3 Strategies to Increase Your Lifetime Earning Potential

Life is all about choices. One of the areas in life that the effects of the choices you make will quite possibly be some of the most pronounced is when it comes to income – making moola! Sure, we all know that determining to be a sidewalk artist is quite different than setting out on the career path to be a Doctor and choices made while one is young often have long lasting effects BUT are there different things that we can do at any age to improve our lifetime earning potential? I say yes. Here are 3 different strategies that if executed properly will almost always lead to an increase in your lifetime earning potential:

#1 Start a Business

Uh-oh. I can already hear the excuses starting to roll in: “Starting a business is just so risky!” Well, entrepreneurial risk might not be all that much riskier than employment risk – especially if you go about it in a way that minimizes risk (i.e. continuing to work your “day job” and starting your business on the side). “Starting a business just costs so much money!” Well, maybe if you are starting a company that manufactures things and needs a large warehouse and lots of expensive materials BUT it doesn’t have to. Many companies can be started with very little startup capital. Starting a business is a great strategy for potentially increasing your lifetime earning potential significantly. Don’t let excuses stand in your way.

#2 Load Up on Degrees and Credentials

We have all heard the oft bandied about stat that people with a college degree will make somewhere close to $1,000,000 more than their counterparts without a college degree but setting aside whether that is accurate or not the Wall Street Journal recently published an article highlighting the fact that college graduates are much more likely to KEEP their job in tough economic times than those without a college degree. How’s that for an increase in lifetime earning potential? Increased future earning potential studies aside for just one moment – no matter whether you are an entrepreneur who is your own boss or someone looking for a job – having credentials and degrees is one sure fire way to at least get your foot in the door. Degrees and credentials alone won’t earn the money for you but they may just earn you that interview with a potential employer or that business meeting with that potential investor in your business. Quiz! Answer quickly – if I am introduced to you as “Joel Ohman is a Certified Financial Planner™ with an MBA… blah blah” do you think differently about me (and what I might be about to say/write) than if I were simply introduced as “Joel Ohman is a computer nerd that owns a car insurance website… blah blah” ? Chances are that learning my credentials and advanced degree certainly won’t impress you or cause you to believe anything I say carte blanche but it will at least likely cause you to want to give me the time of day and potentially listen to what I might have to say in the areas of business, financial planning, etc. … right? … maybe? … is anyone still there? guys? :)

#3 Get Some Specialized Training

It’s pretty common sense that as your career progresses you should have the mindset of always wanting to be learning new things (yes, “Mr. I’m-still-learning-how-to-use-the-fax-machine”, I’m looking at you) but to take it a step further be sure and attempt to learn some kind of specialized skill set that will see an increased demand in the future. Easier said than done? Maybe, but a lot of things you can spot coming if you just pay attention. If your company is making the switch to a new computer system then be sure that you are soon seen as one of the experts in the new system. If you notice that your bosses, managers, and other superiors all have taken certain classes and you haven’t then – sign up for those classes!

What do YOU Think?

What are some other ways that one can increase their lifetime earning potential? About the Author: Joel Ohman is a CFP® and serial entrepreneur. In addition to the car insurance website mentioned earlier he also has been spending time lately working on a website with information on finding the best business credit cards. He is a first time writer at Brip Blap and recommends that you check out the recent post by Steve titled “How to Develop Good Habits”.

  • http://twitter.com/torbjornrive th.rive

    Most most important: surround yourself with like-minded and motivated peers! Everything takes time to materialize, but as people who know you (even a little bit) will come to you for your skills and likeability.

    So much to say on the topic of popularity…and it can definitely increase one’s earning potential.

  • http://www.DebtFreeAdventure.com Matt Jabs

    I am finding that the best way for me to increase my earning potential is to get out of debt ASAP. Most people pay boat loads of interest throughout their entire lives. With my plan, I should be done paying interest on debt forever within 5 years. Then I get to keep everything I make (aside from taxes, and I’m still trying to figure that one out.) :)

    Skills I am looking to learn are all trade skills that will increase my self-reliance. Carpentry, electric, sustainable energy, building, etc. These are the things my soul is hungry to learn, and the things that will help me retire to a nice, off-the-grid plot on 20+ acres, with no debt, a guitar, a couple beers, and my loving wife. :)

    Sounds good to me…

    • http://www.bripblap.com Steve

      @Matt: Absolutely – getting rid of debt has to be the first step – and I’d add that even people like me, who have no consumer debt, tend to discount the fact that they are deeply in debt for their house. That can’t be ignored either.

  • Robert Prather

    Great post! I do want to warn people away from business credit cards, though (as are mentioned in the bio section of this post). Business credit cards do not include the consumer protections afforded by the CARD act. Beware!

    • http://www.bripblap.com Steve

      @Robert: I completely agree about the business credit cards, although as I’ve pointed out before several times on this blog I think you can use any credit responsibly as long as you are the type of person who uses credit responsibly. You could substitute the words “guns”, “alcohol”, etc. for “credit” and I’d give the same advice – knowing yourself is key. But you’re completely right that someone who has trouble with credit card usage needs to steer waaaay clear of business credit cards, where the issuers assume you are savvy enough to understand how to use them (and will push that assumption as far as it can go).

  • http://www.ParosParadise.com/ParosLearning.htm Michael

    As a person who has started more than one business, has plentiful degrees and certificates and enumeral specialized training, I would add that attitude is even more important.
    Part of that success attitude in being willing to pay the price is to have the big picture of what life is all about–how you spend your high earnings.
    For the young I highly recommend study abroad–horizon expanding–experiences.
    Cheers,

  • http://www.moneycrashers.com Andrew @ Money Crashers

    I’m all about the specialized training. Being the company expert in a certain area can make you indispensable and can make it much easier to ask for a raise. Go above and beyond at work and be strategic about where you spend those extra hours.