How to Ask for a Raise

In my first “real job,” I was hired as a receptionist at an insurance agency. After working at Burger King for two and a half years during high school, I was so excited to get to dress up for work every day and work in an office where I didn’t come home smelling like french fries.

ask for a raise
Photo by Bench Accounting on Unsplash

I took that job so seriously and ended up working for the company for eight years, getting a Property & Casualty insurance agent license, and being promoted from receptionist to file clerk to assistant account manager and account manager. During that time, I was also taking evening classes to earn my bachelor’s degree in accounting.

I don’t remember how much I was earning in the beginning, but I think it was somewhere around $8 per hour – which seemed like good money to me since minimum wage in 1995 was $4.25 per hour. But I took it upon myself to take the courses needed to get my insurance license, paid for them out of pocket, and would come in early, work evenings and weekends just to demonstrate my work ethic and make improvements to systems and processes that had been ignored for decades.

The firm did give me a raise after I’d been working there for a year, but I was disappointed to realize that the raise translated into only about $20 extra per month. At 19, I knew I deserved more. So I set up a meeting with my boss and laid out my argument for why he should pay me more. It worked! I got that raise and learned an important lesson about the importance of being your own advocate in the workplace. My boss was awesome, but even the best bosses sometimes overlook or undervalue the people who keep their head down and don’t speak up for themselves.

So when Accounting Principals asked me to write a piece on How to Ask for a Raise, I relished the opportunity. It’s a topic I studied in depth at the age of 19 and many times since.

Give it a read, then let me know in the comments: Have you ever asked for a raise? How did you make your case and what was the outcome?


Can You Get an FHA Loan After Bankruptcy?

Going through a bankruptcy can wreak havoc on your credit score and remain on your credit report for seven to ten years. But did you know you may be able to qualify for an FHA loan much sooner?

fha loan after bankruptcy

I recently wrote an article for Lending Tree on How to Qualify for an FHA Loan After Bankruptcy. For help in understanding the issues, I spoke to Jeremy Schachter, Branch Manager at Fairway Independent Mortgage in Phoenix, AZ.

Check out the article linked above and let me know: Have you bought a home after bankruptcy? What did you do to qualify? I’d love to get your thoughts!


5 Things to Do on Personal Inventory Days

This post originally appeared on Forbes. Although I wrote it back in January, I thought since we’re more than halfway through 2018 (!!), now would be a good time for a check-in.

personal inventory days
Photo by STIL on Unsplash

With the first month of the new year nearly over, how are you doing on the goals you set for 2018? If you’re like most people, you’re already slipping or you’ve thrown in the towel completely. Maybe you just need a better way to stay on top of your goals throughout the year.

On a recent episode of the podcast Call Your Girlfriend, Sabrina Hersi Issa, CEO of Be Bold Media and Venture Partner at Jump Canon, shared her method for taking stock of goals, keeping tabs on her finances and simply making time for all of the things most of us know we need to do, but have trouble making time for. It’s called a Personal Inventory Day.

Hersi Issa blocks off a day on her calendar each month and uses that day to check her credit report, look at her savings goals, review her personal budget, schedule doctor’s appointments, track progress on goals and send gratitude notes.

I loved Hersi Issa’s idea so much, I decided to reach out to a few professionals to find more tasks they would recommend for a personal inventory day.

Ego surf

Rhian Sharp, founder and CEO of Sharp Medical Recruiting and HR Consulting says, “One thing I recommend everyone do is a monthly ‘ego surf.’ This involves simply Googling your name to see what information comes up. If you are looking for a job or that next promotion, it’s paramount that you do this at least once a month. You really don’t want incorrect or scandalous information surfacing about you online. If you find something that’s incorrect or inappropriate, do your best to get it cleared.”

Inspect your vehicle

Dr. James Philpot, CFP and associate professor of finance at Missouri State University says, “Inspect your vehicles. This doesn’t sound financial at first, but we spend a lot of money on vehicles and transportation. Inspect your car’s fluid levels and tire inflation – the owner’s manual has directions for doing this properly. A quart of oil costs a few dollars; a new engine costs a few thousand. Proper fluid and air levels also improve gas mileage and safety. While you have the owner’s manual out, check to see if your vehicle is due for scheduled maintenance.”

Update your passwords

Alayna Pehrson, Digital Marketing Strategist at Best Company says, “I recommend you update passwords you use to access any online financial accounts. This can be as simple as switching up a few letters, numbers or even adding an exclamation point or additional characters to each password, as long as you develop a way to remember them. This will help keep your accounts secure, and as long as you’re already there, you can thoroughly review your accounts.”

Shop your insurance policies

Gerri Detweiler, Education Director at Nav, says, “One thing I do every year is shop my insurance policies. Between three vehicles, a motorcycle, a horse trailer and umbrella insurance, this is a high spend category and I don’t want to overpay. I learned this lesson the hard way. The first time I shopped around for a new homeowners insurance policy, I saved over $1,200 by switching. I wish I’d done that sooner!”

Review your memberships

Michael Foguth, founder of Foguth Financial, says, “Review your memberships. Today, everything is set to auto-renew. This includes gym memberships, entertainment, and even app purchases. Something that you set out to use regularly may not be being used as frequently as you had intended. The membership cost may only be a small amount per month, but over a year it can add up. Know when your auto-renew dates are for the month and the year so you can take full advantage of what you have paid for.”

Hersi Issa schedules her personal inventory day for the 16thof each month to coincide with her birthday day, but you can select any day that works for you. Maybe the first Wednesday or last Friday of the month? She also keeps an ongoing list of To-Do items in Evernote for her next personal inventory day. This is genius because writing things down is like unloading mental RAM – it frees up your brain, making it possible to think more clearly.

Thoughtfully managing our personal lives and finances can easily take a back seat to daily life, but if you set aside a few hours each month to give your goals some attention, you can stop feeling guilty about all of the tasks you should be doing and start celebrating your accomplishments. What tasks will you add to your personal inventory day list?

Is checking your credit score on your list? Get 20% off your 3 bureau credit reports at myFICO (<– affiliate link).

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