It’s hard to make ends meet these days. Studies show that alarming numbers of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck, and far too few of us are saving enough (or even anything at all) for retirement. You don’t even have to be struggling in your career to feel that you’re not being paid what you’re worth. Depending on your goals and your expenses, even a seemingly enviable job, income, and nest egg can seem inadequate.
But what can you do? If you’re squandering the income that you have (while wishing you had a bigger one), then you need to read on. Here’s how you can make more money and build a healthier financial future.
Take a break, for your career’s sake
You need money, so that means you need to work. You need to work and work until nobody can ignore you. You need to get overtime money, move up in the ranks, develop a broader skill set, and become the successful person you’ve always wanted to be. Right?
Well, sort of — but that’s not the whole story. You need to work hard to make it, but you need to work smart, too. And if you don’t take enough time off, you’ll end up with burnout, and your career (and your earnings) will stagnate.
So if you’re frustrated, consider taking a break. Head somewhere warm, like Florida, and lie around on the beach for awhile. Get some exercise and some sun. Go surfing in Miami or kayaking in West Palm Beach. If you turn to the right websites for vacation planning and book your attractions ahead of time, you can keep costs down. Remember, this is an investment in yourself. Take as much of a break as you can afford, and then come back to work refreshed and ready to achieve.
Expand your skill set for the next step
If you want to expand your career and gain a more important position in your field, you’ll need more than hard work. This isn’t the 1950s, and companies don’t just promote their hardest workers. In today’s competitive work environment, you need to prove that you can do the job from day one.
And that means expanding your skill set. Do that by going above and beyond at work, taking on extra responsibilities, and learning new skills while you’re on the job. Even if you feel overworked, try to find time to improve. Or, depending on your situation, you may want to go back to school to sharpen your skill set (while adding a nice certificate or degree to your resume, too).
Get more aggressive with your investments
Making money is not just about earning a great salary. In fact, a good salary and a reliable savings strategy is simply not enough to build long-term wealth. If you want to expand your net worth in a meaningful way, then you need to invest.
Generally, you’ll want to save for retirement with a “slow and steady” approach. You’ll put away some cash in tax-advantaged retirement accounts, and you’ll make long-term investments knowing that you won’t be pulling that cash out again for a long, long time.
But if you have enough cash on hand, you can also invest in more aggressive growth areas to try to earn an income right now from the cash that you already have. You may even want to become a day trader.
Of course, becoming a day trader isn’t something you’ll want to do without training. Read up carefully on strategies and brokerage options. Learn the difference between a call vs put option — and learn how you can use both to make smart and careful bets on the market. The more aggressive you get, the more risk you’ll be exposed to — but if you have the guts and want to build wealth fast, this may be a path for you.