12 Financial Planners Share Their Best Tips For Making More Money
Jeff Rose, contributor April 26, 2017
When it comes to getting ahead financially, there are two main schools of thought. First, you can hack your expenses to save more – perhaps cutting cable television, brown-bagging your lunch, or riding a bike to work. By saving more money, you’ll have more money to invest.
If that kind of sacrifice sounds awful, you can focus on the other side of the spectrum – earning more – instead. With more money at your disposal, you have more freedom, more choice, and more opportunities to build wealth without living frugally or going without.
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While either strategy is a good one, I tend to believe earning more money is a smarter long-term goal. You can only cut your expenses so much, right? On the flip side, your potential to earn more money is only limited by your level of skill, your creativity, and how much time you have.
And, let’s face it; securing multiple income streams is never a bad idea for anyone, nor is learning a new skill or tackling a new business idea.
If you want to boost your income, increase your savings rate, and free up more cash to invest, these money-making strategies from financial advisors can help:
#1: Monetize your fitness.
If you’re especially fit and into a fitness regimen such as CrossFit, it’s possible to turn your love of exercise into a profitable side hustle. Getting certified as a personal trainer or aerobics instructor isn’t that difficult if you have the skill and the time, says Orange County Financial Advisor Anthony Montenegro.
“According to board.crossfit.com, a level one trainer can earn as much as $20 per class at a hiring CrossFit gym,” says Montenegro. Government data backs that up; as the Bureau of Labor Statistics notes, fitness trainers and aerobics instructors earned a mean hourly wage of $20.57 in 2016.
#2: Earn quick and easy money online.
These days, there are dozens of profitable ways to earn quick and easy money online. There are numerous websites that will pay you to surf the web, take online surveys, or watch online videos, and it’s easy to get started.
“The options are limitless, says Kansas City Financial Planner Clint Haynes. “There’s even a program run by Amazon called Mechanical Turk where you can get paid to do extremely simple tasks.”
“There is plenty of information out there to give you additional ideas,” notes Haynes. If you’re short on time and don’t want to leave home, earning cash from your kitchen table or couch might be your best bet.
#3: Pick up a rideshare gig.
If you have some free time and don’t feel like finding a traditional part-time job, driving for Uber or Lyft can be a smart alternative. With Uber or Lyft, you never commit to a set work schedule. You can turn the app on when you want to work, and turn it back off when you’re done.
“Driving for Lyft or Uber can be a great part-time opportunity that fits into your schedule,” says Alex Whitehouse, a financial advisor in Vancouver, WA. “It is the ultimate in flexible working; if you need extra money this month, you can just log in more hours. You can also maximize your income by driving during peak times.”
The requirements to drive for Uber aren’t that stringent, either. At the end of the day, all you really need is a clean driving record and a reliable, newer car to qualify.
#4: Earn an advanced degree or certification.
If you feel “stuck” in your career, earning an advanced degree or certification is often the best way to invest in yourself. The key here, says Texas-based financial planner Shane Sullivan, is making sure your investment makes financial sense. For example, if you plan to spend $5,000 on an advanced certification, you should expect to earn a lot more than that over time.
While an advanced certification may not make you rich on its own, it can help you earn more money at your current job. And that can be especially helpful if you need to pay off debt or get a kid through college, says Sullivan.
“An extra $300-$400 a week can go a long way to help you achieve your family goals.”
#5: Start a blog or niche website.
While there are plenty of simple ways to earn money on the web, it’s possible to earn a sizable side income with your own website. By starting a blog or niche website on any topic you’re passionate about, you can start a business that can be monetized in dozens of ways.
Minnesota financial advisor Jamie Pomeroy of FinancialGusto.com says the key to any online business – and especially blogging – is knowing how to hustle.
“Adopt a side hustle….then hustle,” he says. “You just might find your side hustle becoming your only hustle.”
While blogging isn’t always easy, it is flexible. You’ll never have to report to an office, and you can work on your blog any time of the day or night.
#6: Become an expert.
One of the best ways to earn more money is to become an expert in an obscure area, says financial advisor Grant Bledsoe of Three Oaks Capital Management.
This might sound vague, but there’s definitely some weight to this idea.
“Every industry has areas or topics that few people understand,” says Bledsoe. “For example, any mechanic can take apart and rebuild an engine from General Motors. But, what about a Lotus or an Alfa Romeo?”
There may only be a few mechanics in town with the knowledge to work on exotic cars. And you can bet that those who do will charge a premium for their expertise.
Consider incorporating your expertise into your current career by niching down, says Humphrey Thomas of HG THOMAS Wealth Management in Brownsville, TX.
For example, a financial planner could take steps to become a certified Divorce Financial Advisor. A doctor, lawyer, or therapist could lean on their passion to become an expert in a niche field.
“The fact that you have overlapping skills makes this side gig much easier,” says Thomas. “It is not a quick return on your investment, but it is surely a great long-term income stream.”
#7: Create a course.
If you’re especially good at something – anything, really – you could create a course that turns your passion into profits. Websites like Udemy.com and Teachable.com make it easy to build courses you can resell to the public, and your area of expertise doesn’t have to be in a professional field at all.
“It could be pet grooming techniques, showing beauty & makeup tips, or teaching project management skills,” says financial advisor Michael Frick, president of Promenade Advisors LLC. “Anyone can become a Udemy instructor to teach their skills, strengths, or passions to other people anywhere in the world, and, as the instructor, you set the price for your online course.”
Once you create your online course, it becomes available to the world. And if you sell enough of your product, you could create a long-term income stream that lasts.
How much you make obviously varies, but the potential is unlimited. Bryan Harris from VideoFruit.com shares on his blog how he made over $220,000 in 10 days launching his course. Now that is some motivation to launch your own course!
#8: Become a mystery shopper.
Mystery shoppers are consultants paid to patronize a retail store, restaurant, or business so they can document their experience. These workers are usually paid by the job, not the hour, but many times there are additional perks, says Arizona financial planner Charles C. Scott.
Most mystery shopping jobs include a small purchase allowance in addition to pay. You might score a free movie, a free dinner, or a free hotel stay, for example.
Unfortunately, there are lots of mystery shopping scams out there, which is why you need to be careful with this strategy.
“To find a legitimate job provider, visit the Mystery Shopping Providers Association’s website,” says Scott.
#9: Join the gig economy.
If your goal is earning more money, there are more “gig” opportunities than ever. Depending on your level of skill, websites like Fiverr, TaskRabbit, and Care.com can help put some extra coin in your wallet, says Iowa financial advisor Anthony T. Reynolds of CoreTegic Capital.
Other gigs you could try include becoming a handyman, teaching piano, tutoring students, website development, painting, or cleaning. Once again, the best gig for you depends on your specific skills and passions. Fortunately, a handful of websites have made it easier than ever to market your skills to potential clients.
#10: Ask for a raise.
If you’re self-employed, you can earn more money by raising prices. While this may seem like a surefire way to lose clients, research has shown that raising your prices can actually lead to more clients, says financial advisor for young physicians, Andrew McFadden.
“A good rule of thumb when setting or raising your prices is to ask for an amount that makes you feel slightly uncomfortable,” says McFadden. “If you feel pretty confident and comfortable with the prices you’re currently asking, then you aren’t charging enough.”
If you’re in the traditional employment boat, a great way to get a raise is again to just ask. “Rarely is someone given something they don’t ask for,” says McFadden.
Plus, the worst that can happen is your employer says ‘no.’ You may not get what you want, but you’ll know where you stand.
#11: Invest for long-term growth.
Earning extra money without a traditional J-O-B is not only possible; it’s common. By investing your money for long-term growth, you can build your portfolio and earn an income that lasts.
According to MD Fee-Only Financial Advisor Martin A. Smith, the best investing strategy is one that supports passive income for the long-term. Searching for stocks that pay dividends can be a smart option, notes Smith.
If you want to invest without all the work, you could also consider investing in something simple like index funds, or with a peer-to-peer lending firm like Lending Club.
#12: Refinance your debts, and save money on interest payments.
Everyone is worried about earning more money, but what about plugging the financial holes in your ship? If you really want to get ahead financially, it can pay to refinance your debts and save money on interest payments. The money you save may not count as “income,” but it can free up more cash every month.
“There are plenty of companies that would love to compete for your mortgage, car loan, insurance, credit card, and service provider business,” says Colorado financial advisor Matthew Jackson of Solid Wealth Advisors, LLC . “Have some fun and see who really wants your business.”
The Bottom Line
If you’ve already decided you’re ready to earn more money, remember to think outside the box. While you can always get a regular ol’ part-time job, technology has paved the way for more gigs and side hustle opportunities than ever.
If you’re willing to put in the effort, more money will eventually come your way. Like anything else in life, however, the spoils go to those who do the work and never give up.
Jeff Rose, CFP® is determined to make sure you don’t have buyer’s remorse when buying an annuity.