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FI Weekly – February 1, 2022: Negotiating Salary, Excel & Google Sheets Hacks, Inflation and FI


Negotiating Your Salary

One of the most pleasant surprises from our run of 500+ ChooseFI podcast episodes is how many people have listened to Episode 147 with Tori Dunlap and Episode 211 with Financial Mechanic and taken action to negotiate their salaries to great success.

I try to include as many of these as I can in the weekly ‘taking action’ section below because they are inspiring to me personally since this was always something I didn’t have the guts to do in my corporate career.

I simply accepted the pitiful 3% raises I received, and it led to a lot of frustration.

I wanted to include a link to Jessica, the Financial Mechanic’s incredible resource entitled, “7 Tips for Negotiating – How I Doubled My Salary in Two Years” and implore you to click on the link and thoroughly read through it and take action on implementing this in your own career.

To whet your appetite, here is Jessica’s list which she fully fleshes out in the article with in-depth and specific scripts on how to succeed at salary negotiation:

The 7 Tips:
1.       Put off talking salary in the early stages
2.       Do your research to know your worth
3.       Remember that you are not the only one negotiating
4.       Ask for their number before revealing yours
5.       Negotiating is about more than salary
6.       Practice!
7.       Accept or reject offers with grace

Productivity Hacks for Excel & Google Sheets

For the millions of workers who use Microsoft Excel & Google Sheets constantly in their jobs, one of the best ways to level up productivity (and your job skills and future prospects!) is to become more proficient with many of the built-in tools & formulas hidden in plain sight.

I liked to think I was pretty efficient with Excel during my career, but thinking back on how many tasks I did repetitively without a formula or productivity hack makes me rethink that self-assessment.

Luckily there are plenty of resources available today that can help train you in some of the most important Excel tricks. 

I came across this Twitter thread with “12 Google Sheets formulas guaranteed to increase your productivity today” and it is an absolute must-read.

One of the most interesting content creators I’ve come across in a long time goes by the name of Miss Excel, and she has become a viral sensation on Tik Tok where each of her videos features an essential Excel hack and a silly dance rolled into one.  She’s really thorough and you can learn a lot through her hundreds of short videos.

Community Q&A: Inflation and Your FI Number

Our latest community question is regarding how rising inflation will potentially impact our FI Number and Safe Withdrawal Rate (SWR).

It is really important to understand how inflation is baked into the SWR calculation and thus how rising inflation, especially if structural, would impact our SWR and FI Number.

It’s still way too early to tell if this higher inflation level truly is structural or merely transitory, but we need to prepare ourselves with this knowledge ahead of time so we can be nimble if changes to our calculations need to be made.

As always, if you have FI related questions you’d like our team to tackle, send them to [email protected]

ChooseFI Community Taking Action This Week

  • Blair said, “My 1% better was more like 84% better, as I got about $84,000 in student loans forgiven and am now debt free! They were forgiven through the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program for Federal workers. I had been bickering with this program for over two years, as they claimed that some of my loan payments didn’t count towards forgiveness, and I was certain that they should count. Well, a recent temporary rule change determined that all my payments were indeed eligible, and so my loans were finally forgiven. It took over 10 years for me to reach this goal of getting these loans forgiven, and it finally paid off!””
  • Douglas said, “My 1% for the week was starting a rollover from my old 401(k) into a new IRA, where I’ll have more investment options and the ability to convert some funds to Roth. I chose the shortest path by taking a direct rollover within the same brokerage, but because the target date fund I had my money invested in was not available outside the employer plan, I was forced to sell everything before the rollover could begin. It was scary knowing all of my funds would be liquidated while the rollover was in progress, but then I thought: there’s no way to know what the market will do in the 1-3 days my money will be in cash. It could go up. It could go down. It could stay the same. I just don’t know. What I do know is that when this is done, I’ll be able to reinvest in an index-tracking target date fund with lower expenses and better performance. I’m glad I made the move.”
  • Kathryn said, “My HUGE win was being able to resign from a job that was stressful and unfulfilling. Because we had a financial cushion, I didn’t have to jump on the first offer. I had time to find my dream job. Once I found said dream job (happening quicker than expected – of course – because that’s what happens with the FI mindset), I asked for a start date 3 months out and the new employer said, sure no problem. I continued my sabbatical, spending time with my kids and caretaking while daycares were closed, alleviating family stress. I’m SO grateful for ChooseFI and the FI community for showing me the way!”
  • Erik said, “My 1% better is I decided to slash the glut in my checking account and use that money to pay off my $10,969.13 car loan. The interest rate was only 2.72% but that’s money going to someone else that I can use to build my investments. I still have 3 months of core expenses in my “emergency fund” in M1 Finance, so now I get to add the car payment to my investments each month. Such a big relief to pay that off.”
  • Bill said, “Hey guys, this year is going great. This week’s 1% is I just got my raise to making 100k per year! This has been a goal of mine for a while now to make it to this level without a college degree. About 4 years ago I just started speaking it into existence. When I met with future employers and they asked me, where I see myself in 5 years, I just said “I am not sure but it will be making 100k without a degree before I turn 40.” And here it is at 38 years old. The good part is I took the raise and added it to my HSA to max that for the year! 2022 will be our year!”
  • Leah said, “I’m a mechanical engineer in Canada and this week I got a new job. I was able to increase my base salary by 15% and increase my health spending employer contribution by negotiating their first offer. The new job is a bike-able distance from home so I can sell my old car. I used many of the tips shared within the FI Community.”

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