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When it comes to money, your clients sometimes need guidance. Help them overcome their financial hurdles with easy-to-understand educational content. GoldBean content covers the spectrum of earning, saving, borrowing and growing money. License as a supplement to your existing content, or as a great stand alone site or section.
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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.
Help you clients understand how to borrow money, plan for repayments, and optimize their credit score.
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 AnnualCreditReport.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 what 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 what 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. The larger the risk, the more interest they charge.
Here are the two types of loans that typically come with lower interest rates: Secured loans and installment loans. Secured loans are loans that are backed with collateral. 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 and 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!
Great motivational content to encourage clients to think more about how they spend, manage budgets and save more money.
You work hard for your money. And once you earn it, there are four places your money can go. You can spend it, save it, give it away or invest it.
In this section we are going to look at savings, and the three steps that will enable you to think differently about the value of savings in your life. We’ll look at why you save, how you save and where you put your savings.
First, let’s put your money into context. Why should you save? Consider this: every dollar you spend is part of the bigger picture of the economy. It’s your spending, and the spending of people just like you that generates most of the value in the economy. But companies know this, and they make a huge effort to get your attention and pull in your dollars. So unless you have a specific strategy or plan, it’s all too easy for your ‘savings’ to become your new television, or a closet full of shoes!
To avoid this, you need to think strategically. So now consider the second step: Look at HOW you save.
The way many people manage their money is to have separate savings and checking accounts. Checking accounts are for your day-to-day spending, the money you need for your life to run: your food, clothes, transportation, rent or mortgage and maybe some entertainment.
Savings accounts are used to store what money is left over after you pay all your bills. Savings accounts are promoted by banks as a safe place to save, and they are safe, but they are not strategic.
To help you think strategically about savings, look at this quote from the super investor Warren Buffet. “Do not save what is left after spending, but spend what is left after saving.”
This idea of turning savings on it’s head, and making it a planned effort, as opposed to an afterthought is a great way of driving savings.
To think strategically, consider 3 separate goals you should have for savings.
For emergencies, it’s important to have money accessible: the rule of thumb is to have 6-9 months of savings should you lose your income and you don’t want to go into debt.
And if you’re already in debt, like 75% of Americans, it’s still important to save so that in times of emergency you don’t go deeper into debt.
Short-term goals are the things that you should not go into debt for. Taking a trip, upgrading your computer, holiday gifts. These are higher cost items that you should pay for by setting aside savings.
Long-term savings are the funds you need to build the future you want. Consider these your ‘investment funds’.
By categorizing your savings into separate these three goals, it will help you manage your savings, and reduce the temptation to dip into emergency or investment funds for your short-term goals (aka, those really expensive shoes you saw…)
The third step is to look at where you save. Remember, your money is powerful. If you deposit your money in a bank, they will use your money and lend it so someone else. If they use it to give someone a cash advance on their credit card, your bank can earn up to 25% interest – or 25 cents on the dollar, from your savings. For that privilege, your bank pays you less than 1% - or a fraction of a penny! Your bank is making a lot of money off of your savings, and so should you.
Your money clearly won’t grow much if you leave it in a savings account. So where should you put your money? For your emergency money, you SHOULD keep it in a savings account. You never know when you’ll need the money, and a savings account allows you to access your money instantly. This ‘liquidity’ is essential for emergency savings.
For short-term savings, you won’t need constant access this money. So you can lock this savings away for specific amount of time. If you’re saving for a trip, for example, you should be comfortable with locking this savings away for a few months at a time. By temporarily giving up access to your money, banks will give you better returns. Products like Certificates of Deposit (CD) or Government Bonds offer both protection of your principal and higher rates of return than savings accounts. And don’t worry. If you do need to access this money, you still can. There will just be a fee for doing so.
For long-term savings, you need to look at investing that money. This is where GoldBean comes in. With money you’re looking to save for the future, it is important that you leverage the huge growth potential of stocks, bonds and funds. The growth of this money will help you to buy options in life for your future self.
Getting smart about saving is a fundamental pillar in long-term financial success. You can change your financial future if you start to think beyond the bank and put your money to work for you. And when you plan your savings, you’ll be able to protect yourself from emergencies, save for short-term goals and buy yourself options in the future.
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, and that distant beachside home is too big to reconcile.
The problem is that the big players on Wall Street want you to associate investing with WEALTH and RETIREMENT. But when you’re younger, not wealthy, and maybe living paycheck to paycheck – it’s hard to imagine what investing could do for you.
But investing does not have to be that way. At GoldBean, we’re rooted in a different philosophy. We believe that everybody can be an investor. Investing should be something everybody should do. We all have the ability to invest wisely. If you’ve ever bought a computer, you have the ability to buy a stock.
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 earned income.
But it goes deeper than that. If you’ve started to save for retirement, you know that the world of retirement account is flooded with stock, bonds and funds, leaving savers bearing the burden of growing their retirement dollars.
The days of pension funds and lifetime benefits are mostly behind us. In order to navigate this new world, a good understanding of finance is critical.
At GoldBean, we also think that focusing on “retirement” is not helpful. We believe that investing isn’t all about a happy beachside retirement, but is instead 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 back either economically, or in quality of life, in the long term.
The key is to begin investing. Learn, get practice, start slowly and build your money muscles. Soon you’ll have grown some savings that can buy you a new option!
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.
And instead of keeping cash in a bank account - put that money to work. Depending on your risk profile, you have a range of options like stocks, bonds or funds, that are highly liquid. Most 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. 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, or things you want to buy -- but creating a way for you to buy options in your life.
A last thought to leave you with. 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?
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.
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GoldBean is a SEC Registered Investment Advisor. We help turn savers into investors with advice, education and tools to get people started with a simple, personalized portfolio.
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