For many office workers, the end of the year means annual review time, and if you’re lucky, a raise. For most folks, these raises will be in the low single-digit percentages, usually between 1 and 3%.
When you first do the math, it’s hard to get excited about such a nominal increase. In fact, in my experience, many workers become angry and disappointed over such a “small” raise after an annual review. But once you step back, take a deep breath, and become grateful for what you have, you will see that this money can make a difference in your life.
If you’re making $50,000 a year and get a 3% raise, you’re looking at around $40 more in your pocket per check.
Are you getting rich, no. But if you have a plan to spend this new found money, you can help advance your career and put your finances in better order.
Here are a few ways Jobacle recommends spending your raise after your annual review.
Add the Additional Money to Your Monthly Mortgage Payment
If you take this $80-a-month raise and add it to your monthly mortgage payment, you will save $60,000 in interest over the life of the loan. That’s serious money!
Up Your 401k/Retirement Contribution
If you’re reading this blog, I’m guessing you’re like me and most of our readers and do not have a pension. With Social Security on the brink of extinction and no true financial safety net for Gen X/Yers, we are reliant on the unpredictable, stock-market driven, 401k. Scary shit! But a few extra dollars a month over the course of your career can amount to real dollars. Since you will likely not feel the impact of missing a few dollars a month, take your raise and invest monthly in your future. See, that annual review wasn’t so bad after all.
Invest in Physical Activity
You already know that exercising gives you more energy, fights off depression and anxiety, and keeps your mind, body, and spirit in balance — so why aren’t you doing more?
Take the raise and join a local gym. Buy a piece of workout equipment for home. Enroll in a yoga or meditation class. Pretend a punching bag is your boss during your annual review. Just do something physical, anything!
You also might what to “invest” your raise and join a team. From softball to volleyball to kickball, these recreational activities are a great way to blow off some steam and network.
Speaking of networking…
Upgrade Your LinkedIn Membership to Premium
In these economically-challenging times, I understand that every dollar counts. That’s why it’s often hard to part with a few extra dollars to go “Premium.” However, upgrading your service level on LinkedIn can have a positive impact on your career. Premium allows you to contact people outside of your network directly via InMail, allowing you to better target the potential employers you want to work for.
The upgrade also gives you a better chance of being found in search results, along with a longer list of who has viewed your profile.
Your annual review raise easily offsets this cost and it could be super beneficial to your career.
Have a Professional Review/Re-Write Your Resume
Ironic, isn’t it, that we’re using the raise your company gave you to find you a new employer, eh?
Hiring a professional resume writer is a premium service that many people avoid. But even if you feel you are a good resume writer, there are people out there who can do it even better.
Other ways to spend your small annual review raise include:
– Take a Class. It could be a course to learn a new skill and further your value as an employee, or it could just be for personal fulfillment. Check out these great career books too.
– Be Charitable. It’s often hard to find the money to give back. Why not set aside some of this “new” money to help make a difference. And give yourself some tax relief in the process.
If your annual review reaped the bonus of a raise, be grateful! Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth. Go out and make the most of this new money.
Please subscribe for career advice designed to make work better.