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From learning how to ask for a raise to strategies for earning extra income on the side, this content focuses on the critical area of helping your clients earn more money.
Asking for a raise is one of the most difficult conversations to start.
It usually goes something like this
“I need a raise”
To which your boss can give an endless number of reasons why it’s not going to happen.
Here’s a more practical way to prepare for that conversation to increase your chances of success.
First of all, your starting point is critically important. If you are looking to break into a new job, you have to make sure your initial salary is adequate. Raises come in small increments. And when you move jobs, it’s unusual to get more than 10-20% jump, So you need to make sure you start as high as you can, otherwise you’ll always be working just to catch up.
Next, it is vital that you understand the context of your “ask”, what is happening behind the scenes at your company.
Specifically, ask yourself these questions:
OK, now you’ve done your homework - how do you go about ensuring that you are being considered for an increment?
First, look closer at your scope of work
What were you hired to do, and what are you doing now? The most powerful tool you have is a record of the value that you add to the business. If you are saving the company the need to hire another person, it’s easier to justify an increment.
Use online tools such as glassdoor.com and payscale.com to find competitive and comparative positions. Gather data on what other people with your scope of work and experience and being paid. And go a step further and ask your colleagues what they are paid. But be warned, that can be a conversation that can change your view on your job!
If you are lucky enough to work for an organization that publishes salary data make sure you’re clear that what you’re asking for is in line with what is published.
Next, figure out WHO is best to talk to
The first conversation you have should be with someone who is empowered, and in your corner. If you have a good relationship with your boss or supervisor, they can negotiate with HR and Finance on your behalf. If you don’t have a good relationship you will need to work much harder to show your value, and your bosses word can undermine all the hard work you put in. A Talent Chief for a large global company says that every day she has people complaining about their compensation, but rarely do the complainers propose what it should be, or have people championing for them. Don’t be the complainer.
Next, have the conversation
Remember, this is a negotiation. And one big rule of negotiations is don’t take a no from someone who isn’t empowered to say yes. Don’t be like Oliver Twist asking for more gruel. This is not a favor to be doled out – but a business case to be made. The top 4 points for you to present
Practice your conversation. Your pitch should be no more than 60 seconds to cover the points above – but have extra points ready should the person you’re talking to want more detail. Make the ask. And then stop talking.
Don’t leave the conversation open ended. Ask clearly what the next steps are and how you can help make it happen. Even if you get a ‘no’ – persist with requests for performance review dates and insights into why you got the no (remember, there’s always a lot going on behind the curtain – it’s often not even about you)
Last, even if you get a ‘no’ or you aren’t able to secure the money you want - there are other ways for you to benefit from your loyalty and contribution to your employer. Instead of money you can ask for extra time off, or have the company pay for courses or continued education. Or perhaps ask for a flexible work arrangement, a more challenging assignment, or even a transfer to a different location. All of these things can help increase your long term earning potential.
There is a LOT of anxiety around asking for more money at work – it’s tied so closely to our self worth that it can be far more comfortable to wait. But you are your own champion. If you have a sponsor or mentor in the organization recruit them in too, but the most important thing is that you ask.
One of the best things we can do for our financial health is make sure that we are being paid as much as we possibly can. Yet the process of getting a raise can be fraught. Learn how to prepare yourself for the ‘big ask’.
Help you clients understand how to borrow money, plan for repayments, and optimize their credit score.
Borrowing money is one most important financial events your life. It can open doors to things that would normally be out of reach financially. So if you are thinking about borrowing money, congratulations! You're about to take an important step in life.
But before you start, you need to do some homework.
First of all, you need to understand how lenders look at you in terms of risk. The interest rate on your loan will depend on this risk assessment. But the lenders don’t really do this assessment themselves; they rely on third parties to asses risk. This is done by the three main US credit bureaus - Experian, TransUnion and Equifax. They offer credit scores on almost everyone in the United States.
The bad news is that secret algorithms at these opaque companies determine your credit worthiness. Often the data they have on you contain errors and mistakes, so sometimes your score can be inaccurate. And fixing these errors can sometimes be difficult and time consuming.
The good news is that the federal government has mandated that these organizations give you free access to your reports once a year. You can do this from the AnnualCredit Report.com web site. When you get your report, make sure all the information that each credit bureau has is accurate and there are no mistakes. If there are mistakes, get in touch with the credit agency involved and have it corrected immediately.
The one weakness to the reports is that they do not contain the “score” that your lender sees. The score is important because it will tell you where you fall on the credit worthiness scale. The lender will use the score to determine whether you get credit and how your interest rate will be. The score is also important to you because it will allow you to track your credit rating over time (so you can see when happens when you start paying your bills on time!).
In order to obtain your score, you need to pay some money. The cheapest way to do this is to get your score at the same time as you get your free credit report. You only need one. But make sure you get the same score from the same company every year. Each company has their own scoring system, so you cannot compare scores from one credit bureau to another. If you want to see how well you are managing your score over time, you need to look at the same score every year.
The score will come with an explanation of what it means. But essentially your score will suffer if you:
It takes time to raise your credit score, so make sure you get a handle on it early!
So once you have a handle your credit worthiness, next you have to look the debt you’re interested in getting. The most important part of a loan to focus on is the interest rate. Interest rates can vary widely so you need to make sure you are getting the lowest rate possible.
Interest rates are how lenders compensate themselves for risk. The biggest risk to them is that a borrower will default on a loan and not pay it back. In order to cover themselves for this potential loss, they charge interest on the loan. They larger the risk, the more interest they charge.
Here are the two types of loans that typically come with lower interest rates: Secured and installment loans. Secured loans are loans that are backed with collateral are called secured loans. These loans are considered lower risk to lenders and come with lower interest rates because if the borrower defaults on the loan, the lender will take possession of the collateral. This is how mortgages work; using the house as collateral, which allows the lender to offer lower interest rates.
You can also get other secured loans. Car loans are secured as are home equity loans. You can even get secured credit cards, where you put cash in an account that is held as collateral against the credit on your card. Secured credit cards are an excellent way for people who have poor credit to get a credit card and boost their credit score.
The other way to get a lower interest rate is by using installment loans. These are loans that have a fixed duration with set monthly payments. Because they are predictable and structured, they are easier to manage and pay off than revolving credit.
With installment loans, make sure you take on the shortest term (length of time) you can manage. It is true that the shorter the term, the higher the monthly payments will be. But a shorter term will also mean that you will pay less interest overall than a longer term loan.
So now that you have all the information about loans, what kind of loan should you get? It depends what you need the loan for. Let’s go over some possibilities:
So make sure you do the math on your repayment terms and understand the consequences of what happens if you miss a payment. And if you ever feel pressured to sign something you don’t understand – DO NOT SIGN! Ask questions, seek advice, and do the math until you fully understand what you’re signing – your future self will thank you!
There’s many different ways to borrow money. Find out how to prepare yourself, and explore options that are right for you. Learn the importance of maximizing your credit score before you borrow, and what to look for in the fine print.
Great motivational content to encourage clients to think more about how they spend, manage budgets and save more money.
The Super Investor Warren Buffet has a great quote: “Do not save what is left after spending, but spend what is left after saving”.
The idea that you should plan your savings is a terrific one. If you target your savings and are disciplined with your spending , it can help you save considerable amounts of money. And in the long run, continuous, regular contributions to savings that can be grown over time, are proven to be the most effective way of growing your wealth.
So, how much should you be saving? First of all, you shouldn’t force yourself into a box that makes your life difficult. You don’t want to put so much money away that your quality of life suffers. So the amount you target for savings should be reasonable.
Your savings target should also be relative to what you earn. If you aren’t making much money, it will be difficult for you to save any money. Also, if you have a lot of debt, especially high interest debt, it is a very good idea to pay off your high -nterest debt first before you put money away.
But if you are ready to save, you should set a target for your savings. An interesting approach is to segment you paycheck into three separate chunks, with each going to a specific category of spending. A popular version of this is the 50/20/30 rule of thumb. With this approach, you allot 50% of your take home pay for essentials (rent, food, transportation), 30% is allotted to discretionary spending (entertainment) and 20% is allotted to financial priorities.
This formula is popular because the 20% allocation to finances is flexible. If an individual has high interest debt, the financial allocation will go to pay off debt (and pay your highest interest debt first!). If you have no debt, then the allocation can go into retirement contributions, investments or into savings.
But for many people, this 20% allotment will be difficult to match. For those just starting out, 20% would be a considerable percentage of their income.
For people who are in their early years of earning and have little disposable income, a slightly different version of the 50/20/30 rule may be more appropriate. Instead of 20% for finances, a more reasonable starting point may be 10%. If you have a heavy burden of debt, all of your 10% should go to paying down debt.
For every year that passes, you should add one percentage point to the amount of money you put towards financial issues. So after 10 years, you will reach that 20% target. By the time you get there, you will probably have paid off your debt, have saved a good chunk of money and will be putting all of that 20% into an investment account. Cha ching!
Here is one last strategy that can help you get to your savings goals. It is a simple savings plan that targets your monthly non-essential spending. The money you spend on entertainment, eating out or taxi rides is the most variable spending you have. It also tends to be the most abused form of spending you have. So by setting limits to this spending you can target a set amount of savings at the end of each month.
A simple way to do this is to go to the bank at the beginning of the month and take out the all the cash you’ll need for discretionary spending for the entire month. And that’s it. You can’t use your credit card or go back to the bank. What you get in cash is what you can spend on non-essential items.
The idea is that if you see your month’s worth of money in front of you, you will be forced to make rational decisions about how you spend it. And as that money in your wallet disappears, you’ll be forced to make critical spending decisions about how you spend that money. If your money is dwindling, you’ll skip that taxi ride to work and take a bus instead, or you’ll bring lunch to work, or delay buying that new pair of shoes…
It’s a simple way of budgeting without actually making a budget. You literally see how much you have to spend and make decisions based on what is left in your wallet. Then at the end of the month, if all goes well, you’ll have a nice pile of money left in the bank that you can move over to savings!
So do your best to target a portion of your paycheck for savings. Make sure it is reasonable. Take care of your debt first if you can. And when you have money at the end of the month, move it into a savings account or your investment account.
We understand that saving is not easy to do. Most American’s don’t even have one month of income saved in their bank accounts. So if you are struggling to save, you are not alone. But try to make saving a goal. If you do, you should be able to consistently put money away for the future.
The advice to ‘save more money’ is one we hear a lot, but then what? Explore why short, medium and long term savings goals are important, and how to set yourself up for success.>
Help clients think beyond managing and saving their money, enabling a growth mindset. Great for nascent and experienced investors alike.
If you watch television, you’ve probably seen commercials for big banks and investment companies. If you watch the ads closely, their message is very much the same. “Give us your money. Trust us. We’ll get you to retirement”. That’s why most retirement ads feature a happily retired couple relaxing at their beachside home.
If you can’t relate to that couple, you’re not alone. It’s just too big a conceptual leap for many to make. The gap between the here and now (where many people struggle with day to day money issues), to that distant beachside home is too big to reconcile.
The problem is that brokers, fund managers and investment advisors want you to associate investing with WEALTH and RETIREMENT. This is because their businesses need you to move your pile of money from where it is now, to them. But when you’re younger, not wealthy, and maybe living paycheck to paycheck – it’s hard to imagine what investing could do for you.
Even though investing traditionally has been the domain of wealthy people – times have changed. The costs have come way down, as has the amount of money you need to get started. It really is possible for everyone to be an investor in one way or another.
This is important because we live in a world that favors investing. The tax system, for one, favors investment earnings, giving it lower tax rates than it does for income you earn through working.
Unfortunately, the days of pension funds and lifetime benefits are mostly behind us. In order to navigate this new world, developing your understanding of the financial world is critical.
Investing and financial health is a lifelong journey – that isn’t just about the happy beachside retirement, but importantly, about buying options in life.
So what does this mean? Options in life mean different things to different people. And they are different to “goals”.
Your goals may be to ‘get 8% return a year’ or have 500K in 10 years’. They are good, specific goals. But they don’t take into account changes to your life along the way.
Options in life are more about being able to make decisions that take you in a different direction to the one you’re on. What if you have an opportunity to move to a different state, or country, or go back to school, or start your own business? These options in life may cost you in the short term, but may pay you back either economically, or in quality of life, in the long term.
The key to creating more options in life for yourself is to prioritize saving, and begin investing. Learn, get practice, start slowly and build your money muscles.
Adapting your spending habits to prioritize investing can have a giant impact on your future financial success. And for many people, step one in that equation is to SAVE.
Build a contingency fund at your bank – a buffer of money for unexpected expenses. A good rule of thumb is to have 3-6 months of living expenses on hand. Then, prioritize investing any money above that amount. Depending on your risk profile you can put that money to work with a range of options like stocks, bonds or funds. Most of these are considered highly liquid which means that they can be sold within a day should you truly need the money.
And what about if you have no money now? GREAT. Now is the time to learn about investing, in a truly risk free way. Think like an investor – look for opportunities – be curious about what’s going on in the economy and with companies you like. The best way to do this is to set up a virtual portfolio. Many financial web sites like, Investopedia, allow you to do this. It’s even more interesting when you do this with friends, family or colleagues.
This a great way to learn from each other, especially people who have less investing experience – their instincts and ideas are often very different than experienced investors.
Regardless of where you are on your investment journey, think about your goals not just in terms of a number that you need to retire, but creating a way for you to buy future options in your life.
You work so hard to earn your money. You go to school, you compete for jobs, you jostle for raises, and you spend a large portion of your waking hours dedicated to generating income for you and your family. Why not make it a priority to put your money to work for you?
But remember - there are no future facts - you don’t know what is going to happen, but having a healthy approach to money and investing can help buy you better options in life.
The world of investing has always been associated with rich people. Not any more. There’s so many options for investing, it’s much easier to get started. You work so hard to earn your money, put it to work for you.
Money is emotional. Teach your clients how to build strong habits that will lead to long-term financial wellness.
Sometimes a sudden change (think a bad day in the stock market) can send us racing to check our accounts. But before you do so, just pause for a moment. Is your heart racing? Breath coming quicker? If so, these are clear indicators you are not in any state to make decisions about your money.
Recent research in neuroeconomics shows that when we anticipate a reward or fear a potential loss, our brains light up in ways that can override our better judgment.
One experiment showed that the brain of someone expecting a profitable financial gamble was indistinguishable from a cocaine addict anticipating a fix. When investments are increasing in value, it can be such a rush that people get overconfident, even greedy, and they fail to respond appropriately to risk.
On the other side, potential losses are processed in the exact same part of the brain as mortal danger, setting off a physical chain reaction. Our stomach clenches. Our palms sweat and our muscles tense. We prepare to fight or flee, or in the case of a stock market tumble case, dump the investments that just plummeted.
But long-term financial success is not based on our emotional reactions to events. So, how can you avoid making these hot-tempered mistakes?Have a plan.
Start by creating an investment strategy that is appropriate for you. Consider your risk profile, timeline, and the rate of return you hope to achieve. Often investments go up and down on a daily basis, but as long as you’re within the boundaries of your plan you know when to sit tight.Have regular check-ins.
You should evaluate the performance of your investments, but you don’t necessarily need to do that every day, or based on the most sensational personal finance news story. Instead, have regular monthly or quarterly check-ins to track your positions, review your plan, and analyze relevant research.Be selective about financial news.
In this era of sensational reporting, even personal finance news is designed to attract eyeballs and sell advertising. To do that, media outlets often create controversy and exaggerate drama in order to heighten a sense of risk. Make sure you’re getting your financial information from a source that is measured and reliable.
Which leads us to the last tip, which is that it’s okay for this to be boring. Financial health practices should be regular and unexciting -- like dental hygiene. We need to give it just enough time and attention to be responsible. Any time you find yourself reacting emotionally to your money -- whether it’s excitement or fear -- step back and come to a calm place before making any decisions.
As an investor, riding the ups and downs of the market can be pretty stressful. Here are three great tips to manage your reactions, and set yourself up for long term financial success.
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