MARGATE, FLORIDA - JULY 26: Anita Dante, in her late 60's, searches for a job in a local newspaper's classified section at her home July 26, 2002 in Margate, Florida. After working for most of her life, Dante had planned on retiring, but her plans have changed. A financial advisor explained that she should be more aggressive in her investments approximately 2 1/2 years ago. Dante has since lost most of her retirement nest egg and must now get a job to continue to support herself. Like Anita Dante, many people around the U.S., who are reaching retirement age, are having to rethink their strategy with investments plummeting and 401 (k) saving plans shrinking. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Psychologists will tell you that, “Fear of loss is always more powerful than expectation of gain.” It means that workers would rather stay in a dead end; paycheck-to-paycheck job, than take a leap of faith that there is something better out there.

Why Do People Work?

There is not enough room in this blog post to give every reason but the big one is to maintain current lifestyle. And that’s where the danger lies. Most of us live the very best lifestyle we can and our only constraint is our incomes.

Which is why it takes all or more of that paycheck to maintain that lifestyle. These kinds of jobs are commonly called “placeholder” jobs. You are just treading water with the shore nowhere in sight. Most people have less than $500 in savings. Losing a job would be devastating to most families.

Is That Your Future?

Is that the future you want for you and your family? No savings, no investments and trying to live on $1,200 a month on social security? Is that your plan?

You might have a small pension or 401(k) that might make you a couple of bucks but for the most part a lifetime of work will leave you with nothing.

A Plan for The Future

According to a “Glassdoor Employment Confidence Survey” for the first quarter of 2014, 20 percent of employees in the 18-34 age group use their vacation time to look for a better job.

How much money do you really need? I know that’s a tough question but you really need to answer it. Your first order of business should be to retire debt. That usually requires a lifestyle change and some sacrifice.

Every dollar of debt you can retire is a raise in take home pay. Put that money to work somewhere safe. If you can only save $25 dollars a month you might consider I-Bonds as a safe inflation proof place to put your money where you can still get it if you have to.

Roth IRA’s

Put $5,000 dollars in a Roth IRA at age 18 and never put in another dime and at the age of 69, by earning a modest 11%, you’d have over $1 million dollars in your retirement fund. If you could earn 13% you’d have $3.5 million.

What’s the real beauty of a Roth IRA? After five years all the money put in, including interest comes out tax-free. It’s 100% yours and is not counted as income for tax purposes.

Some Final Thoughts

The point is that there are ways to increase your income while you are working at your dead end job. The better job you can find, the more you can put aside earning more money for you, the more comfortable your life will be in your later years.

My suggestion is to interview financial planners to help you organize your investments. Ask for referrals from people you trust. There are no guarantees that every investment is going to make money but there are safe places to put money that increase you chances of increasing income and reducing losses.

Living paycheck-to-paycheck is no fun. I know I’ve done it. The alternative I’ve laid out is much better. Make your money work for you.