Personal Finance 

Playing Good Financial Offense

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Ryan is a guest author from Millionaire Money Habits, a personal finance site that discusses how to build wealth by developing the habits of self-made millionaires. Subscribe to his RSS feed.

In the Millionaire Next Door, author Thomas Stanley talks about the importance of playing good financial defense in order to build wealth. In other words, controlling your spending and expenses in order to keep more of your money.

Financial defense is one way to increase your net worth, but many people either focus on or want to achieve the flip side of that concept. That would be to play good financial offense by increasing your income in order to produce and build wealth.

What is the Best Way to Increase Income?

Playing financial offense is a proactive, thoughtful approach to increasing income. It’s about planning and executing, as opposed to reacting to a situation. Too often people hope to increase their income by getting a promotion or a raise by working hard. That’s great, but you can take more control and create an offensive strategy to achieve your income goals rather than hope for them.

By taking initiative and having a clear plan on how to bring in more money, it would be virtually impossible not to achieve some level of success. Here is how I would recommend going about this:

Identify Your Goals

Take 15 minutes and give yourself some quiet time with no TV, no kids and no email. Shut it all down. Grab a sheet of paper and a pen and draw a line down the middle. Label the columns “short-term” and “long-term.” Now write down how much money you want to increase your income within the next 6 – 12 months and in the next 5 years. Winning the lotto does not count.

Create a Plan

Now, think about how you are going to reach these goals. Under the dollar amount you just listed, write 3-5 ways to reach these goals. Let me give you an example:

short-term goal = $5,000/year increase in income

  • Negotiate a raise
  • Interview for a higher paying position
  • Start a part-time handyman business
  • Get a weekend job
  • Find valuable things at auctions to sell on eBay

long-term goal = Make $100,000/year

  • Become director of x at my company
  • Obtain 25 cash-flowing rental properties over the next 5 years
  • Grow my part-time business to bring $X revenue

The examples above are to get you started. For each item, take each point a step further and have an action plan on how you could feasibly make them a reality. To negotiate a raise, for example, do some research on how to negotiate a raise and prepare a case to present to your boss.


Now that you have identified your goals and drawn out a plan, take action and execute your plan. You may fail at one or two of these, but that is why you should have a number of paths to achieve your goal. You will learn from your mistakes, and will be better prepared to brush yourself off and try again.

While Thomas Stanley stresses the importance of playing good financial defense in order to accumulate wealth, you can accelerate your goals by being offensively alert as well. Set some goals that you will hold yourself accountable to, take a proactive approach to increasing your cash flow, and start making more money for yourself.

(FYI, the Carnival of Personal Finance was posted this week at Four Pillars, go check it out!)

{ 5 comments, please add your thoughts now! }

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5 Responses to “Playing Good Financial Offense”

  1. Jesse says:

    Great post: I think there is much too much focus on saving money, and not nearly enough on EARNING MORE

  2. KeithM says:

    Earning more, which allows us to spend and/or invest more, does not necessarily translate into a better quality of life. Typically, to earn more, you have to work harder/longer at your current job to justify a salary increase and possibly work a second job to supplement the income from your first job.

    Personally, with my wife and two kids (ages 8 and 11), my goal is to strike a balance between earnings and savings. Right now, I’m normally up around 5 a.m. to work out at our local recreation center, go to work and come home around 6:00 p.m. That gives me less than 4 hours a day to spend time with my kids.

    My priority is providing for and being there for my family. Don’t get me wrong, making money is important, but it shouldn’t override other important aspects in your life.

  3. Four Pillars says:

    Thanks a lot for the link to the carnival!


  4. What a great post!

    5k/year is a REAL number, as opposed to saving a dollar here and there by giving up things that make no difference to your bottom line. Wealthy people definitely have different habits and attitudes about stuff and money than poor people (for the most part).

    My readers definitely need to see this article.


  5. I agree that setting goals on paper is absolutely essential! Especially the short-term goals because this gives your moral a boost when you achieve that first milestone.

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