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Sticking With Your Financial New Year’s Resolutions

Sticking With Your Financial New Year’s Resolutions

New Year’s resolutions have a long history, but not everyone feels the need to dedicate time to changing habits or improving their life in other ways at the end of each year. If you are on the resolution bandwagon, you are far from alone. More than 45% of all adults in the United States resolve to change something in the upcoming year, and some of the most common commitments are to financial well-being. Some decide to spend less and fatten up their savings, while others create goals for major purchases like buying a house. Paying off debt falls into one of the most frequently cited resolutions, too.

While decisions present a clear opportunity for change, not everyone meets their goals with ease. In fact, only 8% deem themselves successful in reaching a New Year’s resolution by the end of the year. If you’re concerned with how you might live up to your financial resolutions for this year, consider these helpful tips.

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Get to know Your Why

The first step to meeting the financial goals you’ve set for yourself in the upcoming year is having a strong understanding of why you’re trying to achieve them. It’s great if Betsy down the street is trying to pay off her mortgage, or Tom at the office wants to start investing in the stock market, but your goals should be unique to your bigger picture.

Putting more in your emergency fund by spending less throughout each month may allow you to avoid debt, like short-term loans or high-interest credit cards when a big expense comes up; similarly, working toward paying off your credit card balance means you’ll have more to use for travel or retirement savings. Knowing the why behind your resolution is one part of the process that allows you to stick with it throughout the year.

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Try Autopilot

Achieving your financial resolutions often comes down to willpower, but did you know you have a reliable partner in the process? Automating financial activity – from paying down debt to saving for a rainy day – is one of the easiest moves you can make toward changing your financial life. Nearly all financial institutions give you the ability to set up automatic transfers from a checking account into a savings account, and others even provide a way for you to direct deposit funds into savings from your paycheck.

Employers who offer a retirement plan give you the chance to set up automatic contributions each pay period, making saving for the long-term a breeze. If you’re working on paying down debt, most lenders give you the opportunity to establish automatic payments either for the minimum amount due or a little extra. Whatever you’re working toward this year, setting your goals on autopilot is a helpful practice.

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Make them Realistic

Another lynchpin in meeting your financial resolutions is knowing you can indeed accomplish what you’ve set out to do. That starts with being realistic about what you can feasibly set aside for savings, retirement, debt, or investing by taking a close look at your cash flow. No one wants to spend time budgeting out every last penny of their paycheck, but doing so gives you an opportunity to uncover overspending or gaps in your plan. Once you have a solid idea of what you’re able to use for your financial resolutions, set your sights on achievements that are within your reach – and your budget.

Get a Partner in Crime

The final tool to being successful in the new year is finding an accountability partner. Whether they hold your hand when you fall off the resolution path, or they give you a slight (or hard) nudge to motivate you, having someone who understands why you’re trying to achieve something different can be a lifesaver. Friends, family, and co-workers can be great accountability partners, but don’t forget you have professional options, too.

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Financial New Year’s resolutions are no different than resolving to lose weight or spend more time with your family. They take a heavy dose of commitment from the start, and even more clarity as to why you’ve added them to your big to-do list. Adding in these tools will help you stick with your financial resolutions, no matter how big or small they may be.

Featured photo credit: money/https://pixabay.com/en/money-dollars-success-business-1428594 via pixabay.com

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Published on November 8, 2018

How to Answer the Tough Question: What are Your Salary Requirements?

How to Answer the Tough Question: What are Your Salary Requirements?

After a few months of hard work and dozens of phone calls later, you finally land a job opportunity.

But then, you’re asked about your salary requirements and your mind goes blank. So, you offer a lower salary believing this will increase your odds at getting hired.

Unfortunately, this is the wrong approach.

Your salary requirements can make or break your odds at getting hired. But only if you’re not prepared.

Ask for a salary too high with no room for negotiation and your potential employer will not be able to afford you. Aim too low and employers will perceive as you offering low value. The trick is to aim as high as possible while keeping both parties feel happy.

Of course, you can’t command a high price without bringing value.

The good news is that learning how to be a high-value employee is possible. You have to work on the right tasks to grow in the right areas. Here are a few tactics to negotiate your salary requirements with confidence.

1. Hack time to accomplish more than most

Do you want to get paid well for your hard work? Of course you do. I hate to break it to you, but so do most people.

With so much competition, this won’t be an easy task to achieve. That’s why you need to become a pro at time management.

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Do you know how much free time you have? Not the free time during your lunch break or after you’ve finished working at your day job. Rather, the free time when you’re looking at your phone or watching your favorite TV show.

Data from 2017 shows that Americans spend roughly 3 hours watching TV. This is time poorly spent if you’re not happy with your current lifestyle. Instead, focus on working on your goals whenever you have free time.

For example, if your commute to/from work is 1 hour, listen to an educational Podcast. If your lunch break is 30 minutes, read for 10 to 15 minutes. And if you have a busy life with only 30–60 minutes to spare after work, use this time to work on your personal goals.

Create a morning routine that will set you up for success every day. Start waking up 1 to 2 hours earlier to have more time to work on your most important tasks. Use tools like ATracker to break down which activities you’re spending the most time in.

It won’t be easy to analyze your entire day, so set boundaries. For example, if you have 4 hours of free time each day, spend at least 2 of these hours working on important tasks.

2. Set your own boundaries

Having a successful career isn’t always about the money. According to Gallup, about 70% of employees aren’t satisfied with their current jobs.[1]

Earning more money isn’t a bad thing, but choosing a higher salary over the traits that are the most important to you is. For example, if you enjoy spending time with your family, reject job offers requiring a lot of travel.

Here are some important traits to consider:

  • Work and life balance – The last thing you’d want is a job that forces you to work 60+ hours each week. Unless this is the type of environment you’d want. Understand how your potential employer emphasizes work/life balance.
  • Self-development opportunities – Having the option to grow within your company is important. Once you learn how to do your tasks well, you’ll start becoming less engaged. Choose a company that encourages employee growth.
  • Company culture – The stereotypical cubicle job where one feels miserable doesn’t have to be your fate. Not all companies are equal in culture. Take, for example, Google, who invests heavily in keeping their employees happy.[2]

These are some of the most important traits to look for in a company, but there are others. Make it your mission to rank which traits are important to you. This way you’ll stop applying to the wrong companies and stay focused on what matters to you more.

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3. Continuously invest in yourself

Investing in yourself is the best investment you can make. Cliche I know, but true nonetheless.

You’ll grow as a person and gain confidence with the value you’ll be able to bring to others. Investing in yourself doesn’t have to be expensive. For example, you can read books to expand your knowledge in different fields.

Don’t get stuck into the habit of reading without a purpose. Instead, choose books that will help you expand in a field you’re looking to grow. At the same time, don’t limit yourself to reading books in one subject–create a healthy balance.

Podcasts are also a great medium to learn new subjects from experts in different fields. The best part is they’re free and you can consume them on your commute to/from work.

Paid education makes sense if you have little to no debt. If you decide to go back to school, be sure to apply for scholarships and grants to have the least amount of debt. Regardless of which route you take to make it a habit to grow every day.

It won’t be easy, but this will work to your advantage. Most people won’t spend most of their free time investing in themselves. This will allow you to grow faster than most, and stand out from your competition.

4. Document the value you bring

Resumes are a common way companies filter employees through the hiring process. Here’s the big secret: It’s not the only way you can showcase your skills.

To request for a higher salary than most, you have to do what most are unwilling to do. Since you’re already investing in yourself, make it a habit to showcase your skills online.

A great way to do this is to create your own website. Pick your first and last name as your domain name. If this domain is already taken, get creative and choose one that makes sense.

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Here are some ideas:

  • joesmith.com
  • joeasmith.com
  • joesmithprojects.com

Nowadays, building a website is easy. Once you have your website setup, begin producing content. For example, if you a developer you can post the applications you’re building.

During your interviews, you’ll have an online reference to showcase your accomplishments. You can use your accomplishments to justify your salary requirements. Since most people don’t do this, you’ll have a higher chance of employers accepting your offer

5. Hide your salary requirements

Avoid giving you salary requirements early in the interview process.

But if you get asked early, deflect this question in a non-defensive manner. Explain to the employer that you’d like to understand your role better first. They’ll most likely agree with you; but if they don’t, give them a range.

The truth is great employers are more concerned about your skills and the value you bring to the company. They understand that a great employee is an investment, able to earn them more than their salary.

Remember that a job interview isn’t only for the employer, it’s also for you. If the employer is more interested in your salary requirements, this may not be a good sign. Use this question to gauge if the company you’re interviewing is worth working for.

6. Do just enough research

Research average salary compensation in your industry, then wing it.

Use tools like Glassdoor to research the average salary compensation for your industry. Then leverage LinkedIn’s company data that’s provided with its Pro membership. You can view a company’s employee growth and the total number of job openings.

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Use this information to make informed decisions when deciding on your salary requirements. But don’t limit yourself to the average salary range. Companies will usually pay you more for the value you have.

Big companies will often pay more than smaller ones.[3] Whatever your desired salary amount is, always ask for a higher amount. Employers will often reject your initial offer. In fact, offer a salary range that’ll give you and your employer enough room to negotiate.

7. Get compensated by your value

Asking for the salary you deserve is an art. On one end, you have to constantly invest in yourself to offer massive value. But this isn’t enough. You also have to become a great negotiator.

Imagine requesting a high salary and because you bring a lot of value, employers are willing to pay you this. Wouldn’t this be amazing?

Most settle for average because they’re not confident with what they have to offer. Most don’t invest in themselves because they’re not dedicated enough. But not you.

You know you deserve to get paid well, and you’re willing to put in the work. Yet, you won’t sacrifice your most important values over a higher salary.

The bottom line

You’ve got what it takes to succeed in your career. Invest in yourself, learn how to negotiate, and do research. The next time you’re asked about your salary requirements, you won’t fumble.

You’ll showcase your skills with confidence and get the salary you deserve. What’s holding you back now?

Featured photo credit: LinkedIn Sales Navigator via unsplash.com

Reference

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