What’s the best way for me to advance my career?
Look for opportunities inside your company to take on more responsibility or a specialized role in order to increase your income. Rather than getting a part-time job, possibly taking attention away from your current position, first look within.
For example, my friend Sibyl Bogardus, an employee benefits attorney, made a strategic career move in her 30s. While working in the compliance department of her company, she noticed that the attorneys on the sales side made substantially more. So Sibyl learned sales and shifted roles.
At the same time, she focused on developing a talent that she lacked as an introvert… public speaking. Though terrifying at first, Sibyl made a conscious decision to get out of her comfort zone to learn a skill that would increase her income. These gutsy moves paid off, and she was able to stop working full-time job at age 52.
Would an advanced degree or technical specialty help me earn more?
If your employer has an Education Reimbursement Program, they may cover your expenses after you successfully complete classes or a certification that applies to your job.
A Cigna study on the return on investment (ROI) for tuition reimbursement benefits for companies showed that employees who used these programs were 10% more likely to be promoted. Additionally, “employees who took advantage of the Educational Reimbursement Program (ERP) achieved 43% higher incremental wage gains.”
Doing the extra work to obtain an advanced degree or certification also shows your employer that you are serious about your career, no matter your age.
A word of warning, though. Once you have the raise, bonus and/or a higher-paying position, if you’re behind on saving, it’s imperative that you save and invest the whole raise or bonus.
Avoid lifestyle creep and set aside those funds for investing. After all of your hard work, resisting the urge to splurge may be just as challenging as earning the funds in the first place.
This was originally posted on my Forbes.com site Sept 19, 2017 as The First Step You Should Take If You Are 50 And Haven’t Started Saving
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