While perusing career news, I came across an article that stated U.S. workers can expect to earn 3 percent more in 2013. This is what the forecasters of such news are calling the new normal. Are you kidding me? That doesn't even cover the increase we will all experience buying more gas and bread. Even milk is $5 a gallon. WTH? You know what I wanted to say, but folks, this is the company site, so I'm trying to keep my cussing to a minimum. Nonetheless, 3 percent is certainly better than 0 percent, right? It’s actually kind of ridiculous given that many have five jobs, no assistance, no bonuses, not enough days off and are required to be constantly plugged into to an electronic device that bings with every move you make. OK, I digress. Back to the story. So what to do with this newfound money that some, not all of you, will receive in the coming months? Invest it in yourself. Don't be a fool and waste it on Louboutins you can't strut in, a vacation that leaves your bank account in the negative, or a fabu bag that is worth more than the money inside of it. Instead, follow these tips to give your career and your wealth-building future a boost.
Invest in Your Education: If your company offers classes, tuition-reimbursement, it's a great time to start thinking about what you can take to increase your skill set. They may pay 100 percent of the tuition, but if they don't, pay for it yourself. Once you get that certificate, degree or completion stamp, leverage it to turn your 3 percent into more.
Invest in Your 401(K): There's a study by Ariel Capital Management, a black-owned financial services company in Chicago that states the median amount Blacks contribute to their retirement plans is $230 per month, compared to $337 a month contributed by Whites. The median assets for Blacks are $56,000 compared to $106,000 for Whites. Bottom line people: We need to save more! So when you have a bonus, a raise, a spot bonus, a promotion or some other type of windfall, send it straight to your retirement plan and do not press SPEND.
Invest in a Career Coach: Career and Personal Coach Marsha Haygood of Stepwise Associates is a wonderful career coach who dispenses rock-solid advice to the readers of ESSENCE on a regular basis. In one interview, she advised that if you want to network more at the office, go to the bathroom on a different floor every day. Priceless. Find a good career coach by asking the top performers in your company who helped them excel or go to sites like careercoachacademy.com or secondact.com. They are well worth the investment.