Make the Case: Advocating for Your Salary is Advocating for Your Plan
Brave New World: Financial Advice for the 21st Century
Generation X, Millennials, and Gen Z are navigating our finances in a world that is very different from the last century. We are getting married older, starting new family structures, working from home or as entrepreneurs, and buying pet insurance for the first time.
However, many financial resources still base advice on family dynamics, workplace norms, and market conditions that were applicable forty years ago. While well-meaning, it often doesn’t take into consideration your actual lifestyle or how today’s world works.
Brave New World: Financial Advice for the 21st Century is our series to address this gap.
These articles will focus on practical, updated advice for those that are still working their way to wealth, with topics such as increasing your financial stability by advocating for yourself at work, avoiding lifestyle creep, and utilizing available programs to pay off your student loans.
Our goal is to give you actionable steps you can take to find success in 2024, not 1984.
One way to protect and grow your income is to advocate for yourself at work. A higher salary early on allows more time for savings and investment accounts to take advantage of compounding interest. Learn more in the first article of this series.
Advocating for yourself starts before you even step foot into your new workplace. You should discuss your starting salary expectations as part of the interview and offer process. Studies show that this is especially important for women, who are less likely to negotiate their salaries than men. In fact, effective, educated salary negotiation is a proven method to begin closing the gender pay gap.
Before you negotiate, you will need to research the market rate for the role, taking into consideration your experience and geographic area. You will also want to make sure you are comfortable bringing up the salary discussions and prepare how to respond to the initial offer. You can learn more about how to negotiate here.
Of course, negotiating your starting salary is not a guarantee you will get an increased offer, but it is a normal part of the employment process! Do not be afraid to try and raise the bar. In addition, understanding the market rate for your work is key to ensuring that you are being compensated fairly. If the outcome is not as you expect, it can be just as valuable to discuss what business factors may be involved in the decision-making process and to garner advice on how you may continue to grow and advance in your role.
As you move forward in your career, keep applying these principles. Be sure your salary reflects the market rate for your contributions, especially as your skills develop and your responsibilities increase. This may mean approaching your employer and asking for a raise.
According to Alison Green, an author and workplace advice specialist, “If it’s been more than a year since your salary was last set and you’ve been doing excellent work, you can proactively start a conversation with your boss about your salary.” This guide is a great place to start and includes tips for how to get the timing right and what kind of language to use.
In these discussions and throughout your career, be sure to emphasize your accomplishments! Women especially are more likely to remain silent and wait for others to notice their hard work. Being proactive and confident can help your contributions receive recognition and can open new opportunities in your role or field.
If you have a hard time recognizing your own accomplishments, start a file. Every time you are recognized or praised, save a copy of that email or note to a specific folder on your computer. When you wrap up a large project or help out another department, write down the details and save it to the same location. When it is time for your annual review, you will be able reference all the work you’ve done over the past year.
Once you have secured a raise, be sure to adjust your budget and savings to reflect your new compensation! As your career progresses, a financial plan can help you make sure that increased income is working towards your goals. A Certified Financial Planner® can help you budget and invest your salary while giving you an in-depth view of your financial situation.
No article is going to be able to cover all the specifics of your situation, but a personalized financial plan can! Our financial advisors will take a holistic look are your financial situation and personal goals to put together your plan. This will help chart realistic solutions and different options to help get you succeed.
Sources and Further Reading
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