The Control Your Cash Mailbag, Part II of II

You missed Wednesday’s Part I? Here it is.

Continuing where we left off, here are more questions from confused CYC readers. Get your questions in to info at Control Your Cash dot com.

Free to make. Expensive to keep up.


Dear CYC:

I’m 31, my husband’s 33, and we’ve decided that we’d finally like to start a family. However, wouldn’t you know it, he just got laid off from his $42,000-a-year job. I don’t really have a question, just a couple of statements. Thanks. Love your blog!

Katii in Des Moines

Dear Katii:

You do understand that children cost money, right? Regardless of the countless non-monetary benefits they bring to your life (sleepless nights, filthy undergarments, permanent supervision, constant screaming for attention, the potential for physical catastrophe at every turn), they come with a financial obligation that’s impossible to ignore or cut corners on.

So yes, get pregnant as soon as possible. Maybe you’ll be blessed with twins. As for secondary concerns like your cash flow having dwindled to zero, you can worry about those later. Besides, there are always credit cards: most people don’t come anywhere near their spending limits. That’s thousands of untapped dollars, right at your disposal. Knock yourself out.

Dear CYC:

I started at my job 3 years ago (district representative, golf and tennis equipment sales) and have yet to see a promotion. My figures are consistently in the top 40% of the company. I thought I’d be a regional manager by now, but I’m still waiting. It’s almost like they’re daring me to look elsewhere, where my talents will be more appreciated. In August I asked my boss about a promotion and/or pay increase. He hasn’t gotten back to me. Should I leave him another message, or should I try the HR manager instead?

“The Chadder” in El Cajon

Dear The Chadder:

You mean your boss didn’t rush to you to say “What we can do to keep you happy, and keep you here?”? If he needed something from you – a sales report, receipts from your last business trip, a status update on your new intern – he’d ask for it instead of waiting for you to volunteer it. That he’s not doing the same thing with your salary increase request should tell you something. Maybe you can’t figure out that by “something”, we mean “he doesn’t want to give you more money.”

And why should he? You think you deserve it, but what leverage do you have? Your boss can either pay you what he’s paying you now, or pay you more, but either way he still has you as an employee. So he has no incentive to choose the latter.

Your choices are not only greater than you think, but different than you think. Forget about memorizing his lunch schedule so you can catch him in the hallway for a salary discussion. You’re going to have to do one of the following:

Line up another job and threaten to walk (this is the least good idea, because it’ll put you in the same position, just with a different company.)
Venture out on your own. Spend $500 registering with your state governing body and incorporate. But as what? A sports equipment wholesaler? Something completely unrelated to your current gig? We don’t know all the details of your situation, but right now you’re at the mercy of someone whose job description includes trying to pay you as little as possible. You need to be at the mercy of yourself.
All that money you spend on liabilities, rather than assets, is keeping your options limited. There are people who spend hundreds of dollars a month on alcohol and other entertainment expenses. A little discipline exacted over a short period can turn that money from a negative into a positive. Instead of going out with the fellas or buying a gaming system, earmark your spare cash for a down payment on some real estate, a residence, or maybe part of a commercial building. Find a realtor to find you a renter. Get the latter to indirectly make your mortgage payments. Invest the surplus if any, and take the tax deduction. You just need to think beyond putters and ball retrievers.

Sorry, we just don’t have the stomach for a Part III. Next month.

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