We'd all like to make more money. With the price of everything seemingly always increasing, life continues to get more expensive.
But too many of us are stuck accepting 2-3% annual raises that have not even kept up with inflation over the last few years. Luckily, there are ways to break this cycle. Over the past five years, for example, I've been able to more than double my income.
And today, I'm going to show you exactly how I did it.
Here are 8 strategies I used to double my income over the past five years.
How to double your income
Learning how to double your income is not something that will just happen overnight. It is, however, possible within a few years or so. If you're serious about taking control of your income, you'll want to consider these strategies that I used to do so:
I learned high income skills
I continued my education
I played Corporate America's game
I was willing to move on
I advocated for myself
I knew my worth
I built relationships
I followed my passions outside of work
1. I learned high income skills
One of the best ways to increase your income is to learn high income skills. Throughout the early stages of my career, I worked as a reporting analyst, summarizing data into digestible pieces that other members of my organization could use in order to make data driven decisions.
The problem was that I was limited in the ways I could do so. I was expected to manually export reports into programs like Microsoft Excel and manipulate data there.
So, I sought out to learn higher income data skills, like SQL, R Programming, and VBA. These skills helped me take my data manipulation and analysis skills to the next level.
2. I continued my education
They say that you never stop learning over the course of your career. At least you shouldn't, if you want to continue to increase your income year over year. So, in an attempt to accelerate this curve, I went back to school.
I didn't pursue graduate level work, and you don't need to either, but even a single course can signal that you're serious about advancing in your career.
I completed an online data analytics certificate program at my alma mater, which gave me the leverage I needed to ask for new opportunities and ultimately a raise at work. Eventually, it was also my springboard for moving on to an industry leader in the healthcare space.
3. I played the game
I like to think of Corporate America as one big game. It's not always fun and I don't find it particularly fair, but sometimes you have to play along. Building relationships, asking for more work, and otherwise doing the little things are oftentimes a prerequisite for advancing in your career.
But all too often, there are other optics that play a role. If you're serious about doubling your income in as little time as possible, do things like:
Talk about your development with your manager
Ask for goals and contribute your own
Directly ask what it takes to get promoted
Oftentimes, these conversations can be just as important as the actual work that you perform.
4. I was willing to consider external roles
Throughout the first five years of my career, I've been proud of my willingness to move on to a new role or company when I felt like it was time. The key is to be able to identify that point where you've maxed out in a role and stop learning, but also know that there is not much more for you to ask for either.
Of course, moving on can be uncomfortable, but doing so externally it can provide you with an opportunity to grow your salary more quickly than you may have been able to internally.
I'm not saying or recommending that you job hop, per se, though it can be lucrative, as long as you do so tactfully.
Many companies have internal movement as well, if you're looking to build a career with your company.
Over the last five years, I have worked for three different companies, and while this may be a little more movement than I recommend, it would likely have only been two had I not completely changed industries. Regardless, my salary has grown each step of the way.
5. I advocated for myself
I'm a big believer that Corporate America is supposed to be a two-way street. You've agreed to trade an honest day of work in exchange for pay, but at the same time, your employer should not walk all over you.
Similarly, they should be in tune to your workplace successes and accomplishments. Unfortunately, I've noticed that managers oftentimes miss these things in the craziness of their work. But all too often, workers let these things fall by the wayside, rather than using their accomplishments as a way to advocate for themselves.
I've made a point in my one-on-one meetings with my manager of highlighting these accomplishments. Of course, I don't do it in an arrogant way, but I like to make sure that my manager knows exactly I'm working on.
Another benefit to this is that if downsizing ever happens, my manager is aware of the library of work that I've completed.
6. I knew my worth
It is always a good idea to periodically check job listings and websites like Glassdoor to see what others working in roles like yours earn in your location. Otherwise, there is no true barometer that you can use to recognize if and when you are underpaid.
And honestly, your employer and the broader industry may value your skills and expertise differently, particularly if you've been in the same role for a period of time. Reasons like this make it important for you to understand your worth.
It just may give you the leverage and springboard that you need to ask for a salary adjustment or raise your hand for a new opportunity, both of which will pay you more than you earn right now.
7. I built relationships
By continuously building relationships, with superiors and colleagues alike, I was able to build a network of professionals that I could turn to for a number of things:
Future job opportunities
And while I have not accepted a new job to re-unite with one of my acquaintances (at least not yet), I do value having professionals in my mind that I trust and would listen to. A former manager, just to name one example, told me when I accepted a new role that I should make an effort to not accept responsibility for issues that had nothing to do with me.
8. I followed my passions outside of work
I quickly realized that work didn't have to be the entirety of the equation when it comes to doubling your income. You always have the opportunity to supplement your income with side hustles or entrepreneurial ventures.
While The Student Debt Destroyer has not played a large role in this equation for me yet, I am hopeful that it will in the near future.
What to do with your extra income
Equally important to doubling your income is putting this money to work in a responsible way. After all, doubling your income proves nothing if you respond by doubling your expenses in turn.
With this in mind, here are three recommendations on what to do with your increased income.
1. Avoid lifestyle creep
Each time you get a raise or take a new job, it can be really easy to celebrate and increase your spending by as much, or even more, than the amount of your raise. This can be really dangerous and actually lead you to a worse financial situation than you were in before.
Rather, I recommend you increase your savings rate before you spend any additional income. That way, the money you do get to spend will truly be money designated for you to enjoy.
2. Invest for your future
You will want to at least consider increasing your investment contributions for your future. Doing so each time you come into more money will help set you up for future financial success, where you'll have even more money to put towards your discretionary spending.
3. Prepare for a potential tax bill
Though not the most fun byproduct of doubling your income, your tax liability will very likely increase. If you've kept up with your federal and state withholding, you may not have to settle any bills with Uncle Sam, but you should at least think about the possibility.
Making more money can help you feel more financially secure and be able to pursue your passions in life! And with the strategies I've outlined here, I believe that anybody can do this, given enough time!
Have you tried doubling your salary in a defined period of time? How did it go for you? Let me know in the comments below!
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