Tips to Increase Your Income

Marcell is a single dad and wants to know how to get out of debt and continue to pay his bills. Dave thinks it's time for Marcell to start considering a new career to bring up his income.

QUESTION: Marcell in Tulsa is 25 years old with two young sons. He’s a single dad and wants to know how to get out of debt and continue to pay his bills. He works for a gas company making $13.50 an hour 40 hours a week. He doesn’t receive any child support and has about $17,000 in debt. Dave thinks it’s time for Marcell to start considering a new career to bring up his income.

ANSWER: You’ve got a lot of stuff on your plate, man. You already knew that. You’re trying to raise kids. You’re working hard. You’re a good man, but making $13.50 an hour, feeding two kids with $500 in rent—that’s about all that’s happening there. There’s no wiggle room in that budget. You already knew that, didn’t you? I think it’s impressive if you just feed your kids, keep the lights on, and keep the rent paid at the $13.50 rate. Let’s worry about the student loans a little bit later.

Having said that, we’ve got to have some hope for this situation. The good news about life is that it’s never a snapshot. It’s a filmstrip. What that means is it’s ever-changing. You’re not stuck where you are right now. Next year is going to be different. It’s either going to be better or worse, but it’ll be different. We’ve got to start working toward making it better, because the best way for you to build a quality life for you, your boys, and get rid of this debt is we’ve got to get your income up. Long term, right?

You’re a good man. You’re working hard. I’m glad you got a job, but I want you to make twice that two, three years from now—I think you’re probably worth it—to where you can get some traction in your life, financially. You’re living right on the bubble. I don’t want this for you 10 years from now, and it will be exactly what you’re doing. You’ll be doing exactly the same thing you’re doing right now 10 years from now unless you plan a way out. We’ve got to have a new game plan.

To start with, we’ve got to start thinking about what do you want to be doing with your life—if you could do anything you wanted to do—what would you do that paid $60,000 or $160,000 a year? You don’t have to answer me right now, but I want you to start thinking that way. Once you identify it—say, “I could be that thing. I know I’ve always wanted to do that. I really believe I could do that, but I’ve got to have some training. I’ve got to have an education. I’ve got to have a mentor program, an apprentice program, whatever it is to get there, and that’s going to take me two years of going to this class or taking this certification or doing this or that.” We’ve got to figure out where we’re going and then make a plan to get there. That’s your long-term answer to your financial equation, too. Plus, it’s just going to give you a better life.

The short term is the dreaded part-time job, which is tough as a single dad, but if you can get some family support—even if you just did a few little things and made $1,000 a month—dude, that changes your whole life right now. If I could add $1,000 a month to your income right now, it’d be like, “Whoooo!” because it changes these ratios. That could be cutting grass on the weekends. That could be walking somebody’s dog. I don’t know—whatever talent that you know how to do that you can go do. You may be a computer engineer. I don’t know what you do, but figure out something that you can do, and maybe it’s a small business idea that you just do for yourself. Because, let me give you an example—and I’m not saying you do this, but I’m amazed at how much money people make per hour just doing little odd job things like being a maid. Going into a lady’s house and cleaning her house, you can make $25 an hour doing that. Maybe there’s something equivalent that you would do that’s like that, right? I’m not saying you go be a maid. That’s not my point. I’m saying if you cut grass for yourself for two people, you could average $25 an hour. Do that on Saturday mornings before the kids get up and your mom comes over and sits there while they’re still asleep or something. I don’t know. But let’s start to think that way in the short term to get the income up and start to have some traction and get a little bit of distance between you, because you’re so on the bubble that any little thing right now is a freaking crisis.

I want you to become a reader. I want you to turn the television off. The average millionaire reads a nonfiction book a month. I’ve got a friend of mine reading two a month because he wants to be a two-millionaire. I’m going to send you some books. I’m putting you in college right now, man, on how to get your life organized, how to get your act together where you go win and double your income. And it’s not going to be easy. If it was easy, every idiot would do it. You’ve got to know that the average millionaire can’t tell you who got thrown off the island. They’re reading and doing other stuff at night, you know?

Turn off your television. When the kids go to bed, read 30 minutes a night, and even if you’re a slow reader, you’re not getting a grade on it. The only grade on this is improving your life, so take your time. If you don’t understand something, read it three times. If you don’t understand that, then email somebody over here at the office and some of us will explain it to you. We’re going to school here. This is how you make your life better. You have knowledge tomorrow that you didn’t have today, and you apply it.

Get some good men around you at your church. Look for some men that are doing well in the business community that would walk with you in this journey you’re going on that’ll put their arm around you and say, “Hey Marcell, I’m going to walk with you. I’m going to love you, and I’m going to show you how to win.” Get some guys that are ahead of you on this journey and that will show you how to take the journey.

Jump-Start Your Goals!

Jump-Start Your Goals!

Get our 8-Day JUMP START series and weekly newsletter that are packed with articles and tools to help you win with money.

Reach Your Money Goals

Reach Your Money Goals

Start with a budget. Join the millions already budgeting with EveryDollar!

Create My (FREE) Budget

Thank You!

Your 8-Day Jump Start is on its way to !