Talking about money can be weird and uncomfortable, but Nerdette is determined to make it easier for you.
“Money and money management can feel really abstract,” said Lindsey Stanberry, author of a book all about getting your financial life in order.
“Taking care of your money and negotiating a raise and fighting for your own personal self-worth is a game changer,” she said. “And if we’re all doing it, then it’s going to create a movement.”
Stanberry is the work and money director at Refinery29, an online magazine and media company geared toward young women, and the author of Money Diaries: Everything You’ve Ever Wanted To Know About Your Finances… And Everyone Else’s.
Stanberry told us about a few important money lessons. Here are three big tips, including how to ask for a raise.
1. Know your numbers
Lindsey Stanberry: How many people don’t know how much is in their checking account? Or the actual number of their student loan debt? It’s crazy to me. I mean, I even had to look to see how much I was contributing to my 401(k), because that was something that I set up and then didn’t even think about again, and I was like, “Wait a second. How much is in that account? Am I on track? What is on track?”
So I think that just sitting down and writing down those numbers can be really empowering and can also help you begin to lay the groundwork for what you want to do with your money.
2. Know your worth
Stanberry: I think it’s really important to remember — especially for us who are passionate about our jobs and our work is very personal — it can be hard to kind of divorce yourself from feeling like what you’re being paid is representative of how much you’re worth to the company. But you really do need to sit down and figure out how you’re helping the bottom line. Numbers are the best way to do that.
Whenever you get a nice email from your boss or your boss’s boss or a colleague, write that stuff down. I find that the best thing to do is to actually make a list of all the awesome accomplishments you’ve had when you go in for that raise to make your argument.
And be super positive. It can be such an awkward and emotional-filled thing, but if you go in there swinging, you’re setting yourself up for failure.
Remind yourself that you are valuable and people want you. That’s why I always think it’s good to interview for jobs even if you don’t think you want to leave your job, just as a muscle-flexing moment, and also as a good reminder that you’re awesome. You’re doing it.
3. Want to get paid more? Ask.
Stanberry: It’s hard. And it’s not fun. And it may be that we don’t get the money. I know a lot of the advice is: “You have to go out and find that counteroffer and then either use it to get a better raise at the place you’re at or just be prepared to leave.” I hate that advice, but I actually think it’s just reality.
Greta Johnsen: When it comes to someone who’s gotten a job offer, what is your advice for how they should actually be asking for more dollars?
Stanberry: I mean, you just have to ask. I think that it’s really important to do your research before you make that ask. Being on the side of somebody who has offered salaries and negotiated with the person with the offer, it’s always amazing to me when people come in with just crazy asks, either under or over. I’m always like, “Wait, how did you get that number? I don’t have $100,000 to pay you. I wish I did. And also, I’m not going to pay you $30,000 either. That’s crazy, too.”
This interview has been edited for brevity and clarity. Click the “play” button to listen to the entire conversation, which was produced and adapted for the web by Sofi LaLonde.