You’re too old to go trick-or-treating. Goblins and witches don’t scare you anymore. Nowadays the things that go bump in the night are real-world worries—from your fear of going upside down in yoga class to how scared you are to check your bank account balance on Monday morning after a particularly carefree weekend.
Unfortunately, we can’t do anything to help your headstand (though we hear using a wall for balance helps), but we can offer advice for some of the money issues that you’re afraid to address. So, this Halloween, instead of pulling the covers up over your head, plugging your ears and singing “La-la-la-la!”—meet your financial fears head on. They’re only scary when you avoid ’em.
The Fear: Wading Into That Pile of Bills
How to Get Over It: First: “Go through them one by one,” says Natalie Taylor, a CFP® with LearnVest Planning Services. You just have to take it one bill at a time. If you keep letting them stack up, it’s just going to get worse. Once you get started, you’ll build up momentum and want to keep going.
To keep the pile-up from happening again, advises Taylor, set up automatic bill pay to cut down on the mail you receive at home. However, automated bill pay is best used on fixed expenses (such as a gym membership, Netflix, your mortgage), while variable expenses like your cell phone bill or electric bill should never auto-deduct because their cost depends on usage (say, a $100 bill one month and $150 the next). If reading this still makes you feel like, “I don’t wanna,” then consider the price of your procrastination.
The Fear: Asking for a Raise
How to Get Over It: Pick the right time. You’re itching to pull your boss aside to have a delicate conversation about giving you a pay bump but … you’ve got cold feet. We don’t blame you. The secret? First, spend a few months going above and beyond your job description. Be the star employee who’s top-gunning it all over the company—winning new business, impressing clients and knocking important projects out of the park. The best time to negotiate is when you’re riding high from a big success, and make sure you can quantify how your contribution is fueling the company’s bottom-line interests and values.
And remember: You must be your own advocate. You might think that your employer should take notice of how you’re hunkering down at your desk, head bowed and typing away, and that your hard work will speak for you. But that’s not always, or often, the case. Yes, work hard. But also: Speak up.
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