Ever heard the saying “it takes money to make money”? As we’re all feeling the wrath of inflation, it’s becoming clearer that our money needs to grow to keep up.
If you want to know how to make your money work for you, you’ve come to the right place. You’re not going to find some bland advice like “learn how to create a budget” and “eliminate debt.” That much is obvious if you’re trying to get your money to generate passive income.
So, here are six actionable ways to let your money work for you 24/7.
Disclaimer: I am not a financial advisor nor a certified financial planner. I’m a pharmacist that loves financial freedom. Any information on this page is for educational purposes only. I’m not liable for whatever decide to do with your money.
How To Make Your Money Work For YOU
Table of Contents
1. INVEST INVEST INVEST (MAKE YOUR MONEY MAKE MONEY)
First, if you are truly looking to make any way towards financial independence, you need to grow your money. Every day your money sits in cash or a bank account; it loses its value as the cost of goods increases.
Now, there are ENDLESS ways to invest your money, and this is not the article to give you everything you need to know about investing. But here are my two cents on the types of things to consider.
Regarding your 401k, the employer match is like free money. It’s like finding a $20 bill on the ground. You didn’t work for it, but it’s yours for the taking. And yet, so many people pass up this free money by not investing in their 401k. I’m here to tell you that this is a mistake. The employer match is an important part of your retirement fund, and you should make every effort to take advantage of it.
But that’s not the only reason to invest in your 401k. With a traditional 401k, your contributions are tax-deferred, which means you won’t pay taxes on them until you withdraw the money in retirement. That’s important because you’re likely making more money now than you will when you’re retired.
And by deferring the taxes, you can grow your money even faster. It’s safe to say that a 401k or pension plan offered is vital for your retirement accounts.
They say, “There’s no such thing as a free lunch.” Well, that may be true, but there is such thing as a tax-free retirement! And I’m not talking about panhandling or living off your kids’ couch. I’m talking about investing in a Roth IRA.
There are traditional and Roth IRA’s, with the Roth IRA being the gold standard because all withdrawals are tax-free.
This is how it works. When you contribute to a Roth IRA, you’re contributing with after-tax dollars. That means you’ve already paid taxes on the money. So when you retire and withdraw some of that money, the government doesn’t get a second bite at the apple.
Not only that, but any earnings on your investments are also tax-free. That’s right, if your investments went up in value and you sell them, you don’t have to pay capital gains taxes.
There are income limits and max yearly contributions, so be sure to check if you qualify before opening one up!
Index Funds & ETF’s (The Stock Market)
When it comes to investing in stocks, you can invest in two ways. You can either buy individual stocks or invest in a basket of stocks through an index fund or ETF.
An index fund is a specific type of fund that tracks a specific market index, such as the S&P 500. An ETF is very similar, but it’s traded on an exchange like a stock.
The benefits of investing in an index fund or ETFs are twofold. First, it’s much easier than picking individual stocks. Second, it’s much cheaper because you’re not paying for fees required with active management of the fund.
I personally just invest in the S&P500 a call it a day, but consult a financial advisor if you want to get more creative.
Bonds are often considered boring investments, but they can be a great way to diversify your portfolio and earn extra income.
A bond is basically an IOU. When you buy a bond, you’re loaning money to the government or a corporation. They agree to pay you interest and return your principal when the bond matures.
The benefits of bonds are that they are relatively low risk and provide a steady stream of income. The downside is they may not offer as high of returns as some of the others I’ve mentioned.
So there you have it, your two-minute breakdown on investing and making your money work for you.
Now, to be honest, I’m not someone that highly recommends a high-yield savings account because their interest rates are garbage compared to the others mentioned above. BUT, you should have an emergency savings fund to cover 4-6 months’ worth of expenses. So instead of placing that in a checking account, you can go ahead and throw it in a savings account with slightly higher interest rates.
2. Credit Cards (Wait, I should use credit cards?)
Now, it’s conventional wisdom not to take out debt, including credit cards. But if you’re an individual with no consumer debt and lots of self-control, then remember this: credit cards offer rewards.
And in some cases, if you are strategic about how you use them, you can actually come out ahead. For example, let’s say you use a credit card that offers two points for every dollar spent on travel and one point for every dollar spent on everything else.
Now, let’s also say you have a trip coming up and will need to spend $2000 on airfare, hotels, and other incidentals. If you put it all on your credit card, at the end of your trip, you’ll have 4000 points.
Assuming each point is worth one cent, that’s an immediate return of $40 just for using your credit card. And that doesn’t even include any other credit card rewards like access to airport lounges and discounts on services.
So if you’re smart about it and can make your credit card payments (pay off the balance every month and avoid high-interest debt), using credit cards can actually be a great way to make your money work for you.
3. Make Your Assets Work for You
Now your assets are MONEY. So instead of just enjoying them, you can make them work for you.
My motto is: When in Doubt, Rent It Out.
Have a vacation home with a mortgage balance? Then earn some rental income on Airbnb or VRBO. Have a pool in the backyard you hardly use? Rent it out on a platform like Swimply. What about a car that sits in the garage thanks to the #WFH movement? Use a car rental app like Turo or a Turo alternative.
The list goes on and on. The key is to really think outside the box and come up with creative ways to make your assets work for you. This allows you to help cover some of the regular monthly expenses that come with your assets as well as generate.
After all, what’s the point of having assets if they’re not working for you?
4. Don’t Trade Time For Money: Create Passive Income Streams.
Next on our list is passive income streams. I really never fully appreciated the beauty of passive income until I saw money rolling into my bank account without directly trading my time for it.
So how can you create passive income streams? Well, there are a few different ways.
You could go the route I took and start a blog and generate income through ads, sponsorships, and affiliate marketing. Or you could launch an e-commerce store and drop ship products. You could even create an online course or go the stock market route and start looking into dividend stocks.
Side Note: These ways require TIME, ENERGY, and PERSISTENCE to make real money on the side. Act like it’s a business.
5. It’s Not What You Earn, It’s What You Keep
If you want to make your money work for you, then you need to have money, to begin with. We all may make money in one way or another, but where we all meet common ground is the many ways we may lose money.
Minimize Taxes- LEGALLY
First, make sure you minimize how many taxes you owe (the legal route). It’s a long-term strategy for all wealthy individuals, and it should be yours too. This includes contributing the max to 401K’s, maxing out your HSA’s at work, and then learning more about the tax code on item deductions.
I read somewhere you can even use short-term rentals (like AirBNBs) as a deduction against your active income, which is crazy.
Either way, Big Sam takes the biggest piece of your earnings, so learn every way to minimize how much you give up.
Minimize All Fees
Second, you want to make sure you’re not needlessly giving up your money in fees. This includes everything from bank account fees, investment account fees, and even grocery store loyalty card fees.
Did you know some stores charge you a fee for using their loyalty cards? Yup. They do. And it adds up over time.
Also, automate ALL of your finances. Often, you get a discount for automating your finances. This includes everything from car insurance to your mortgage payment.
Find The Best Deals on Expenses
Most of us have the basics: car bills, PMI insurance (get RID OF IT), cell phone, cable or streaming, etc.
You want to make sure you’re getting the best deal on these essential expenses. How? Either do it manually, or you can use a service like Truebill or Trim.
They will negotiate your bills for you and get you a lower rate. And in some cases, they can even get certain things removed (like that pesky PMI insurance).
6. Be A Savvy Shopper
Now, you’re probably wondering why this is on the list because this sounds like a way to “save money,” not make money with your money.
Well, you would be wrong: purchasing power is everything.
If you know you’re going to buy something, then make it work for you. Sites like Rakuten (formerly Ebates) give you CASH BACK on your online purchases. And in some cases, they have in-store cash-back offers as well.
Look for deals that offer you two for one, BOGO, or even store credit to come back and shop later.
You can also purchase discounted gift cards to your favorite stores, then use those at a later date.
There are many ways to be a smart shopper; you have to get creative.
And that’s how you make your money work for you.
By using a combination of the above tactics, you can start making your money work for you, which will give you more financial freedom and options down the road.