Protecting Your Greatest Asset- Your Ability to Earn Income

by RC on March 19, 2009

Unless you haven’t been exposed to the stock market at all in the past few years, or were a very lucky prognosticator and put your money into low-risk investments at exactly the right time, you have probably experienced some loss of net worth, or assets over the last year or so. Not to mention the real estate market, which has taken quite a beating in that time period as well.

But if the money you had in the stock market was for retirement and you are not retiring for a while, your standard of living probably did not decrease just because of the massive drop in the stock market. By the same token, if you still have a job and are gainfully employed, unless you try to sell your house, you won’t really feel the effects of the drop in housing prices.

The fact is, you may be fortunate enough that the massive drops in the stock market and real estate markets have not affected your current standard of living at all.

What can affect your lifestyle, however, is a job loss or a reduction of your income. As long as you are able to work and earn income, you have the ability to have control over your standard of living. While¬† you may not have the ability to “name” your salary, you can take steps to increase your income by improving your education, performing well at your job, or even developing alternative income streams.

There several different aspects to consider  when protecting your ability to earn income:

  • Your health, both mental and physical- Do you try to keep yourself healthy, both mentally and physically?
  • Your attitude towards your job- Do you have a positive attitude at work, or do you complain all of the time?
  • Your performance- Are you trying to do your best, or just enough to “get by”? Are you marketing yourself at work to maximize your earnings?
  • Developing multiple income streams- Do you rely on a single source of income, or are you trying to develop multiple income sources?

If you are not taking care of yourself and trying to perform to the best of your abilities, now is a really good time to start. Protecting yourself and your job should be a priority, as that is your ability to earn income. Even if you don’t care for your current job or employer, it is a good idea to perform to the best of your abilities while you look for a better job.

Starting to look at ways to earn additional income from alternative sources is important as well. If you have multiple income streams, the loss of one may not hurt as bad, if you have several and collectively they add up to a significant percentage of your primary income stream.

Have you taken steps to protect and preserve your ability to earn income? What are they?

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

the weakonomist March 20, 2009 at 6:28 am

My focus over the next few years is diversifying my income. Not that I work in a high-risk job, but I want to be able to make money no matter what my physical condition is. Aside from my regular job, I’ve started blogging, writing books, consulting, and doing some financial planning. None of it is taking off, but of course I don’t have the time to make them take off either.

There certainly is no downside to doing this, I’ve learned so much already.

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RC March 20, 2009 at 8:46 pm

@Weakonomist- You bring up some very good points, and sounds like you have some good ideas. I agree, there is not much downside to diversifying your income and marketable skills.

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TStrump March 22, 2009 at 1:15 am

Recently, I finally got some insurance.
Also, building up my bank balance.

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RC March 24, 2009 at 5:46 am

@TStump- Sounds like two good moves!

Reply

Nate @ Money Young March 24, 2009 at 1:26 pm

I have started to increase my abilities at my current job. Focusing on learning new skills and helping others learn skills as well.

I think the accumulation of skills may be the best way to invest right now.

-Nate

Reply

RC March 28, 2009 at 11:55 am

@Nate- Sounds like a good idea-becoming more skillful at your job can only help. I agree about investing in yourself and in new skills- especially since it often doesn’t even cost anything but time!

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