How to Earn More and Grow Your Net Worth

by Sophia Bera on October 18, 2017

When you’re young and just starting your career, you’ve likely never earned five figures before, so that $30,000 offer for a job in New York City can feel like a king’s ransom! Besides, you barely have relevant work experience yet, so it’s not like you deserve more money. Right?

Wrong! As you gain experience and show your value to your company, you deserve more. As you hunt for a new job and get lowballed on salary even though you’re super-qualified, you deserve more. Asking for a raise or a higher salary offer can be an uncomfortable experience, but at worst you get told no — and at best you get told yes!

Think about the long-term effects of asking for more money. A 2010 study showed that an additional $5,000 a year in income could mean more than $600,000 in earnings over the course of a 40-year career. Add to that a yearly raise, and you’re in a better position to save more money for long-term goals and retire with a comfortable level of savings.

Growing your net worth takes years of earning more and saving more. Let’s get you there!

How to Ask for a Raise at Your Current Job

From the moment you start a job, keep track of your accomplishments. What project did you knock out of the park? What annoying process did you make more efficient? Have you been doing the work of two people because your boss decided not to replace someone who left the company? Did you impress a difficult-to-please client? Write that all down.

After a year, check in with your boss. Lead with your accomplishments. Talk about your plans for future work. And then … ask for a raise. If you have a specific number in mind, mention it. Repeat this every few years, any time you’ve had a major win at work, or any time you switch roles within your company.

Always frame these conversations around your value to the company — not around the fact that you need more money to buy a house, or the fact that you know someone else on your team earns more (that’s helpful information to know, but probably not the reason you’ll get a raise).

If your company can’t give you a raise at this time, see what other perks you can get instead. Maybe you’ll be happy for now with some extra vacation time, the budget to attend a conference, or a bump in your title? Ask for feedback on what would make you more likely to receive a raise in the future, and discuss a raise again in six months.

How to Negotiate a Higher Salary on a Job Offer

The best opportunities you have for rapidly increasing your salary come when you switch jobs, so take advantage!

Negotiating begins well before you receive a job offer. Use tools like Glassdoor to research salary ranges for your field in your geographic area. If a job listing doesn’t indicate the salary range, it’s more than okay to ask during the initial phone interview what they had in mind. This will save you both time if what they offer is much lower than what you’d accept.

Don’t share your previous salary with an interviewer. You want them to pay you what their company thinks this role is worth, not what your former employer paid. If they insist on you giving a number first, offer a range you’d be willing to accept.

If you receive an offer that’s at the low end of your range, tell them the number you were hoping for. They might have room in their budget to pay you more, especially if you were their favorite applicant.

How to Earn Extra Income

I’m a big fan of the side hustle. It’s a great way to start your own company while maintaining the security of a full-time job, learn a new skill set, or broaden your professional network. This can all make you more marketable the next time you search for a new job.

And of course, you’ll make more money! Bringing in additional income can help you speed up debt repayments or saving for retirement. Even earning a few hundred extra dollars a month can make a big difference.

If you’re at the top of the salary range for your field, or your company instituted a salary freeze, you might not have a chance for a raise through your full-time job. Taking on side work is like getting the raise your company can’t give you right now.