Over the last couple of years I’ve read a lot on the FI approach. I mean… a LOT! There is always a constant challenge of reducing expenses and increasing earnings. I went for increasing my earnings, but not by a side hustle, but by investing in myself.
I’ve put in the work, learnt stuff, pushed to go on courses and get professional qualifications and built up as much as I can to be an expert in my field (non financial services before you ask). This has meant that over the years my salary has continued to trend upwards which has been great, although I haven’t done so well at keeping my lifestyle inflation in check.
A lot of what I have read out there is as soon as the pay rise comes in, it’s immediately banked into the savings collection somewhere. I have even done that myself over the last few years which is helping, but I have found there are challenges in banking 100% of any increases. I am fully expecting a whole bunch of comments (assuming people still visit!) rubbishing this post and saying of course you can bank it all, but it’s simply not my experience, and I will explain why. I could argue that this is investing in myself for all of them, and to a degree this is true, but it is what it is.
One of the key things for me is networking – basically going down to the pub / coffee shop / a meal out etc. with current and former colleagues and friends you know and catching up. It may seem odd that you end up spending a few rounds of beer, and nothing much happens, however you never know. I haven’t had to look for a job in years, they have all come via my contacts, so in a sense it works very well compared to the effort of updating a CV, dealing with headhunters etc.
On a reasonably regular basis then I often find myself stumping up some cash for a round or three with people, but it is worth it. If you are just starting out in the work, and your aim is more career than side hustles, the one piece of advice I will give is this…. Network. Network, network network. People get to know you, and you become front of mind for things. I’ll do a whole post on networking at some point!
The second challenge is the inevitable team drinks. It is not only expected that I will go out with the teams, but that I will also always buy the first round, regardless of if I can expense it or not as a thank you for the team and the work they have done. You always expect the most senior person to pick up the tab, and these days that is normally me. It’s great if I can put things on my reward credit cards as I get something back, but there are things I can’t claim back (e.g. a tip) and sometimes not even the round of drinks, it comes out of my own pocket. As such, especially in a fast paced environment, compared to years ago, I couldn’t bank everything.
Sure – I could not go or not buy the first round, but that would impact on me professionally. You get far more out of people if you can build that relationship, reward them for the work they have done. I do know people who take the approach of not ever going out, but then you find people won’t want to work for that person or be part of their team, it makes it much harder for the day job.
Have you been able to bank all of every pay rise you have received?