A promotion. More money. All your problems are over, right? Actually … No. Depending on how you treat money, your next promotion could actually make you poor.

It’s tough for many of us to accept, but for most of us, our financial security is not contingent on how much money we earn.

It’s not about how much money comes in but how much money goes out. For most of us, our lifestyle increases with increases in our income – and even increases in our available credit.

When you tie those increases in income to increases in spending, pretty soon you have this problem: Could a promotion make you poor?

Learn from others’ wins and losses.

How many celebrities and athletes who earn millions of dollars a year have we heard have gotten into financial trouble?

From MC Hammer to Johnny Depp to Lenny Dykstra to Marion Jones, the world is full of millionaire income earners with no money in their bank accounts. A couple of years ago, it was reported that about 80% of retired NFL players go broke.

On the other end of the spectrum, Oseola McCarty, a former washerwoman from Hattiesburg, Mississippi bequeathed her $150,000 fortune to the University of Southern Mississippi. At the time, she was its most famous benefactor. That $150,000 in 1999 would equal $220,957 today.

To be sure, $150,000 or even $220,957 isn’t millions of dollars. But considering McCarty’s low-wage paying job and the fact that 47% of Americans today can’t come up with $400 cash, that’s a solid amount of savings.

Likewise, consider Ronald Read, a former gas station employee and janitor. When Read died at 92 in 2014, he was worth an estimated $8 million. Read was an avid and consistent investor and lived frugally, way more frugally than I ever would. But he’s another example that it’s not about how much money you earn. It’s what you do with the money you make.

With your next raise or promotion, will you do better than McCarty or Read?

Know if you’re on a cycle of rinse, recycle, repeat.

Most of us go about making a living instead of making a life.

We go to school to get the best job we can to make the most money we can and then, for any number of reasons, spend all the money we can and then spend more money than we have. Despite each promotion and each raise, we eventually find ourselves living beyond our means.

Today we finance our phones, our music, our education, our homes, our vacations, our everything. The problem is that a growing number or economists are becoming convinced that prosperity is contingent on our property rights.

Property rights usually relate to law. However, it’s logical to conclude that if we give up our property rights by financing from the cradle to the grave everything we would otherwise own, our affluence will suffer the same negative consequence as if we had no legal rights to ownership.

If everything from music to television to mortgages to education is on a small, affordable monthly payment, when do we stop making payments and start amassing wealth? What do we pass to our heirs for our family’s long-term financial security?

Jim Rohn said, “Once in a while, somebody says to me, ‘Boy, if I had a million dollars, I’d never work another day in my life.’” He goes on to say, “That’s probably why the good lord sees to it they don’t get their millions.”

With your next raise or promotion, how long will it be until you’re back in the same financial position?

Know why you should do well.

I read and listen to a bunch of personal finance information, and it astounds me how I keep returning to the same conclusion. Financial success, even life, personal, career – any success – is contingent on your purpose or your ‘why.’

As I’ve shared here, my husband and I amassed $51,000 worth of credit card debt – despite knowing better and notwithstanding the fact that we could do better.

At the time (and like many people today), we were unsatisfied with many aspects of our lives. It’s important to acknowledge that our economy is designed to keep us feeling unsatisfied.

Television, the internet, Facebook, movies, magazines and everything else tells us that we need more of this, that, and the other thing to feel happy, feel good, be liked, or be like someone else. When everyone in the neighborhood is drinking this Kool-Aid, it’s hard not to take a sip.

For this reason, the best thing we did to turn our financial situation around was to decide what we most want and not what we think we should want or what others want for us.

When we realized our most important goals, everything came into perspective, and we could manage our financial lives accordingly. It’s because we know our purpose that we’ve turned our $51,000 deficit into a $700,000 surplus and now work for ourselves.

Learn how you can do better, even without a raise or promotion.

How do you figure out your most important goals? For us, we did a lot of personal reflection and had lengthy discussions about what we most want in life. Everything we said was put on the witness stand and cross-examined until our purpose came down to three things. For you, it may be more or less, but if it’s too much, it’s too broad.

Next, we assessed what it was that was blocking us from our primary goals. Everything from not paying attention to our cash flow to being insecure came up.

Finally, we decided what it was we were willing to do to overcome those blockers. This step helped us determine how committed we were to change our situation and lay the foundation for a strategy.

Just as climbing the corporate ladder won’t solve all your problems, your next promotion or raise won’t make you rich. In fact, your next promotion might make you poor. What happens when you get a raise or promotion and you spend right up to it? What happens when you have a vision of the things you “should” have with your fancy new job title?

It’s easy to get caught up and overspend because we have the idea that’s what you do when you get a promotion. But that thinking just puts you back where you were – or even makes things worse financially.

When we realize that it’s not external factors or our circumstances that dictate our success, but our choices and behaviors, that can be better than any promotion.

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You’re done with college. Get out there in the real world and start networking as if your career depends on it. Because it does.

Once in a while, we present Adulting.tv LIVE! Subscribe on YouTube to hear about future events, and share your questions about or suggestions for our next discussions!

Show Notes

Join us as we talk to Nick True from Mapped Out Money. He talks about how networking helped him find great opportunities to get started in a great career and lead a fulfilling life. He offers great insight into confidence, how to become comfortable talking to people, and how to practice networking. We also discuss networking in college vs. networking in the “real” world and establishing different networks.

Watch the video, recorded live, above, or listen to just the audio using the player below. Don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast!

Hosted byHarlan L. Landes and Miranda Marquit
Produced byadulting.tv
Edited and mixed bySteve Stewart
Music bybensound.com

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You nailed the resume. It’s time for your interview. Don’t screw it up. Walk in there, impress, and get the job.

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Did you nail the resume and end up being called up for an interview? That’s great. But now you need to make sure you crush it in the job interview.

From making a good impression to following up effectively, this episode is all about how to impress during a job interview. Increase your chances of clinching the deal and taking the next step in your career.

Concepts

  • How to prepare for the interview ahead of time.
  • Common questions you should be ready for during a job interview.
  • How to conduct research on the company.
  • Why you need to think of good questions to ask the interviewer.
  • The importance of showing up early.
  • Tips for making a good impression during a job interview.
  • How to be yourself and still show you are the right person for the job.
  • Reasons to follow up after the job interview.
  • How to use a thank-you note.

This week’s DO NOWS focus on preparing for how to act during a job interview. We talk about working through common interview questions, working on a five-year plan, and figuring out what success looks like for you.

Our listener question addresses what to do when interviewers ask questions during a job interview that you find stupid, like “What tree are you most like?” We go over possible answers, preparing ahead of time, and why that could be an indication that perhaps you don’t want the job after all.

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Resources

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Your next work event doesn’t have to be about being bored or getting drunk. Instead, make it a career opportunity by networking.

Attending a work event, whether it’s a team building exercise or the company picnic, can be brutal.

What do you say to everyone?

It can be boring and lame.

But what if you could use a work event to boost your own career prospects? At the very least, you can use this as a chance to get to know others at work and creating rewarding relationships.

Networking at a work event can be a good way to improve the situation in your company and boost your own opportunities.

Figure out what you want to accomplish.

The company picnic isn’t just a place to sit around and be bored. Your team building exercise shouldn’t be about gritting your teeth and getting through it. An office holiday party isn’t an excuse to get drunk.

All of these are events that allow you the chance to make a new connection or show yourself in a good light.

Figure out what you want to accomplish ahead of time. Do you want to spend a couple minutes speaking with the boss? Do you want to get to know someone in another business unit?

As you’re networking at a work event, concentrate on your objective and what you hope to gain from it. Getting to know someone in another area of the business might be useful if you want to make a lateral move. Face time with the boss is always a good thing.

Maybe you just want to show yourself a friendly and enthusiastic presence in the office — someone others speak well of.

Once you know what you hope to accomplish, you can create a game plan.

Work on rapport.

Networking at a work event is all about building relationships. You want to work on a rapport with others. You can’t just show up and then ask people for something.

Instead, take an opportunity to show interest in others and build a solid foundation.

In any networking situation, building rapport is important. However, it’s extra-important at a work event. You need to be able to call on your relationship with others later on.

Building these relationships can also help your career later. When you network, you get a chance to let others get to know you. If there is a promotion opportunity or some other chance to advance, you are more likely to come to mind if you have been building relationships.

Ask questions.

Ask good questions and glean insights. If you can get the other person talking, you can learn about them. And you also help them feel as though they have had a great conversation.

Think of some good, relevant questions to ask before the work event. Insightful questions go a long way toward impressing others. Show you are a good listener, willing to learn and ready to ask good questions, and you might be surprised at how much that can help you in the long run.

Don’t be too pushy, though.

One of the most difficult parts of networking at a work event is avoiding being too pushy. In some cases, your coworkers are just trying to relax.

So, even though you definitely want to do a bit of networking, don’t be too pushy about talking about work. No one wants to do a deep dive into next quarter’s projections at the summer picnic. Instead, keep your networking to somewhat light topics, or ask a more general question about where you think the company stands in relation to other firms in the industry.

Try to be engaging without being overbearing. The idea is to show yourself as open and insightful, but you also need to know when to have fun.

Offer help.

A key tenet of networking, no matter the situation, is offering help first. Rather than asking what others can do for you, try to figure out how you can help others.

Think about what you have to offer. How can you help someone else with a work project or assignment? Can you be an asset? Do you have a good idea that could provide special help to someone else?

Know what you have to offer, and then offer it. Take an interest in at-work struggles and then show how you can help solve the problem. It’s a way to be valuable, and show your interest in teamwork.

Later, others will want to help you and recommend you.

Be yourself.

Ah, the most cliché advice ever. But it’s true. It’s especially important to be yourself when networking at a work event. These are people who will find out pretty quickly if you’re faking something.

It’s always best to be yourself when you’re networking. You want to be the best version of yourself, of course, but you do still need to be yourself.

As you are genuine, you are more likely to make real connections that last your career — and can even enrich your life beyond work.

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Your resume probably needs a little help. Take it up a notch and make a resume that will get you hired.

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Looking for a new job? You need a resume. You need a great resume. Your resume needs to showcase your skill and present the case that you are perfect for the for the job.

So how do you create a resume that gets the job done? You have to be aware of the latest trends in resumes, as well as understand the importance of having your resume available in different formats.

Concepts

  • How resumes have evolved over time.
  • Using LinkedIn for your resume.
  • Should you create a multimedia resume?
  • Tips to create a resume that works well as a digital or hard copy.
  • Items that should included on your resume.
  • Tips to create a resume with a clean, readable design.
  • How to use keywords in your resume.
  • Ideas for tailoring your resume for the job.
  • Things you shouldn’t do on your resume.

If you are ready to create a resume, this week’s “do nows” will get you on the right track. Start by scrapping your current resume and starting from scratch. Google yourself to get an idea of what others see when they search you. And, while you’re at it, complete your LinkedIn profile.

Our listener question this week focuses on using career sites to find jobs. What should you do with the resume you build through the career site?

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Resources

Things to stop putting on your resume
Employers using social media to screen applicants
Tools that can help you create a multimedia resume

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You might be a superhero and not even know it. Change the world one person at a time with the right career.

Simultaneous trends of millennials and GenXers are searching for more altruistic careers.

For millennials, they watched their parents suffer through the 2008 housing crisis, subsequent Great Recession, stagnant wages, high unemployment, and low national gross domestic product (GDP). Now many are saying, “If I’m going to struggle, I may as well struggle to do something good in the world.”

Millennials want to change the world, making a difference with what they do every day.

For us GenXers, it likely because, well, we’re older and seeking we’re more meaning in our lives. Many of us worked through the 2008 housing crisis, subsequent Great Recession, stagnant wages, high unemployment, and low national gross domestic product (GDP). Even though we may only have a small piece of our pie, we want to share some of it before we’re no longer here to share it.

For those considering more meaningful first or second careers, here are some jobs to consider:

Good samaritan.

You know how some days, weeks, even years are hard?

Social workers help people manage those times when we can’t manage on their own. From advocating for children who need an advocate to be there for the older adult who’s all alone to everything in between, social workers are there to care.

Life isn’t as easy for all of us and some of us find it harder to deal with than others. It’s social workers who help change these lives for the better.

Money maker.

Unfortunately, the financial professionals who break the rules get all the attention. They deserve the bad press they get.

Their honest, hardworking colleagues don’t.

Financial planners and the people who support them help everyday people with their money every day. Most financial professionals have their client’s best interest in mind, and that’s why this can be a rewarding career.

They help want-to-be parents prepare financially to have their children. They help fulfill the student’s dream of going to college. They assist the widow who lost the spouse responsible for managing the family finances. They help people make sense of retirement and legacy planning.

Financial professionals help make dreams come true, and nightmares go away.

Baby maker.

Among the many ways family planners help families, they help grow families.

Don’t let your high school years confuse you. Having children for many women isn’t easy, particularly since women and couples are having kids later in life.

Family planners can help these women and couples navigate the waters of growing their families with in vitro fertilization (IVF), various means of surrogacy, and any other medical advancements medicine has developed, including the different ways to adopt.

Fixer.

If you’re in pain or recovering from an injury, your physical therapist may just be your best friend. Like any decent best friend, your physical therapist sticks by you through the screams, tears, pain and frustration until you’re 100% again.

Physical therapists help their patients overcome negative conditions and achieve long-term health. Good health is consistently listed on the top of people’s most important things. If you’ve ever been in bad health, you know that returning to good health becomes the most important aspect of life second to family.

Modern-day Aristotle.

Christa McAuliffe, one of the seven victims of the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster, once said, “I touch the future. I teach.”

Anyone who’s ever amounted to anything is in debt to a teacher. Successful people from President Obama to Oprah Winfrey have publicly thanked particular teachers who helped them achieve their successes.

As a good teacher, the impact you have on a student could world-changing.

Healer.

Sure, doctors get all the glory, and the work doctors do is amazing.

It’s just that when you want that pain medication in the middle of the night and you’re stuck in a hospital bed, your doctor’s not coming to your aid.

That buzzer buzzes straight to a nurse’s station. When you need that very embarrassing, very necessary help in the bathroom, it’s your nurse who saves the day. When everyone else is gone, your nurse is still there.

Want to make a different in people’s lives? Be a nurse.

Sower and reaper.

Other than John Mellencamp, America doesn’t give farmers much love, and that’s a shame.

Everything healthy we eat is grown by a farmer. Growing healthy and nutritious food is an important and noble profession that helps all of us live from day-to-day.

If you’re scared you have to move far away from friends and family, don’t be.

Of course, the most abundant farming happens in the middle of the country, but you don’t have to uproot yourself to root some vegetables. Urban farming is a thriving industry these days, especially with more people in urban areas seeking more healthy food.

Space cowboy.

Being a space cowboy or cowgirl isn’t just for eight-year-olds. It’s for full grown adults, too. Space is the final frontier, and we’re finally making aggressive efforts to conquer space. Space exploration and space technologies already help millions in many ways. Someday, it may even save the human race.

Becoming a space cowperson or one who supports them isn’t easy, as space is only accepting the best of the best. But, if you can pass the test, helping the human race pioneer the space frontier can change the world and, possibly, the universe.

Superhero.

A lot of people do a lot of good work. Truth be told, there are a lot of superheroes out there.

However, police officers, EMTs, and firefighters save and protect lives every day. For many, their career is in their blood, having been passed down from generation to generation. For some, it’s an innate desire to help.

If you have such a desire, the world will be a better place with people like you in one of these jobs.

Many professions that make a positive difference in the world. Sometimes even a seemingly mundane job can make all the difference to someone.

Consider your skills and abilities and focus on giving to others. If you do, nearly any career will help you change the world.

 

 

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Freelancing is totally everything it’s cracked up to be. But it also comes with unexpected shittiness at times. Know what you’re getting into.

Just about everyone fantasizes about freelancing at some point.

When the daily grind is wearing you down and the stress of office culture is driving you crazy, you start to wonder what a career with no strings actually looks like.

Here’s the honest truth: it’s great. Also, it’s terrible. Sometimes it’s just okay.

Just like anything else in life.

More than anything, freelancing is a mixed bag. The lack of structure can be freeing, frustrating, and confounding.

The sense of agency can be empowering and terrifying at the same time. You can wake up some days feeling like a giant and go to bed feeling like a mouse – and vice versa.

I’ve been a full-time freelancer for several years now. Here’s the honest truth about freelancing. The best parts and the worst parts.

The good.

Having more flexibility in my workday is the best part of freelancing. At any point in a day, my husband and I can go for a hike, drive to Costco, or catch a movie. As long as I’m caught up on work, I’ll say yes.

Working for yourself allows for more freedom than any other job. You can take off as much time as you want and work when you need to. Many freelancers choose to work while they’re traveling, so they can stay longer and travel more often.

“Last year I was able to live in Chicago and Ann Arbor for a little over a month, and I plan to be away for two months this summer,” said freelance writer Jackie Lam of Cheapsters.

A few months ago, my husband and I got a puppy. We already had a dog – a lazy Beagle mix who mostly slept all day – but our new puppy needed lots of exercise and constant attention. The other day I realized that if one of us wasn’t working at home, we wouldn’t have been able to properly care for her. I can’t imagine not having Naga in my life. Freelancing made that happen.

Freelancing also lets you choose projects based on what you care about, not what your boss wants you to do. Valerie Rind, the author of “Gold Diggers and Deadbeat Dads,”  said freelance writing gives her the chance to stretch her limits and learn more about an issue she’s interested in.

“Instead of writing about the same topic, I try to accept assignments even if I don’t know much (or anything) about the subject matter,” she said. 

Most of the time, for me at least, the truth about freelancing is that it’s awesome. But there are times it’s not super-great. And you need to know that before you ditch your job and jump into the world of freelancing.

The bad. 

Most employees get paid every two weeks. No matter how well their company is doing, they still see a regular paycheck.

Not so for freelancers. How much you earn is dependent on not only how hard you work, but also on factors outside of your control. A client goes on vacation for a month and doesn’t need your services? You’re the one who has to scramble for work. Need surgery and can’t work for a few weeks? You’ll have to cover your own expenses.

Plus, the work is variable. Unless you have a steady stream of clients, freelancing can swing from feast to famine very quickly. One month you’ll earn more than you ever have, the next you’ll be living off of your emergency fund.

“Freelancing can test your character for sure,” said writer Melanie Lockert of Dear Debt. “The good times can have you feeling on top of the world, and the low times can have you questioning everything in your life.”

When I receive a lot of edits from a picky client or get all my carefully crafted pitches denied, I start thinking, “Maybe I’m not cut out for this.” Pushing through those rough times requires more mental fortitude than I ever needed in a day job.

The ugly.

Here they come. The things you really need to know about freelancing before you get started.

When you work for yourself, there’s no one else there to give you encouragement, praise, or guidance. There’s no annual review where you can find out what your strengths and weaknesses are and how to improve. It’s just you.

“If you want to grow, you have to push yourself,” Lam said. “No boss is going to hand you a raise or give you a promotion.” 

One of the worst aspects of freelancing is chasing down vendors who pay late. Once, I waited five months for a client to pay a $3,800 invoice.

When I reached out to my contact, he told me the company had shut down. I had to call all over the place to get someone to write me a check.  Some clients also balk at my late fee, even when I’ve been waiting two months to get paid.

Another pet peeve is working by myself. I miss having co-workers to talk to when I need a break or a boss to bounce ideas off. I do work with my husband, but he prefers solitude when working. I’m an extrovert, and it took me a few months to get used to being inside my house all day.

Are you ready to freelance?

There’s no doubt I love freelancing. This has been a great lifestyle for me. And it might work for you, too. But before you dive in, it’s good to know the truth about freelancing so you aren’t taken off guard by some of the challenges.

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