Wake up, you need to make money

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With my website tagline “get rich young” and my Twitter bio singing to the world that “I make millennials rich”, I probably look like I have a secret get-rich-quick scheme for the masses.

I don’t.

Nevertheless, people message/email/tweet at me at least 3 times per week asking for one. When I reply with my usual helpful tactics suggesting they earn more, spend less, pay off debt, and invest, they’re always sort of aghast that I asked them to do something on their own behalf.

I can’t earn your money for you.

At present, I’m too tied up in my own 9-to-5 + side projects to bring home your paycheque in addition to my own. You need to make your own money. This is your privilege, as well as your responsibility. Most people understand this. The majority of people inherently “get” that they will have to show up for their own life, and know intuitively that it is at least partially in their control. I can do something for those people.

I can teach you how to make the most of the money you earn.

I can teach you how to get more money out of your career. This includes pursuing a high-earning degree or designation, negotiating your salary, and quitting to take on a new role when your growth becomes slow or stagnant. I believe in being aggressive, strategic, and in control of your career. Most people aren’t. Most people are just sitting around waiting to be hired or fired by whatever employer is currently paying them any attention. I’m not. You shouldn’t be either. There’s paying your dues and then there’s selling your soul, and personally I don’t think any of us should be settling for BS of corporate America’s primary objective of taking care of shareholders, not employees. Which brings me to my next point:

I can teach you to become a shareholder, rather than mere customer or employee of the brands you love. You’ll be treated far better. This means investing largely (>20% of your income) and consistently in the stock market, managing your portfolio yourself rather than paying an advisor or robot to do it for you, and sticking to your guns when the market yo-yos, as it is wont to do. I want you to understand that historically the stock market has always been a better investment than a house. That you’re better off owning Apple stock than a new iPhone. And that anyone that tells you the stock market is “risky” or “you’re not Warren Buffet” is probably underwater on their mortgage, up to their eyeballs in credit card debt, and believes social security will be enough in retirement.

Don’t take wealth-building advice from people who don’t have any wealth, they don’t know what they’re talking about.

I can teach you how to pay your debt before it chokes you. To save for retirement decades before you need to. To grow rich, while your friends are busy digging deeper holes for themselves. I can teach you how to live the life where you are the one that gets to say, “I don’t worry about money” and mean it.

I want you to change your brain so that that you see your earning potential and wealth accumulation in a different way.

I hope every week you visit this website you put on the Money After Graduation money-colored glasses and exclaim, “holy shit, I never thought about how XYZ could make me richer!” and you will be so thrilled that 5 years from now you will send me a thank-you card with a picture of your summer home or yacht and say, “I couldn’t have done it without you, Bridge!”.

All of your earning potential and wealth accumulation is the result of your mindset, so let me massage your brain into a smarter, savvier, richer you.

Want to change your bank account? Change your perspective first.

I understand this makes some people uncomfortable to hear (myself included), because it means we all have to own up for exactly where we are financially. Suddenly here I find myself, staring every bad decision I’ve ever made in the face, and it looks just like dollars missing from my net worth. The good news is once you figure out how to earn or save $X, it becomes ridiculously easy to do so again, forever thereafter. You can make up for lost ground. You can take back lost years. You can change the story at any time, like a choose-your-own-adventure bank account. This is your life, do whatever the hell you want.

Having trouble changing your wealth mindset? I recommend:

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There was a time when I thought $45,000 was an incredible salary I could only hope to earn. Now if someone offered me that, I’d assume it’s because they only expect me to work 2 or 3 days per week. This probably sounds profoundly arrogant, but once someone pays you $X amount, you can’t wrap your head around ever working for less ever again. Maybe circumstances force you to do so for a brief stint (hello, underpaid internship circa summer 2014), but you eventually find yourself clawing your way back up to where you belong. After all, it is only the believe that “I deserve more” that will send you looking for more in the first place.

Don’t settle for what someone else decides you’re worth, they’re probably wrong.

I’ve said before that I felt like money was a thing that could be “hacked”, the same way one would solve a difficult puzzle or a math problem. If I can unlock an income or savings target just once, I’ll know how to do it forever. This is why I keep doing it over and over: setting a goal, surpassing it, setting another. I encourage you to do the same.

This why there are millionaires that lose all their money in a bad investment or business decision, only to promptly build up all their wealth again a few years later.

Earning money is a skill. It can be learned. It can be honed. It can be done over and over and over again.

Learn how to make money the same way you learn how to play an instrument or learn a new language, because the process is the same. Learn the steps, learn the rules, and practice. Practice until your fingers bleed and your eyes water and your voice is hoarse. Want to be the best? Practice harder. Practice after everyone else has given up and gone home. Mediocrity is for quitters and you are destined for greatness, my rich friend, but you have to stay in the game.

Where you start is not where you have to end.

It’s ok if you’re unemployed right now. It’s ok if you’re working part-time in something you hate. It’s ok if there’s no room for growth in your company and your boss is actively sabotaging your career and your student loan debt is so big you feel chained to your desk.

It’s ok.

We’ve all been there. I’ve been there, and it’s still a destination I find myself visiting every few years, much the same way I like to watch horror movies every Halloween even though I hate being scared. But I know my way out now. Learning to navigate financial hardship is the same as learning to navigate financial wealth: learn it once and you’re set for life. So if you’re in a bad place right now, stop looking at it as your life and start seeing it as a pit-stop on your wealth building journey, because that’s what it is. This is the sketchy gas station you’re temporarily at because you need fuel to get you to your next destination. You don’t live here. Don’t set up shop and decorate.

Make an escape plan.

How much money would relieve your stress? I don’t mean winning $10 million dollars so you never have to work again, or coming into a mysterious inheritance that is exactly the amount of your six-figure student loan debt. I mean figuring out what amount of income per month would take you away from feeling like you’re living paycheque-to-paycheque, and then get that. This is probably a very small amount, I would guess as little as $200.

With $200 per month, you could get into the stock market within 5 months, earn some dividends, and by the end of the year you’d have $2,450. Keep up you $200/mo contributions and by the end of the second year you’d have $5,000 put away. Tell me you don’t want an extra $5K just 24 months from now. See? This is what a wealth-brain does: I just turned a piddly two-hundred dollars into five-grand, please stay tuned for my next magic trick.

If you’re in debt, depending on the interest rate, that $200 has an even bigger impact. How much of a difference does $5,000 make in what you owe? I would guess a lot. Extra money against your debt translates to time. If $5,000 will pay of 20% of what you owe, then what it really means is you will get out of debt 20% faster. If you’re on a 3 year schedule, that’s seven months sooner. How much are the months of your life worth? I just gave you more than half a year of freedom!

Wake up, you need to make money.

If I could, I’d reach through the computer screen and shake you. I’d yell “wake up, you need to make money!” because it’s my favorite lyric from this song and I mean it. I really mean it.

Imagine you used your hours and skills more creatively. That instead of spending 1 hour per day watching TV/commuting/Facebooking you opened an Etsy shop, taught piano lessons, learned graphic design. What would your life look like if you devoted even half that, just 30 minutes, to an income-generating (present or future) endeavor?

If that’s too ambitious, what if you instead took 10 minutes to calculate your debt-free date? Determine how much you should save each month for retirement? Figure out what you need to earn to be comfortable? Happy? Rich?

Most people go about their lives passively, responding to their external environment rather than manipulating it for their own benefit. Some people even seem hell-bent on self-sabotage. They take lower-paying jobs in higher-cost-of-living cities. They stretch themselves to buy a home they can’t afford. They don’t use the degrees they paid tens of thousand of dollars for. They ignore their debts, and continuously take more on, accepting debt as a fact of life rather than a choice. Once made, these choices are hard to un-make, especially if the choice-maker doesn’t realize they had a choice in the first place or that they have a choice right now.

I can only maximize what you choose.

But you have to choose the right things. So wake up, you need to make money.


24 Comments

  1. FANTASTIC POST!!!! You are so inspiring!

  2. I love this! I get frustrated with people my age who say they want to earn more, save more, etc. but never do anything about it themselves. Nothing happens if you don’t work for it!

    • I can’t agree more. Unfortunately, most people take the easy way out and complaining about something is far easier than taking action. That said, I’ve always been motivated by others’ negativity and laziness – it’s an opportunity for the rest of us.

    • Bridget Casey (Author)

      Amen to that Kayla!

  3. Susan

    I love that this post came up after I decided I’m going to give writing a book a try. May not be successful but at least I’m going to try and earn more money before getting myself to a second job. I like this post and I’m hoping those two books are available at the library.

    I become so frustrated with my friends who have basically resigned themselves to their current situations. People seem convinced that small changes will have a small effect and just don’t bother.

    • Bridget Casey (Author)

      Susan! That is so exciting! Definitely write a book… it doesn’t have to be a success right off the bat, even the ACTION of writing a book not only improves that skillset, it also helps you become more disciplined and focused on a big goal. The more you push yourself to do, the more you will be able to do!

  4. Jover2

    My favorite post of yours! I’ll be back to re-read it over and over again!

  5. Lindsay Tithecott

    Perfectly on point, as always. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve tried to explain that friends should never make less than $45K (and this, to me, is an underestimate). I find it sad to watch my barista friend’s reactions when I say they should be putting at least $50/month into a TSFA (I’m low balling this amount). Thanks for the weekly battle cry (and reality check).

    • Bridget Casey (Author)

      hahaha happy to deliver! Glad you enjoyed it =)

      $45K IS an underestimate… but only after you’ve made more. I feel like people can’t see past their own hurdles sometimes, so it’s not until they clear them can they imagine something better.

  6. Thanks for sharing book recommendations! I’ve been wanting to read more personal finance books so I’ll give these a try!

    • Bridget Casey (Author)

      They are both fantastic… though more about earning money than they are about “traditional” personal finance topics like paying off debt and budgeting!

  7. The confidence you have is enviable. Currently I am battling the low self esteem in terms of my salary worth ( Entry level with a Masters. Do I deserve the over 45,000 or should I go with the Entry level Pay). This posts just reiterates why I deserve more and not that I wouldn’t work hard for it, but that I am confident that I can handle the work load and responsibility. Great post!

    • Bridget Casey (Author)

      You absolutely can! You’re better for a high-paying role than anyone else — you have a masters degree for godsakes, you are VERY hardworking!

      Sometimes we have to take low salaries to stay afloat when there’s no other options, but if something amazing comes along NEVER be too scared to take it!

    • What is your Masters degree in and does it relate to your line of work? For example, an MBA helps in most industries, but it won’t help a yoga instructor. If you think you’re worth more than $45k, why? Once you can answer that question with evidence to support it (i.e. past achievements / performance, comparable salaries elsewhere, etc.), you’ll see a bump in pay.

  8. Okay, so not to be completely creepy..but this post was so moving I could almost hear you reading it out loud (and I say this because just last week I listened to the Mo Money Mo Houses podcast you were featured on with Jessica Moorhouse). All I can say is that you are an absolute powerhouse! Thanks for this post, I think it’s an incredible wake-up call that it takes work and not just “get rich quick” methods to be in control of your finances the way you want them to be.

  9. Yep. Live and breathe it.

    I will say it’s easier to make money than to save it. I struggle with saving… making it is not an issue..

  10. You’re on a roll, Bridget. Keep up the great posts! I just shared your blog with a couple of my friends.

  11. Great post, Bridget! Many financial concepts are simple, yet people expect and want a magic formula. Making more money or becoming rich is a process. Putting in hard work day in and day out or following a thought out plan isn’t the advice that many want to hear but advice that gets the job done. Your honesty is very refreshing. Thanks for the post!

  12. c

    Never commented before – but have been lurking for probs 6 months now. Returned to this because I am applying to a grad program and in underpaid hell right now. And this post makes me want career/money coaching from you. More of this PLEASE. Really inspiring