This is how I doubled my income in one year

Happy woman reviewing documents and laptop at home

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You will never know what you can achieve if you don’t try.

Key points

  • Changing careers was just the beginning of the big changes I’ve made to my finances over the past year.
  • Working with a financial planner has done wonders for my prospects as well as my bank account.
  • Finding the job that suited me meant that I could invest in myself and grow as a professional and an employee.

My finances have changed more in 2022 than ever before. This was partly due to changing careers completely in mid-2021; I went from museum professional to digital content editor and writer. It has improved my situation in many ways. So I was free to live where I wanted, rather than being tied to a specific place. And thanks to remote work, I found myself with more job options. Finally, when I left museums, I saw my income possibilities increase. Although I enjoyed much of my work at the museum (especially researching and creating informative exhibits and engaging public programs), I often struggled to get by and had to m indebted to make ends meet.

At the beginning of this year, I decided that I was tired of going into debt and living only for the present because I couldn’t really afford to think about the future. I had also learned from my past financial mistakes and wanted to do better. Here’s what I did to dramatically improve my finances.

I started working with a financial planner

Earlier this year I started working with a Certified Financial Planner® (CFP) by accident. After a chance encounter on social media (never underestimate the importance of networking anywhere), we agreed to trade services (writing from me, financial advice from him). I had always thought that only rich people needed to work with finance professionals, and I was pleasantly surprised to find that a CFP could do so much for me. Having honest conversations about my finances (including my debts) and my goals (like buying another house) helped lay the groundwork for my financial moves this year and also served as ongoing encouragement. When a financial professional tells you that you’re doing just fine, your impostor syndrome may actually calm down for once.

I found the right job for me

While controlling your spending and living on a budget are great financial moves, no matter who you are, sometimes the biggest problem is that you just aren’t making enough money. This was the case for me for a very long time, and as 2022 approached, I knew I needed a hustle. But even though a side hustle can be more laid back than a full time job, it still took me a few tries to find the right fit. I had a few disappointing false starts at part-time jobs earlier in the year, and by the time I got to The Ascent, I doubted all that side hustle was going to work.

To my surprise and delight, I loved my job and my new colleagues almost immediately. Being around people who are good with money and freely sharing their financial expertise and experiences has been amazing for my own knowledge – and therefore, for my bank account. And if you love what you do, it’s much easier to do more of it and see your income increase as a result.

I started thinking seriously about the future

Goals are important, and I’ve found that having concrete goals that I want to achieve, like home ownership, has been an incredible motivation for me to work more, increase my income, and also to get out of my debts. I’ve paid off my debt much sooner than I originally planned and can now move on to phase two of my plan: putting money aside for the down payment on the house and all the home ownership costs. Now, when I take on an extra writing assignment or spend a few hours editing early on a Saturday morning, I’m doing it for the sake of my future self.

I would be lying if I said last year was easy. I squatted, worked many hours, and sometimes felt like all I do is work. But it really paid off, and I know I’ve done so much to invest in myself and my future happiness, while doubling my income. If you’re struggling with your finances, take a page from my book: seek professional advice, find the job that’s right for you, and think hard about your financial goals and how to achieve them. You will not regret it.

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