How to Make More Money

Really short post today as I’m really short on time.

With that said, I want to briefly share with you my thoughts on money (and how to make more of it).

So when most people think of compensable factors they think of degrees, work experience, and finally some vague concept of “networking”.

None of these are wrong per se, but I want to elaborate a bit on the realities of what really makes these things compensable. I also want to share with you a few compensable factors you probably aren’t aware of, namely:



Job Safety / Risk

Personal Brand

Tackling all of this would be outside the scope of today’s post, however, so let’s break it up into a two-parter.

Today I want to talk about the value of a degree.

Many people think of a college education as their ticket to dramatically increased lifetime earnings. But with the economy down and (a record number of people earning college degrees), there are also a record number of people that are underemployed – that is – people doing work that their degree makes them overqualified for.

This is not a trend that will reverse itself anytime soon.

The law of supply and demand dictates that as college becomes more accessible to the average person (which is a good thing because having an educated workforce is ideal in today’s world) that the wage premium a person receives for having a degree will also go down.

Going to school and getting an education is a great investment because it helps you learn how to learn. Think of it as helping you to define your cultural legacy. It would be a mistake, however, to assume that you will get a higher paying job simply because you have a college education. Not every employer pays a wage premium just because you have one (many don’t even pay a wage premium for advanced degrees like MBAs & PhDs).

If you really want to make a lot of money, look at gaining in demand skills that1. The term “water level” was – as near as I can tell – coined by American statistician and writer Nate Silver. The idea behind a “water level” is that in every competitive arena there is a certain level of competition (ex. in the food and beverages industry there is Coca Cola, PepsiCo, General Mills etc.). Some of these levels of competition are higher than others. As such if you have a relatively rare skill you want to find an arena to utilize that skill where this is a market opportunity (but relatively few experts). Citing an example from Silver’s book, when poker first became huge in 2003 there were very few great statistician’s playing the game (but lots of poor players). This meant that a great statistician could make a lot of money playing the game by using a key skill that most competitors lacked. Conversely, when the water level rose a few years later the competition became so fierce that only the best players could continue to make money. The water level had risen, and being a great statistician was no longer a competitive advantage.there is a shortage of and where the water level 1 is low. Math is a good foundational skill in this respect as most American’s are bad at it, but there are tons of other great foundational and advanced skills that will put you in high demand (and let you name the price of your labor).

Literally out of time, but this is a good topic. I’ll look to elaborate on what we’ve talked about today over the course of the rest of the week.


Categories: Compensation