8 Smart Ways to Increase Your Income (And Retire Early)

Here’s 8 smart ways to increase your income – they helped me reach my financial goals earlier than I expected, and maybe they can do the same for you.

You want to make more money in 2024, right?

Maybe you want to increase your income to pay down student loans, save up to buy a home, build up your emergency fund, or possibly even retire early.

Well, I’m here to encourage you to set your sights high. Reaching your financial goals is totally doable in the corporate world.

However, relying solely on your company’s annual merit increase won’t cut it. And I’m not suggesting you start a side hustle either. What you need to do is double-down on your corporate career!

Doubling Down on Corporate Work

One of the major driving forces behind my career journey was the pursuit of financial freedom.

I knew that at some point, I’d grow tired of corporate work and want to escape the daily hustle. And when that time came, likely well before traditional retirement age, I wanted to have the option to explore other interests — even if they didn’t pay as well or pay anything at all.

I toyed with the idea of starting a side business, like rental properties, to earn extra money. However, I decided to stick with what I knew—and double down on climbing the corporate ladder.

After all, I knew next to nothing about real estate investments, but I had years of experience in the business world, and I’d already learned many hard lessons about what it takes to move up.

So, I made it my mission to get promoted. Along the way, I learned a ton about how to make more money year over year, and best of all, I reached my financial goals much sooner than I expected.

I’m not telling you all this to toot my own horn. What I’m saying is, if I can do it (as someone who initially stumbled into a corporate career as an admin assistant and often struggled to advance my career), you definitely can too.

8 Ways to Increase Your Income


Here’s 8 impactful ways to increase take-home pay from your full-time  job – they helped me reach my financial goals, and maybe they can do the same for you.

1. Be a High Performer to Raise Your Earning Potential

The average annual pay increase in corporate America is expected to be 4% in 2024 — not too exciting, right?

This year, get recognized as a high performer at work. High performers make more money, not just in terms of a higher salary raise, but also in higher bonus payouts and equity awards.

It’s not out of the question to give high-achieving team members 2-3 times more than the average 2-4% pay bump.

Keep in mind, getting recognized as a top performer goes beyond simply hard work; it’s about continuous learning and adapting as your career progresses. Being easy to work with and manage are all part of the equation too.

Now, if you’re certain you’re a top talent who’s firing on all cylinders, and still not getting the rewards you deserve, it could be your current employer doesn’t place enough value on your role or department.

If this rings true for you, it might be a good idea to explore new opportunities where your job description is more highly regarded. And this means it’s time to update your elevator pitch and get a new job!

2. Update Your Elevator Pitch to Get a Higher-Paying Job

If you’re open to changing jobs to make more money (and I hope you are – see #3 below), then I’m guessing you’ve done a decent job keeping your resume up to date, or at least your LinkedIn profile. But when’s the last time you updated your elevator pitch?

One of the best moves I made to advance my career was planning and preparing for recruiter calls. If you can nail your answer to the most frequently asked screening question, “tell me about yourself,” then you will be well on your way to moving forward as a job candidate.

But if you’re still talking about making the dean’s list 8 years after graduating from college, or touting results from a job you had a decade ago, you’ve got a problem. It’s time to level-up your interview elevator pitch.

For example, highlight how your work responsibilities expanded over time, or even better, talk about how your contributions to the business led to a promotion.

Or, if you aspire to advance into a managerial role, briefly touch on your success coaching your peers, leading cross-functional projects, or being selected for emerging leadership programs.

Bottom line, don’t stick to the same elevator pitch that landed you your current job. You’ve gathered a wealth of new experiences that should be crafted into a compelling new narrative, one that will motivate others to hire you at a premium!

3. Change Companies for Higher Income

I’m sure you’ve heard this before, but it’s worth repeating: one of the most effective ways to increase your income is to change companies for a better-paying job.

As someone who worked for several different companies over the course of my career, I’m no stranger to the upsides of moving to greener pastures. But I also know first-hand how difficult a decision this can be, especially if you’ve worked at the same company for many years.

You’re not just walking away from a job, but you’re also leaving behind the comfort and security of an environment you know inside and out. Plus, some of your coworkers have likely turned into good friends.

But if growing your income is important to you, strategically changing companies can help propel your earnings to new heights.

According to a recent analysis, your newly hired coworker doing the same work as you is likely earning 10-15% more than you. I’d say that’s more than enough reason to jump ship!

With some negotiation, you should be able to increase your earnings immediately by at least 15% when you change companies. Plus, if you’re open to relocation, you can bank even more money by moving to a lower-cost city, having your new employer pay for temporary housing, and benefiting from a nice relocation bonus.

And, if you play your cards right, you can also make more money in the months and years to come. Join a high-growth company and negotiate your next promotion.


4. Work for a Growth Company to Grow Your Bank Account

There is a lot to be said about working for a high-growth company, or a fast-growing division within a large corporation to increase your income.

When your employer is flush with revenue, the odds are in your favor to receive higher than average pay increases and special bonus payouts. And a company that is growing is going to be creating more jobs, and therefore offer more opportunities for advancement. Your ability to get promoted just increased!

Plus, working for a high-growth company makes you more marketable. Your professional worth goes through the roof when you can share how you helped scale a business and contributed to double-digit growth.

When you decide it’s time to move on to greener pastures, your experience at a high-growth company will open the door to many more high-paying opportunities.

5. Focus on Bonus and Stock Grants for Extra Income

Salary matters, but additional income sources like bonuses and stock grants are the levers that can really grow your career earnings and skyrocket your path to financial freedom.

When negotiating a new job offer, if bonuses and restricted stock units (RSUs) are part of your compensation package, I encourage you to spend time pushing for higher bonus/equity vs base salary.

Plus, most companies must stay within pre-defined salary ranges, so you’ll likely have more wiggle room to increase your income streams via bonus or stock grants.

And look for a company that offers RSUs on a quarterly vesting schedule (vs annual vesting over several years)—this way you can get your extra cash even faster.

6. Make the Most of Financial Perks to Maximize Earnings

I would be remiss if I didn’t call out the many financial perks that companies typically offer their employees. It really upsets me when I see employees who fail to tap into these resources. They are literally leaving money on the table — money that could be eaily invested in the stock market!

I’m talking about company-matching contributions to retirement and health savings accounts, which can add up to thousands of dollars in additional earnings each year.

Plus, there’s discounted employee stock purchase plans, free financial advice with certified planners, and corporate discount programs on everyday items, like movie tickets, laptops, and more. If you work for a public company, buying stock at a 5-15% discount can be a great deal!

More Advice About How to Make More Money at Work

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3 Quick Ways to Increase Your Odds for a Promotion (And Higher Pay)

What does it take to get ahead at work? Here’s 3 easy ways to increase your chances for a job promotion and pay raise.

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How to Make Even More Money by Changing Jobs

If you want to make even more money by changing jobs, you may be better off negotiating this into your next job offer.

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How Much of a Pay Raise Should You Expect This Year

Ready for your yearly raise? The latest estimates suggest an average pay raise of 4%, but the actual amount you get could be quite different depending on how that annual review goes.

7. Lower the Amount of Money You Pay in Taxes

A key part of my financial plan was to be as tax efficient as possible with my career earnings. This meant maxing out every available pre-tax option my employer offered. And when you work for large and mid-size corporations, there can be more available than you may think. 

For example, one of my favorite corporate benefits is one I didn’t even know existed until I started advancing my career. I’m talking about a program that many large companies offer their higher paid employees: deferred compensation programs (DCP).

Deferred Compensation Programs can be an excellent tool to save for retirement and lower your taxes — putting more money in your pocket.


In case you’re not familiar with a DCP, it’s basically a program that withholds a portion of your pay until a future tax year. Your money can be invested and grow tax free, like a 401K, and then payout at a time when you will ideally be in a lower tax bracket.

For me, contributing to DCPs was a great way to create future cash flow for early retirement. I’m a huge fan of deferred comp plans!

Now, the threshold to qualify for a DCP varies by company. It was first offered to me as a manager when my salary crossed into 6-figures. And at another company it was based on job level – you had to be in a director or  higher position. 

I’m no financial advisor, but if you’re looking for another good way to make more money, it can’t hurt to reach out to your HR rep to find out if your company offers DCPs. And if so, learn what it takes to participate!

8. Ask for a Promotion to Increase Your Income

One of the most direct ways (and best way) to increase your income is by asking for a well-deserved promotion and pay raise.

The saying, “if you don’t ask, you don’t get,” certainly applies to getting promoted. You can’t expect to quietly kick butt at work and get rewarded. More often, you need to speak up and ask for what you want.

But how and when you ask for a promotion matters.

One of the best times to ask for a promotion is during a period of high turn-over. If several of your colleagues have recently jumped ship, your company may be more inclined to promote you to retain you. Layout a justification for your promotion and see what happens—just make sure your request doesn’t come across as a demand or sound like an ultimatum. 

Best case, you ask and get promoted. Worst case, you don’t get promoted, but you gain valuable insight into what it will take to get promoted in the future. Then, you need to decide how you feel about what you learned.

Were the reasons you were passed over for a promotion justified? Perhaps you will agree there are skills and competencies you need to develop, or knowledge and experiences you need to gain. If so, it’s time to get a game plan for HOW you grow in these areas.

But if you feel the decision was unfair or are unclear on how to strengthen your standing for a promotion next time, it may be time to move on. Update your elevator pitch and job-hop to a high-growth company.

Make More Money

Bottom line: working hard to advance your career is worth it. Setting and achieving goals brings an immense sense of personal satisfaction—AND can also be a huge money maker.

I hope this post has inspired you with new ways to double-down and increase your income this year! 

If you want more insights and strategies on how to advance your career faster and make more money sooner, be sure to join the Finally Promoted community — it’s free!


About Author

As a former CMO who started her career as an admin assistant, Alison writes about climbing the corporate ladder.

After several frustrating years stuck in middle management, Alison set a goal to use her corporate career to achieve financial freedom – and make work optional.

You can read more about her story here.



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