I retired in my mid-30s after a 14-year career in information technology. I didn’t own my own business. I didn’t win the lottery.
No inheritance, either.
I built wealth by doing the things that seem unpopular but are crucial to building wealth. These techniques may not be comfortable, but they work.
Use these five unpopular techniques to have a more prosperous 2023.
1. Switch Companies.
The best way to make more money is by switching companies. Over my career, I changed jobs every three to four years, and each time I got a 15 to 20% raise. This is far beyond the typical 3 or 4% cost-of-living raises most people receive.
This money-making technique isn’t unique to me. In fact, one study shows the typical job switcher gets a 10% boost in pay, which is still much bigger than those cost-of-living raises. The same study found that workers who stayed at their jobs saw wages fall by 1.7% after factoring in inflation.
“Workers who switched jobs reaped more of a financial benefit than those who stayed with their employer, Pew found,” CNBC reports. “The median worker who remained at the same job from April 2021 to March 2022 saw their earnings fall by 1.7% after accounting for inflation, according to the study.”
Want to make more money in 2023? Get another job.
2. Stop Watching the News.
It’s no surprise that the news is built around negativity. The more we watch the news, the more we believe the sky is falling.
But here’s the truth: the sky isn’t falling.
The sky is still blue. Businesses are operating. Trains are running. Despite what you hear on your evening news, the world continues to turn as it always has. News travels faster today, but that doesn’t mean the world, and everything in it, is a mess.
The more you get wrapped up in negativity, the less motivated you will be to work hard and earn more money. And the more warped your mind becomes.
“If you’re constantly watching negative news, the availability bias means your brain may be more likely to remember horrible events and then believe that these relatively infrequent occurrences actually represent the general state of things,” wrote Psychology Today.
Make more money in 2023 by turning off the news and focusing on healthier things. This could be your job, your health, or your family.
3. Stop the 24/7 Hustle.
There is nothing productive about burnout.
Spend a few days on social media, and you start believing that if you’re not constantly producing, writing, or creating, you’re leaving money on the table. “You always gotta be on!” they say. The truth, however, is quite different.
As usual, the truth lies somewhere in between. It is true that people who spend time creating instead of consuming earn substantially more money over their lives. But that doesn’t mean we need to spend every spare moment hustling for the almighty paycheck.
A little rest and relaxation does wonders for our mental and emotional stability. When we take a break, we recharge. It refills our gas tank with the energy needed to accomplish more over the long haul.
If you feel constantly tired, make more money in 2023 by taking more breaks and letting yourself recoup every day.
4. Invest in Your Employer-Sponsored Plans.
Did you know that 8 in 10 millionaires invest in their employer-sponsored 401(k) plan?
Taking advantage of your employer-sponsored investment plans, such as traditional 401(k)s and Roth IRAs, makes investing easy. Many employers offer a 401(k) company match – typically around 4% of your salary – of your contributions. This is free money!
The Internal Revenue Service restricts contributions and withdrawal ages for 401(k)s and Roth IRAs. For 2023, the IRS has increased the contribution limit to $22,500. And you can withdraw money from your 401(k) at 59 and ½ without penalty.
For your Roth IRA, the IRS has increased the contribution limit in 2023 to $6,500, or $7,500 if you’re over 50.
Ask your boss or human resources department for details if you need clarification on what your company offers.
5. Stop Keeping Up With The Joneses.
Unless the Joneses are paying your bills, stop trying to match their every purchase.
Just because your neighbor bought a new boat or ATV doesn't mean you need to. Did your coworker move to a ritzier part of town? That's great, but remember their monthly expenses will be substantially higher than yours. You don't need to move there too.
Instead, focus on your family's needs and remain true to what will make the most significant difference in your life. Financial security is more important than the newest shiny object.
Steve Adcock is an early retiree who writes about mental toughness, financial independence and how to get the most out of your life and career. As a regular contributor to The Ladders, CBS MarketWatch and CNBC, Adcock maintains a rare and exclusive voice as a career expert, consistently offering actionable counseling to thousands of readers who want to level-up their lives, careers, and freedom. Adcock's main areas of coverage include money, personal finance, lifestyle, and digital nomad advice. Steve lives in a 100% off-grid solar home in the middle of the Arizona desert and writes on his own website at SteveAdcock.us.