I mentioned my Asset Rich Income Poor strategy in passing in a Friday roundup a few weeks ago. I’ve been formulating it for some time now. I gave an outline to reader Harry in the comments. Now it’s time to put it in the open.
Step one in the strategy is: get overpaid for what you do.
What do I mean by overpaid? Everybody thinks they are underpaid. There are a ton of articles on the Internet about negotiating salary or a raise. You can also pay to attend training programs that promise to help you get a better offer or raise.
The fact of the matter is, many of us are overpaid. If you are reading this blog, chances are you are overpaid. Don’t tell my manager; I am overpaid, so is he, his boss, his boss’s boss, all the way up to the CEO.
I did some work that involved the cafeteria at my employer last week. For some odd reason I had to be there one morning at 6:00 a.m.
I’m not a morning person. I went to bed super-early the night before. I set two alarms to make sure I would wake up on time. I grumbled on the way there. I said to myself I must let my manager know I’m such a dedicated employee taking one for the team doing this work.
To my surprise I arrived at a busy scene. People were already busy working there. All wore their uniform. Men groomed and shaved. Women had their makeup and hair done. Everybody was busy at something: cleaning, preparing food, carting out items, counting cash in the drawer, preparing for opening for breakfast.
I realized it was just a normal day for everybody who works at the cafeteria. They start this early, actually much before 6:00 a.m., every day. A new employee was starting that day. I overheard she told the manager she lived one hour away, OK, maybe 45 minutes with no traffic at 4:30 in the morning.
I’m pretty sure I’m paid several multiples more than those employees are. I was embarrassed that I complained about my early start for one day when those other hardworking employees do it every day for much much less.
Look at what I do for work exactly. I talk to people, on the phone and face-to-face. I read. I type stuff into a computer. That’s about it. Many other people do the same. They also talk to people, read, and type stuff into a computer. Yet the pay can be vastly different. Some get paid much more for talking, reading, and typing.
Of course what you talk, read, and type makes all the difference. There goes the theme of my strategy: get overpaid for what you do, you know, talking, reading, and typing. If you are going to talk, read, and type, you might as well get paid more.
Let’s face it, working for pay is basically just trading time and energy for money. In my five full-time jobs so far in my career, I did not contribute to the advancement of mankind. I didn’t stop world hunger or save anybody’s life. I was just paid to make money for someone else — the owners in privately held companies, shareholders in publicly traded ones. If you are just there to transfer your surplus value to your employer, you might as well get paid more.
I read on the Bogleheads forum that someone is paid $80k a month for working 12 hours a week. Talking about getting overpaid!
How do you get overpaid? Find out which employers are paying big bucks, what they are paying for, and prepare yourself to get there. Whether it’s $200k or $122k a year, I have to say the government pays pretty well through its contractor to a 29-year-old with a GED. If they are going to waste money anyway, you want them to waste it on you.
Getting overpaid is the important first step in the Asset Rich Income Poor strategy. I gained a lot of respect for the hardworking employees at the cafeteria, but if I’m still diligently working there preparing nachos, it will be very difficult to advance to the next step — asset rich.
Thoughts? Are you overpaid for what you actually do? How did you get there? Chime in.
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