I started my career in financial services 10 years ago. It was a bookkeeping job that opened my eyes to my love for numbers. I’d always been great with math but going to college made me want to explore something that challenged me. I landed with a bachelor’s degree in Psychology. After graduating, I found myself in a situation where my degree was not serving me in the least bit. So I went for a job that paid me $12 an hour and considered myself blessed. Shortly after, I got the opportunity to work for a local financial institution. This institution is the second largest credit union in the US, and I landed my first role as a financial services representative, a teller, for a whooping $25,000 salary. It seemed low to me and when I approached the manager about negotiations, I was hit was a solid, “we don’t do that here, you get what you get.” So, I didn’t fight. What I did do was work extremely hard to find avenues without the organization to make more money.
Fast forward 5 years. I remember seeing a survey that said people found that money didn’t increase happiness after making $75,000. So, what did I do? Shoot for $75,000 and quickly found out, that was a LIE! I tripled my salary to reach $75,000 however inflation, benefits such as health insurance and 401k contributions, taxes and debt swallowed my check whole. It was quite depressing to be in an industry giving people a blueprint for financial success while secretly suffering in my own pit of despair financially.
“Have you ever thought you were climbing the corporate ladder only to find out you were simply on a hamster wheel?”
7 years into my career, after years of dedication, a multitude of certifications and letters added behind my name, I was sure I was doing everything I needed to do to break those glass ceilings, show up and make well into 6 figures by 30. Again, that was a LIE! Time and again I was told “you are moving too fast, you’ve got time, what is the rush?” I watched my white male counterparts, same age and years of experience get promoted before me, become Vice Presidents, and experience a significant increase in income while I simply had to sit back and wait my turn. Something in me begin to stir and it felt wrong. I constantly felt like I was going against the grain, I couldn’t understand what why I simply could not move forward to the next step in my career.
It was because I wasn’t supposed to. My impact had greater reach and it was up to me to decide the road which I would take. Staying there would have been hard. Leaving would have been hard. But I had to choose which hard I wanted. I ultimately decided to leave my post and choose another path.
It has been a year since I made my decision and I have not looked back with an ounce of regret. I have found that a dream salary does not equal any form of additional happiness. If you have to sacrifice your peace, your mental health or your dignity, money doesn’t matter. What does matter? Well, that’s up to you. I found what mattered to me by creating a list of 5 priorities and values that were important to me. When I realized that a salary did not add any additional value, I was able to confidently decide to move on from an organization that I was sure I’d retire from.
My life is different, in the best way! I am still a financial professional and I am able to make a greater contribution to individuals around the world who desire to experience financial security and resiliency. The beauty of it is, this is something I have always dreamt of doing but was always worried. Worried about money, worried about benefits, worried about everything and nothing. Guess what? My family is insured. Our bills are paid. We are moving forward into the next phase of freedom in our lives. We are lighting the path for others to do the same, whatever that looks like for them.
What salary would make you feel financially secure?
I thought my number was $75,000. I recently looked to see what salary makes people feel financially secure these days and well, like everything else, that number increased! A recent article from CNBC stated that “Americans need to make roughly $122,000 a year to feel financially healthy.” Well, that is almost $50,000 more than I thought and well, wage stagnation likely would extend the likelihood of my wages reaching that amount in time to outpace inflation.
When you think about what security looks like for you? What does financial security cost you? That number looks different for everyone. What works for me, is completely different than what will work for you. The beauty in this journey is, you are the captain of your ship. In this era of the Great Resignation, you have a great opportunity before you. This is an employee market. The world is your oyster!
Go forth and Get Your Money! Move forward and don’t look back! Your financial security awaits you!
If you are ready to get a plan in place to establish financial security, book a discovery call with me so you can move you forward to your freedom!
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