The author of more than a half-dozen New York Times bestselling books, Dave Ramsey has been one of the biggest names in personal finance since 1992. That year, his namesake radio show debuted on one station in Nashville — today, over 18 million combined weekly listeners tune in.
Ramsey has spent more than three decades discussing just about every money topic imaginable, but he’s always emphasized growing your earnings as a key to building personal wealth. Here’s a look at the best ways to boost your earnings in 2023 in Ramsey’s own words.
Like Any Major Asset, Your Income Is Worth Insuring
Before dissecting Ramsey’s advice on earning more money, it’s important to understand that he wants you to defend your current income first just as you would defend your life — literally.
According to eSupplemental insurance, Ramsey has said, “Your greatest asset is your paycheck. Disability insurance protects you and your family if you are unable to work by providing income, which will help pay your bills and take care of your family. It’s just as important as life insurance.”
As the country learned during the pandemic, a prolonged bout of unemployment can quickly gobble up even the healthiest emergency funds. Real financial security comes with monthly premiums, so treat your paycheck just like your house, car and other major assets — insure it.
Convince Your Boss That a Raise Is a Good Investment
Ramsey advocates requesting a raise as often as your job performance merits one. But he wants you to go into it with this frame of mind: “I’d like to see some more income, but I’d like to be worth it,” a line he used on an episode of his radio show titled, “I Work More Than My Co-Worker But I’m Paid Less!”
Ramsey cautions against comparing your efforts or income to that of your co-workers when asking the boss for a bump in pay. Instead, present a plan that lays out how you hope to grow within the company while continuing to add value. After that, if the boss refuses to pay you what you’re worth, walk.
Think of Smart Spending as a Path to Greater Earnings
In 2009, Ramsey wrote on his Facebook page, “Earning a lot of money is not the key to prosperity. How you handle it is.”
That was nearly 15 years ago and it’s still the central thesis of Ramsey’s personal finance philosophy — his website covers budgeting more than just about any other subject. The idea is that no matter your income, you’ll waste dollars you could have invested in wealth-building if you don’t follow a budget and a spending plan.
Or, in Ramsey’s words, “Tell your money where to go instead of wondering where it went.”
Treat Living Check to Check Like the Crisis That It Is
Subsistence living is so common in the United States that millions are resigned to accepting the paycheck-to-paycheck lifestyle as inevitable and even acceptable. Ramsey wants them to snap out of complacency and treat their situation with the kind of intense urgency that they would dedicate to a crisis.
In “The Total Money Makeover,” Ramsey wrote about the relentless mindset people should adopt on the road to saving their crucial first thousand dollars:
“Twist and wring out the budget, work extra hours, sell something, or have a garage sale, but quickly get your $1,000. Most of you should hit this step in less than a month. If it looks as though it is going to take longer, do something radical. Deliver pizzas, work part-time, or sell something else. Get crazy. You are way too close to the edge of falling over a major money cliff here. Remember, if the Joneses (all the broke people) think you are cool, you are heading the wrong way. If they think you are crazy, you are probably on track.”
Set Achievable Goals and Don’t Stop Until You Reach Them
Ramsey’s central philosophy is that success is measured by aspirations realized. He suggests outlining ambitious but realistic goals for your financial life, but also for your spiritual life, physical fitness, education, family, career and social life, as well.
Last May on Twitter, Ramsey summed it up with this “There is tremendous satisfaction in working your tail off to hit a goal, then winning. It is worth the work.”
His website outlines a five-point plan for crafting the kind of goals that can change your life — or at least your 2023:
- Be specific in what you intend to achieve.
- Set goals that are measurable.
- Include a time limit on reaching them.
- Make sure they’re your goals — not your spouse’s or parents’ or anyone else’s.
- Write them down and revisit them often.
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