If you're not self-employed and work for a company, find out if they have a retirement plan. If you're lucky, employers will sometimes match contributions you make into a retirement fund. Retirement plans also often have the benefit of being tax-deferred. The longer you get to keep your money (and make interest on it) the better. It's never too early to start planning for retirement.
Turn your photographs into cash via sites like Fine Art America, which lets you upload your images to sell as prints, t-shirts, phone cases and more. Other marketplaces for photographers include SmugMug, 500px and PhotoShelter. Some sites require a subscription but may provide features ranging from cloud storage to password-protected galleries and a customized website.
Online business is how I’ve made a living since 2003 and what has helped me retire early. I make over $40,000 a month through my blog. You can create your own blog here with my easy 15-minute step-by-step tutorial. You can start a blog for as little as $2.95 a month (less than a cup of coffee!). Create a blog and leverage it into affiliate sales or product endorsement deals. Consider topics like:
WeReward: This iPhone and Android app allows you to complete small tasks (ex. taking a photo of yourself with your favorite beverage or eating at a new establishment) for points that translate to cash. Though the per-task reward is small, there are millions of participating businesses and the points can add up quickly. The location-based rewards are best if you already have an active lifestyle and won’t have to force yourself to starting eating/drinking out all the time.
Investing in stocks is another great way to generate income or build your net worth. You buy stocks that you believe are undervalued and that you expect to grow in value -- or you simply invest in a low-fee broad-market index fund. That investment should grow over time (remember that stock investing is only for long-term money), making your portfolio more valuable. If you need to turn that into income, you'd simply sell some shares.
Ask for a raise. If you’re unhappy with your compensation at your 9-5 job, asking for a raise is one way to beef up your bank account. Most employers offer an annual review of your work – which could be the perfect time to negotiate a higher salary or ask for better perks. If your employer doesn’t offer such an opportunity, it might be time to initiate a review yourself.
If you’ve ever wanted to try real estate investing but don’t want to deal with all the stress of being a landlord, you might want to consider investing with Fundrise. Fundrise is a new platform that allows you to invest directly in a real estate portfolio that a team of professionals identifies, acquires, and manages on your behalf. With a starting investment as small as $500, you get exposure to dozens of solid, value-producing assets.