Is lifetime income set in your 20s?
I was cleaning out some random e-mails, and the line must've caught my attention.
I think it was some click-bait headline about a new FTC rule online business owners couldn't survive without knowing about.
But of the five stories that were on the page where I landed, that wasn't the one that caught my attention.
The one that caught my eye was an article from a Washington Post blog, titled “Your lifetime earnings are probably determined in your 20s”.
There were a few nice charts and graphs showing income increase for different populations over their respective lifespan.
The main conclusion seemed to be that most people experience the largest increase in income during their 20s, supposedly attributed to the rapid acquisition of new skills as young people enter the workforce and then quickly develop into a valuable corporate asset.
Anyone who lives within their means suffers from a lack of imagination. -Oscar WildeSome categories of people which require high levels of education for their profession, e.g., doctors and lawyers, did see a spike in their income a bit later than the average.
And it even talked about those who rely on brawn over brain, or the manual workers, as seeing their income decline between 35 and 55, as their bodies begin to slow down and wear out.
Mainstream Media Predicts My Income
Overall, the news wasn't especially encouraging for someone like me – into their early 30s phase of life.
The concluding advice was:
– Chase the proverbial carrot while one is still young and has the motivation to acquire new skills, and climb the corporate ladder of promotions.
– Save money while it is flowing in.
– And ask for a raise from your boss sooner, instead of putting off that uncomfortable conversation.
I don't know about you, but I find that whole prospect rather depressing.
Obviously, the author of this article was unfamiliar with Oscar Wilde's quote, “Anyone who lives within their means suffers from a lack of imagination.”
Marching to the Beat of a Different Financial Drummer
Interestingly, according to the data, there seemed to be one group of people who defy the norm.
The article called them the “Zuckerberg-ian wealthy”, and this group seem to see a spike in income that grew at an exponential rate later in their lifespan.
That is the track that my income curve is most looking like up to this point, and what's more, I have a plan in place to make sure that it continues to follow that trend.
As I finished up my 20s, my income essentially doubled over the space of two years.
And I can realistically expect to, at a minimum, double it again over the next two years.
And from there, the sky really is the limit.
There's no reason my income shouldn't continue to increase indefinitely.
Do you have a business owner mindset?
Does that strike you as absurd?
This seems like an outlandish idea to some people.
But for those of us who have adopted the mindset of a business owner, this is nothing new.
How can you continue to increase your income over your lifetime?
If you understand that your income is simply the result of the product of three basic elements, you begin to see why there is no cap on what you can earn.
Three Ways to Make More Money
Here's the simple breakdown. Your income is the product of:
– The level of value you provide to others in your work
– The number of people to whom you provide this value
– And the frequency and/or duration over which you provide this value
When you understand this, then you begin to realize that increasing your income is simply a matter of increasing one or more of these factors.
Mainstream Approach to Increasing Income
If you are on the standard track of working a job in the corporate world, then your options for increasing these are severely limited.
You likely provide value to one person, your boss, who (hopefully) rewards you with raises as you become incrementally more valuable to him.
You can take on more assignments or projects, or work more hours in order to up your frequency or duration.
But there are only so many hours in the week.
And you are only physically capable of working so many of them before you pass out from sheer exhaustion.
Sure, increasing your personal value significantly might result in a promotion.
You may get a nice step up in pay, but once again you find yourself simply working for another boss and trading your time for dollars.
In order to realize any significant leverage in the income equation, you need to manipulate factor in the equation represented by the number of people you serve, and the frequency and duration, without having to be physically present.
In most cases, this requires that you step out into the world of commerce for yourself.
Increasing Income as an Entrepreneur
A business owner has the opportunity to provide a great level of value to a large number of people on a repeat basis, or over a long period of time.
When you step onto that side of the world, everything shifts.
– You are virtually unlimited in the value you are able to provide
– You are able to expand your reach to impact multitudes with your product or service
– You are able to constantly develop new products and services for life-long customers
This is where I choose to operate from, and it affords me the opportunity to increase my income over the course of my entire life.
I'm incredibly grateful that I don't have to settle for what my lifetime earnings would likely be based on my job pay from my 20s.
It's not for everyone, but if you've decided it is for you, then this is a great place to learn more about how you can develop the mindset of a business owner and focus on delivering value to more people in the world.