It may sound selfish to say, but putting your financial needs and interests first is sometimes the best way to build and protect your family’s wealth. Need more convincing? Here are five ways “greed” is good.
Save More in Your 401(k) Than in a 529
Your retirement should take precedence over your child’s college education: 401(k)s first, 529s next. Still, two-thirds of parents say they’d drain their retirement plans to help pay for college. But the golden years don’t offer any scholarships or Stafford loans, and it takes much more in the bank to fund 20 or 30 years in retirement versus just four in college.
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Have a Separate, Personal Account
Next, while sharing is caring, married couples can benefit from having separate accounts.
If your partner enters the marriage with lingering loans or bills, keep your credit clean. Avoid attaching your name to any of that debt. In addition, open a personal savings account and allocate 10% of your income to allow for more financial independence.
Pay Yourself First
When it comes to building that personal account, pay yourself first before other financial obligations, until you have about six to nine months of savings tucked away. When life throws you a financial curve ball, like a surprise medical bill or unemployment, you’ll be happy you did.
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Ask for 15% More
Greed is also good when it comes finalizing a job offer. While you don’t want to be the first to suggest a starting salary, if prompted, factor in your experience and salary stats found online. But before revealing your ideal number, tack on an extra 10% or 15% in case they try to negotiate you down.
Asking for more is especially important for women. And it’s not greedy; it’s just what’s right. A study by the National Bureau of Economic Research finds that today’s gender pay gap is partly because females are less likely to negotiate salary at their first job. A separate report by the American Association of University Women found that female grads majoring in business make, on average, a little over $38,000 in the first year. Men earn just over $45,000.
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Invest in You
Finally, outside the world of stocks and mutual funds, sometimes the best investment is in you.
Paying for advanced classes today, for example, may mean a higher paycheck tomorrow. Also putting more money toward personal health and fitness can mean saving thousands of dollars in medical bills down the road.
Are there any other ways you consider “greed” to be good? Connect with me on Twitter @Farnoosh and use the hashtag #FinFit.