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Wednesday, January 9, 2008

A Most Important Key to Your Financial Future...



Quick...what is one of the most important keys to your financial future that is rarely talked about? It is Your Career or Ability to Earn Money(AEM).

Yes, you have to manage your finances once you have the money, but how about having something to manage in the first place? My parents really believed if you worked hard, didn't raise a stink if things were bad, that you could work at a job for life and the company would take care of you. I hate to break it to you, but the only one that is going to take care of you...is you!

Let me give you a example; let's say you are making $50,000 per year. You work hard, get your 3% raise per year and in ten years you will be making $67,195. However, If you can just average 5%, you would be at $81,444, or $14,249 more per year! After a 20 year career you would be at $132,665 vs. $90,305 or $42,360 more!

I know what you are saying, "I am lucky at my job if they give x%." And you are right they are only giving "x". Generally to people to who don't fight for what is theirs.

This is the Power of Compounding, just like with Investing or Savings. I am constantly surprised to hear people chase .25% in a savings account, or clip a 20 cent coupon, but not fight for an extra 1-2% on a raise. 1% more over 10 years with a $50K base is $6816 more in the tenth year...for just that year alone!

How to do it:

  1. Be Good at What You Do - Demanding something you haven't earned can backfire at you by labeling you a malcontent. "Your Bonus is you get to keep your job Jim." Work on this step until it is as shiny as a new penny :) otherwise you will not Pass go, You will Not collect $200.
  2. Document Everything - This is called having back-up. Track your accomplishments, no one will do it for you! Caution: it has to be real numbers that shows value in spades. For my review this year I submitted a 10-page document showing in depth our accomplishments this year. Many other submitted an email or a Word Doc with 1-2 pages. Guess who's raise won't be questioned?
  3. Network - Meet people in your profession or industry, get known. Join LinkedIn. Work Trade Shows and meet your peers at your competitors.
  4. Knowledge -Find out what the going wage is for a similar position to yours in your area or company. Use HotJobs or Monster and see if your job is in demand. Always check Salary.com for pay levels. Note: More and more HR departments will have seen this data and have stock answers against the data like, "oh this area is different", "your job is different then this one." Ask them for Their latest salary survey, to show you their side. Maybe your info is wrong, but if they don't have it, they don't know.
  5. If Something looks Interesting Apply/Interview - Ever notice that when you have a job everybody talks to you about coming to work for them, but when you are looking it is a ghost- town? Know why...because you don't reek of desperation! Who cares if you don't get it if you don't care? You will at least meet great people and who knows, it may be a great opportunity!
  6. Show your Boss a Plan that gives them more ROI - Don't just take. If you want a 10% raise, ask yourself, "what is in it for them?" Make up your own job/title if there is no career path. I have done that multiple times and came away with a title that didn't exist before because it made economic sense for the company. This allows your boss to show his boss that this is a win/win for the company and not just someone asking for more money.
  7. Be Prepared to Walk - You know your companies culture. Do they match outside offers? Do they then kill those people and eat their brains? (Otherwise known as holding until THEY find a replacement) If the company is known to be tough on those that fight for more (some companies don't care what their turn-over is like) Will you move (maybe even across the street) if they can't do this?
  8. What if?...If they still won't move, frankly you have to. We are now in a workforce that will have 3-4 major jobs in their worklife. That mean one way or another you will probably need to move every 5-7 years to get to the next level.

I was lucky enough to have a great mentor in a EVP of Sales and Marketing that taught me this. He was never my boss, but he was one heck of an advocate for me. From this roadmap I was able to triple my pay in less than six years and became a Vice President.

If you don't really want to make more, then DO NOT follow these steps. They require a lot of hard work, hours and sacrifice, but if you do, then begin by mapping out your career as well as you do your budget, it is one of the most important thing that you can do for your financial future...

7 Comments:

CatherineL said...

I love this post and I would urge anyone who is looking for a job, or a higher salary to follow RacerX's tips.

Years ago, I used to think it was not worth applying for some of the better jobs because there was too much competition.

Now, having been an employer for a few years, I realise that I was totally wrong.

It is difficult to find enthusiastic and motivated people. And when decent employers do find them - they will usually do everything to keep them and help them grow within the company.

I would rather pay a higher salary to one decent, self motivated individual, than pay two low salaries to unenthusiastic wage collectors.

Fiscal Musings said...

This is a great article with a lot of great information. I've been at my job now for about a year and a half and would be looking for something else except for the fact that I'm going back to school in the fall for an MBA.

The advice is great though. Especially about documenting what you've done. It's funny how much your boss doesn't know about what you do until you tell him.

RacerX said...

@CatherineL - You are so right. It is sort of like credit cards. Getting new customers is really expensive, so take care of the ones (especially the good ones) you have!

@Fiscal - I agree that it may not be the best time for you to jump, but it is a great time to look and plan the next steps. Hate to be blunt, but you deserve to cash in on all of the hard work towards your MBA!

I also agree how important it is to document everything. I keep one of those $2 journals on my desk, and a file of positive emails for review season. I then make sure to get to my boss BEFORE they submit reviews in. That way they don't have to use their political capital on you, and can pitch it right the first time :)

Also, these accomplishments need to be flowed into your resume, which should be constantly updated!

Thanks you both for commenting and reading!

4Life said...

That was a compelling article. Thanks for sharing it. I plan to include your article in my weekly carnival review this Friday.

Best Wishes,
Dividends4Life

RacerX said...

Thanks D4L! Glad you enjoyedit. Look forward to seeing it on the site!

Thanks for reading!

Father Sez said...

This is a very useful post.

Perhaps, I was a little unlucky not to have mentors like you writing posts like this during my earlier career days. Still better late than never right?

I'll be forwarding this link to some of my younger colleagues.

Thanks

RacerX said...

Thanks so much. It means a lot to hear that you think it can help people.

It is the number one thing that i tell people when they ask for career advise...take care of number one, because no one else will!

Thanks for the nice feedback!

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