Tag: Money Moves

 

Why You Should Spend With Your Debit Card vs. Credit Card This Holiday Season

The holiday season is approaching and you know what that means — spending money. Whether it’s buying gifts for loved ones or booking flights to travel home, the holiday season typically means a spike in spending for many of us.

And, because you may spend more than at other times of the year, you’re probably going to use credit cards. But, did you know that while credit cards offer some cool rewards like cash back, using your debit card is often a wiser choice? Read on to learn why.

1. You spend only what you have

Everyone wants to think they’re responsible with credit and only buy what they can afford. Well, a lot of people are wrong. According to a 2017 study by Magnify Money, 68 percent of consumers attributed their holiday debt to credit cards.

Of the consumers surveyed, 44 percent racked up more than $1,000 and five percent accumulated more than $5,000 in credit card balances. More disturbing is the fact that half of those consumers noted that it will take more than three months to pay off the debt they accrued during the holidays. That’s more than a quarter of the entire year!

When you use a debit card, however, you spend only what you have in your bank account. And, this helps you become more mindful and realistic about your budget. Using a debit card during the holiday season can also help you avoid fees and that dreaded holiday credit card debt.

2. You don’t have to worry about making another payment

The holiday season can make the most organized person run around like a headless chicken. Everyone’s schedule seems packed to the brim and there’s always something else added to the to-do list (Think: “Buy white elephant gift for the company party.”)

When you’re so busy, some of your normal day-to-day duties can fall to the wayside. And, if you don’t have auto-pay set up, you can potentially miss a credit card payment. Another common problem during the busy holiday season: You say you’ll “do it later” and then when you remember to pay your bill, it’s late.

When you use a debit card, however, you don’t have to add anything else to your to-do list – including making yet another payment. The money comes straight from your bank account and you don’t have to do a thing.

3. A debit card is free to use

One of the biggest perks with using credit cards is the rewards, like cash-back and airline miles. But oftentime the best rewards cards come with an annual fee and the conversion on the rewards isn’t as great as you think. In many cases, miles are literally worth about a penny per mile or less.

So, you may actually be spending your money on an annual fee, high interest rates, late fees, and more – without getting much in return.

Here’s where debit cards take center stage. Debit cards are free and can help you avoid debt.

4. Your debit card can help you save

At Chime, we’re all about helping you save money when you spend money. It’s all about balance. Am I right?

With this in mind, check out Chime’s round-up savings program, where every time you use your debit card, we round-up the purchase to the nearest dollar and put it into your Savings Account. This way you can effortlessly save and know that you’re being financially responsible at the same time.

5. Stop fraud instantly

There are no two ways about it: Fraud can be rampant during the holiday season. A lot of credit card enthusiasts think this is a solid reason to use credit over debit.

But, your debit card can offer protections that are similar to your credit card. For example, if you suspect any fraudulent uses on your Chime card or your card goes missing, you can simply go into the app and immediately put a halt on purchases by disabling transactions. No need to stay on a long customer service line (who wants to talk on the phone?!) and no need for lengthy emails. Just put a stop to it, now.

Not only that, but Chime alerts you any time you use your debit card. So, if your debit card get into the wrong hands, you’ll know right away.

Bottom line

The holiday season should be a time of joy and fun, not stress and debt.

Using debit instead of credit can help you keep your spending in check, plus you’ll have one less thing to worry about. So, this holiday season: Try spending only what you have and enjoy the season with family and friends. It sure beats worrying about money!

 

How to Build a Budget for Your Dream Job

If you hate your job or just aren’t fulfilled, starting your own business can sound really tempting. But, before you get ahead of yourself: launching a business comes with its own set of challenges.

For starters, you’ll need to factor in expenses, like paying for new software, buying insurance, outfitting an office, and even outsourcing certain tasks. Your income can also be spotty, especially when you’re just starting out. And, let’s not forget: unpredictable income can throw off your own personal finances.

So, what to do if you’re still nervous about branching out on your own? We’ll show you how to save money and build a budget so you can afford to work in your dream job. Read on to learn more.

How much money do you need each month?

In order to know exactly how much you need to save, you’ll first need to tally up your monthly living expenses.

If you already have a budget, this will be pretty easy. Just add up all of your line items to see how much you can spend and save each month. Voilà. If you don’t have a budget, this will be a little more challenging.

Take 20 minutes or so to tally up all of your monthly recurring expenses — bills, food, clothing, entertainment, etc. Then, add up any monthly savings you already have (such as for pets or education), as well as the monthly share of your infrequent bills (like semi-annual car insurance payments or annual life insurance premiums).

Gold Plan: Create a Runway

Far and away, the best way to budget for your dream job is to save up a cash cushion of at least six to 12 months’ worth of your living expenses. People in the startup world call this a runway. That’s because it’s essentially just a long period where you can focus on launching your new business without having to worry about being derailed by money troubles at home.

It sounds like a lot of money, and indeed it is, and doubly so if you’re starting from scratch. But if you can shave off expenses from your budget and commit to setting aside a certain dollar amount each month (plus any extra income), you’ll get there even sooner.

Silver Plan: A Mini Runway

Alright, so we realize that saving up a years’ worth of expenses is out of the question for some folks. If you can do it, then all the more power to you.

But if you can’t, the second-best option is to at least save up a few months’ worth of expenses. Ideally you’d have at least this much money in your emergency fund all year, even if you’re earning a stable income.

A shortened runway or savings buffer of at least a few months’ worth of income may not allow you the full freedom of a years’ break from money stress, but it will at least provide you a little bit of time.

Bronze Plan: Earn at Least What You’re Making From Your Day Job

Pretty much any responsible financial adviser will tell you that you need to save something before you quit your day job.

But, even that’s not always possible. Sometimes you lose your job for whatever reason — maybe it was a temporary position, maybe you were laid off, or maybe even fired (womp womp).

If you’ve already been hustling on the side, one option is to take your side hustle full-time and turn it into your own business. In this case, it’s best to already be earning the cost of your monthly expenses, solely from your side hustle. So if you need $2,500 per month to get by, you’d want to make sure you’re at least earning that much from your day job before you take the leap.

Again, it still sounds like a lot of money and it is. But if you’re down to this last option with no savings to sustain you while you launch your business, you need to be sure that you can earn a full-time income first. And the best way to ensure that this happens is if you’re running an existing side hustle. If not, you don’t need to abandon your hopes of a dream job quite yet. Instead, a better option might be to find another job now just to pay the bills. You can still focus on growing your business on the side, but think of it as using your day job to support your business until you have enough savings to safely take your business full-time.

You Can Do This

Budgeting to launch your dream career as a business owner sounds like tough work. But it’s the best way to give your business a fighting chance.

By planning ahead and saving up for your leap, you can sustain losses and wonky paychecks until your business is established. You won’t need to shut down at the first bad month you have because you won’t be able to afford your rent, for example.

Owning your own business is challenging, but you can do it — especially if you get your personal finances in order first.

 

Budgeting for Your Next Career Move

Changing jobs is rarely a smooth transition. Perhaps you accepted a better opportunity, or maybe you have found yourself in-between jobs. Whatever the case, a new job may require a lifestyle change and possible financial shift.

Not only are you having to get used to a new schedule, job responsibilities, and new co-workers, but you have to consider your financial situation. And, before you start that new gig, you may have to stretch your budget a little – at least temporarily. This is why proper financial planning is so important when it comes to reaching your savings goals and paying your bills.

The good news: the financial stress of switching jobs is usually just a short-term inconvenience. Here are some tips to help you make a smooth financial transition into your next job.

Ask about your new pay schedule

Every employer handles payroll differently, which can make it incredibly confusing for you as the employee.

After you leave a company, it’s possible that you will receive a payout for paid time off or severance. Remember – that amount of money can help tide you over while you’re waiting for your first paycheck from your next employer.

While you’re making your cash last until your next paycheck, make sure you ask your new employer about the pay schedule. Some employers pay employees every week, while others pay just once a month. Not only that, but some employers pay up-to-date, meaning you can get your first paycheck sooner. Other employers take an additional pay period to process your paycheck, so you are paid for previous time worked. Talk about confusing.

The best thing you can do is ask your human resources department when your first paycheck will hit your bank account. And if you’re paid by the hour, be sure to ask how many hours you can expect to see on that paycheck – this way you’ll know what you’re looking at. And, here’s a pro tip: if you have a Chime bank account, you’ll get paid two days early. No more waiting for your electronic payment to come through or waiting on a check to be delivered in the mail. Instead, your hard-earned money is available right away. No more waiting.

Don’t forget about insurance payments

For anyone currently covered under an employer-sponsored health insurance plan, you will want to pay close attention.

Once you leave an employer, they will terminate your health benefits, usually at the end of the month. After that, you should receive a notice in the mail called Continuation of Health Coverage, otherwise known as COBRA.

COBRA exists to ensure you don’t let your insurance lapse while you’re between jobs. The law allows individuals to stay on COBRA for up to 18 months, so it provides quite a bit of wiggle room in the event you need it. The drawback is that COBRA comes with a steep cost. In most cases, transitioning employees can expect to pay the entire health premium out-of-pocket, plus a small administration fee on top of that.

If your previous employer contributed a substantial amount to your health premiums, then you may be shocked to discover the price you have to pay while on COBRA. Depending on your location, insurance plan, and how many dependents are on your plan, this can quickly cost anywhere from $500 to $1,500 or more per month. Ouch!

The best thing you can do is is prepare for the cost and consider your long-term options. If either you or your spouse can find a job that offers partial company-paid premiums, this can help offset some of the cost of insurance.

Pay attention to your 401(k)

If you participated in your employer’s 401(k) or other type of retirement plan, then don’t forget to create a plan for those funds once you leave your job.

While you may want to dip into this money to tide you over, this isn’t a wise idea as there are major consequences for cashing out your 401(k) early. Not only are you depriving your future self of the funds you worked hard to save, but the government imposes strict penalties on anyone who withdraws money early. In fact, the Internal Revenue Service charges a 10 percent penalty for withdrawing cash from a 401(k) before you reach retirement age (with a few exceptions). Not only that, but you will have to pay income taxes on any cash you take out of your account.

In most cases, however, you will have to eventually move your money out of your previous employer’s plan – preferably into another type of retirement plan. The new plan can either be part of your new employer’s 401(k) retirement plan, or you can roll it into a self-directed retirement plan.

Budget for new work expenses

Don’t forget about the little expenses that come up about when you switch jobs. These can add up – big time.

For starters, consider the types of supplies and attire you may need for your new gig. Will you need new clothes due to a change in dress code? What about new tools or technologies?

And if your new job is further away, you’ll need to budget in the additional transportation costs as well. Speaking of cars, don’t forget to ask your employer about mileage reimbursement. While some companies don’t provide a reimbursement for miles driven on your personal vehicle, you may be able to claim a deduction come tax time. To find out if your eligible for mileage deductions, it’s advisable to speak to a tax professional.

Ensure a smooth transition

While it can certainly cause a significant amount of stress, making a career move can change your life for the better. With proper financial planning, you can ensure a smooth transition into your next job.

 

The 3 Worst Career Moves You Can Make for Your Money

Just because you’re a working professional doesn’t mean you’re earning at your full potential. One career mistake can compromise your finances. Unfortunately, poor financial decisions abound in the modern workplace.

Don’t jeopardize your future by making the wrong move. Here are three of the worst career moves you can make for your money.

1. Not negotiating your salary

Negotiating a higher salary during the hiring or performance review process is the best way to maximize your earnings. Not only will a higher salary equal a bigger paycheck, but also bigger future percentage-based raises, which will build on that amount. Whether you’re about to start a job or ask for a raise, it’s in your best interest to negotiate.

But many people never attempt to negotiate their salary. According to Jobvite, only 29% of job seekers negotiated their salary at their current or most recent job and 47% don’t feel comfortable negotiating at all. While negotiation is tricky and you shouldn’t overplay your hand, it can mean the difference between an acceptable salary and an exceptional one.

“The biggest mistake you can make is not negotiating. This has implications that can last for the entire duration of your career. If you’re underpaid from the start, you’ll continue to be underpaid — even when you’re given a raise or a promotion,” said Ashira Prossack, founder and CEO of The Generational Factor, a company dedicated to bridging the generation gap and helping businesses prepare for the future of work.

“This is especially detrimental to your finances if you plan to stay with a company long term, as it’s harder to re-negotiate and get a substantial salary increase internally,” Prossack said. “You don’t want to be forced to leave a company that you love just to get a higher salary.”

2. Not saving for retirement

Retirement savings should be a priority for all working Americans, Social Security and Medicare face a funding crisis. But Americans aren’t saving for their retirement aggressively, or in some cases at all. Retirement plan participation is particularly low among working millennials — the generation born between 1981 and 1991 — 66% of whom have nothing saved for their golden years.

The reasons for low retirement savings may include stagnant wages and a lack of employee awareness. But retirement savings are essential for everyone, and in some cases your employer may help you save.

“Many employers that offer a retirement savings plan, such as a 401(k), will match the employee’s contributions up to a specific percentage of the employee’s salary, which is usually around 3%,” said Ryan Firth, a certified public accountant and president at Mercer Street, a financial and tax services firm.

“Essentially, the employer is giving the employee a form of bonus compensation by matching a percentage of the employee’s contributions to her retirement savings plan,” Firth said. “From the employee’s perspective, it’s like free money! So if the employee isn’t contributing up to at least the employer’s match, then she’s losing out on ‘free money.’”

3. Choosing a career for the money only

Choosing your career based on salary might be one of the worst money moves you can make. If you’re only seeing dollar signs when you accept your job offer, you may end up in a career you hate. In that scenario, you might be looking for an exit strategy sooner than you think.

“It’s important to do your due diligence before moving forward with any job offer because the money may be good, but you may not be happy in the long term,” said Firth. “Conversely, the money may be less than you’d like, but if the job is a good fit, you’re more likely to enjoy your work, which usually predicts higher job performance (and hopefully a commensurate increase in pay).”

Salary is only one part of the picture. Compensation also includes benefits that directly impact your wallet.

“Not taking into account the value of company benefits such as health care insurance, disability insurance, life insurance, etc. when considering a job offer,” is a big mistake, said Firth.


This article originally appeared on Policygenius.com.

 

4 Tips for the First Time Home Buyer

When my apartment complex was sold a couple of months ago, I had a hunch I would need to move.

Lo and behold, a few weeks ago, I received official notice that our cluster of apartments would be taken off the rental market for good. Yes, I’d definitely be forced to relocate.

For the past eight years, I paid lower-than-market rent for my bungalow-style one-bedroom apartment. And yes, my low rent had allowed me to stash cash away into a savings account. But still – I panicked. I frantically started scouring online for apartment listings. As you probably guessed, rent in Los Angeles is super duper high, and the nice places get swooped up fast. Plus, all of the apartments comparable to mine were almost double my current rent.

Then a light bulb went off. Okay, maybe my partner suggested it. Perhaps I should consider buying my first house? As a single, female self-employed freelance writer who lives in the most unaffordable housing market in the U.S., I’m not exactly the obvious home buyer. With a sufficient down payment—we’re talking 20 percent here—it turns out my monthly mortgage, plus any HOA fees, would roughly equal my newly increased rent. I’m also a commitment-phobe. I’m the type of person who considers committing to a brand of eco-detergent a small victory.

Nonetheless, buying a first home isn’t a bad idea. Here are the steps I’m taking to prepare for homeownership:

Research

I’ll be zeroing in on the cost of homes in my preferred area. I’ll also poke around to gauge exactly the type of property I want. And as I get closer to actually making an offer, I’ll work on getting pre-qualified for a mortgage (yikes). Will I get an FHA loan or a conventional loan? How much will I qualify for? What are the conditions? So much to figure out.

Understand the costs involved

Boston-based financial planner Eric Roberge of Beyond Your Hammock makes an excellent point: when you’re leasing, your rent is your most expensive cost. But when you own your home, your mortgage is the absolute minimum you’ll pay. There are also taxes, insurance, and the cost of routine maintenance and repairs. When you buy a house, you also need to consider closing costs. In my case, I need to make sure I’m prepared to stomach all the expenses that come with owning my own place.

Leveling up

With any endeavor, my standard M.O. is to gradually level up. In other words, slowly invest in something, test things out, then reassess.

Case in point: when I took an interest in roller derby, I borrowed gear for six months before investing in my own set of skates. I’m currently practicing drums on a basic practice pad before buying an electronic drum kit. And as for the #freelancelife, I moonlighted as a copy editor and writer for several years before taking the leap to full-time status.

How will I gradually level up to buying a house? The long-term goal is to sock away a certain portion of my income each month. It’s an ambitious number, and I’ve automated my savings so that I can accomplish this. I’m also socking away any extra cash I get. My target amount for a down payment? At least 20 percent.

Saving money each month will also help me get into the habit of saving for maintenance and repairs, which is a big part of responsible homeownership. The general recommended amount? At least one percent of the purchase price. So, if I’m hunting for a $300,000 condo, this means I’ve got to have at least $3,000 saved up for repairs

Time to Get Real

As my fellow self-employed writer pals can attest to, working for yourself makes the home buying process more stressful.

For starters, there is more documentation required than if you worked a day job as an employee. Plus, it can be tougher to qualify for a mortgage if you don’t have a steady income. Indeed, I have a lot to think about. Plus, I have no clue what my life situation, needs and wants will look like in a few years. Will I be married, wanting to have a child? Will my freelance business be in a growth phase? Will alien bunnies take over the planet? As you can see, there are many unknowns.

At the same time, saving now and starting to explore the possibility of homeownership will get me in the proper mindset. In turn, I’ll be able to gauge if buying a house is truly the right choice for me. Here’s more good news: if it turns out that I don’t want to be a homeowner after all, I’ll have a healthy nest egg to funnel into something else. It’s important for me to get my ducks in a row—both mentally and financially. This way I’ll be prepared to buy a house if it turns out to be the right choice for me.

 

Oprah: From Broke to Billionaire

She’s rich, she’s famous and she’s one of the most successful women in America. She’s Oprah Winfrey, and as of March 2018, her net worth is estimated to be about $2.7 billion dollars, according to Forbes.

Her empire is comprised of The Oprah Winfrey Show (the final episode aired in 2011), as well as a magazine, a cable network, and a hefty investment in Weight Watchers. However, Winfrey wasn’t always the rich and powerful woman that she is today. In fact, she had a humble upbringing and her life wasn’t always smooth sailing.

So what’s her secret to success? Read on to learn more.

Humble Beginnings

Winfrey was born on a farm in Kosciusko, Mississippi, on January 29, 1954. She was initially raised by her grandmother, who taught her how to read at the age of two. A bright and gifted child, Winfrey loved to talk, and started public speaking a young age. She would give speeches at school and even her local church.

When Winfrey moved in with her mother in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, her life took a difficult turn, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Despite her circumstances, which included sexual abuse, she made the best of things and continued to excel in school. Eventually, she went to live with her father in Nashville, Tennessee. Her father was strict, but his discipline paid off. When Winfrey graduated high school, she received a full scholarship to attend Tennessee State University.

Getting Her Start

Winfrey was popular during college, and this helped her win Miss Black Tennessee during her freshman year. At 19 years old, Winfrey accepted a position as co-anchor of the WTVF-TV evening news. She was the first African American female to achieve this.

After graduation, Winfrey moved to Baltimore, Maryland, where she spent seven years reporting the local news. From there, she went to work for A.M. Chicago, where she took the initiative to focus on controversial topics like politics, racism, and even child molestation. When Winfrey joined the news show, A.M. Chicago was last in the ratings, but within a few months, ratings soared and the program was renamed The Oprah Winfrey show. It went on to become the highest rated talk show in history.

Winfrey soon added acting to her resume when she debuted in The Color Purple in 1985. The movie was a huge hit and Winfrey was in high demand as both a television host and actress.

Making Strides

In 1986, Winfrey founded Harpo Productions, a production company that has produced television shows like the Dr. Phil Show and The Dr. Oz Show, as well as many movies, including the 2014 critically-acclaimed Selma. Starting with just five employees, Harpo now has more than 12,000 employees. Most importantly, at only 32 years old, Winfrey was the first black women to control a major entertainment studio.

During that same year, Winfrey became the first African American television host to be nationally syndicated. Her income jumped exponentially. Between 1987 and 1988, Winfrey earned $30 million. By 1995, her net worth was estimated to be about $340 million.

Winfrey continued to host her talk show until 2011. At the same time, she began investing in other companies as well. She also formed a charity, Oprah’s Angel Network, and became the CEO of the Oprah Winfrey Network (or OWN).

Learn Key Money Moves From Oprah

Winfrey has proven time and time again that you don’t have to be born into money to make money. Not only is she a billionaire, but her money continues to grow. So how does Winfrey achieve financial success? Here are our thoughts on this:

1. She has multiple streams of income

Winfrey not only has her own TV network, but she has multiple other income streams as highlighted above. This allows her to make money in different ways – without putting all her eggs into one basket. And, regardless of how hectic things get, Winfrey doesn’t let being busy run her life. She also seems to have an excellent grasp at time management, which helps her earn more money.

2. She works hard

Winfrey has worked hard ever since she was a young child. She has faced hurdles along the way, including being fired from her first “real” job. But, she handles it all with grace and often creates a business opportunity from a disappointment.

3. She gives freely

Winfrey has often expressed that she likes to show gratitude by giving back, and giving back she does! In fact, her non-profit Oprah’s Angel Network is now worth over $200 million dollars. But that’s not all. Oprah also works with many other charities, including Free The Children, Peace Over Violence, and Women For Women International.

4.She doesn’t let anything hold her back

Winfrey’s first job was working at the grocery store next to her father’s barber shop, a far cry from the work she does now. However, this did not hold her back from pushing forward with her dreams.

She has dabbled in multiple areas of business and entrepreneurship, and this has helped her earn millions during her 30+ year career. She has also made wise investments to grow her money beyond what most people will make in a lifetime.

We can all learn a thing or two from Winfrey. At the very least, her financial prowess can help you realize that with hard work, determination and smart money moves, you too can achieve success.

 

4 Side Hustles You Can Do with Your Family

When you’re faced with budget difficulties, other well-meaning people suggest cutting expenses. But sometimes that simply isn’t enough of a solution.

The next common piece of advice you’ll likely get is to start a side hustle and earn more money. Unfortunately making that choice can really cut into family time. It may also be tough to do when you already feel like there isn’t enough of it.

So what’s the best solution? A side hustle you can do with your family, of course.

Taking on a side hustle you can do with your family has advantages. You can earn more money and still spend time with them. It also gives you the opportunity to teach them the value of money and hard work. Here are a couple of side hustles you could choose to do with your family.

1. Grow a Lawn Care Service

Not all side hustles are family friendly, so finding one a spouse or kids can help with may be tricky. One side hustle you can do with your family is to grow a lawn care service.

There are positives to choosing this type of business. For one, you get to spend time outdoors. Another is advertising through happy customers with great looking lawns who will refer you to others.

By building up a client base you’ll have repeat customers every week or so. You can use your calendar to keep a schedule so all family members can follow along. Use it to schedule as many jobs as you’d like according to everyone’s availability.

Obviously you’ll need an invoicing system as well as a little equipment. But family members can help pull weeds, sweep, use a leaf blower, and perform other small tasks. Older kids may be able to mow and use a trimmer too. Having help allows you to complete lawn care quickly and make more money.

2. Pet Sitting and Dog Walking

Having a side hustle you can do with your family may be easy if you like pets. Try pet sitting, dog walking, or both to get your family involved and making money along with you.

Not a lot of skills are required most of the time. Still, liking and being good with animals makes it much easier and more fun.

Young children will love helping with this job. It will give them an idea of what it’s like to start their own business while they’re still young.

3. Baking and Catering

An additional side hustle you can do with your family is baking and catering for others. To get started, try some recipes out on family and friends. Ask for referrals and advertise on social media to build repeat business.

To include your family, have them help do the tasks they can for their age. For instance, small children can carry non-food items that are not overly heavy or help with clean-up. Older children can probably do more of the actual cooking and baking.

4. Rent Rooms in Your Home

Need another idea for a side hustle you can do with your family? Try renting rooms in your home to travelers through Airbnb. Signing up is easy and your family can help out.

Have youngsters assist by stocking small toiletry items and towels. Older kids can clean and do other needed tasks.

Taking on a side hustle doesn’t have to mean sacrificing all of your family time. Choose a side hustle you can do with your family and you can have both while boosting your budget.


This article originally appeared on Due.com

 

Gender Pay Gap: What Jobs Really Offer Equal Pay?

Most logical people would argue that two people doing the same job should earn equal pay, but we know that is not always the case. In many roles at many companies, women are paid less than men for doing the exact same thing, which is known as the gender pay gap. While we know this is wrong, a number of professions actually do offer gender pay equality. If you want to know what jobs have successfully removed the gender pay gap, follow along to learn more.

How bad is the gender pay gap?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that, on average, women make 83 percent of what men do across all industries. The worst profession for women is in the legal industry, where women make a little over half of what men earn. Sales, security, production, and personal care professions all offer women 25 percent of what men earn, or worse.

In fact, according to the 2016 report (based on 2014 data), there was no industry where women made as much as men for the same job. The best was construction and extraction related jobs, which offer women 91.3 cents for every dollar male counterparts bring in.

But it is not all doom and gloom. Researchers are working on understanding causes of the gender pay gap and identifying solutions. But in the meantime, there are some great opportunities out there where women do get their fair share, according to BLS data from 2016.

Industries with equal gender pay

The 2016 BLS study found that on average, women make 82 percent of what men do on average. But a few jobs stood out where women make equal or more than their male counterparts. Women workers for the win! Here is a list of professions where women can expect equal pay, with data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics:

Occupation Women’s earnings compared to men’s
Sewing machine operators 111%
Combined food preparation and serving workers 106
Teacher assistants 105
Counselors 102
Transportation, storage, and distribution managers 100
Stock clerks and order fillers 99
Physical therapists 97
Shipping, receiving, and traffic clerks 97
Receptionists and information clerks 97
Advertising sales agents 97

While these jobs may not all be the most desired in the world, there are some great professions on here with solid earning potential. For example, the average physical therapist makes $85,400 per year (2016 BLS data). That is a great income level no matter your gender. If you are trying to overcome a gender wage gap, the small 3 percent gap isn’t a huge hurdle to overcome.

Combat the gender pay gap in your business

If you are a male and lead an organization, do your part to promote gender pay equality. You have access to all data and have the power to instantly solve the gender pay gap in your business. Of course, that does come with some costs. But these are costs that should have been happening all along! If you already offer fair and equal pay among your employees, kudos. You are doing the right thing.

If you really want to make a difference as a man in business, start a business and ensure fair pay practices across genders. If you are a woman, consider starting your own business, as women-owned businesses are often quite successful! And if you are not a business owner, be an outspoken advocate for equality in the workplace. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and this problem won’t be solved in one. But with a long-term focus on fixing the gender pay gap, a solution is attainable.


This article originally appeared on Due.com

 

Does Job Hopping Increase Your Long-Term Salary?

Millennials are considered the job-hopping generation, according to a recent Gallup poll. This is no surprise as millennials are three times more likely to change jobs as older generations. Not only that but six in 10 millennials are open to taking on a new job opportunity.

We get it. Switching jobs often leads to a bigger paycheck. But does leaving your current employer for a higher paying job actually stunt your long-term salary growth? In other words, should you stay put?

The data suggests that millenials’ habit of job hopping can actually improve their long-term career and salary aspirations. With this said, it’s important that you weigh the pros and cons when deciding whether to stay or go. Read on to learn more.

Is job hopping the best way to make more money?

Over the past 20 years, switching jobs has almost always been more lucrative than staying at your current employer, according to data from the Federal Reserve of Atlanta.

Based on the latest numbers from February 2018, job hopping can almost double your salary increase. In fact, the last time sticking around netted a higher wage growth was in 2011. This suggests that job hopping can be good for your long-term salary too.

With this said, make sure you consider your full benefits package, as well as other costs incurred by switching jobs. Just because your salary is higher doesn’t necessarily mean your bottom line is better off.

Consider all the costs of switching

As easy as it would be to focus solely on salary increases, the decision to switch jobs isn’t always so simple. In fact, reduced benefits at a new job can often negate a salary increase. In addition, here are some other factors to consider.

1. Retirement contributions

If your current employer matches 401(k) contributions on a vesting schedule, you may lose some or all of those contributions if you leave too soon. In fact, roughly 71% of employers have a vesting schedule of at least three years, according to 2016 data from T. Rowe Price.

This means that the money your employer contributes to your retirement account isn’t yours for the taking, at least not at first. Rather, you gain ownership of the funds over time based on your employer’s vesting schedule. If you’re fortunate, you may be working for an employer that offers immediate vesting. In this case, you have nothing to worry about.

That said, you can still lose money if your new employer requires that you wait before you can contribute to a 401(k). Employers are allowed to have a waiting period for as long as a year. The point here: make sure you do your research on your current and future employer-sponsored retirement plans.

2. Bonuses

Depending on when you leave your job, you can potentially miss out on a bonus. This can even be the case if you’ve already had your performance review and the promised bonus hasn’t been paid out yet.

Also, depending on the new employer and when you switch jobs, you may not be eligible for a bonus your first year. Either that or your bonus may be prorated for the year, based on when you joined the company. So, make sure you inquire about bonuses before you leave your job and start a new one.

3. Health insurance

Even if your health insurance premiums stay the same from one job to another, switching jobs and health insurance plans can reset your deductible and out-of-pocket spending to zero.

If you don’t visit the doctor often or haven’t had a lot of medical expenses this year, this won’t matter much. But if you’ve almost reached your deductible with your current plan and expect more medical costs before the year is over, starting from scratch with a new plan can cost you hundreds, if not thousands of dollars.

4. Retirement plan loans

If you’ve borrowed money from your 401(k), leaving your job is one of the worst things you can do. That’s because your termination cancels the original repayment plan on the loan and you may have to repay the debt within 60 days.

If you default, the loan amount would be treated as an early withdrawal and could be subject to taxes plus a 10% penalty. For example, if your loan was for $10,000 and your effective tax rate is 25%, you could be on the hook for $3,500 in taxes and penalties.

And for what it’s worth, the National Bureau of Economic Research found that 86% of 401(k) loan borrowers who leave their employer end up defaulting. You certainly don’t want to be part of this percentage.

5. Moving costs

If you get a new job that requires you to move to a different city or state, there’s no guarantee that your new employer will foot the bill for your move.

Sure, you may be able to deduct some of your moving expenses when you file your taxes. But the tax break may not make up for all the costs you’ll incur when you relocate to a new city or state.

Consider your opportunities carefully

If you’re confronted with an opportunity to earn more by switching jobs, consider all the factors involved, including wage growth and other costs. And, don’t forget to take into account your current situation. If you love your job and don’t really want to leave, you can always brush up on your negotiation skills and ask for a raise.

Regardless of what you decide to do, make sure you weigh all of your options. Money is important, we get it. But money isn’t everything. Taking a new job for more money can leave you depressed and unmotivated, especially if you just left a job you loved. On the flip-side, a new higher-paying opportunity can open new doors and help you climb your career ladder.

 

How and When to Invest in Your Career

Listen up. The basic rules of financial wellness are as follows: earn more, spend less, and invest the rest.

And, when it comes to earning more, your potential is unlimited. Better still, investing in your career and bolstering the value you bring to the marketplace will help you grow your money the most. So, now you’re probably wondering: when exactly is the best time to invest in your career? The answer is simple: Right now.

Now is always the right time to expand your knowledge, expertise and network,” says Lydia Frank, vice president of content strategy at Payscale. “When you stop learning and growing, you stop being as valuable to your employer,” says Frank.

To start investing in your career to elevate your earnings potential, try following these tips:

Get Your Education On

No matter what type of job you have, expanding your skills and knowledge will boost your value in the workforce. There are plenty of ways to learn. Take a look at these three easy ways to gain skills:

1. Take an online course:

 If you want to learn more about marketing, social media, or even SEO, check out platforms like HubSpot or Moz Academy. To sharpen your software skills, you can sign up for a course on Udemy or Lynda. The point is: there are plenty of online courses available for rock-bottom prices (some are even free!) Just do your research and enroll in a course today.

2. Get Certified

If you have a knowledge gap, or need to learn X to get to Y, a certification can help you land the jobs you want. Certifications can be most valuable in highly specialized fields, such as IT, software development, or cyber security. So, look around for either in-person certification courses or online versions. You’re bound to find something that works for you.

3. Go back to school

This educational option is likely the greatest investment of your money and time, so this may be a last resort if you can’t find an online course or certification program that suits your needs. Before you head back to school, make sure you consider whether it’s worth the price.

Network

While we may traditionally think of networking as going to professional conferences and mixers, you can also expand your network in the comfort of your home. For example, try allocating at least 10 minutes each day to reading and making thoughtful comments to posts written by people in your field or an industry you’re interested in, suggests Lynda Spiegel, a longtime HR professional and founder of Rising Star Resumes.

“Connect with people who engage with your comments,” says Spiegel. “This provides you

with a network that will serve you well when you’re looking to change jobs, meet other industry colleagues, or learn more about your field.”

For starters, provide an intro for two colleagues, refer a friend for gig, or share an article, tweet or post from your network.

Volunteer

Volunteering is a resourceful way to both expand your network and gain more skills for a cause you care deeply about. You can scour for opportunities on sites such as VolunteerMatch or Idealist to find places for you to help out.

For instance, if you’re passionate about the environment, you can volunteer at a non-profit focused on sustainability. While you may have to do some entry-level tasks to start, you can also let the organization know you want to bolster your skills in a specific area such as blog management. You may be surprised as that non-profit may let you run the blog, create articles and videos, and do other relevant tasks.

Think of it as free education. Plus, you’ll be expanding your network, and giving back.

Design Your Roadmap

Figure out where you are, where you want to be, and how you’re going to get there. While you should always be investing in your career and in your education, what you choose to focus on depends on your priorities and the industry you work in, says J. Kelly Hoey, author of Build Your Dream Network.

Ask yourself questions like:

  • What do you need to do to succeed in your immediate role?
  • What can you do to make strides in the industry?
  • Do you want to stick to the same industry, or hop to another?

From there, you can create a personal roadmap, which encompasses ways to use your time and resources to invest in your career.

Let’s say you’re working in tech and are just starting out. If that’s the case, staying on top of tech certifications can give you a leg up on the competition. But, if you change course and want to transition to another field altogether, then taking night courses, side hustling to get some relevant experience, or going back to school for another degree may be your best course of action.

Grow Where You’re Planted

No matter what kind of job you have, you should always take advantage of free opportunities to keep growing.

For instance, by tackling a project that nobody else seems to want, perhaps you’ll gain relevant skills. Here’s another example: offer to step in and help an overworked colleague. This will not only help you learn something new, but you might gain an important ally in that co-worker.

Lastly, don’t be shy about asking your employer for a proper sit-down to talk about areas in which you’d like to expand your knowledge.

Find the Crosspoints

Back when I had a day job working at an entertainment labor union, I looked for the crosspoints. Think of it as a Venn Diagram where your interests and the needs of your workplace intersect.

In other words, I tried to discern both the types of skills that could make me a stronger team member, as well as how I could help save the company time and money. As a member of the communications department, part of my job was to work on the magazines. So I took classes in Photoshop and graphic design. My boss agreed to foot half the bill, which spared me the expense of paying for it entirely out of pocket. Ultimately, the courses helped me become a more valuable employee and boosted my knowledge.

Another perk: those skills helped me land my next job, where I was able to negotiate a higher salary.

Final Word

While there are many ways to make yourself more marketable and earn a higher income, you’ve got to start somewhere. By following the steps above, you’ll be well on your way to creating a custom roadmap to help you hit your professional milestones.

 

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