligence. You see, most people go through life with little idea of where their finances stand and this is extremely detrimental to them achieving their financial goals. I know this because for many years I was rather lackluster in my own financial ways. I never tracked my income progression nor did I have a good sense of my investing returns and these two oversights alone have cost me a ton of money. Fortunately, I realized my shortcomings early and out of these mistakes was born the DIIS system.
DIIS stands for Debt, Investments, Income and Savings and the goal of this system is to ensure that you are constantly progressing monetarily by continuously being reminded of where you stand financially. To use this system, there are three steps you must follow. Step one is to determine baselines for each of the four pillars in this system. Add up your debts, total your investments, determine your income and review your savings. Once these starting figures are set, the second step is to create actionable steps that will get you closer to your financial goals. Finally, after a month passes, step three involves reviewing where you stand within each of these four pillars and determine if the goals you set out for yourself were achieved. If they were, create new goals and actions. If not, ask yourself where you went wrong and how you can change your approach to ensure your goals are met.
Now, while I could just tell you to take this system and run with it, I feel as though it would be more helpful to share with you some strategies you can use to see progression in each of these four pillars so let’s get into a few examples now.
Let’s start with debt. If you are struggling with debt then your goal should be to clear it off as quickly as possible. What I recommend in your DIIS system is to set goals to contribute a certain amount of money to repaying your debt monthly. Ideally, this would have you paying off your debts with the highest interest rates as these tend to be the most costly over time. However, what if you don’t have the money to use to pay off your debts? This is where the income side comes in. Set a monthly goal of earning a bit of extra money. For some that could mean making an extra $50 by picking up an extra shift or making a few thousand more by taking on a new freelancing client.
Now that you have extra income, the next step is to save and invest. After your review, if you realize you have enough money saved to meet your bills and any potential emergency costs that could arise, then it’s time to direct that money towards your investments. When optimizing your investments, the opportunities are endless. You can increase your position by upping your contributions, seeking out more lucrative assets to invest in or even make it a point to negotiate your expense fees with your broker.
Therefore, if you’re serious about seeing significant progress in your financial life, then set up your DIIS system for yourself and avoid the mistake of sleeping on your finances!