When you’re humming along at work, nothing significant to complain about…but you just feel like something is missing…that missing thing may just be your spark—the thing that just makes you come truly alive.
Consciously or not, we all strive to feel that spark. And today you’re in luck. I spoke with Jonathan Fields, award-winning author, executive producer, and host of one of the top-ranked podcasts in the world, Good Life Project. He’s also the Founder and CEO of Spark Endeavors and author of the new book Sparked: Discover Your Unique Imprint for Work that Makes You Come Alive.
He shared with me some of his favorite stories and bits of actionable wisdom to help us all unlock our potential, motivation, impact, and joy.
Listen to the full conversation on Apple, Spotify, or your favorite podcast platform, or just click the audio player above.
What does it mean to truly feel “sparked”?
Based on years of research within organizations yielding more than 25 million data points, Fields knows of what he speaks when it comes to feeling sparked.
A spark refers to “what I often call coming alive. And for me, that’s the confluence of 5 different states”:
1. Meaningfulness—do you feel like your work matters?
2. Flow—are you able to just get lost in it, losing all sense of time?
3. Engagement—are you excited and energized by what’s capturing your attention?
4. Expressed potential—do you feel great at what you do, like you’re putting your gifts to work?
5. Purpose—are you doing what you’re meant to do?
How can we discover our own spark?
Through his research, Fields identified 10 unique archetypes (and combining the word spark with archetype, he’s landed on Sparketypes) that represent our primary impulses. You may be a maven, maker, scientist, essentialist, performer, sage, warrior, advisor, advocate, or nurturer.
The assessment will feed you a primary sparketype, a shadow (secondary) sparketype, and an anti-sparketype, the thing that “most readily empties you and requires the greatest recovery.”
I took the free assessment which showed my primary type is Advisor, my secondary is Sage, and my anti is Performer—all of which resonated completely.
You too can take the free assessment to “get some really interesting insights about who [you] are and [what your] strongest impulse is that makes [you] come alive.”
What can we do with the results?
Knowing your Sparketype helps you to look at the work you’re doing and either validate that you’re in the right place doing the right things or may prompt you to do a bit of discovery.
It facilitates “…the process of asking, is [my work] giving me what I want, what I need to feel like I’m flourishing as a human being?”
“We're all in this moment,” Fields shared, “where we have an opportunity to reimagine how we play together. And it starts with the individual and really understanding what is that deeper impulse within me. And then it ripples out into the entire ecosystem that might allow us to bring that forward, to express it and contribute in a meaningful way.”
Some people, upon discovering a mismatch between their Sparketype and their job description, take the “nuclear career option” where they choose to blow it all up and start fresh. It’s an option, but not often the recommended path. Jonathan calls this the “option of last resort.”
Instead, he counsels, try to “reimagine the way that you're doing what you're doing, potentially build more sparked activities around it…” that honor your values. Choosing activities that give you purpose and meaning can often provide the compromise we’re seeking.
“I talk about work…as basically anything that requires us to exert effort in a sustained way. That could be our job, an activity, an endeavor, a hobby, a role, a devotion, and those all fold in to give us the opportunity to feel those things that we want to feel to come alive.
Start looking outside of the boundaries of the thing that you get paid to do and ask, ‘what else can I do? What else can I say yes to what else can I create that would give me this feeling?’ And very often the blend of an optimized, main job and a compliment of things that you wrap around it, they get you there.”
Can this self-awareness help us manage burnout?
When I asked Fields the burnout question, he said, “A lot of people are pointing to the lack of boundaries between work and life as the central problem now. And I think that's a superficial overlay.”
The deeper issue, he explains, is the misalignment between the descriptions of our jobs, and our interior sense of purpose, of values, and of what lights us up.
How can teams use the assessment for good?
As this is a podcast about workplace success, I had to ask how leaders might utilize the assessment with their teams. And he offered a three-step recommendation:
Leaders themselves should take the assessment to enhance their own sense of self-awareness around what makes them feel most alive and show up most authentically
Leaders should then encourage team members to do the same
Finally, leaders should facilitate an open dialog with the team about everyone’s natural sparketypes—finding spots where joy and purpose may be bumped up.
As we closed, Jonathan called attention to the unique moment we’re in (as we close out 2021).
“There is universal groundlessness. And everyone [seems to be asking these big questions and making bold decisions. [Someday] that window's going to close. “
In other words, he leaves us with a call to action. Take the assessment, gain some self-awareness, and give yourself the gift of feeling fully alive.
My dad has always been a runner. So, when I graduated from college determined to bump up my own fitness, I took up running. Because in my family, fitness was running.
Two years later, slim and grumpy, I had an epiphany. I HATE running! I had defaulted to running as a means of fitness simply because I’d never stopped to question it. But in 2003 I joined my first gym, and a whole new beautiful world opened up to me. Today, I do everything at the gym…except run. And I’m fitter now than ever. Sorry, Dad.
The point is that sometimes we hold onto assumptions about the way things are or should be. We stick with routines and habits. Not because they’re true or good. Just because we’ve never questioned them. And sometimes those old assumptions can get in the way of our best results.
I see people doing the same thing in the workplace. We do things on autopilot out of habit. But it’s time to stop and question some of these defaults.
Today let’s talk about the most common habits that have us stuck, and the tactics we can use to break out of them.
1. Saying yes to the meeting
When a meeting request comes in, chances are you check your availability. And if the time is open on your calendar, you accept. Right? I was guilty of this for years.
But what if we asked better questions? Instead of asking “am I available?” what if you tried asking…
Do I believe that whatever is on the agenda for this meeting actually warrants a meeting?
Is there something specific the organizer is looking for me to deliver in this meeting or is it just to keep me in the loop (in which case, a quick email after the meeting would suffice)?
Would attending this meeting help me to deliver on my goals and commitments?
Will this meeting provide me with an opportunity for exposure or connection to someone important?
Is participating in this meeting the best relative use of that hour?
If your answers are anything but yes, then you owe yourself the gift of a pause before you hit “accept.”
Being invited to a meeting doesn’t—or shouldn’t—obligate you to donate an hour of your time to someone else’s agenda. An open slot on your calendar doesn’t have to equate to an implicit invitation to anyone else to snatch up that time.
Next time you receive a calendar invite, pause and reflect before you hit yes. Your time is a precious resource, and part of your job is to manage its expenditure wisely.
Is that meeting indeed the best use of your time? Or is saying yes just a habit worth breaking?
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2. Responding immediately to that email
An email in your inbox commands a quick reply…right?
There are emails that do indeed command immediate attention. Ignoring that customer complaint, that question from your boss’s boss’s boss, or even that electronic tap on the shoulder from HR might be a dangerous move.
But so many of the emails tortuously hitting our inboxes daily are, frankly, things—issues, questions, and concerns—that if given a bit of time to air out will likely resolve themselves.
My husband has mastered this one. I’m notorious at losing things and he’s my go-to finder. He gets countless texts and emails from me each week whining about something I’ve lost. He ignores me for a while knowing I’ll find 90% of it on my own. And for the sake of our marriage, once I’ve survived the waiting period, he will indeed help me find that 10%.
The same concept applies at work. Your colleague is having trouble interpreting the data you’ve shared, or can’t recall where you filed that monthly report, or is wondering whether you can help her fix this glitchy thing.
I’m not suggesting you ignore her completely. I’m just suggesting that you sit on it for 24 hours or so. Because in that time, it’s likely she’ll figure out the data, find the report, and realize she just needed to restart her computer…because restarting your computer is the answer 94% of the time (in my experience).
By letting go of your default habit to answer every email right away, you win back time, energy, and attention you can better direct elsewhere.
3. Accepting every assignment your boss offers
You want to be a good citizen at work. But don’t confuse saying “yes” to everything with being the most strategic team member you can be.
Bosses, on balance, are busy. They don’t always have the time or presence of mind to track all they’ve asked you to do or to assess the strategic relevance of each project.
Last week, one of my clients was complaining about Essie, his director of strategy. “I asked her nearly two weeks ago to deliver a report to me and I’m still waiting on it.”
Out of curiosity, I asked him how many other things he’d asked of Essie in the past few weeks. He did a quick scan of his “sent” box and realized he’d asked 7 different things of her in the past 3 weeks. He wasn’t tracking these things and suddenly realized he had asked a LOT of her.
He needed to help her prioritize. But Essie needed to be asking better questions of him.
Next time you’re in Essie’s position, challenge your default to say yes, and try asking your boss:
How should I think about the priority of this project/task/activity relative to the others on my plate?
What is the outcome you’re hoping this project will deliver and is there a faster or more efficient way for us to get to that same outcome?
Might anyone else in the organization be working on something similar that could leverage?
Play the role of strategic thinker to ensure you’re spending your limited time and energy in the most productive ways.
What are some of the other default habits you find yourself falling into? Maybe you’re chasing the next promotion…without asking yourself whether you really want it. Or you say yes to every invitation to network with someone…without wondering whether this introduction will serve your goals.
Don’t be afraid to look at your own default settings. What is the one thing you really need to start questioning, and how might doing so move you forward in a more intentional way?
Ah, bullshit. We see it—and call it—all around us: with kids, partners, colleagues, advertising, politics, etc. You name the domain and we’ve seen its BS. Sometimes it’s innocuous and frustrating, but other times it can detrimental, holding us back from trading in truth and reality.
So how do spot and combat the BS swirling around us? John Petrocelli, social psychologist and author of the new book The Life-Changing Science of Detecting Bullshit joined me for a conversation to help decode, demystify, and push past the BS. And yes, it’s science.
What is the meaning of bullshit?
Borrowing from a definition developed by moral philosopher Harry Frankfurt, BS, John explains, is “a communicative substance that results from intentionally or unintentionally, consciously or unconsciously… communicating something that one knows little to nothing about” often to impress, to fit in, to persuade, or simply to hide the fact that one doesn’t know what they’re talking about.
“Essentially,” he continues, “it just involves talking about something with little to no regard for what we would call truth, genuine evidence, or established knowledge.”
And this matters because, as John told me, “the research so far suggests that BS can have a longer-lasting and more impactful effect on a person’s attitudes and beliefs.” In other words, BS carries consequences we need to attend to.
How does bullshit show up in the workplace?
“You would think,” he began, “that the workplace would be a place that people would engage in evidence-based communication and reasoning more than any other place, but you find just as much BS there as [anywhere else].”
Much of this is driven by people feeling obligated to have an informed opinion about everything. This is exacerbated in the workplace, where we are, after all, supposed to be experts at our jobs. So, when a question is posed, we should have an answer. When an idea is challenged, we should have a defense at the ready.
“But the reality is oftentimes we do not have well-informed answers and evidence-based beliefs about the things we do.”
I shared with John some of my own personal experience in starting and growing my consulting business. In the earliest days, I believed that by branding myself as an expert in organizational development, my clients expected a point of view always at the ready. But with time and confidence came the recognition that I was able to deliver greater value by sometimes saying “that’s a great question and I’d love to consider and research it before offering an answer.”
It’s a tradeoff—more time equals more truth. And that tradeoff should be a win.
My clients appreciate this approach. But in today’s fast-moving world, it can feel risky.
How harmful is BS, really?
Not all BS is created equal. John uses the BS Flies Index to help us categorize the innocuous to the harmful and everything in between. So, the number of flies landing on…well… the pile represents the degree of damage that BS inflicts.
One fly represents harmless BS. Imagine embellishing the details of a story to entertain or impress a friend or colleague.
Two flies are bad. And it deserves attention in the workplace—the kind of bullshit that needs to be called out. It’s “fail[ing] to conform to common standards of acceptable conduct. ‘Who would ever vote for her with a face like that?’ [would be] a good example.” (A good example of bad!)
And three flies are the most damaging. This is the BS “likely to cause direct harm or injury, perhaps…with adverse consequences.” Telling yourself you’re uniquely good at driving while texting is an example here. The consequences of the BS you’re feeding yourself could be fatal.
4 ways to minimize BS in the workplace
Minimizing BS at work is something we all carry responsibility for. Here are some of John’s recommendations.
1. Distinguish explanation from evidence
Recognize that when a colleague offers you a rationale (i.e., customers over 65 will love this product because it has a 1950’s feel, and it will remind them of their youth), an explanation isn't the same thing as evidence.
Has your colleague market-tested the product? Have they talked to customers over the age of 65? Are there similar products on the market delivering similar results? These answers would serve as evidence—the antidote to BS.
2. Accept your vulnerability
This might blow your mind: the less susceptible to BS we believe we are, the more susceptible we actually are. By accepting our individual vulnerability to BS, we can consciously be on the lookout for it. We can’t combat what we can’t see.
3. Ask better questions
BS often sounds good on the surface, but it doesn’t stand up to honest investigation. Asking questions that challenge the BS-er to go deeper will often uncover the truth. Questions like…
o Can you give me more specifics?
o How will that work in the face of…?
o Have you considered what would happen if…?
4. Affirm the courage to say "I don't know"
Often, people will BS not because they want to, but because the alternative is to say nothing which takes courage.
Leaders, John explains, should focus on creating cultures in which “I don’t know but I’d be happy to explore and find out” is an honorable response. Let your teams know we’d rather have the truth later than a false truth now.
Leaders should role model saying “I don’t know,” and they should reward and recognize people who do so.
It’s incumbent on all of us to pay attention to our own tendencies to deliver BS, as well as to keep our antennae up so we start recognizing it in others.
If you get paid every two weeks, you’ve probably noticed extra money coming your way certain months. Maybe you even thought your company’s payroll made a mistake! But it’s no mistake. You get two magical months like this a year: when you suddenly have a third paycheck andâthe best part isâyour monthly bills stay the same. Yes, it’s appropriate to jump for joyâprovided you have a plan for that extra income.
Why does this happen in the first place? If you’re paid biweekly, you get 26 paychecks throughout the 52-week year. That means two months out of the year, you end up getting three paychecks instead of your regular two.
Those two extra paychecks can go a long way. But without a plan in mind, they can also disappear. Fast. The first budgeting trick to saving two paychecks is to find out when they will hit your account. Grab a calendar and write down your paydays for every month in a given year and highlight the two extras. Maybe even put calendar reminders in your phone so you can track when the additional funds will hit your account. The extra paychecks will fall on different days every year, so tracking them in advance is key.
Samuel Deane, a founding partner of a New York City-based wealth management firm, says there isn’t one correct way to budget with an extra paycheck, but that it should depend on your personal situation and financial goals. You could decide to give yourself some extra room in your budget throughout the year, for example, or use the extra money for something specific.
How can I budget for an extra paycheck? Consider these 5 budgeting hacks if you’re paid biweekly:
1. Pay down (mainly) high-interest debt
Once you’re done jumping for joy at the realization of the third paycheck, consider how your budget with an extra paycheck could help you pay down debt. “The first thing I usually tell my clients is to get rid of high-rate debt, which is usually credit card debt,” Deane says.
Before paying off debt with your new budget with an extra paycheck, make a list of all of your debts organized by balance and annual percentage rate (APR). Paying off the debt with the highest APR could save you the most money because you’re paying the most to carry a balance. Paying down a few low-APR, low-balance debts can also help you gain momentum and bring other financial benefits. For instance, if you owe close to your credit limit on a credit card, the high credit utilizationâor card balance to credit limit ratioâcould negatively impact your credit score.
If your budget with an extra paycheck includes debt repayment, you’ll start to owe less and have less interest accruing each month, freeing up even more cash from subsequent paychecks.
“The first thing I usually tell my clients is to get rid of high-rate debt, which is usually credit card debt.”
2. Build an emergency fund
Paying down debt isn’t the only way to budget with an extra paycheck. “Taking a look at whether you have a sufficient emergency fund is pretty important,” says Dan Stous, director of financial planning at a financial planning and investment management firm.
An emergency fund of three to six months of your regular expenses can help you weather financial setbacks, such as a lost job or medical emergency, without having to take on new debt. Keeping these funds separate from your regular checking and savings accounts can help you keep them earmarked for the unexpected (and reduce the temptation to dip into them for non-emergency expenses). Places to keep your emergency fund include a high-yield savings account, certificate of deposit or money market account.
Sunny skies are the right time to save for a rainy day. Start an emergency fund with no minimum balance. Start Saving OnlineSavings Discover Bank, Member FDIC
If creating an emergency fund or adding to an existing one is on your to-do list, a budgeting trick to save two paychecks is to automatically transfer your extra paychecks into your emergency fund account.
3. Save for a big goal
If you want to save for a goal like a new car or home, or contribute to tax-advantaged retirement accounts, contributing two full paychecks out of 26 can be a good start. “If a client is debt-free and doing well, they might be able to focus on other goals,” Deane says. If you’ve got a financial goal in mind, a budgeting hack if you’re paid biweekly is to transfer your two extra paychecks from your checking account to a savings or retirement account right away.
If you have a 401(k) through an employer and already contribute enough to get your maximum annual match, Deane says you may want to consider a Roth IRA. A Roth IRA is for retirement, but it also allows first-time homebuyers who have held their account for at least five years to withdraw up to $10,000 to buy a home, Deane says. Your budget with an extra paycheck could then go to either major goal.
Even loftier, “you could put aside money to start a business,” Deane says. If you plan on starting a business someday you could put away the paychecks annually and let those savings build as start-up capital.
need a vacation from the daily grind, want to enrich or educate yourself or your family or simply want to get a date night at your favorite restaurant on the calendar. A budgeting trick to save two paychecks could be supplemented with some spending on yourself.
“If you have an extra paycheck and a debt reduction goal, then maybe you apply the whole thing toward that goal. On the other hand, maybe you have a goal to retire in 10 years and you’re off track. Then, it’d be wise to put that money, or at least a portion of it, toward that goal.”
There’s no one-size-fits-all budgeting trick to save two paychecks
When you’re deciding how to budget with an extra paycheck, you might find yourself going back and forth between options.
“If you have an extra paycheck and a debt-reduction goal, then maybe you apply the whole thing toward that goal,” Stous says. “On the other hand, maybe you have a goal to retire in 10 years and you’re off track. Then, it’d be wise to put that money, or at least a portion of it, toward that goal.”
Even though budgeting solutions are not the same for everyone, being disciplined and proactive about the savings opportunity of a third paycheck can help you form a strong foundation for your financial future.
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The post The Magical Third Paycheck: 5 Budgeting Hacks If You’re Paid Biweekly appeared first on Discover Bank – Banking Topics Blog.
Maybe you’re tired of the full-time gig. Or you’re thinking of a side hustle. Or you’ve bought into the wisdom of having multiple income streams.
If you’ve got the bug—to gig, hustle, or found, then do I have the book—and the conversation for you.
QDT’s own Money Girl, Laura Adams, joins me to talk about all the things you don’t know—and don’t know you don’t know—when it comes to starting a hustle or business. In her new book, Money-Smart Solopreneur: A Personal Finance System for Freelancers, Entrepreneurs, and Side-Hustlers, she covers everything from finance to productivity to purpose, and we chat about the essentials in this week’s interview.
We began at the intersection of financial genius and workplace success.
“It is a scary world,” Laura told me,” for new business owners—there's a lot of questions, a lot of concerns, but the reality is it doesn't have to be scary. We can make it pretty simple.” This beautifully encapsulates her book as well as the conversation we had around it.
You can listen to the full conversation using the player above, or in your favorite podcast app.
For the person who wants to start something on their own, but is just too afraid of the uncertainty, what advice would you offer?
Laura acknowledges that just getting started can be the most intimidating part. We anticipate all the things that could go wrong. But there is a cost, too, to standing still, to not taking a step toward financial independence.
"Don't hold back from a great idea due to a lot of detail."
“One of the themes of my book,” she explains, “is to just give it a go and have the courage to make a move.” Some of what makes solopreneurship so scary is thinking about everything you don’t know that you don’t know. “I see a lot of people who are very reticent to get started because they're so afraid that they're going to do something wrong…to violate some business law. And, and the reality is it's more likely that you should get started and then figure things out…So don't hold back from a great idea due to a lot of details.”
Maybe start a side hustle rather than a full-blown business. Whether that’s driving for a ride-sharing service or doing some small bits of freelance work in your free time, there are plenty of options that don’t require you to leave your job on day one.
“The beauty of starting something on the side is that you don't have a ton of financial risk… For a lot of people, the side hustle is the answer to earning more income so they can invest more for retirement or pay down debt, send a kid to college… if you're interested in getting started, that's the ideal way.”
Do I need to set myself up as a business the first time I earn a dollar as a side hustler or solopreneur?
The short answer is no.
“One piece of advice that I always give folks that are just getting started is to earn a little income first before incorporating… You want to prove the concept can work… it’s going to be a revenue-generating activity… And once you’ve earned $10,000 from your entrepreneurial work, that’s the point where I would say it’s time to start taking yourself a bit more seriously.”
If your proof of concept is a success, then it’s time to explore more formal financial systems.
“You’ll want to be sure you’re keeping your personal expenses separate from your business expenses…[this is] key because if you are not tracking that carefully, you may lose some of the potential tax deductions that you have.”
For example, you may be having dinner with a potential client. If you’re paying for the dinner from “your personal bank account, and you forget to flag that as a tax-deductible expense…then that's money that you're not going to be able to save when taxes are due.”
“The only exception would be if you're getting into something where you do have a lot of legal liability, [like a catering business where you’re serving food]… in that case, you may want to form [a] business structure [sooner than later]. You may want to chat with a business attorney [to fully understand the risk you’re taking on.]”
The world of business insurance is so intimidating!
A lot of people are intimidated by the idea of getting insurance…in part because it requires you to imagine all of the worst-case scenarios.
“It's not fun to think about all the things that can go wrong, but that's why insurance exists. There are a plethora of business policies out there.”
What you need depends so much on what type of business you’re running and what your actual risk is.
“So get advice from a licensed insurance broker… their advice is, is free, and it's generally going to be pretty good… So ask them…”
You’ll want to consider the actual risks you're facing—be it cyber-security, covering your inventory, or even covering income lost to injury or natural disaster.
You’ll also want to consider your clients’ expectations. Some business clients, for example, may require that you have a baseline of coverage in the context of consulting or advisory work.
In short, ask a lot of questions, and make informed decisions as you go. But don’t wait until every question is asked and answered before taking your first step.
But what if it doesn’t work out?
Entrepreneurship, Laura concedes, isn’t easy.
“The biggest myth,” she explains, “is that entrepreneurship is easy. I think too many people just think, ‘yeah, this is going to be a breeze.’ While that may be true for some, in general, it's a lot of hard work…"
Financially, we mitigate this risk by having savings set aside. If things aren’t going according to plan, the world won’t end as long as you’ve set aside those living expenses.
And from a career standpoint? Laura and I discussed how compelling even a short stint in entrepreneurship can be as part of your story. “Even if you only get a year's worth of entrepreneurial work under your belt… I can guarantee you're going to pick up some skills, you're going to meet some new people, you’re going to have some added value to bring back to your next employer. I know many people that go in and out of the freelance world and go back to W2…that's definitely been the case for me and every opportunity that I have, whether it's a W2 position working with a new client as a freelancer, I'm constantly learning new skills."
Laura and I went into greater depth on all these topics and more—listen to the full episode on the Modern Mentor podcast. You can find Laura on the Money Girl podcast, and don’t forget to pick up a copy of her new book Money-Smart Solopreneur: A Personal Finance System for Freelancers, Entrepreneurs, and Side-Hustlers. It’s a wonderful reference guide if you’re just getting started, even thinking about getting started, or a few years in but humble enough to realize there are details you’ve still not figured out completely!
Before the coronavirus reached the U.S., unemployment was low and few could have anticipated a global pandemic. However, as the pandemic and ensuing recession took hold, a record-breaking number of people filed for unemployment benefits to stay financially afloat.
âCOVID-19 led to an incredible number of American workers being without work,â says Julia Simon-Mishel, an unemployment compensation attorney. âAnd itâs caused a huge need for individuals to file for unemployment insurance.â
Unemployment insurance, or unemployment benefits, can offer an essential lifeline. But if youâve never accessed these benefits before, you may have questions about how they work. You might also be asking: What do I do when my unemployment benefits run out and Iâm still unemployed?
This article1 offers tips about what you need to know about filing an unemployment claim. It also addresses the following questions:
How do you prepare for the end of unemployment benefits?
Can your unemployment benefits be extended?
What can you do when unemployment runs out?
Can you refile for unemployment after it runs out?
If youâre just getting ready to file or need a refresher on the basics of unemployment benefits, read on to have your questions answered.
If youâre already collecting benefits and want to know what happens once you reach the end of the benefit period, skip ahead to âSteps to take before your unemployment benefits run out.â
Common questions about unemployment benefits
Experiencing a job loss is challenging no matter what. Keep in mind that youâre not alone, and remember that unemployment benefits were created to help you.
While theyâre designed to provide financial relief, unemployment benefits are not always easy to navigate. Hereâs what you need to know to understand how unemployment benefits work:
What are unemployment benefits?
Unemployment insurance provides people who have lost their job with temporary income while they search for and land another job. The amount provided and time period the benefits last may vary by state. Generally, most states offer up to half of a personâs previous wages in unemployment benefits for 26 weeks or until you land another full-time job, whichever comes first. Requirements and eligibility may vary, so be sure to check your stateâs unemployment agency for guidance.
How do you apply for unemployment benefits?
Depending on where you live, claims may be filed in person, by phone or online. Check your state governmentâs website for details.
Who can file an unemployment claim?
This also may vary from state to state, but eligibility typically requires that you lost your job or were furloughed through no fault of your own, in addition to meeting work and wage requirements. During the coronavirus pandemic, the government loosened restrictions, extending unemployment benefits to gig workers and the self-employed.
When should you apply for unemployment benefits?
Short answer: As soon as possible after you lose your job. âIf you are someone who has had steady W2 work, itâs important that you file for unemployment the moment you lose work,â Simon-Mishel says. The longer you wait to file, the longer youâre likely to wait to get paid.
When do you receive unemployment benefits?
Generally, if you are eligible, you can expect to receive your first benefit check two to three weeks after you file your claim. Of course, this may differ based on your state or if thereâs a surge of people filing claims.
2020 enhancements to unemployment benefits for freelance and contract workers
In early 2020, the U.S. government enacted the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, or CARES Act. In addition to other benefits, the CARES Act created a new program called Pandemic Unemployment Assistance. This program provides unemployment benefits to independent contractors and other workers who were typically ineligible. That means that if you donât have steady W2 incomeâfor instance, freelance and contract workers, those who file 1099s, farmers and the self-employedâyou still may qualify for unemployment benefits.
âThat program is a retroactive payout,â Simon-Mishel says. âIf youâre just finding out about that program several months after losing your job, you should be able to file and get benefits going back to when you lost work.â
Because legislation affecting unemployment benefits continues to evolve, itâs important that you keep an eye out for any additional stimulus programs that can extend unemployment benefits. Be sure to regularly check your stateâs unemployment insurance program page for updates.
“Itâs really important to keep on top of all the information out there right now and be aware of what benefits are available to you.”
Steps to take before your unemployment benefits run out
In a perfect world, your job leads would become offers long before you reached the end of your unemployment benefits. But in reality, thatâs not always the case.
If youâre still unemployed but havenât yet exhausted your benefits and extensions, you may want to prepare for the end of your unemployment benefits as early as possible so you donât become financially overwhelmed. Here are four tips to help you get through this time:
Talk to service providers
Reaching out to your utility service providers like your gas, electric or water company is one of the first steps John Schmoll, creator of personal finance blog Frugal Rules, suggests taking if youâre preparing for the end of unemployment benefits.
âA lot of times, either out of shame or just not knowing, people donât contact service providers and let them know what their situation is,â Schmoll says. â[Contact them to] see what programs they have in place to help you reduce your spending, and basically save as much of that as possible to help stretch your budget even further.â
To help prepare for the end of your unemployment benefits, a few months before your benefits end, Schmoll suggests cutting back spending as much as possible, focusing only on necessities.
âIf you can try and save something out of the benefits that youâre receiving while youâre receiving themâit doesnât matter if itâs $10 or $20âthatâs going to help provide some cushion,â Schmoll says. Keep those funds in a separate account if you can, so youâre not tempted to spend them. That way youâre more prepared in case of an emergency.
If you hunkered down during your period of unemployment and were able to save, try to resist the urge to splurge on things that arenât necessary.
âThere might be temptation to overspend, but curtail that and focus on true necessities,â Schmoll says. âThat way when [or if] you receive an extension on your benefits, you now have that extra money saved.â
If you find that your savings and benefits arenât covering your expenses, and youâre reaching a point where you no longer qualify for benefits, look into other new benefit programs or features designed to help during times of crisis.
For example, there are programs across the country to assist people with rent or mortgages, Simon-Mishel says. Those programs are generally designed to keep those facing financial hardship from losing their home or apartment. You may need to show that you are within the programsâ income limits to qualify, or demonstrate that your rent is more than 30 percent of your income. These programs vary widely at the state and even city level, so check your local government website to see what might be available to you.
As you prepare for the end of your unemployment benefits, explore which government benefits or government agency may be best suited for your needs.
Keep up with the news
During economic downturns, government programs and funds often change to keep up with evolving demand.
âItâs really important to keep on top of all the information out there right now and be aware of what benefits are available to you,â says Simon-Mishel. âYou should closely pay attention to the social media of your state unemployment agency and local news about other extension programs that might be added and that you might be eligible for.â
Options for extending your unemployment benefits
If youâre currently receiving benefits, but theyâll be ending soon, youâre likely wondering what to do when your unemployment runs out and asking if your unemployment benefits can be extended. Start by confirming when you first filed your claim because that will determine your benefit end date.
If youâre wondering, âCan you refile for unemployment after it runs out?â the answer is yes, but youâll have to wait until your current âbenefit yearâ expires. Note that a benefit year is 12 months from when you file a claim. If you filed at the beginning of June, for example, you generally can’t file again until the beginning of the following June.
You may get 26 weeks of unemployment benefits, depending on your stateâs rules at the time. Most states extended the payout period to 39 weeks in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis. Check your stateâs website for the particulars on what to do when your unemployment runs out.
If your claim is still active but youâll be in need of additional financial relief after your unemployment benefits run out, here are your options:
File for an unemployment extension
During extraordinary economic times, such as the coronavirus pandemic, the federal government may use legislation like the CARES Act to offer people more benefits for a longer period of time, helping many people concerned about whether unemployment benefits can be extended.
For example, in 2020, for most workers who exhaust, or receive all of, their unemployment benefits, a 13-week extension should automatically kick in, Simon-Mishel says. This would bring you up to 39 weeks total. However, if more than a year has passed since you originally filed and you need the extension, you will likely need to file a short application provided by the government. Details vary by state.
As youâre determining what to do when your unemployment runs out, reach out to your unemployment office. Itâs important to do this before your benefits expire so you can avoid a missed payment. You can also confirm youâre eligible and that you can refile for unemployment after it runs out.
Ask about the Extended Benefits program in your state
Can unemployment benefits be extended beyond that? In periods of high unemployment, you may qualify for a second extension, depending on your state.
âAfter those [first] 13 weeks, many states have added a new program called Extended Benefits that can provide another 13 to 20 weeks of unemployment when a state is experiencing high unemployment,â Simon-Mishel adds. This means you may be able to receive a total of up to 59 weeks of unemployment benefits, including extensions. The total number of weeks of unemployment you may receive varies based on your state and the economic climate.
Itâs hard enough keeping up with everything as you prepare for the end of unemployment benefits, so donât worry if you donât have your stateâs benefits program memorized. Visit your stateâs unemployment insurance program page to learn more about what benefits are available to you.
Beyond unemployment benefits
While life and your finances may seem rocky now, know that youâre not alone. Remember that there are resources available to help support you, and try to take things one day at a time, Schmoll says.
âRealize that at some point your current situation will improve.â
If you find that your benefits arenât covering all of your expenses, now may be the time to dip into your cash reserve. Explore these tips to determine when itâs time to use your emergency fund.
1 This article is not legal advice and should not be construed as such. Eligibility for unemployment benefits may be impacted by variations in state programs, changes in programs, and your circumstances. If you have questions, you should consider consulting with your legal counsel, at your expense, or seek free assistance from your local legal aid organization.
Articles may contain information from third-parties. The inclusion of such information does not imply an affiliation with the bank or bank sponsorship, endorsement, or verification regarding the third-party or information.
The post How to Prepare for the End of Your Unemployment Benefits appeared first on Discover Bank – Banking Topics Blog.
As the Great Resignationâthis mass departure of people from their jobsâcontinues to hold the spotlight, you might be asking yourself: What happens to me if I don’t quit?
Iâve had countless conversations recently with people who are suddenly feeling lonely, uncertain, and overwhelmed as they watch colleagues depart. Theyâre questioning their own decision to stay. Theyâre missing colleagues and friends as they go. And theyâre afraid of being overwhelmed by the work thatâs falling off those departing plates.
So, if youâre one of the many being left behind, letâs talk about how you can take care of yourself and use this moment to your strategic advantage.
Give space to your feelings
I started my last full-time Human Resources job at the beginning of 2008â¦with a financial services companyâ¦as the market was crashing and burning.
Suffice it to say, by the end of my first year, 15% of my colleagues had been let go. And while layoffs are very different in nature from voluntary resignations, the experience for those left behind can be extremely similar.
The sudden lonelinessâthe loss of trusted friends, mentors, thought partners, and collaboratorsâreally changed the whole tone and climate of work. Things got a little mopey around the office. But we were indeed in an office. So, for those of us left behind, leaning on each other as a community and processing our feelings together was reasonably easy to do.
Todayâs world is different. So many of us continue to work largely or exclusively virtually, which makes those natural points of human connection rarer. You need to find the moments for yourself.
What are you feeling as you watch colleagues leave? Lonely? Anxious? Self-doubting? The key is to share those feelings with someone or ones that you trust. Check in with a remaining colleague, share your experience, and ask how theyâre doing. Find support in those who are hanging back with you. And know that whatever youâre feeling is totally valid.
Be the stability hero
The thing about people leaving is that while the number of people doing the work has changed, often the expectations and workload for the remaining team members have not.
If your boss is anything like mine was, theyâre panicking. Theyâre watching institutional knowledge, experience, and sets of hands walk out the door. And with all of the balls in the air, theyâre terrified one will drop.
This is your moment to step in and be a hero. How can you show up as a point of stability for your boss, ensuring them that something critical is not going to fall through the cracks?
This is not about picking up all the slack your exiting colleagues have left behind. Itâs about being a point of continuity.
During my moment in 2008, my team had been managing several training programs being delivered by outside vendors. As my colleagues began departing, I knew my boss was anxious about the stability of these programs. So, I offered to step in and become the single point of contact for all the vendorsâthe one-stop shop for any questions, concerns, or challenges that might arise.
I watched the color return to my bossâs cheeks when I tossed this idea out there. Notice, I wasnât offering to take on a volume of work but was just offering to step in and keep the train on the tracks. And in a moment of departures, this offers a value thatâs hard to measure. And of course, it earns you points for the future.
So, whereâs your bossâs highest anxiety, and how might you offer to play a supporting role without adding volumes to your plate?
Question everythingâevery hour spent in a meeting, on a dashboard, revising slides, etc. Every hour of expenditure counts here.
Please do not mistake taking on everyoneâs left-behind work as an act of heroics. Itâs frankly the least strategic move you can make. Instead, demonstrate your commitment to impact and your critical thinking skills to your boss by identifying the most critical priorities and putting those above the rest.
Share a planâjust some ideas. And invite your boss to weigh in. Where can you win time back by opting out, by postponing a deliverable, by collaborating or repurposing something?
Find your development gold
When people start leaving, projects and opportunities get left behind. And while you do need to protect yourself from mindlessly taking on extra work, youâre welcome to seek out a hot opportunity and make a land grab.
What have you been wanting or needing for your own professional development? Did someone leave behind a hole youâd like to fill?
Have you been wanting to grow your project or people leadership skills? Have you wanted to get a little closer to a particular client? Have you been seeking an opportunity to present to an executive?
Scan the left-behind projects and commitments, and cherry-pick something that serves your own development. You deserve an opportunity to grow from this!
To be blunt, you have leverage here. Your boss canât afford to lose you right now. Iâm not suggesting you do or say anything untoward (like âgive me a 20% raise or Iâm leavingâ), but I am suggesting this is a prime moment in which to ask for something.
In 2008, there was a particular training I wanted to attend. In a respectful way, I broached it with my boss, like this:
âNow that our team is smaller and mightier than before, I believe that by attending this training and building the skill itâs teaching, Iâll be in a much stronger position to ensure our impact stays high!â
It was my subtle attempt to say (without actually saying), âheyâmy success matters more to you now than everâ¦ so hereâs something you can do to ensure that Iâm able to keep you in a winning zone.â
So now itâs your turn. Whatâs something you can negotiate out of this situation?
Deia Schlosberg had been working as an environmental educator, teaching students about issues concerning conservation and sustainability. While she loved teaching, she wanted to reach people on a larger scale about the importance of protecting the environment. So she decided to follow her dream of becoming a filmmakerâa dream that would require her to return to school for a graduate degree. She had no idea at the time that it would lead to becoming an award-winning documentarian.
While Schlosberg’s choice may have paid off, learning how to pay for grad school as a working adult can be a challenge. There are various benefits to getting an advanced degree: You can learn more, you can earn more, you can further advance in your current job or prepare for a career change. However, you might also find yourself stressed by the expense and resulting debt of it all, especially if you have kids, a home or other financial commitments. So a big question on your mind could be, “How much should I save for grad school?”
Below are some lessons on how to financially prepare for grad school to help you determine if and when you should go back to school. If you haven’t yet decided if graduate school is right for you, see section 1 for tips on how to decide. If you already know you want to go back to school, skip to section 2.
1. Decide if going back to school is right for you
Getting an advanced degree may seem like a ticket to success, but depending on your chosen area of study, the outcome may vary. For Schlosberg, it was a bit of a risk. It can be difficult to get a break in the film industry, and going to grad school could mean carrying around debt for a long time. Is this the type of outcome you would be willing to accept?
According to Emma Johnson, best-selling author, career consultant and founder of Wealthysinglemommy.com, there are a few things you can do to help you decide whether or not going back to school is right for you:
Do your homework. When considering how to pay for grad school as a working adult, research your degree options and the jobs to which they might lead. Compare cost and compatibilityâfor instance, will classes for the program align with your work schedule? Once you’ve determined what kind of occupation you may pursue after grad school, search online for information about that occupation’s average earnings.
Solidify your goals. You may find clarity in writing out your goals for going back to school. Some benefits are tangible, like earning more money, building a professional network and gaining skills. Others might be less tangible, such as finding personal fulfillment. Once you know your goals, it will be easier to determine if a graduate degree makes personal and professional sense.
“Your savings should not only depend on tuition but also what the degree isâi.e., how easy it will be to repay once you are working in the desired field.”
Give your degree program a test run. Consider taking classes that relate to the degree you are interested in getting in grad school. These classes can give you a taste of the subject matter you’ll be studying and help you meet people involved in the field. Also, if prerequisites are required for your advanced degree, they often cost less online or at a community college, which is important to remember when thinking about how to prepare your finances before grad school. Make sure the course credits will be accepted at the graduate school you plan to attend.
Take a hands-on approach. To level up in your existing career or find out what it’s like in a new field before making the change, get some work-related experience first. For instance, to learn more about moving up in your own field, get out and meet those higher level professionals by attending conferences and networking events. The same tactic applies if you want to change careers.
2. Know how much you need to save
How to pay for grad school as a working adult can be complicated, but you’ve decided you’re ready for it. Plus, hitting the books at a time when saving for retirement or your child’s education could be at the forefront makes the task of how to prepare your finances before grad school even more critical.
Figuring out how much to save for grad school begins with determining the cost of attendance. Here are a couple ways to do that, according to Johnson:
Do the research. Once you have found a school and degree that you like, visit the school’s web site. Some schools may provide the cost of tuition, fees and estimated costs for books, supplies and transportation. Costs can vary tremendously, depending on various factors: whether you attend full or part time, whether you attend a public or private school, whether you are an in-state or out-of-state resident and the time it takes to get your degree.
Determine your budget. Once you have a handle on the school-related costs, build a spreadsheet that accounts for these costs and projects monthly income and living expenses. Working through a savings plan beforehand can help you financially prepare for grad school by showing just how much you’ll need to budget for monthly on tuition plus living expenses. Once you determine these factors, you’ll get a better idea of what you need to save up.
Create a savings buffer. After you determine your monthly costs, pad that number. “Your savings should not only depend on tuition but also what the degree isâi.e., how easy it will be to repay once you are working in the desired field,” Schlosberg says. She saved a little more than she estimated, giving herself an extra cushion to cover some of the potential risk to her finances.
“You may have to downscale your career and current lifestyle to go back to school, which may be a worthwhile investment of time and resources.”
3. Allow yourself a flexible timeline
One key factor in planning the timeline for earning your graduate degree: Don’t be in a rush. If you need to, create the time to save. It may not be necessary to go back to school full time or finish on a particular schedule, Johnson says. She mentions these possible paths to earning your degree when planning how to pay for grad school as a working adult:
Consider a side hustle. One option is to go to school full time and take on a side hustle. You may not make as much as you did as a full-time employee, but the income can complement your savings. It may also allow you to concentrate more on your degree and finish faster.
Attend part time. Go to school part time (nights and weekends) while working. It will take longer, but it will also minimize your debt, which could be better in the long run.
Take it slowly. Only sign up for a class or twoâwhatever you can affordâand continue to work. This part-time “lite” approach may take even longer, but could help you avoid overextending yourself financially or sliding into debt.
Take online classes. Consider online programs that could lower the cost of tuition and allow you to continue working full time.
4. Take advantage of potential cost-saving benefits
So you’ve done your research on how much you need to save while determining how to prepare your finances before grad school. But there are ways to potentially cut or eliminate some of those costs. What comes next are some solutions that may help pay your grad school bills:
Consider loans, financial aid and scholarships. “I took out some student loans for living expenses, but I tried to pay off my tuition as I went by working through school,” Schlosberg says. Graduate students may also be eligible for different types of scholarships and grants, which is aid that does not need to be paid back. Depending on your area of study, scholarships and grants can also be obtained through federal and state organizations, private foundations, public companies and professional organizations.
Ask your employer to pay the tuition. One way to financially prepare for grad school is to talk to your manager or human resources representative to find out if your current employer would help pay for, or fully fund, your degree through tuition reimbursement. This is most likely if you plan to move up the ladder and use your new skills on behalf of the company.
Take advantage of in-state tuition. Some people move to the same state as their desired school to try to get a break on tuition. “I moved to Montana and worked a couple jobs for a year before applying so I could get in-state tuition,” says Schlosberg. Whether you are already a resident or you move to a new state, be sure to determine how long you need to be a resident to qualify for in-state tuition at your desired university.
Cut back on discretionary expenses. Seemingly small things like adjusting your lifestyle to lower your monthly costs, which could mean fewer lattes and dinners out, might go a long way in resolving how to prepare your finances before grad school. “You may have to downscale your career and current lifestyle to go back to school, which may be a worthwhile investment of time and resources,” Johnson says.
Financially prepare for grad school and get a new start
Answering the question of how to pay for grad school as a working adult requires significant research and preparation, but some say it’s worth it, including Schlosberg. It not only gave her a whole new start, but a wealth of knowledge going forward to nurture her future endeavors. “Getting a graduate degree gave me the confidence to jump into a new career. I met an amazing network of people,” Schlosberg says.
But an advanced degree may not be a necessity. While it could look impressive on a resume, for many employers, a master’s degree is not a requirement. “Whatever you do, don’t go back to school just for the sake of getting a degree,” Johnson says. When thinking about how to financially prepare for graduate school, make sure it fits into your financial picture and that you’re able to âweigh your sacrifices against future gains,” she says.
The post Hitting the Books Again? Here’s How to Financially Prepare for Grad School appeared first on Discover Bank – Banking Topics Blog.
Imagine this: You’ve gone to collegeâeven grad schoolâto pursue a career path you always thought you wanted. But after a few years and many tuition dollars spent, it suddenly hits you: If you have to write one more press release, it might push you over the edge. If this is the case, it’s time to prepare for a career change.
Transitioning careers is not unusual. In fact, according to a survey conducted by the American Staffing Association, 38 percent of working adults say they are likely to change careers within the next year. The only problem is, if you are unsure of how to make a career change and whether it will be financially sound, you might be hesitant to make the leap.
âNo one wants to change careers without knowing the chances of success,” says Mark Anthony Dyson, host of The Voice of Job Seekers podcast, a show designed to help those in career transition. “Adequate preparation can make all the difference.”
âPreparation in every formâfrom updating job skills to financial planning and really taking time to think about what you desire in a fulfilling careerâwill be a huge factor in your career-change success.â
“How do I make a big career change with this adequate preparation,” you ask?
Learning how to prepare for a career change financially and finding out which skills you’ll need in your new career are great places to start. Take these steps to understand your career intentions, then determine the best financial strategies for achieving them:
Figure out if a career change is right for you
Before preparing for a career change, start by doing an honest self-assessment on whether or not a switch is right for you. This is important, says Dyson, because you’ll want to weigh the advantages and disadvantages of changing careers versus exploring a job transition within your current field. Doing the latter might make more sense for you if you aren’t quite ready to go through a full-blown career transition. Either way, taking the time for self-reflection will help you get to your desired career path sooner.
When you are thinking about how to make a career change and if it’s the right time for you, Dyson suggests asking yourself these questions:
What are the professional and financial impacts if I stay on my current career path? A quick list of pros and cons might help your analysis.
Are there other opportunities in my current field that I haven’t yet considered? Talk to a human resources professional or research online to understand the qualifications, salaries and opportunities for advancement within your area of expertise.
What does my ideal career look like?
Do I currently have the skills and experience that can transfer to a new career?
What are the possible financial and professional outcomes if my new career doesn’t work out?
Kelan Kline, a jail deputy turned personal finance blogger for The Savvy Couple, felt stifled by his previous job and the limitations it imposed on his time. He believed that in order to achieve career growth and increase his money-making potential, he would have to change careers. “I knew I was done working for others altogether,” Kline adds.
You may not think you have the skills and experience necessary to transition into a new career, but a tip to prepare for a career change is to consider the skills that have led to your career success thus far. That’s what 10-year human resources veteran Lisa Cassella did when she decided a new career direction was in order and wanted to follow her passion for real estate.
“As hiring and program manager for a senior living facility, I met face-to-face with with people everyday,” says Cassella, now a licensed real estate salesperson for the brokerage firm Compass. “Sometimes you have to have some difficult conversations,” she continues. “It’s the same in real estate. But for the most part, you are helping peopleâwhich is what I enjoy and a strong connection between both careers.”
Sasha Korobov, a career and success strategist, agrees that a tip for preparing for a career change is to use your current skills as a foundation for a new career. Having undergone a career change herself, she advises people to âreally think about what you want to do next, and see if you can start getting those skills and experience in the job you’re already in.”
Once you understand your motives and capabilities, you’ll have the groundwork for what needs to come next: smart ways to financially support yourself through the transition.
Prepare yourself financially for making the switch
One of the best things you can do when figuring out how to make a career change is to have a financial plan. Depending on how you approach your career change, the steps that you take to move to a new industry could impact your finances in various ways.
For example, when you start out in a new industry, you might be taking a lower level position than what you had in your previous career. This may come with a dip in income, for which you will need to adjust your budget as you progress in your new career.
If you plan to take any time off before you make the switch, you may experience a gap in income. “You have to think about how many months of income you need to save to get over that hump,” Cassella says. Cassella planned in advance so that she had at least six months of income in the bank before she made the switch to her new career.
Another consideration when you prepare for a career change is whether there is a cost investment required in moving to the new career you have chosen. For example, you might need to spend money on additional education, training, certifications and other measures before you can move into your new role. Your financial plan will have to consider dips in income that could occur if you need to reduce your hours or quit working in order to get the training and education your new career requires, Korobov says. Cassella had to get licensed before moving into real estate sales. She quit her job and took a two-week course, then immediately took the state test.
If your career change means starting your own business venture, you may have to prepare for all of the financial scenarios mentioned above. Your income might decrease as you establish your own business and gain traction, for instance. You might also have to pay for things that were once provided to you by an employer, such as supplies, computer equipment, software and health insurance.
Because of these potential challenges, having a savings plan is key when considering tips to prepare for a career change.
Fine-tune your savings to prepare for a career change
No matter which path you choose, preparing for a career change may present you with some financial risk. Therefore, it’s beneficial to have savings set aside to manage the transition. With just a few small lifestyle changes that will save you money, you can build the financial safety cushion you need to prepare for a career change, says finance blogger Kline.
Here are Kline’s tips to prepare for a career change and the areas he focused on most when he prepared for his professional move:
Reduce unnecessary expenses. As you work on how to make a career change, consider cutting back on discretionary spending such as eating out, entertainment and vacations, and set that money aside for your career change. Don’t already have a budget to track your expenses? Now is the perfect time to start one.
Pick the right type of savings account. You’ll want to put the money you save from reducing your expenses into the best type of account to support your career transition. A high-yield savings account, such as the Discover Online Savings Account, will help you grow your savings. For a long-term savings strategy, a Discover Certificate of Deposit might be a great fit.
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Start an emergency fund. Similar to establishing a budget and picking a savings account, if you haven’t already started an emergency fund, now is the time to create one (or add to it if you already have some momentum with your rainy day savings). An emergency fund can help you prepare for unexpected expenses and the financial risks involved in changing careers. Experts suggest that you keep at least three to six months’ worth of living expenses in your emergency fund.
Pay down debt. If you are able to pay down debt, such as student loan and credit card debt, it will free up cash to save toward your career transition. Pay more than the monthly minimum to reduce or eliminate the debt altogether as you prepare for a career change.
With just a few small lifestyle changes that will save you money, you can build the financial safety cushion you need to prepare for a career change.
Approach your new career at a gradual pace
For some, a slower transition, with moonlighting or side hustling until they are ready to go full time, has proven effective. When Jeff Neal started his online retail site selling bait and live feeders, he was still a full-time project manager in e-commerce, but not passionate about his day-to-day. He was able to use his skills from this position to build his own online ventures.
Neal says he started his online business as a side hustle, with the intention of always having a full-time job keeping his household afloat. He has now been able to transition into being a full-time internet entrepreneur.
Korobov, the career and success strategist, also started to prepare for her career change with a part-time entrepreneurial venture that grew out of corporate coaching. “I wanted to go into business for myself as a career strategist for women, and I knew that having corporate coaching experience would fast-track my credibility with a lot of potential clients,” she says.
“I began offering workshops and brown-bag lunches at my office,” Korobov continues. This experience was a valuable lesson for Korobov in how to make a career change, helping her boost her confidence and allowing her to tweak her workshops as she got more experience.
One of Korobov’s biggest tips to prepare for a career change that she learned firsthand: “Your entrepreneurial ventures, even if done part-time, can make the transition into your career smoother, while giving you extra income to help with your financial preparation process.”
Ensure your path to career-change success
Making a career change can seem like a huge risk, since you don’t really know if it will work out in your favor. But with research and readiness, you can confidently prepare for a career change. Dyson, of The Voice of Job Seekers podcast, can’t emphasize enough that âpreparation in every formâfrom updating job skills to financial planning and really taking time to think about what you desire in a fulfilling careerâwill be a huge factor in your career-change success.”
Understanding your goals and expectationsâand trusting your gutâbefore you begin is a big step in the right direction. Says Cassella of her move into real estate: “It just made a lot of sense for me and my family. My expectations are that once I really get going, there is no limit to what I can make.”
The post Taking the Leap: How to Make a Career Change and Land on Your Feet appeared first on Discover Bank – Banking Topics Blog.
The average salary of an architect is $76,100 per year.
Have you ever wondered how much an architect earns? Becoming an architect requires an investment of money and time, but pays off in the form of a rewarding career that comes with above-average earnings. And for those lucky few who become âstarchitects,â itâs a path to fame. Letâs take a closer look at the average salary of an architect.
The Average Salary of an Architect: The Basics
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) finds that the average salary of an architect was $76,100 per year, $36.59 per hour in 2015. There is wide range of architect salaries, however. The top 10% of architects earn an average salary of $125,520 per year, $60.34 per hour. The bottom 10% of architects earn an average salary of $46,080 per year, $22.15 per hour.
Architectsâ salaries are fairly high, but what do the future job prospects look like for architects? The BLS releases a âjob outlookâ for the fields it studies. The job outlook predicts the percent by which the number of people in a given job will grow between 2014 and 2024. For architects, the BLS job outlook is 7%, which is around the average for all the jobs the BLS studies. The field isnât shrinking, but itâs not growing at faster-than-average rates either.
Related Article: The Average Salary of a Doctor
Where Architects Make the Most
The BLS examines state- and metro-level data on earnings, too. Where does it pay the most to be an architect? According to BLS data, the top-paying state for architects is California, where the annual mean wage for architects is $97,880. Other high-paying states for architects are Georgia ($93,940), Massachusetts ($90,430), New Jersey ($89,130) and Minnesota ($88,680).
What about metro areas? The top-paying metro area for architects is West Palm Beach-Boca Raton-Delray Beach, FL, where the mean annual wage for architects is $117,870. Other high-paying metro areas for architects are Santa Maria-Santa Barbara, CA; Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura, CA; Syracuse, NY and Oakland-Hayward-Berkeley, CA.
Related Article: The Cost of Living in California
The Cost of Becoming an Architect
The first step to becoming an architect is to earn a bachelorâs or masterâs degree in architecture. A poll by the American Institute of Architecture Students (AIAS) found that poll respondents (all architecture school graduates) had an average post-graduation student debt of $40,000. The students also reported spending thousands on extra costs such as modeling materials, textbooks and more.
After obtaining a degree (often a five-year degree), budding architects do an average of three years at an architecture internship. Finally, they must take the Architect Registration Exam (ARE). That means that even the fastest path to becoming an architect in the U.S. takes eight years, but most people take around 11 years. In the meantime, most of these aspiring architects are paying back student loans. The ARE also comes with stiff fees. Depending on which version of the exam you take, the exam fee itself is either $1,470 or $1,260. If you have to cancel your exam, the fees you pay are non-refundable.
The job of an architect comes with glamour and prestige, as well as a high salary and a solid job outlook. However, the path to becoming an architect is a long and expensive one and not everyone who wants to become an architect makes it through the multi-year process. Still, if you have the discipline, talent and funds architecture is a financially rewarding career path.
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