Indispensability & Salary

February 16, 2010 I read Seth Godin’s book Linchpin. At the time I worked in banking netting less than 50% my current pay. I knew that if I wanted to get my earnings up I’d have to switch companies and possibly switch careers entirely. I became increasingly more frustrated with where my future looked there. The next step up was assistant manager and even he didn’t make a whole lot more than I did.

Currently I enjoy my job, enjoy my team but I also feel like I’m not pushing myself hard enough to get promoted. So I need to become a Linchpin and use my skills to make me more valuable. Each week I need to set a smart goal like an hour a week. I’ll inevitably get hooked and want to do more but like the gym showing up is half the battle.

If I want to retire early or on time with a lot of cash I need to accelerate my annual earnings. If I don’t get promoted this year, I will be in the market to start looking for another company to work for. This is not something I want to do, but staying where I am for a long period will almost ensure I never get close to the the $100k gross target I want to hit by the time I’m 40. Then again I have almost 9 years until that happens. I just don’t want to screw things up for myself by getting comfortable.

At the same time…

  • I have good work / life balance now. We have busy moments of course and I have to put out fires but I don’t have someone yelling at me each day to do something. Been there before and it wasn’t a good arrangement.
  • My friends who make a lot more money than I do are way stressed out.
  • Once I get Navient paid off I can accelerate the process of putting money aside for retirement. Like minimally $6k in the Roth and $8k
  • It’s not all about money
  • It doesn’t have to be an all or nothing approach, I could dabble or multiple things with minimal risk. Keep trying at it until something has a pay off.
  • There’s always the possibility of being downsized. Doesn’t look likely, but life and business is fluid and you just never know sometimes….
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One thought on “Indispensability & Salary

  1. Can you really expect to have enough money to retire early if you move from job to job. Consider this. I was lucky to work 26 years and buy 5 years of work senority for $30k. That gave me 31 years service at one place. And that allowed me to take an early out at 49 years of age. I get about $2500 a month after taxes. That’s not living large. Fortunately my expenses are low and I could retire early. Others at work nearing their mid thirties who were late bloomers bought $150k condos and had loans on those that made retirement impossible. They had to stay another five years to get to their early 55 age retirement. But consider this, a retirement package, if you are lucky and a good enough slave to see it gives $2500 a year for a guy like me who was a computer analyst. That’s not to much and I have to live frugal on it to save money and pay down any debt I foolishly may add with credit card purchases. I figured it would take me 2.5 years to get debt free after retiring and it took me 3 years.

    But secured savings that pay a fixed rate of interest are paying only about 1%. Maybe as much as 3% but it’s really nothing. Risky retirement funds pay more and you should put your retirement nest egg in those if possible, growth mutual funds, etc. If I want my principle safe and retire with a savings account and no retirement account, I need to pay for health insurance as well, if my retirement is lame from the job and I switch around from job to job looking for the perfect career. I have seen IT professionals who made the swtich from job to job and they don’t have the senority.

    How much money is good health insurance? It’s about $1000 a month for a single person. If you want the best and think your rich and frugal you might end up paying that. So consider that you need to pull in $3500 to live like the lucky (but somewhat poor retiree who had a typical early out.) How much money will you need in the bank to get $3500 a month. It’s between $2.5 and $3.5 million dollars. So jumping from job to job won’t get you there with 401k plans unless you are making a ton of money and putting a ton away. If you can live frugally and put away a ton of money from your early twenties and retire at 60 with moderate returns you may have a million or two dollars. But the long term retiree from the “lucky few” company or government job that may be boring will be way ahead of the 401k person. Add social security and I will be making as much take home as I was as a programmer while working.

    Why did I retire early? Well I lsot $90k in take home income by retiring early, but I needed to in order to help out family members and I got the middle part of my life free. How many would spend $100,000 to live another five years at the end of their life? I think most would if they had that choice for a rare operation to extend their last years. I sacrificed that expense to get my middle years, another five years while I am more healthy. So that’s the reason to retire early, to get those better years and hopefully live a nice life and have a bit of fun without stress before you health stops that. When you retire, life isn’t always fun. I actually had more fun when working than during my retirement, because I had a great job and everyone I know wants me to do something for them because I am retired and I have “free time” while they are busy with their job. So you may not find early retirement a joy, if you have a bunch of leaches hanging onto you. Consider finding a good job that has good retirement benefits in an industry that will stay in the USA. That job, even if it’s terrible should be stuck to to get a retirement and you should pay enough SSI taxes to get something back. Living cheaply with a cheap job is an option and skill but having the cash flow when your older can really help get rid of stress.

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