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Why Easy Ways to Make Money Won’t Make You Money

Why Easy Ways to Make Money Won’t Make You Money

    Everyone always seems to be looking for an easy way out when it comes to making a living. We would all rather work as little as possible and make our money easily. It’s no wonder why Google searches for “easy ways to make money” yield a ton of get-rich-quick-plans, pyramid schemes, and courses from “marketing gurus” who have finally found the secret to making massive amounts of money online and doing it with as little effort as possible.

    The sad reality is that if you want to make a living online (or even offline), it takes hard work, especially if it is something that you want to do and it isn’t something you should shy away from. Easy ways to make money won’t making you money and won’t fulfill you. Here’s why.

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    Challenges are fun

    Challenging yourself day-in and day-out is extremely important. It’s one of the only ways that you can grow as a human and especially as a worker in your profession. If making money and a living wasn’t challenging, at least to some degree, the chances of you being bored and unhappy would be higher than that of a challenging lifestyle.

    Not only that, it’s also fun to face a challenge and defeat it. There is nothing like planning a project, working through it (sometimes even struggling), and seeing it through to the end.

    Easy money will go away

    Unless you found something that is impossible to duplicate and you live in a world where there is no internet or social networks, your “scheme” to make easy money will be duplicated by others, improved upon, and you will inevitably be weeded out of your market. It’s impossible to stay in an easy-money-making-market forever and think that the money will keep rolling in.

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    You will have to put some work in eventually as your market disappears, so why not just skip the easy ways to make money and challenge yourself to make a living?

    Where’s your legacy?

    Another thing about taking the easy way out; you have very little chance of leaving a legacy, that is, a positive one. Do you think that Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerburg, or Sergey and Larry would have a legacy if they were looking for the easy way out?

    These people are exceptions, but the point still stands. If you concentrate too much on easy ways to make money, you will miss the the idea that could define your life’s work, the work that will create your own legacy.

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    “Life can be much broader once you discover one simple fact, and that is, everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you.”

    -Steve Jobs

    Okay, everything doesn’t have to be difficult

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to say that you have to struggle your entire life to make a living so you don’t get bored or forget to create your own legacy. I’m saying that we all need to make sure that the work we do has purpose and that it helps define us as a person. Many people say that “you are not your work”, but I beg to differ. There isn’t anything wrong with your work helping to define who you are in life.

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    There are many great people in the world that I wouldn’t have known were so great if they didn’t work hard to create cool things that I use everyday. While their work doesn’t entirely define who they are, it helps to create a portion of who they are.

    There will inevitably be some easy ways to make money here and there on your journey, but you may want to make sure that these ways of making money are related to, as Merlin Mann like to put it, your platform (basically the culmination of all of your important work). Making easy money related to your life’s work isn’t a bad thing and will definitely come up. But, chasing easy money isn’t something to shoot for.

    Back to practicality

    Taking this back to something practical; rather than concentrating on easy ways to make money, sit down and list the things that you want to do to make money. Think of your dream jobs and write them down. Next, write down the things that you are good at. If you find a correlation between a dream job and something you are good at, then that is the work that you should be chasing, regardless of how difficult it may be.

    It’s much more fulfilling to chase your dreams than chase easy money. If you are aligning your skills with your dream jobs, working hard, then money and a living will come to you.

    (Photo credit: Money falling, isolated on white background via Shutterstock)

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    CM Smith

    A technologist and writer who shares advice on personal productivity, creativity and how to use technology to get things done.

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    Last Updated on June 6, 2019

    The Average Retirement Savings and How to Save Wisely

    The Average Retirement Savings and How to Save Wisely

    Are you on track for retirement?

    If not, don’t worry, I’m not sure either. I save each month and hope for the best.

    Fortunately, I’m at an age where most people don’t save so I’m ahead of the curve.

    But, what if you aren’t in your 20s? What if you’re near retirement and are looking to gauge where you stand?

    If so, keep reading. Here’s how to prepare for retirement and save wisely during the process.

    What Does the Average American Have Saved for Retirement?

    Saving for retirement is tricky.

    Tell someone straight out of college to save $10k a year for retirement and it’ll be next to impossible.

    Make the same request to someone decades older and they’d be more likely to be able to save this amount. But, a 20-year old college student can be “financially ahead” of someone saving more than them. Why?

    Age matters in your financial journey. The younger you are, the more time you have to save and put compound interest to work. As you get older and have more saving power, you’d have less time to put compound interest to work.

    Here are the average savings Americans hold by age bracket:

    20’s – $16,000

    During this stage, most people are paying loans and moving up the corporate ladder. Your best bet during this stage is to focus on eliminating debt and increasing your income. Don’t focus only on getting a high-paying job neither.

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    Instead, focus on learning via Podcasts, reading books, and taking specialized courses. Doing this will make you more valuable and give you more career options.

    30’s – $45,000

    At this stage, you’ve hopefully escaped your entry-level salary and work at a career you enjoy. Your earning power has increased but you now have more obligations. For example, marriage, kids, and a mortgage.

    Set a plan to pay off all your debt and focus on eliminating unnecessary expenses. Leverage financial tools like Personal Capital to ensure you’re on track for retirement.

    40’s – $63,000

    This is the stage where you’re at the prime of your career. Top financial institutions recommend you have at least 2 to 4 times your salary saved up. If you’re falling behind, start maxing out your 401K and Roth IRA accounts.

    50’s – $115,000

    During your fifties, you’re close to retirement but still, have time to save. You may be helping your kids pay college tuition and other expenses. Since you’re at the peak of your earning power, max out all your retirement accounts.

    60’s – $172,000

    By this point, you should have about eight times your salary saved up. If not, you’ll depend primarily on social security benefits averaging $1400 per month. Max out all your retirement options as much as possible before retiring.

    Ways to Save Money on a Tight Budget

    The sad reality is that most Americans aren’t saving enough for retirement.

    Even high-earning power isn’t enough to secure one’s financial future. You need to have the discipline to save for retirement while time is in your favor. Don’t wait for you to have a high salary to save, start with having a small budget.

    First, get a clear picture of where you stand. Write down a list of “needs” and “wants.” For example, Netflix and Amazon Prime are “wants” and a “cell-phone” is a need.

    Use tools like Personal Capital to analyze your spending patterns. Personal Capital allows you to add all your financial data in one place–making it a powerful option to gauge where you stand.

    Once you know all your expenses, organize them from highest to lowest expense. When you can’t cut more expenses, call your service providers to negotiate a lower price. If you’re not good at negotiating, use services like Trimm to lower your monthly expenses.

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    How to Save Money Each Month

    By this point, you know the average amount of money you should have saved for retirement based on your age.

    But, breaking this down into monthly goals can be challenging. Here are some rule of thumbs to follow:

    Aim to contribute 10%–15% of your salary each paycheck. Review your progress each week.

    Why so often? The reality is that life gets in our way and you will have many financial setbacks. Your goal isn’t to be perfect but to get back on track instead.

    Reviewing your finances weekly lets you know where you stand with your retirement. This doesn’t have to be a long process either. All it takes is login in Personal Capital to view your net worth and check how much you have saved for retirement.

    Turn saving into a game and aim to save more each month. It will get challenging but you’ll get creative and find more ways to save.

    Top Money Saving Challenge Tips

    To prepare for your financial future and not be another statistic you need to be different.

    How?

    By adopting new habits that’ll help you become a saving machine. Here are some ways you can save more:

    Automatically Contribute Towards Retirement

    If you’re working for a company, you can automatically contribute towards your 401k. If you’re not currently contributing more than 10%, make this your goal. Contribute 1% more today and automatically increase this amount a year from now.

    Odds are that you’re not going to be negatively affected by contributing 1% more. Many times we spend our money on things we don’t need. Contributing more towards retirement is a great way to secure your financial future.

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    Use the Right Tools to Know Where You Stand

    Once you’re contributing more towards your retirement accounts, gauge your progress. Make use of finance tracking apps to help you view the big picture of your retirement.

    When I’d first signed up for the app Personal Capital, I didn’t know I had a negative net worth. Despite saving thousands of dollars, my debt brought my net worth to the negative. Knowing this motivated me to save more and spend less.

    Now, I have a positive net worth. But, it was because I was able to view the big picture using the app. Find out what your net worth is using a finance tracking app and you may surprise yourself.

    Bring in Experts to View Your Blind Spots

    If you have too little or too much money saved, you should consider hiring financial experts.

    Why?

    You may need someone to hold you accountable to help you reach your financial goals. Or, you may need help managing your money as effective as possible.

    Regardless of the reason, getting help may help improve your financial situation.

    Before you hire an expert, find out which areas you need help the most. For example, if you’re constantly overspending, find a debt counselor. If you’re struggling with choosing the best investment options, hire a financial advisor.

    Speed up Your Retirement Contribution

    After learning how to manage your money well, the next best thing is to earn a higher income.

    You’re capped at how much you can save but not much you can earn. Even if your employer isn’t giving you a promotion, you can still take charge of your financial future. How?

    By starting a side-business.

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    This will be something you’d work on after you’ve finished your day job. Once you start earning income from your side-business, you’ll be financially better off.

    The best part is the more work you put into your side-business,[1] the more potential it has to earn more money.

    So start a side-business in an area you’re familiar with. For example, if you enjoy writing, do freelance writing for small e-commerce businesses.

    Once you’re earning a higher income, you can contribute more towards your retirement. Don’t wait for the right opportunity to secure your financial future, create one.

    Reach Financial Freedom with Confidence

    What if you were able to retire tomorrow with no problem, all because you’d have enough money saved up and little to no debt left to pay off? How would you feel?

    My guess is that you’d feel happy and relieved.

    Most Americans are falling behind their retirement goals for many reasons. They’re not prepared, they carry bad money-habits and are thinking short-term.

    For you to retire successfully, you need to work backward and adopt better habits. Contribute more towards your 401K and focus on growing your income.

    If you do, you’ll save money and pay debt faster.

    Don’t beat yourself up if you’re behind your retirement goals. Take the first step today towards a brighter financial future. Isn’t retirement worth the hard work and sacrifice to be at peace?

    Featured photo credit: Huy Phan via unsplash.com

    Reference

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