11 Simple Steps Toward Earning More Than Almost Everyone

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What does it take to be in the top 5 percent of American earners? The amount required is just $167,700 in adjusted gross income (gross income minus a few specific deducted expenses), according to the Internal Revenue Service.

But what would it take for you to get hit that income mark -- or the $389,000 that would put you into the much-discussed 1 percent? Read on.

1. Believe that you deserve to be highly paid. Tens of millions of Americans have a core belief that they can never earn a high income. That core belief controls all that they do, and unfortunately becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. There is a deeper problem of not being worthy or equating high incomes with being greedy or gaudy. Money will flow to people who take consistent actions to attract it. How you use it after that is up to you.

2. Model someone who is making that high income in your chosen profession. Don't tell me that "nobody in my profession makes that kind of money." That's usually a myth that makes people feel better about their low income. You can find top 5 percenters in almost any field if you look for them. Find the ones in yours, then study -- and copy -- their beliefs and actions.

3. Learn that love of money, not money itself, is the root of evil. If you make more money (assuming you handle it properly), it will give you so many more options to influence positive outcomes in all areas of your life and the lives of others

4. Eliminate those nagging voices holding you back. Answer these questions: What would my life be like if I made $200,000 a year? What small changes could I make that would have a huge difference over time? What self-sabotaging fears are causing me to not achieve my goals?

5. Start your own business, even if it has to be part time. If your job won't lead you to big paycheck, make a 12- and 24-month plan to get your own business on the road and earning enough to replace your job income. Imagine how it would be to spend all day, every day chasing your dreams instead of helping someone else achieve their dreams. In 12, 24 or 36 months you will surely have arrived. The only question: Will you be in a new place living your dreams or will you be where you are today? The choice is yours.

6. Take 100 percent responsibility for your life and income. Stop blaming your boss, spouse, kids, lack of education or one of the thousand other crutches we all use to justify why we are not achieving our dreams. I am a high school failure and college dropout who has entered the ranks of the top income earners. Many people started out ahead of me and have not figured out a way to high incomes.

7. Take 30 minutes, minimum six days a week to study your written goals. Your goals must be written with dates and in a place you can access every day. Otherwise, time gets away from you, and the excuses pile up until you are left with no progress. Use a time planner for scheduling and to write down great ideas and form action plans.

8. Hang out with like-minded, successful people. It is said that if you want to figure out a person's income, take the average income of the five people they hang around the most. Hanging out with achievers will help you stay positive and expose you to ideas you would never get from your normal spheres of influence.

9. Read. Cut out one hour a day of television or Internet time to read books that teach you about successful people. It is estimated that 90 percent of Americans do not read a non-fiction book cover to cover after they finish their formal schooling. Then they wonder why they don't have the level of financial abundance they desire. Successful people have huge libraries (on paper and other formats) that they use to learn key strategies and keep motivated. The average American watches more than five hours of television per day -- which when multiplied over seven days is basically our other full-time job. Surely you could give up at least one of those hours going for your dreams.

10. Go for proven sectors. It is difficult to make $200,000 a year or more weaving baskets or sweaters. It is much easier to make that income in real estate, consulting, manufacturing, selling goods and services, financial services, franchising and dozens of other high-potential businesses and professions. Find a vehicle that you would like (even if it's new for you) and search out people who achieved results you admire and model what they did (remember success and failure both leave clues that can be studied).

11. Take massive action every week until it becomes a habit. Action is truly the key to success. Even the wrong action creates motion, and that motion can be altered until you are moving in the direction you desire. More dreams die in the dreamers' minds before any action is ever taken. Don't let fear stop you from moving forward.

John Jamieson is the best-selling author of "The Perpetual Wealth System." Follow him on Facebook and Twitter.

15 Important Expenses That You Forgot to Plan For
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11 Simple Steps Toward Earning More Than Almost Everyone
Is your water bill due quarterly? Figure out how much you need to save each month to have enough to pay for the bill when it comes, and put that amount aside each month so you'll be prepared. Do the same for any bills due regularly but not monthly.
Bills you only have to pay once a year can be even harder to remember, so be sure to note things like property taxes, auto registration fees and insurance premiums and budget for them as well.
Annual subscriptions and memberships regularly trip up people's budgets. Be sure to set aside money each month for things like:
  • Newspaper and magazine subscriptions.
  • Gym memberships.
  • Warehouse club memberships.
  • Union dues.
  • Road service membership fees.
Other expenses don't happen on a regular basis, but you can still predict the need to pay for them over the course of the year. Chief among these are repair and maintenance expenses, with the biggest ones being car-related costs (oil changes, inspections, new brakes or tires, etc.) and home costs (leaky faucets, spring-time yard work, etc.).
Some home repairs go beyond the scope of "routine" and require a significant amount of money in reserve. These can include replacing your roof, installing new windows or doing a major home renovation. You can anticipate the need for most of these repairs before you have to make them, so be sure to start budgeting for them in advance.
You also need to repair and maintain your body, so factor in medical costs like annual physicals, eye exams and dental checkups, as well as co-pays and prescriptions costs if you have any ongoing conditions.
If you plan to purchase any large items in the foreseeable future, from appliances to a new car, make sure you're putting aside enough each month to pay for them in cash. It's always best to pay for big-ticket items upfront rather than finance them (unless you can get a fantastic discount by financing and can pay the balance in full before any interest kicks in).
From birthdays to holidays, there are plenty of special occasions each year to budget for. Make sure to include:
  • Birthday gifts.
  • Holiday gifts.
  • Anniversary gifts.
  • Party hosting costs.
  • Dinner costs if you take someone out to celebrate.
  • Wedding expenses (gifts, travel, hotel stays, etc.).
Your four-legged family members also need to be part of your budget. Pet care costs to consider include:
  • Food and treats.
  • Toys.
  • Vet bills and medications.
  • Grooming.
  • Boarding or pet sitting.
Do you take an annual vacation? Travel twice a year to visit family for the holidays? Set aside money each month for any travel-related costs such as airfare, hotels, meals, rental cars and souvenirs.
Whether you run a business or simply a household, there are certain expenses you may need to plan for in the business category. These can include:
  • Tax preparation fees and tax payments.
  • Conferences.
  • Trips.
  • Continuing education.
  • Dues for professional organizations.
Whether you give annually to a charity of your choice or like to have some money set aside for your friends' and family's fundraisers, make sure to allocate enough each month to cover these donations
A good budget allows for a little "free" spending money you can do with as you please. It can be $20 a month for fancy coffee at your favorite coffee shop or $100 a month to feed your favorite hobby. The amount doesn't matter so much as the fact that you're allowing yourself a little guilt-free fun to keep your budget from feeling too restrictive.
Depending on your lifestyle, your eating out and entertainment budget could be a little or a lot. Whether you prefer to have dinner out once a weekend or see a movie every few weeks, figure out how much you'd ideally like to have and then examine any budget categories you can tweak to make room for it. If you realize you need to cut back on your habits a little to save money, that's fine too-at least you're aware of it now so you can act accordingly.
Even if you're not a clothes horse, chances are there are certain items you'll need to purchase throughout the year. These can include:
  • Updated work clothes.
  • A new coat, hat and other accessories come winter.
  • A new bathing suit for the summer.
  • New shoes as yours wear out.
  • Back-to-school clothes for your kids.
Calculate your annual spending on all clothing and accessories and divide that amount by 12 to determine how much you should be putting aside each month.
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