Episode 115: Unique Financial Planning Needs of the LGBTQ+ Community with Brian Thompson
As both a tax attorney and CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, Brian provides comprehensive financial planning to LGBTQ entrepreneurs who run mission-driven businesses. Entrepreneurs hold a special place in his heart. He spent a decade defending them against the IRS as a tax attorney and has become one himself as an advisor.
HERE’S WHAT YOU’LL LEARN FROM THIS EPISODE:
How Brian evolved from a tax attorney into a CFP™
Navigating unique financial needs for the LGBTQ community
The impact of marriage on a couples’ finances
Estate planning challenges for domestic partnerships
The financial paperwork that should be in place for every couple
How to navigate different mindsets around money
Financial planning tools for future family members
What it means to run a mission-driven business
How to mitigate “shiny object syndrome”
Where to begin if you want to create change in the world
The best way to measure your passion around an issue
How to leverage your unique expertise to make an impact
Episode 114: Self-Care & The Pursuit of Peace (of Mind) with Joy Lere
A sought-after clinician, consultant, speaker, and writer, Dr. Joy Lere is a psychologist who practices at the intersection of behavior and business, specializing in work on the merger of money, mind, and meaning. Her signature work fuses Freud, Frankl, and the world of finance. She partners with bright, impact-driven, motivated professionals motivated to develop richer, more resonant lives. With one foot firmly planted in the field of psychology and the other waltzing down Wall Street, she works as a behavioral finance consultant for the financial services industry. She has previously served as an Associate Clinical Professor of Clinical Psychology at George Washington University and has held clinical and research positions at Children’s National Medical Center, Penn Medicine Princeton Health, and the Department of Defense.
HERE’S WHAT YOU’LL LEARN FROM THIS EPISODE:
How Joy entered the world of finance
How people are handling their financial lives in the current state of the world
Why it makes sense to continue self-care during the pandemic
What self-care actually means (and looks like)
The reasons being a perfectionist could be harming you
Why giving yourself grace could alter in your life
How social media is hurting you
Ways to navigate the roller coaster of up and down days
Questions to ask yourself during this time to move you forward
How to simultaneously practice empathy and self-care
Why it’s important to take time for yourself (even when it seems as if there is no time)
If you’ve been a long-time reader of the Workable Wealth blog, you know our team advocates for taking charge of your finances, even when it’s uncomfortable, like asking for a raise. Nobody is as qualified as you to make the decisions necessary to move toward your goals and a life that has you excited to wake up each morning. One of the biggest areas we see women struggling to take responsibility for their own finances is their salary.
Talking about your salary can be intimidating, especially when reaching out to your boss about a raise. For a long time, women have been taught that asking for money is crass or rude, even if your performance and experience warrant a pay increase. Only 36% of women said they’ve asked for a raise according to a Marketplace-Edison poll.
Although asking for a raise isn’t always comfortable, and there’s no clear guarantee that you’ll get the salary increase you hoped for, it’s critical to advocate for yourself and your own financial well-being in the workplace. Between the gender wealth and wage gap, women are already at a disadvantage when it comes to earning a salary in line with their skillset. This makes it even more important for you to take charge of your income, and its ability to impact your long-term financial and lifestyle goals.
Understanding the Wage Gap
No matter which way you look at it, the gender wage gap is a persistent problem that has negatively impacted women for decades. According to recent studies, women earn on average 82% as much as their male counterparts in similar roles with similar levels of experience. In some states, this percentage is as low as 49%. This pay gap is seen across almost all states and all industries.
The unspoken rule that employees shouldn’t discuss their earnings continues to perpetuate the problem. Even if you feel like you make a comparable salary to your male peers, you may be surprised to find out that they make notably more than you do – you’ve just never talked about it before.
An even bigger problem is the gender wealth gap. This is talked about less than the gender wage gap, but equally important. On average, women own 32 cents for every dollar their male counterparts own. Although studies have shown that women tend to be better savers, it’s challenging to save more when they’re put at a disadvantage with lower earnings. Both the wage and the wealth gap are a problem that women, unfortunately, have been facing for a long time.
The good news is that by advocating for yourself in the workplace, you have the opportunity to stand up for your own earning potential and long-term financial wellness.
Why Ask For a Raise?
Still not convinced that you should ask for a raise? Let’s think about how an increased salary has the potential to impact your long-term savings. Imagine you ask for a $7,000 raise. After taxes, you’d take home an additional $5,000 per year. Assuming you take that $5,000 and put it towards your future self, that money could do a lot of work for you.
That’s a pretty significant impact on your retirement savings. Just by asking a question.
Even if you don’t have a plan to invest the raise you receive, think about what it could do for your short-term financial goals. A $7,000 raise could mean a boosted emergency savings, faster debt repayment, saving for your child’s education, or paying to take your whole family on an amazing vacation.
Knowing the “why” behind your raise request can help you clarify exactly what that extra money could mean to you. Understanding the impact an increased salary might have both on your short-term lifestyle and long-term goals can remove hesitation or mental blocks you may have when it comes to discussing your salary with your employer.
How to Ask for a Raise
Now that we’ve talked about the “why” behind asking for a raise, we need to talk about the “how.” Walking into your boss’s office and demanding a raise may sound empowering, but in reality, it likely won’t get you the results you want. Have a plan in place for asking for your raise, even if you (and your employer) know you deserve it.
Do Your Research
What do people in similar roles earn within your company? If your coworkers aren’t comfortable sharing, look up jobs on Glassdoor to get more information about salaries reported at your organization. Once you know what your company typically pays, take your research a step further: What do competitors pay people in your role, or who have your level of experience? Compare your research to your current pay – is there a notable gap?
Learn to Sell Yourself
Even if you’re the most qualified person at your organization to do your current job, that doesn’t necessarily matter in this conversation. General comments about your qualifications, experience, or skill set are valuable, but they won’t necessarily bag you the salary of your dreams. Instead, ask yourself how you could set up specific measurements and data to prove your success. A few questions to ask yourself might be:
Did I tackle any projects this year that made an impact on my team or the company as a whole?
Do I have clear metrics to track my performance such as sales numbers, productivity, or revenue generated?
Can I correlate my experience and skill set with monetary value to my company?
Has my performance improved since my last salary increase? How has this positively impacted my team and my company?
Picture this conversation as an interview. You’re essentially interviewing for a promotion – even if you stay in the same role.
Consider What You’re Willing to Walk Away With
In a perfect world, you’d have a conversation about getting a raise and your company would give you the exact number you asked for, and your role would stay consistent. However, you might find that you either receive a counter-offer for a lower increase, or your boss may grant the raise but request that you take on additional responsibilities.
Now is the time to get very clear with yourself on what you’re willing to take on, and what your ideal minimum raise would be. Knowing these things before going into a salary negotiation can help you to offer concise and timely responses if your boss asks you questions in the initial meeting or presents a counter-offer later on.
Conversations about salary increases can be hard! Practice whenever you can. Ask your friend, your mom, and your spouse or partner if they’d be willing to listen to the points you’ve pulled together. It might feel goofy to role-play this conversation, but it can be useful. If you have time to field potential questions or rebuttals from loved ones who are pretending to be your boss in a practice conversation, you’ll be better equipped in the meeting itself. For your own confidence walking into this meeting, practice is key.
Set You – and Your Boss – Up For Success
Don’t blindside them with a meeting about a salary increase without warning. Sending an email, or asking them face-to-face if they have time to schedule a meeting about your current role and compensation allows them time to prepare ahead of time. If you don’t give them adequate prep time, you may get shot down right out of the gate because they’re caught off guard and don’t have time to consider your request.
Remember: when push comes to shove, your income and your ability to reach your financial goals are solely dependent on you advocating for yourself. That raise isn’t going to ask for itself! Don’t be afraid to take charge of your future, and ask for the salary you deserve.
In recent posts, I’ve written about how you can track your net worth, and what your net worth should look like in your 30s and 40s. It’s true that tracking your financial net worth can be hugely helpful when it comes to seeing big-picture goals, progress, and habits. However, your net worth statement is missing one major piece of the puzzle – you.
That’s right. Your growth as an individual can impact your net worth over time.
One of the biggest parts of your growth as a person that has a direct impact on your finances is your career growth. Over the course of your career, take advantage of new opportunities, expand your area of expertise, and make valuable connections with mentors and colleagues. The more you do these things, the more you’re able to “level up” your earning potential.
Having a Career-Growth Mentality
When you think of career growth, you might be thinking of the obvious:
Increased responsibility in your job role
The truth is that the “usual” modes of career growth can feel out of reach sometimes. After all, how often do promotions or raises come around? Sometimes employees can only expect to have big, defining conversations about their career advancement once a year (or less!). This can be the case even if you work at a forward-thinking company, or are in a higher-up management position.
If you think about it, it doesn’t make sense to wait for your annual review to focus on how you can advance in your career. How many other areas of personal growth in your life thrive when you only check in on them once a year? Probably not very many! That’s because growth takes time and continuous commitment. Your career is no different!
Growing in your current role, or finding ways to move forward in your organization, should be an ongoing practice – not an annual “to do” that you check off the list. Once you start embracing this new career-growth mentality, you’ll start to see other opportunities to grow your career outside of a traditional annual review or merit bonus season.
High-Impact Career Growth Moves to Impact Your Net Worth
Career growth doesn’t just happen when you get a raise, a bonus, or a promotion (although all of those events will bump your earning potential, too). As much as getting a pay increase or a promotion is somewhat under your control, you can’t always dictate exactly when it happens.
There are more factors that go into corporate decisions than whether or not you’re a rockstar at what you do. Instead of waiting for those events to happen, it can be helpful to focus on smaller career growth moves that you can control – and that still have a high impact on your net worth and earning potential.
These high-impact career moves can be viewed as ways to increase your “human capital.” Your human capital is the financial worth of skills, knowledge, and experience you have – and it makes a huge difference in how much your net worth grows, and at what pace, over the course of your life. Let’s talk about a few ways that you can start to increase your human capital, grow your career, and boost your net worth.
#1: Focus on Education
There’s never a wrong time to continue your education. You might want to go back to school to earn your Master’s or Ph.D. to advance your career. However, there are other ways that you can continue your education that don’t involve re-enrolling in college – which can be time-consuming and expensive. You could:
Sign up for an online course covering a topic you’re interested in – like social media marketing, how to use industry-specific software or ways to improve your leadership skills in the workplace.
Ask your employer about continuing education opportunities within your organization. You might be surprised by internal programs that are available to you.
Start studying for a designation exam that could increase your expertise.
Continuing your education, and showcasing what you’ve learned in your current role, can signal to your employer that you’re willing to learn and grow. In the short-term, this might put you in the spotlight for upcoming opportunities or promotions. In the long-term, you’re building out an education background that can help catapult you into a dream job, or a higher-paying position at your current (or a different) company.
#2: Read Everything
As a busy mom, entrepreneur, wife, and business partner, I know what it feels like to be short on time. Still, you can increase your human capital in just 20-30 minutes a day. Want to know how?
Pick up a book. Read an article from a trade publication. Click on that LinkedIn blog post written by the CEO of your company about market trends.
There is so much content available for us to consume each day, it can be kind of overwhelming. But that doesn’t mean you have to get sucked into the black hole of celebrity gossip articles that land in your inbox. Every minute you have is precious, so use some of them to improve yourself, and increase your earning potential later on. You never know when a specific chapter in a business book or an article in an industry-specific magazine will change the way you work for the better.
#3: Create Your Own Opportunities
Whether you work for a big, Fortune 500 company, or a small start-up, you might feel a little bit “stuck” in your current role. It’s tough to focus on career growth, or increasing your human capital when it doesn’t feel like there is anything you can do right now.
The best thing you can do is to stop waiting for your employer to create an opportunity for growth. Instead, create your own opportunities. A few examples of bite-sized opportunities you can create for yourself might be:
Asking to cross-train with an adjacent department to learn a new skill set
Offering to let new hires job shadow you to hone your leadership and management skills
Spearheading a Diversity & Inclusion Committee in your organization
Volunteering to sit on an advisory board for another local business to gain new insight
When you’re thinking about creating a career opportunity for yourself, think about the long term impact it will have on your human capital. Even small steps forward have the potential to accelerate your growth in new ways that open you up to new earning opportunities.
#4: Do Your Research
If you are going into an annual review, or a conversation about your future career path, it can pay to do your research. This is a small career move to make, but it can have a high impact on your future net worth or earning potential. A few key things to know are:
What responsibilities you own, and how your work is received
Where your weak spots are, and how you can improve them
How much colleagues who have similar responsibilities make
How much your role or position would earn at other organizations in your industry
Whether there are other industries that pay more for your skillset
What type of benefits or non-salary rewards would have the biggest impact on your financial life (think: childcare stipends, better health insurance coverage at lower premiums, free continuing education, assistance with student loan debt payoff)
When you walk into these bigger conversations equipped with research and a clear idea of what you’re worth, what you need in order to advance, or how your organization can continue to reward your hard work outside of a pay increase – you’re setting yourself up for success. The more you know, the more you’ll be able to grow your career and your net worth in the future.
Human Capital, Career Growth, Net Worth and Your Finances
When it comes to your financial plan, never underestimate the value you bring to the table simply by being you. As you focus on increasing your human capital, and taking steps to grow your career, you’ll inevitably add to your net worth over time. Remember – even small steps toward growth can make a huge impact down the road!
Want help creating a strategy to grow your career (and your wealth)? Struggling to think of ways you can “level up” and start earning more? Reach out! I’d love to see if our team would be a good fit to help you create a comprehensive financial strategy.
Episode 83: The 5 Best Money Moves We've Made in 2019
What money moves have we made so far this year?
One of the fun parts of being a financial planner is getting to discuss some of the money moves we’ve made in our household knowing clients and readers are going through similar things. In these Work Your Wealth episodes I’ll be taking time to address how we approached the different money situations and the results of our decisions. Today I’m talking about the 5 money moves we’ve made so far in 2019.
HERE’S WHAT YOU’LL LEARN FROM THIS EPISODE:
Some money moves we are facing in our family that are common among clients too
Figuring out what to do once you’ve surpassed savings goals
Stop the over planning and constantly playing the “what if” game
The importance of setting dollar amounts for your goals
A better way to approach your money goals
A different way to approach your charitable giving
Utilizing a donor advised fund for your charitable contributions
The advantages of using a donor advised fund
The tax benefits through the use of a donor advised fund
Why we offloaded our tax projections to our CPA
Why you should lean on financial professionals when changes arise
How to avoid underfunding and overspending
How to remove some of the guilt around spending money
What aligning your money with your goals can do for your life
The significance of writing out your ideal day, month and year
Three questions to really evaluate what’s important to you
What is getting in your way of living the life you want or love?
The biggest thing I want for you around your finances