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Invest in Yourself to Increase Your Worth

April 27, 2011 Leave a comment

It’s difficult to manage your money if you don’t have any money (or if you feel like you don’t have any money).   If you feel like you’re constantly treading water when it comes to managing your money, paying down debt and increasing your net worth, you may want to think about another aspect of money management called human capital.

Human capital is your ability to earn income and the value of that future income.  The younger you are, the larger your human capital because you have more time to work and earn money.  Developing and protecting your human capital is an important part of managing your finances.

The Wall Street Journal has a great article which discusses the importance of knowing what you are worth.  It looks beyond the standard idea of net worth (how your liabilities (e.g., mortgage, student loans, etc.) stack up against your assets (e.g., home value, retirement accounts, investments, etc.)) and discusses how your worth also means your human capital.

Building your human capital can increase your income and can increase your ability to reach your financial goals in the future.  Essentially, you are investing in you.

How Do I Cultivate My Human Capital?

Training and Education.  Is there a certification you’ve been eyeing that will increase your chances of getting promoted?  Is there a class you can take that will allow you to learn new skills?  Don’t overlook classes and trainings that will increase or diversify your skill set.  Are you interested in changing to a more lucrative career?  Take local classes during the weekends and in the evenings so that you can build skills that will allow you to become qualified to do the work you want to do.  Take on volunteer work that will make you more marketable.

Active Involvement in Your Career Development.  When I started my legal career, I went to work, got my assignments, put my head down and worked.  My academic success came from hard work so why change what works?  Because success in business is not just about who works the hardest.  Who you know, what you can offer your company and how you relate to people are all extremely important.  You could be the smartest person in the office but if people can’t relate to you, it’s unlikely that people will have your back when promotions are being discussed.  Cultivate relationships and seek out mentors.  Volunteer for new projects.  Become an expert in a new area.  All of these things will help you develop important human capital.

Network and Maintain Contacts.  You are more likely to get your foot in the door if you know someone behind the door.   Join a professional organization and meet new people.  Maintain contact with people and don’t wait until you need something to cultivate those relationships.  Make sure your relationships are a two-way street.  Offer to help people and you’ll receive help when you need it.

How Do I Protect My Human Capital?

Disability Insurance.  What happens if you become injured and can’t work?  You want to protect yourself and your family by having disability insurance.  Disability insurance will cover part of your salary when you are unable to work.  Disabilities can often have a devastating effect on your finances because not only are you not working but you are also running up medical bills to treat your injury. Protect yourself and your capital.

What To Do if You Lose Your Job

February 21, 2010 Leave a comment

Nancy Pascal

I recently conducted an interview with Nancy Pascal, a career coach.  I asked her to discuss career and job issues since jobs and money are so clearly interconnected.

I met Nancy in the summer of 2008.  I was a corporate attorney at a large, international law firm.  I realized that the work I was doing at the firm was not my passion and did not match up with my values.  While the firm had impressive clients who were creating ground breaking investment products, I felt that I should be doing more to help people rather than financial institutions.  As I was wandering from career book to career book in an attempt to stumble across my dream job, I met Nancy and began working with her to seek out a new, more fulfilling position.

I can honestly say that Nancy knows her stuff.  She is well versed in resume and cover letter writing.  But beyond the basic job hunting skills, she also has a talent for helping a person hone in on their skills and talents in a way that can help lead them to a fulfilling career.

I asked Nancy to list the most important things that a person should do immediately after getting laid off.

Kim: When someone loses his or her job, what is the first thing that person should do?

Nancy: No matter how shook up you are, ask questions about the situation and negotiate with your employer.  The time to negotiate is at that moment.

Kim: What if you forget or something prevents you from negotiating at the moment you get laid off?

Nancy:  You want to negotiate as soon as possible.  Once you are off the premises, it is much easier for your former employer to say “no” to any of your requests.  If you think you are going to be laid off, pay attention to what kind of severance packages have been handed out in the past.  And remember that you can negotiate anything.  If you need additional healthcare, ask for it.  You may not get what you want but it doesn’t hurt to ask.  And remember: you don’t need to sign anything on the spot.

Kim: So you can take an agreement with you?

Nancy: Yes.  You should take time to review it with a clear head so that you can think it over.  Also, try to get references in writing before you leave the office.  You have more leverage while you’re still there in the office.

Kim:  Once you have been laid off and you’re out of the office, what is the next thing that a person should do?

Nancy:  Decompress.  It’s ok to take a break.  You don’t have to immediately jump right in to searching for a job.  You should take some time to regroup and lick your wounds.  Even if you expect to be laid of or you hate your job so much that you want to be laid off, it will affect your ego.  You need time to deal with that.

Kim: What next?

Nancy: Set up a schedule and a routine.  Don’t get sedentary and don’t lose focus.  Set up a time to wake up and a time for lunch.  Try to stay structured.  Getting a job is your new job and you need to have structure to do this.

Kim:  So now that you have a structured day, what do you do to increase your chances at finding a job?

Nancy:  Make sure that you are up to date on all social networks.  Review your contacts and who you know to see if your network can help you find a new position.

Kim:  Any final recommendations?

Nancy:  File for unemployment ASAP.  People often wait or their pride gets in the way so they don’t file right away.  You don’t know how long you will be out of work and it’s best to file for unemployment as soon as you can.

Categories: Jobs Tags: , , ,

Getting Answers to Your Career and Job Questions

February 2, 2010 Leave a comment

It’s hard to manage your money when you don’t have any.  Unless you are born wealthy, your job and your salary have a lot to do with you ability to handle your finances. Maybe you are having difficulty managing you finances because you are struggling to find work that will allow you to financially support yourself.  Or maybe you are concerned about leaving a high paying job to pursue a less lucrative career.

There are a lot of new career and job issues that have popped up due to the changes in the economy.  In an effort to address these issues, I have asked Nancy Pascal, a Career Coach, to be my guest blogger for February.   Ms. Pascal is a career specialist who counsels individuals on career transitions.  She spent over ten years as a recruiter where she focused on diversity recruiting.  Ms. Pascal is sought after for her career coaching, her deep understanding of the employment marketplace and her ability to use such understanding to advise and match employers and candidates successfully.  Ms.  Pascal has conducted several workshops and has been invited to speak on numerous panels regarding career opportunities.

Throughout February, Ms. Pascal will post information regarding some commonly asked career questions and issues.  But, she will also answer your specific job and career questions.   Do you have questions about negotiating a severance package that you know is coming down the pipeline?  Do you need information on interviewing?  How about ways to deal with issues or conflicts with your current job or boss?  If you would like some answers, please send your questions to careeranswers08@aol.com.  Your information will be kept confidential so don’t be afraid to ask your most pressing career and job questions.

Categories: Jobs