As a financial counselor for more than two decades, I often meet intelligent Americans who fixate on the smallest ways to save money: Where can I get the best coupons? Is Amazon Prime a good deal? Which credit card offers the best rewards?
Don’t get me wrong, these are all valid inquiries. However, most questions I’m asked involve spending, not saving.
Many debt-strapped people are simply looking for a loophole, like the Debt.com reader who asked me, “Can just I stop my car payments and buy another car?” Or the reader who wanted to know, “How do I dump my timeshare?” Or my favorite quick-fix question: “Can I really get away with not paying my debts?”
Less common are questions about income. For most Americans, that means a job (and hopefully a career). There are many methods you can use to keep your job, get a raise, or find a better job. How do I know? I read obscure, interesting, and sometimes eccentric studies on the topic of earning a paycheck. Some recent ones…
1. Root canal or raise?
Everyone loves getting a raise. Almost no one loves asking for one.
The Robert Half employment firm polled workers and found 36 percent “rather than ask for a raise, would prefer to clean their house.” Amazingly, 5 percent would prefer to get a root canal.
That’s too bad, because asking for a raise (in the right way) is always good for you — even if you don’t actually get the raise.
While the Internet is loaded with advice on how to ask for a raise, let me give you some insight about what happens when it doesn’t work.
As a serial entrepreneur myself, I’ve been asked for raises many times. Whether I gave one wasn’t always about the employee’s performance. Often, other factors intruded. Business might be slow, or the opposite: Our money is tied up in expansion plans at the moment.
However, asking in a mature way that acknowledges the business may have other concerns shows a boss that you’re a valuable commodity. It keeps you on the radar, and it reflects well upon you.
2. Be less social about your media
Most adults are vaguely aware they need to be careful on social media. Here’s proof they need to be very aware: “70 percent of employers use social media to screen candidates before hiring,” says a Careerbuilder study.
In 2006, only 11 percent of employers did that. Even more importantly…
Employers aren’t just looking at social media – 69 percent are using online search engines such as Google, Yahoo and Bing to research candidates as well, compared to 59 percent last year.
So be careful, because your online presence can literally cost you money.
3. Benefits of the doubts
As the economy recovers and the job market heats up, employers are competing for talent. Not all have enough money to give across-the-board raises, so they’re nervous and worried. What to do?
“Nearly one-third of organizations increased their overall benefits in the last 12 months, signaling the need to remain competitive in today’s recruiting environment,” says an organization that should know: the Society for Human Resource Management. SHRM represents thousands of HR professionals.
While 22 percent were hiking their healthcare benefits, even more (24 percent) were upping their “wellness benefits.”
What are those? They can include healthy options like onsite fitness centers or reimbursement for fitness center memberships elsewhere. The wellness benefit that most interests me is this: “More organizations are offering financial advice (49 percent) compared with 2016 (36 percent) as well as five years ago.”
If your company offers this, seize it immediately. I said at the beginning of this column that too many Americans focus on small savings instead of major earnings, but this benefit combines the best of both worlds.
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