WH
Whitney Hansen
7 days ago

The Ultimate Guide to How I Paid Off 30,000 in 10 months

adulting
debt
2010 was a great year. I graduated college, I got my first “big kid” job at a public accounting firm and life was looking promising. There was only one problem. 

I had almost $30,000 in debt staring me in the face. 

For some, that is okay, student loans are normal. But I wanted to make my own choices instead of having debt make choices...
2010 was a great year. I graduated college, I got my first “big kid” job at a public accounting firm and life was looking promising. There was only one problem. 

I had almost $30,000 in debt staring me in the face. 

For some, that is okay, student loans are normal. But I wanted to make my own choices instead of having debt make choices for me. Intuitively I knew that $30k was a crap ton of debt. I couldn’t take a job at a non-profit (paid too little), and I couldn’t start my own business, because I had a debt to pay off. My paycheck was officially owned before I even got my hands on it.

Treating debt like a necessary part of your life will cost you. What are the costs, you ask? Well…
  • Thousands of dollars in interest
  • Hours of lost sleep
  • Stress levels that not even wine can cure and the most costly…
Your freedom. It took me years to figure out that debt was stifling my growth. I didn’t even know I had problem until it hit me in the face – rather abruptly too. Okay, let’s get down to business. This is exactly what I did to pay off $30k in 10 months.

Step 1: The Plan
In order to tackle the Goliath of a debt, I needed a plan. Something that was actionable, measurable, and ambitious. I also needed a pretty big shovel to fill the hole I dug myself in. 

I’ve always been a big believer in the saying…“If people aren’t laughing at your goals, you aren’t dreaming big enough.” My first goal was to pay off my debt in 12 months. When I shared this goal, I not only got some strange looks, laughs, and smirky smiles, but I was also told I set my bar too high.

Anytime you go about trying to achieve a massive and audacious goal, people will try to put your dreams down. Don’t let them. People project their version of the world onto you. If they don’t think it’s possible for them to personally accomplish the goal, they will tell you it won’t be possible for you to do it either.

On October 10, 2010 I wrote in a notebook: Pay off $30,000 by October 2011.

Thanks to the power of setting goals correctly (and a ton of grit), I actually beat my goal by two months. In August of 2011, I made my final student loan payment. That night, I slept like a baby.

Step 2: The Sacrifice
Part of my plan of paying off my debt was knowing that I had to make some really, really big changes. Cutting out buying coffee twice a week was not going to cut it. To get drastic results, I had to make drastic changes.

My pre-debt freedom situation:
  • Owned my own home
  • No car payments (thank baby Jesus!)
  • No credit card debt
  • Was in a serious relationship
  • College degree
  • $30,000 in debt
  • Great part-time job at a spa with extremely flexible hours
  • Landed a Staff Accountant position with a flexible schedule
 Here were the sacrifices I made:
  • Rented my home out for $100 per month more than my house payment & moved in with my partner (allowing me to pay lower rent)
  • Sold all my awesome furniture (this was a bummer-dude moment for me, but gave me a nice chunk of cash to start my debt-free process)
  • Worked two jobs, 70-80 hours per week
  • Didn’t have a day off for three months
  • Didn’t buy coffee for 10 months (I almost forgot what the inside of Starbucks looked like)
  • Packed a lunch every single day (to this day, I still bring a lunch every day)
And probably the most important sacrifice…my lifestyle. I knew I could survive on less than $25,000 a year. Heck, I knew with my house rented out I could survive on $15,000 a year. I lived in true “college student spirit” a little while longer. 

The two shovels that I used to fill the large “debt” hole:
  • Spa job: This was my job that put me through college. I lived on a solely commission-based income for 4 years and knew I could continue living off of it. Working part-time at the salon meant that my income would decrease to around $25,000 a year. I worked 26 hours a week and made 100 percent commission.
  • Accounting job: Accounting is very cyclical business. I was deeply needed for audits and preparing tax returns. I worked at the accounting firm 49 hours per week, and was paid once a month. This check went ENTIRELY to paying for my debt.
Have you ever been so busy that you literally couldn’t even make it to the bank, let alone go shopping? That was my life. Being so busy was a huge blessing in disguise. I didn’t even have time to spend money if I wanted to. My sacrifices were drastic (but passive streams of income can be game-changers).

I wanted unreal results, and I got them. It wouldn’t be fair if I didn’t discuss the financial tools I used to make this happen.

Next week, we’ll share how these and the perks of living debt free in the Ultimate Guide for How I Paid Off 30,000 in 10 months, Part 2. If you're interested in connecting with Whitney Hansen for one-on-one coaching, reach out here.
LA
Liz Alterman
9 days ago

How to Ask for (and Get) the Raise You Deserve

adulting
salary
Talking about money — especially when it comes to asking for more of it —makes many of us feel, well, awkward. But that’s no reason not to request the amount you deserve.

According to a study by the Cass Business School, the University of Warwick, and the ...
Talking about money — especially when it comes to asking for more of it —makes many of us feel, well, awkward. But that’s no reason not to request the amount you deserve.

According to a study by the Cass Business School, the University of Warwick, and the University of Wisconsin, women ask for raises just as frequently as men do. Unfortunately, the study found that while women aren’t shy about asking for a raise, historically, they’ve been 25 percent less likely than their male counterparts to receive it.

But don’t let that information discourage you. Let it empower you to strengthen your resolve to change those statistics.

“Asking for a raise is tough on any employee, especially women in the workplace,” says Neale Godfrey, president and chairman at Green$treet Commons, Inc. “That said, women have made incredible strides and a women's voice in corporate America is louder than ever.”

Let’s take our volume and fearlessness to a new level, ladies. As the new year and review season roll around, it’s vital to build an iron-clad case that proves you merit this bump in pay. Here’s your roadmap to asking for — and getting — the raise you deserve.

Know your worth
While it’s tempting to request a pay hike that would take your lifestyle to a whole new level of fabulous, it’s important to be realistic. When it comes to making an ask that will be considered, you need to understand where your salary falls in relation to others with your title in the same industry.

“The first step is to do your homework and determine what the current market rates are for your position,” says Amanda Haddaway, managing director and lead consultant and trainer for HR Answerbox. “Check out websites like the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Glassdoor, and other online pay sites. Keep in mind that some of this data is user-submitted, so it may not be 100 percent accurate, but it can at least give you a ballpark of what others are being paid for similar jobs in your area."

Pay attention to your role and level when doing this comparative research, says Adam R. Calli, principal consultant at Arc Human Capital, LLC. “Be sure it’s matched to your hierarchical level, your duties and responsibilities, your performance, and your geography.”

Show your value
Once you’ve determined that magic number, you’ll want to go into your review or meeting armed with evidence that illustrates exactly why you deserve that boost.

“Be prepared to talk about your accomplishments and have concrete examples,” says Jody Friend, president and CEO of JLM HR Consulting, LLC.

Calli recommends considering the following while building your case: 
  1. What are the key performance indicators that are monitored in your company or your division? “If you can tie your work to positive benefits for the organization, then you are putting down a strong foundation to justify an increase,” he says.
  2. What happened during the past year or so that was unusual and required unusual effort on your part? “Reminding the boss of how you stepped up during particularly trying times is an important part of your argument,” Calli points out. Think of things like going above and beyond while short-staffed, rolling out a new system, and meeting new client demands.
  3. Did you save the company money? If so, bring out the receipts. Data is your friend.
  4. Did you take on any new responsibilities? Flip through your calendar and look at everything that was scheduled this year to jog your memory, Calli suggests. Did you prove your worth by managing a bigger team? Go above and beyond to take on tasks you weren’t hired to do? Train a large number of staff or teach your colleagues something important? Take on extra travel that usually isn’t required?
  5. Did you earn a certification that makes you more valuable (not to mention more marketable!)?

Practice makes perfect
It’s completely understandable to feel nervous about making the request— all the more reason to workshop it.

“Role play the conversation,” suggests Godfrey. “It might be awkward to rehearse your negotiation, but preparation is key. Find a friend or family member and record the discussion.”

Time it just right
Be mindful of when might be an opportune moment. Choose the right time for “the conversation,” Godfrey advises. 

“Schedule it, and be cognizant of what is happening at work. Before a big deadline or the week before your boss is going on vacation may not set the best stage for a raise discussion."

Get creative with your requests
While, of course, everyone hopes this request will go his or her way, if you don’t receive a resounding, “Yes!” initially, take heart: all is not lost.

"Companies are hesitant to make a longtime increased salary commitment, but might be happy to recognize and reward you for a job well done,” Calli says. 

Perhaps there’s something other than cold hard cash that would make you feel more appreciated. “What is valuable to you besides only money?” Calli asks. “Maybe an extra week of vacation as a bonus? What if they pay for your parking for the year? To the company, paying for parking is a very different thing than more payroll dollars. So be creative and have a plan B of what you’ll ask for if the salary-increase request is turned down.” 

Remember the old saying, “You don’t ask, you don’t get?” Well, you’ve got this. And you’ve earned it!


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