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About the Author
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Learn New Skills
In this chapter we discuss how education or lack thereof has a positive or negative impact on your lifetime earnings (income) potential, and we discuss various ways to increase your wealth even if you don't have a high school diploma or advanced degree.
Graduating from high school and obtaining a post–high school degree or trade certification is one of the most important factors in determining how much income one earns and how much wealth one accumulates over his or her lifetime.
I will graduate from Wilbur Wright High School with a 3.0 GPA as a math major in 2024. I will meet with my teachers weekly to get help with homework assignments and to review mistakes made on quizzes and tests.
I will graduate from Lincoln Tech as a certified mechanic in 2022 by attending nighttime courses each semester and working as a part-time apprentice for my company to gain hands-on experience starting this year.
I will graduate from Wright State University with a bachelor degree in engineering and a minor in marketing on May 31, 2022, by completing three to four college courses each semester starting in 2018.
Make it Rain:The more you learn, the more you earn! The information shown in Table 1 illustrates how our education level impacts our annual earnings. It is derived from data collected during the 2016 US census on Americans age twenty-five years old or older and contained in a 2017 census report titled "Highest Educational Levels Reached by Adults in the U.S. Since 1940," dated March 30, 2017.
In addition the report on income and poverty in the United States issued in September 2017 by the United States Census Bureau, indicate the median household income of Americans is $59,039. The chart shown in Figure 1 provides a view of median income based on ethnicity with a range of approximately $39,000 to $81,000 annually.
While there are significant differences in income with regard to demographics such as gender, race, and education level, in all cases the 2016 US census data also overwhelmingly show that regardless of ethnicity you will earn significantly more money each year by educating yourself, completing high school and obtaining a post–high school degree.
Based on my personal observations from managing thousands of people whom I've worked with and on data from the 2016 US census, it's clear that the vast majority of Americans make more than enough money to invest and amass significant wealth while working. What I've also observed is that all of us graduate from high school and college without the skills necessary to successfully acquire wealth or manage our money properly. Our education system lacks specific courses geared to helping us succeed in this critically important aspect of our life. Many high schools and colleges teach the basics of personal finance, household budgeting, writing checks, and balancing a checkbook, and what most view as boring stuff about the economy, accounting, and finance. Unfortunately these classes don't teach us how to invest our money starting with our first job or provide the skills we need to amass greater wealth and live a life free from financial worry. Schools simply help people obtain a job; the rest is up to us to figure out. As a result, many of us are destined to become great spenders (consumers, bargain hunters and coupon clippers) instead of becoming better owners (investors of money), unless we can find someone or something to help us develop the right skills in this area.
The evidence is irrefutably clear: people who graduate high school and get a college degree earn $30,000 to $60,000 more a year than people who drop out. This means that if you're in your twenties or thirties, you could earn an additional one million to two million dollars during your lifetime by simply graduating from high school or college or obtaining a trade certification.
Make It Rain: Two critical steps to complete on your road to riches are graduating from high school and earning a trade certification or college degree. The more you learn, the more you earn! If you haven't graduated from high school or completed college yet, all is not lost. You can always go back and earn a GED or college degree. If you can't go back to school, remember that I wrote Make It Rain for anyone who wants to build more wealth, so keep reading. You can find a second job, work overtime in your current job, start a business, invest in real estate, or find other ways to generate more income in order to amass greater wealth and secure your financial future. Your journey will be a little different from others' journey, but it will not be impossible if you're committed and take time to apply the steps outlined in the rest of Make It Rain.CHAPTER 2
Earn More Money
In this chapter you'll learn the importance of setting goals. You'll develop your own financial goals and begin building the discipline needed to successfully achieve them.
I'll also share a few simple examples of financial goals as a reference to help you create yours.
Here are a few examples of goals to use as a reference:
Example 1 – Starting at age twenty-five, I will invest $500 per month into my company 401(k) to build a nest egg of at least $200,000 by age sixty-five.
Example 2 – I will accumulate at least $250,000 for retirement by investing $750 per month into an IRA starting at age thirty.
Example 3 – I will double my salary every five years and invest 10 percent of my monthly pay to accumulate $1,000,000 and be able to retire by the age of forty.
The third example above is one of the actual goals I set for myself after graduating from college. Like most people who set a goal, I had no idea how I would actually achieve it, but I believed that by doubling my salary every few years, I would earn enough income to save one million dollars over the course of twenty to twenty-five years. At this early stage of my career, I had zero knowledge of how to invest and create additional means of accumulating wealth.
After a few years of earning more money at my first job out of college I took stock of my bank account and retirement savings and realized that I was not going to achieve my financial goals if I didn't begin to change my spending habits, invest time to learn new skills, look for additional sources of income and find opportunities to increase my pay from work.
Like many working stiffs with a new job after graduating from college I had a lot more discretionary income. Rather than investing more of my income to secure my future I bought a brand new (expensive) Mazda RX7 convertible sports car, spent too much money on nonessential consumer goods like clothes, electronic gadgets, eating out, personal entertainment, vacations, and I'd acquired about $10,000 in credit card debt. I was living a good life but I wasn't secure at all. I like most working stiffs was completely reliant on my work salary alone to support my lifestyle and secure my financial future. After reviewing my wealth at the time I realized that I was not going to achieve my goals and it was time for change. After this realization I made the second most important decision of my life which put me on the right path to become rich and live a life with more financial security. I revised my goals and created table with milestones for increasing my income and overall wealth and wrote them down, actually entered them into a spreadsheet that I updated each month over the past 25 years to track my progress and make adjustments to my investments on my way to achieving my ultimate goal of becoming a millionaire. I also, paid down my credit card debt and began paying it off every month to avoid wasting my hard earned money paying interest and making the credit card company richer.
The table below is an exact copy of the revise goals I set for myself at age 25. As you can see my goals were much clearer and included simple milestones that I needed to achieve forcing me to think of new ways to accumulate well over a million dollars in wealth over the past 25 years and more than double my income (salary) every five years during the course of my career.
By the time I reached age 50 my income was well over $1,000,000 a year and our families overall net worth far and away exceeded the goals I set as a young adult.
Make It Rain: I urge you to develop your own goals or simply use a modified version of the goals I've provided to you based on your current salary and net worth to chart your plan to make it rain! Setting simple goals is a habit that most successful people do to create the vision that they desire and clear milestones to achieve in order to make that vision reality. Set goals to guide you for the rest of your life.
Learn how to earn more money! Throughout my career I've always accepted new jobs (learning opportunities) when they were offered to me. Some of the jobs I accepted included promotions with more pay. Some were lateral jobs with no pay increase, some required me to relocate to new cities, some required me to travel abroad, and some were jobs my colleagues felt were taking a step backward. What I observed along the way is the more opportunities I accepted, especially assignments where others had "failed" and jobs my peers considered too risky "potential career breakers," the more often new opportunities came my way and the more money I made. My career ascent and compensation (salary) surpassed my wildest dreams and surpassed that of the vast majority of those people who played it safe or were unwilling to invest the additional time over the course of their careers to stay relevant as changes occurred in their chosen fields.
To increase the odds of earning higher wages, simply invest in your skills and try new experiences throughout your career to remain marketable as each new decade of societal and technological advancement across countries, industries, and companies ushers in new opportunity for those who are ready. Accept new assignments. Doing these two things led to rapid pay increases and provided much more money to invest each year toward my goal of becoming a millionaire. I've witnessed hundreds of people (family members, friends, and work colleagues) who've decided to forgo investing in their education or professional skills or rejected training and new job opportunities when offered. Some have literally worked for decades, continually passing up new job opportunities and training, only to be laid off or fired with no relevant skills to find a good-paying job while waiting for what they believed was their "perfect job." Many were trapped and desperately hoping they could somehow hold on to their current job until reaching retirement age to draw a pension.
Upon reflection, from my first full-time job, making $26,500 a year, to my last role at DST Systems, where I made over $2,000,000 annually, I have doubled my salary every five to seven years because I committed to do it and I committed to continually invest in my skills and abilities so I would be considered for higher-paying job opportunities. I committed to lifelong learning and always accepted new jobs or volunteer opportunities to hone my skills, broaden my professional experiences, and expand the network of people who could provide me with sound advice when needed.
Make It Rain: It's very rare that we receive a new assignment or job opportunity that perfectly matches our personal and professional career desires. The more we reject new assignments or job opportunities, the more our managers or work colleagues build a perception that we're not really interested in doing what it takes to pursue our dreams or willing to make small sacrifices for the good of the firm. Succeeding in any endeavor often requires us to do something different from what we currently are doing. Take a risk and do something a little different than what others think you should do, and you will change your life forever. The more you learn, the more you earn!
After establishing your financial goals, you'll need to remove the mental hurdles (head trash) that prevent most people from succeeding in achieving their dreams. Many successful people, including professional athletes, entertainers, business leaders, and wealthy people, start or end their days by reading their goals out loud and visualizing the future they desire for themselves and their family. Setting goals is the easy part. Achieving your goals requires getting your mind prepared every day and committing to doing something different — one or two little things within your power — to change your life.
Read the following tips in boldface out loud to begin removing the mental barriers (head trash) that prevent success. Reading aloud will feel weird at first, but if you do it each day, you will begin to get comfortable and start to embrace the statements as your own.
Tip #1 – I am accountable for securing my financial future. I am taking control of my financial future today. Don't believe for one minute that your employer or the government will always be there to help pay for your future retirement and health-care needs. Too many Americans are destitute after working decades for employers and government agencies who have failed them. Blaming the government, employers, friends, or family for one's bad decisions will never put any food on the table or pay the bills.
Tip #2 – I have big dreams, and I will take small steps every day to fulfill them for myself and my family. Most people have big financial dreams but never develop and execute an easy plan (one that entails taking small steps) or learn the skills needed to achieve them. A dream alone is useless without a plan and supporting action.
Tip #3 – I will avoid get-rich-quick schemes and will save a portion of my money to get me through rainy days. Steer clear of get-rich-quick schemes. Avoid them like the plague! Stop playing the lottery, gambling, and investing in get-rich-quick schemes advertised on TV and the internet. Ninety-nine percent of people who try to get rich quick lose much more money than they win or earn. The odds of winning by investing in get-rich-quick schemes are always stacked against you.
Tip #4 – I will automatically invest 10 to 20 percent of my income each month to amass greater wealth and be financially secure through retirement. People young and old avoid investing because of fear, lack of knowledge, or the decision to delay investing, believing they have plenty of time to accumulate wealth for retirement after reaching middle age. Making these simple mistakes causes so many Americans to miss out on accumulating tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars by the time they reach their forties or fifties. Don't procrastinate; start securing your financial future today.
Make It Rain: Set simple goals and consistently take action to increase your income and wealth. Read the tips provided in this chapter every day for the next thirty days to remove mental barriers and gain control of your financial future. Reading these tips out loud will feel weird at first, but just do it. You'll feel more confident in your ability to take control of your future each time you read them out loud.
"A fool and his money are soon parted." I've actually fallen prey to a get-rich-quick scheme, and so have millions of others. I learned a difficult investment lesson while I was in my twenties. A family friend pitched a deal to me based on the same deal someone she trusted had shared with her. I assumed she knew much more about investing than I since she was much older, she had a great career working at the nearby air force base, she was smart, and she was also a trusted friend of the family.
She'd met with an "investor" who told her she could turn $5,000 into $25,000 in one year and promised that she would be refunded the $5,000 if the investment didn't work out. She couldn't lose. She told me about the investment opportunity and asked if I wanted to get in on it. I said yes and subsequently wired the funds into a bank account using the instructions she provided. I bet you know where this is going. When I called to check on my investment, there was no answer, just a voice mail message. After days and no return call, I began to panic and started calling frantically, never getting a human to answer the phone.
A few months later I received a letter in the mail from the FBI. I'd been duped! The "company" I'd invested in was a complete fraud. I never recouped my money. It was an embarrassing mistake that cost me a lot of my hard-earned cash. I was young and clearly easy prey for an unscrupulous person to take advantage of. Just like me, people young and old are duped out of their money every year by trusted friends and family members. That was an expensive lesson I learned the hard way.(Continues…)
Excerpted from "Make It Rain"
Copyright © 2018 Vercie Lark.
Excerpted by permission of Balboa Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
About the Author, ix,
Chapter 1 Learn New Skills, 1,
Chapter 2 Earn More Money, 9,
Chapter 3 Accumulate Wealth, 37,
Chapter 4 Discover the Secrets, 69,
Chapter 5 Let's Make It Rain, 89,
Appendix Budget Template, 93,