The Winner of the April 2015 Call to Action!

The Winner of the April 2015 Call to Action!

IMG_7536When we posed our April Call to Action question—if you had the chance to hit the refresh button on one financial mistake from your past, what would it be?—we received nearly 100 responses!

This made us happy—and not just because it was a great way to pay homage to National Financial Literacy Month.

What really warmed our hearts is seeing just how invested members of the LearnVest community are in upping the ante on their financial know-how.

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So thank you to everyone who shared!

And congratulations to this month’s winner, who will receive $100 to help her achieve her financial goals!

Meet Subu S., a product manager at a startup in San Francisco who shared her cautionary tale about undervaluing herself—a misstep she's still smarting from today.

“If I could reset any financial mistake, I wouldn't have sold myself short on my salary requirements on my first two jobs out of college.

The first job offered me more money than my mom had ever made in her entire career, so the amount just stunned me—and I never thought to ask for more.

But the reality was that I grew up in places with much lower costs of living than the San Francisco Bay Area, where I am now. It was also a huge company, with plenty of resources to offer, and I was a pretty desirable hire—so I could've asked for more.

"The process of building up my salary with occasional raises has taken me so much longer than if I'd just had a couple of conversations earlier—and valued myself more."

When I left that job, I really wanted to break into the startup scene, where I knew salaries were lower. So when the founder of where I currently work asked me what I made at my old job, I panicked and said a number that was lower than my salary! I was so worried they'd think I wanted too much.

They came back with an offer that was about $10,000 less than what I should be making in my current position. I accepted it without any negotiation because I was just so happy to get the job at all.

Since then, I've only asked for a raise once. While I try to make ends meet, friends who stayed at my old company or joined larger ones are making six figures.

So what have I learned? One conversation at work could make all the difference.

It takes a lot of time and effort to get incremental raises, so your starting salary conversation is hugely important! And don't be afraid to ask for things other than cash—whether it's a vacation before starting, more stock, or more work-from-home days.

Finally, make sure to schedule that raise conversation yearly. I went two years without one because I didn't proactively bring it up.

The process of building up my salary with occasional raises has taken me so much longer than if I'd just had a couple of conversations earlier—and valued myself more.”

Thanks for sharing, Subu!

RELATED: The Psychology of Negotiation: 4 Ways to Get What You Want

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