There are a number of ways out there to earn, save and invest money. It only requires interest and perseverance to do so. If you are determined enough then your mind automatically tunes in towards opportunities that are available around you. This is what i have observed with myself in the past. When i had more money to spend, i have never bothered about other options that existed. But when there came a time when the money inflow reduced significantly, i started looking around for opportunities. I am not a millionaire now, but i think i now know of a few ways of becoming one.
Understand your strengths:
When I started looking for extra options, I sat down and thought what extra knowledge or capability do I have that I can sell to others for some extra cash? This idea worked extremely well with me and I would suggest the same to you as well. This list could be a variety of different things and could include your hobbies, interests etc. I strongly recommend you take a pen and paper and then write down all your selling points. Do not think about how you are going to sell it at this point…just list! An example list could look like
- Can play guitar
- Can speak Spanish and English
- Interested in socialising
- Love shopping
Make sure you list them as broad as possible – listing things on a piece of paper sometimes opens up new areas and avenues in one’s mind.
Once you have the possibilities listed, now it is time to look around for opportunities. Listing your interests makes it easier for you to focus just on those topics. Our mind works is a extraordinary way – it just finds things immediately once it knows what it is looking for. So the best place to start for is to look in local news papers/websites advertising things you are looking for… lets say a part-time freelance translator or for a mystery shopper. Sometimes trying a search on the Internet could open up new opportunities that exist. As you would quickly recognise, some of the interests and hobbies may not have enough money making opportunities, but do take those in mind. So, once you have a lead as to what line you must take you need to market yourself.
So now you know of a few opportunities that exist that may either closely match your interest or expertise. Then it is very easy to approach the opportunity with relevant data(citing your expertise). But unfortunately most of the time, one tends to end up finding opportunities that do not exactly match their expertise, instead it is loosely connected to their skill. so what to do at this point? I suggest its time for a bit of investigation now.
When we started, we didn’t really know what to search and where to start – at least now we know what and where to search for. Again, lets assume that the advert asks for a certified Spanish translator and you don’t have a certification but can translate. Here is where investigation becomes important. So before making a move, you need to understand: How long would it take to complete the certification? Are there many opportunities for such a certification? Is that worth an investment? After investigating, if the answers are all promising then it is definitely worth pursuing. Don’t think anymore and just go ahead and get the certification done. This step will make you a desirable product for the buyer. Remember in this world there is enough competition for anything and everything and the only way to succeed is to stand out of the crowd.
So once you have things ready, start marketing yourself. And always have a long term strategy in what you do…what i mean by this is you cannot just have a certification just for one translation job. So, once you have got yourself certified, look for options – say may be registering yourself as a services company could be a good idea. May be you can have a small website for yourself that might sell you better. Analyse all possibilities.
Make a balance sheet
So you have found new sources of income now and you have started earning.Very good. What next? The next step is to track what your incomings and outgoings are. Make a balance sheet. List all sources of income and all sources of expenditure. Try and list all possible things from groceries to mortgage. This helps you to plan expenditure effectively. Say you may decide based on the balance sheet, that you would buy a new car next month and not this month. By following a balance sheet idea, you could also understand what is your realistic saving for every month. One of the most important points is never to spend more than what you can earn. Once you follow this, which may be difficult to start, you will never be in bad debt and you will always have a backup to close your debt off even if there is an economic downturn.
Save what you earn
So now you know what you earn. The next wise step is to save them for future. In 2008-2009 time frame, the number of home re-possessions rose by over 30% in most countries. This is just because of lack of proper planning. People earn and then spend it all – forgetting to save for the rainy day. A typical mortgage is around 40% of one’s monthly salary and if one could save 20% of what he earns, he could have saved enough in a year to pay his mortgage for another 6 months. That 6 months gives time to sell the property or even to look for other options to earn money easing pressure and burden. My suggestion is – out of the 100% you earn every month spend 50% for basic living, 25% for happiness and save the rest 25% for future. I try and live to this figure although it means not buying an expensive car or buying a house in posh location.
Invest what you save
It is indeed a good idea to save 25% of what you earn but is that a good idea to have them in a savings bank account? The saving bank account interests are generally low when compared to many other financial avenues and particularly during the time of recession, it mimics a locker where the money is just stored and not really multiplied. So what i tend to do is to invest the money i save after i gather a decent amount. Let’s say you have been saving 25% each month and after a year you have 3 months salary. I would be tempted to divide this money in 3 and I would leave a months salary in the saving account – this i would use for an emergency situations where i cannot pull out my investments. The next third i would invest in short-term investments with low – medium risk – say stocks or mutual funds. Again the risk profile differs from person to person and it is worth understanding you risk profile before you start investing. The last third i would invest in long term investments – that could be in government bonds or mutual funds with a definite interest or if i have enough money, i would buy a property with a long term view of selling it off after 10-20 years.
Give something back to the society
I think no man is complete if he doesn’t merge with the society he lives in. Every human deserves the right to live and just because some have more money than other doesn’t make them any better or worse (though that is not the case in the current world). I would always want to give something back to the society that gave me all of what i am now. I would rather walk to my office (my office is just 2 miles from my home, mind you) and save a bit on fuel which i can probably donate to some charities. Because earning money doesn’t makes us human – instead – it is giving out what you have earned hard – that makes us human.