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Getting Out of Debt in 4 Simple Steps

Getting Out of Debt in 4 Simple Steps

Being in debt and out of cash is not fun. It is also not relaxing, not peaceful and not confidence-building. Yet a recent Pew Research report estimated that around 80 percent of American adults today are in debt, and some are in debt sufficiently that that it even follows them into retirement.

This is really not fun. It is also something that doesn’t have to happen to you. While there are fewer folks each year who get out of debt compared to the many who go into debt, all it takes to start the process of whittling down your debt is a decision.

In this post, learn the simple steps you can start to take today to get out of debt.

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Step 1: Stop buying on credit.

Credit is so easy to misuse. After all, it is totally legal to buy things even when you don’t have the cash on hand to pay for them. One swipe and whatever-it-is it’s yours.

So the first step to getting out of debt is to stop using credit. You can think of it this way: every time you use credit, you create more debt. But what you want is less debt, not more!

If you are not comfortable carrying cash around (which is probably wise in many circumstances) you can still convert to a cash-based spending system by using a debit card or secured credit card (where you load the card with funds and reload when those are spent).

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Step 2: Start working your way towards the 50-30-20 rule.

The 50-30-20 rule is simple to master:

– Use 50 percent of your income for fixed expenses like rent, car loan, student loan, internet, et al.

– Use 30 percent of your income for variable expenses like utilities, groceries, fun.

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– Use 20 percent of your income for savings.

Here, your debt repayment is balanced with saving for a reason. If you wake up one morning and find life has handed you an unpleasant or simply expensive surprise, you don’t want to dive back into debt. So you want to begin building an emergency fund ($1,000 is a good initial goal) to cover such emergencies. While you are at it, you can also do your homework by reading Cashnetusa Reviews to find out about affordable sources of emergency funding if the need arises.

Step 3: Start a budget and stick to it.

Ah….budgeting – it is not the fun part about getting out of debt. Budgeting implies real, grown-up accountability to your get-out-of-debt goals. But of course, before you can dig yourself out of debt, you have to understand how you got in there in the first place.

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The best way to start budgeting is to tally up your last six months worth of expenses and income and then divide that by six. This gives you your average of what you have been spending per category as well as an average income.

Next, highlight items that are not essential (here, think Netflix subscriptions, eating out, clothes shopping). The nonessential items are where you can stop spending beyond your means.

Now it is time to create your go-forward working budget (you can use the 50-30-20 rule from Step 2 here as a guide when your finances permit).

Step 4: Make a “goodbye debt” chart.

This is the fun part of getting out of debt. You want to pay down your worst (i.e. highest interest rate or soonest due) debt first. So list out each debt source in order from worst to best on your chart. Then cross each debt off the list as you pay it off.
By taking the time to follow these steps and make a plan to pay your debt in full, you regain your own trust, self-respect, and confidence that you can be a good manager of your own finances.

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Kevin Faber

CEO Silver Summit

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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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