Asking for a lot of money

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Most people dream of making a lot of money. Few actually get there–and more often than not, it’s because they themselves don’t believe that they’re worth it, so they never ask.

This article begins with a discussion on defining “a lot” of money and ends with a story detailing one person known to the author who went from a salary of $40,000 to $115,000 in four years.

Wealth, Money, Riches, Salary, Raises, Asking for a raise

Most people dream of making a lot of money. The question is, what does that mean?

The truth is that money is highly subjective. Certainly, a billion dollars is a lot of money; there are only a handful of billionaires in the world. Is a million dollars a lot? In terms of total wealth, no; a significant minority of the population has a million dollars or more in total assets to leave to their heirs, largely due to the appreciation of real estate. Were one to make a million dollars a year, however, that person would be among the most highly paid in the world.

Personal perception has a significant role in determining the amount of money that a person can expect to make. The reason for this is that the two factors that most influence earnings–level of demonstrable skill, and payment requested from an employer–are very dependent upon the individual. Moreover, while skill is partially based on individual confidence and partially dependent upon innate ability, the amount of money that a person asks an employer to provide is solely based on the individual.

Of course, the two are related. One cannot have a minimal skillset and expect to receive a high salary. However, many people have excellent skillsets yet are paid comparatively little versus their peers. Why?

The truth is, they probably didn’t ask–or if they did, they didn’t ask in a way that conveyed they really thought that they deserved what they wanted. In many cases, the boss knows the most that he or she can pay, but will be pleased to pay less if an employee will accept it.

Of course, the boss will not tell the employee what he or she can actually afford to pay. But dealing with that is comparatively easy in the Information Age: there are salary guidelines for given locales and positions available on the Internet. The real challenge is not asking a high level of compensation, but feeling that you deserve the high level of compensation for which you are asking.

To do that, one must understand the relative value of money. We have established that being a billionaire is truly remarkable, and that accumulating a million dollars over a lifetime is not but that making a million dollars per year is. What about lower income levels–the sort that we tend to see in everyday life?

How much is a lot?

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Federal Poverty Guideline for a family of four in 2006 is $20,000. A family that makes this amount or less is, by definition, poor.

The median income reported for a family of four in 2006, however, ranged from a low of $45,867 in New Mexico to a high of $87,412 in New Jersey. These figures include single- and multi-earner households.

Consider a candidate in New Jersey who holds a degree in a moderate-demand field. Will he or she accept a salary of $20,000? Probably not. Expecting a salary of $87,412 may seem excessive, though, because he or she would, as a single earner, be requesting the average income of a family of four.

But is it excessive? Actually, no; if $87,412 is the median salary–meaning there are an equal number of earners above and below that mark–the candidate could, in fact, confidently request $90,000 or more. The reaction from a hiring manager would depend in part on the industry and also in part of the applicant’s specific skillset. Another candidate, in another job, however, could ask for it and get it. The trick is to have the audacity to ask.

A real-life story

Shortly after I finished college, someone I knew earned $40,000 a year. His stated goal was to reach a salary of $50,000. He worked hard to apply himself to education and professional development, and volunteered for special projects to expand his skillset.

His next job offer caught him off-guard: $73,000. He took it, of course, astonished at how much he now made. Within a few months, though, he realized that others in the field made considerably more. He stayed active in professional development and worked hard to master new skills.

A year into the job, he requested an increase in salary, providing his employer with salary survey data and other information. He received a raise to $89,000 and was offered an incentive plan based on performance.

After three years, he decided to leave. He interviewed at a number of top companies that were excited to meet him. He had an offer from one for $110,000 and then got an offer from another for $115,000. Deciding that he prefered the first company, he asked if they would increase their offer. Knowing that this would require approval, however, he offered to take an initial salary of $100,000 until he finished his probationary period. They accepted.

Four years ago, he aspired to someday make $50,000. Today, he makes $115,000–and considers $200,000 to be easily within reach given a few more years. And why?

Because he asked.

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The Quickest Way to Dramatically Increase Your Net Worth

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There are only two ways to increase your net worth. Here’s a secret formula to supercharge your ability to build personal wealth. All you do is fill in the blanks and follow the game plan. If you are self-disciplined and really want to increase your net worth… here’s your chance to succeed.

net worth, debt

Your net worth equals what you own minus what you owe. It is commonly referred to as the difference between your total assets and your total liabilities.

Here’s a simple illustration:

Home Value = $350,000   Mortgage balance = $150,000
Investments = 100,000     Credit cards = 20,000
Auto = 45,000                  Auto loans = 30,000
Savings = 15,000             Bank loan = 4,000
You Own = $510,000        You Owe = $204,000

Therefore, your net worth would be $306,000.

There are two ways to increase your net worth. You can own more things or you can reduce your debt obligation. This article will focus on reducing your debt first because it is the fastest way to generate more money and, then, buy (own) more things.

In our example, you have $204,000 of debt. If you’re like most people, you pay less attention to the mortgage and car loan balances because you consider them to be rather normal (necessary) to your way of life.

The credit card companies are probably charging somewhere between 12 to 18 percent (forget those slick, short-lived introductory teasers) and the bank loan is probably around 6 percent.

Now, before we go further let me ask you a question. Which is faster? Create $204,000 (in other words, own more) … or reduce $204,000 of debt? In both instances, the result is the same because your net worth will have increased by the same amount.

To create $204,000 in 15 years, you would have to invest $6,956.69 each year for 15 years and receive a guaranteed 8 percent rate of return. Where can you find a guaranteed rate of return this high in today’s marketplace? No where!

To reduce $204,000 of debt in 13.5 years, it takes only $100 extra each month. Now, let’s make sure you understand what I just said.

To increase your net worth by $204,000 you must invest almost $7,000 each year for 15 years. You hope and pray you’ll receive no less than 8 percent average every year.

Or… you can come up with only $100 each month to reduce 100% of your debt (to include your mortgage) in only 13.5 years — guaranteed! Hard to believe isn’t it?

Go ahead and check it out yourself. First, use a compound interest table to compute the investment requirement. Then, print this
debt reduction chart. You’ll need an Adobe Reader, which is probably already installed on your computer. Otherwise, go to adobe.com for a free download version.

In every instance, it is faster and more reliable to eliminate your liabilities than to increase your assets. Why? Because the interest you pay on your debt is excessively higher than the guaranteed interest you can earn.

By following the debt chart and adding an additional $100 each month to the minimum payment requirement, you can dramatically compound the effect of your payments and expedite the complete elimination of all your debt.

It’s a lot easier to come up with $100 extra each month than it is to find $6,956.69 each and every year for the next 15 years.

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The Road to Financial Freedom

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With a solid plan you can grow wealthy.

financial planning, personal finance, debt management

The road to financial freedom is a lot shorter than you may think. For those of us who did not start our lives wealthy because of our family, we only have 46 to 49 years of income producing ?more if you want to work into your “retirement?years.

During that time, we must complete our education or training, get a job or open a business, while meeting the many demands on what income we have left after
taxes.

We have to provide for food and shelter, clothes and transportation, child rearing expenses, college tuition, vacations, Christmas presents, insurance premiums and more. The list never seems to end.

How is it that some people can retire at age 50 in spite of all this while others will never retire at all. If you read the article, Get Rich Slowly – http://www.credit-yourself.com/get-rich.html – you can see how you can use the power of compound growth to amass millions if you start young. However, this is the period in
most people’s lives where the greatest demands seem to be made on their income.

First of all, you’re just starting out and are nowhere near your peak earning power. You might have just married and need a home and furnishings.

You might have to buy your first suits or business dresses for your new job. And you want to enjoy life, so you vacation, buy or lease new cars frequently and just basically run up debt, many times to be piled on top of your existing student loans.

But some people manage.

First they live within their means and save as much as possible.

They take advantage of all the tax shelters the government allows and if possible, save even more.

They invest in or start a part time business, rental properties or learn to increase their returns by smart investing.

They insure against potential risks that could ruin them financially.

They use debt wisely. They don’t necessarily shun debt, but use it as a tool to grow wealth. For example, they can leverage one 20% down payment into a string of
houses using mortgages. They can use margin debt to double the amount of their investment funds.

They can take advantage of tax credits, government guaranteed loans or grants offered to small businessmen or to certain minorities to fund multiple streams of income.

But they don’t use debt to fill the house with things. They pay cash for their new TV’s and stereos.

They take taxes into account when planning their lifestyle and investments and use all the tricks the IRS lets them get away with.

For a little over $3.00 a day, starting at age 22, you can amass over $850,000 in an IRA.

The difference between the financially independent and most of the rest of us is that they can find that $100 a month and don’t consider it some kind of sacrifice to invest it rather than spend it.

Most people will complain they have no money left over and that they live from paycheck to paycheck. But in almost all cases this is a lifestyle choice.

There are many stories of very low income people managing to put multiple children not only through college, but also graduate school or leaving millions to a favorite
charity.

These people are special in the sense that they had a goal and stuck to it no matter what. They worked hard, saved their money and achieved what they wanted to achieve.

Everyone can do this. You just have to ignore the siren song of commercialism, and decide whether a secure future for yourself, a college education for your children or a large bequest to your favorite charity is worth skipping the daily double latte at Starbucks.

That about all it takes to get you well down the road to financial freedom.

The road to financial freedom is literally paved with gold, yours for the taking.

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Tips on Saving Dollars on Energy in Your Home

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A typical U.S. family spends more than $1,600 a year on home utility bills, yet making some simple changes around the home can save money and make heating and cooling systems more efficient, according to World Energy Solutions, a publicly traded energy services company based in St. Petersburg, Fla.

Tips on Saving Energy Dollars in Your Home

A typical U.S. family spends more than $1,600 a year on home utility bills, yet making some simple changes around the home can save money and make heating and cooling systems more efficient, according to World Energy Solutions, a publicly traded energy services company based in St. Petersburg, Fla.

By evaluating facilities and equipment, World Energy Solutions (symbol: WEGY) helps businesses lower their utility consumption and maintenance costs and extend the life of their equipment.

“Many of the energy-saving strategies we use for our commercial customers can also be applied to the home,” says Benjamin Croxton, chief executive officer of World Energy Solutions. “There are many common-sense, low-cost and no-cost ways to lower your home energy use as well as many new technologies that can be applied to your home’s energy-consuming systems.”

Here are some tips from the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy on things homeowners can do to make their homes more energy efficient:

* Turn down the temperature of your water heater to the warm setting.

* Use energy-saving settings on refrigerators, dishwashers, washing machines and clothes dryers.

* Use compact fluorescent bulbs, which can save three-quarters of the electricity used by incandescents. First to be replaced should be any 60-watt to 100-watt bulbs that are used several hours a day.

* Have your heating and cooling systems serviced in the fall and spring. Duct sealing can also improve the energy efficiency and overall performance of your furnace or central air conditioner.

* Clean or replace furnace, air conditioner and heat-pump filters.

* Assess your heating and cooling systems to determine if you should replace or retrofit them to make them work more efficiently to provide the same comfort, or better, with less energy.

“If your home’s central air-conditioning system is over 10 years old, a new state-of-the-art system can save you 30 percent or more of your home’s air-conditioning expense,” says George Walker, air-conditioning expert with World Energy Solutions.

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That Old Refrigerator May Be Costing You

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That six-pack of soda in the garage refrigerator could be costing you a lot more than you think.

That Old Refrigerator May Be Costing You

That six-pack of soda in the garage refrigerator could be costing you a lot more than you think.

Millions of homeowners have an old refrigerator in their garage or basement, which is often a hand-me-down from the kitchen. These older refrigerators may still run, but can consume twice the amount of energy of a new energy-efficient model. At a time when homeowners are looking for ways to cut their energy bills, spending as much as $125 a year to keep a few sodas or beers cold may not make sense.

In a home where the extra refrigerator is regularly stocked with food, replacing it with a new Energy Star?qualified refrigerator is an option to consider. You’ll still save up to $275 over the next five years, plus you’ll get better performance. New Energy Star- qualified refrigerators are available in a variety of sizes and price points, so you don’t need to buy anything extravagant (some companies make refrigerators designed just for the garage).

If the extra refrigerator tends to be empty, or home to just a few batteries, stale sodas or mystery containers of food, you should probably get rid of it altogether. Think of all the extra space you’ll have in your garage for storing equipment or tools.

If giving up your second refrigerator causes too much angst, consider opting for a smaller compact fridge. These units are smaller than a regular refrigerator but can still hold extra sodas and other small items. They also use only a fraction of the energy of a full-size model. Look for one that has earned the Energy Star and save up to $80 per year.

If a large amount of food storage is needed, but only at certain times of the year, some families may find it better to keep the old model but only plug it in when it is needed. Leaving the old refrigerator unplugged for 10 months of the year can save as much as $105.

These models help reduce air pollution and greenhouse gases caused by burning fossil fuels and use less energy than a 75-watt lightbulb.

Is there an energy hog feeding in your basement? It could be costing you as much as $125 a year to keep a few sodas.

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Should I Look For Financing Before I Make A Major Purchase?

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Get your financing before you shop for your major purchase so you can save money! This is very important. You could save yourself lots of money by doing your research before you buy! Find out tips on where you should consider looking for your financing needs!

financing,vehicle financing,home financing,pre approved, personal finance,financial planning,credit

Yes, yes and yes! Get your financing before you start shopping for a home, vehicle or other major purchase. By doing this beforehand you’ll save yourself lots of money! Not only that, you’ll be in a great position to negotiate your purchase with the seller. There are so many ways that you can shop for your financing these days. Here are some tips and information to assist you with finding out where you can start looking for your financing needs:

1) Using the internet is a great way to do research on your financing. The internet provides you with an array of financing options to choose from. You get to check on what company provides you with the best interest rate for your needs. You’ll even find financing options you didn’t even realize are available to you.

2) Your own bank. Go to your bank and apply for the financing you need. Get pre approved for your loan prior to making your purchase. What better place to secure your financing than your own bank! You’re banking with them so why not consider giving them the opportunity to help you with your major purchase. Just make sure the interest rate their charging you is a good one!

3) Consider credit union financing. Sometimes you’ll find lower interest rates for that major purchase you’re trying to make via a credit union. Credit unions are also competing for your business as well and have become major players in the financial world these days. This is good, because you have another outlet to secure your financing from.

4) Check your local newspaper, phone book and other media sources for prospective companies that provide financing that you may consider using.

5) As a last resort, consider using the seller’s financing provided. The seller may have competitive interest rates you may be interested in applying for to make the major purchase you’re interested in.

So as you can see, there are several financing options available to you to secure your financing before you make your major purchase! You’ll have the edge on your seller when you’re getting ready to make your purchase. Yes that’s right! You can negotiate how much you’re paying for that home, vehicle or other major purchase before you sign on the dotted line. You’re in the driver’s seat because you have your money already, remember you’re already pre approved! So, let the negotiations for your major purchase begin!

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Lower Your Bills While “Keeping Your Cool”

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As utilities throughout the U.S. propose rate increases of as much as 70 percent, many homeowners are looking for ways to lower their energy bills.

Lower Your Bills While “Keeping Your Cool”

As utilities throughout the U.S. propose rate increases of as much as 70 percent, many homeowners are looking for ways to lower their energy bills. Simple steps such as home sealing can lower a home’s heating and cooling costs by up to 20 percent, saving homeowners hundreds of dollars.

“Having an energy-efficient home is just as important in the summer as it is in the winter. Home sealing is a simple way to keep cool air in, stay comfortable, and reduce energy bills,” says Steve Baden, Executive Director of the Residential Energy Services Network, a non-profit energy efficiency organization. “One of the first steps homeowners should consider is properly sealing the home. Air leaking through gaps and cracks can add up to as much airflow as an open window, and an air conditioner is one of the largest summer energy expenditures.”

Sealing the home with silicone sealants limits the costly escape of cool air from air-conditioned environments. A typical home can be sealed with four tubes of GE Silicone II, meaning that $20 could save a homeowner hundreds of dollars in energy costs.

GE offers a variety of silicone and acrylic home sealing solutions that can help a homeowner have a tighter, more energy efficient home. Jeff Davis, General Manager of GE Sealants & Adhesives, recommends a premium silicone sealant for summer home sealing.

“Silicone sealants provide homes with an air and water-tight seal that creates the highest level of efficiency and protection against the elements,” says Davis. “And because of its unmatched durability and adhesion, homeowners only have to seal a home once with silicone.”

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