There is a hunger and a need for more financial education among women. According to a survey on women and money by Fidelity Investments, 92% of women (ages 18-69+) wanted to learn more about financial planning, but less than half (47%) felt comfortable discussing money and investing with a financial planner on their own. Fidelity found that among Millennial and Gen X women, if they could make over one area of their life, the most requested area would be money (over wardrobe, home, even career).
I cover careers, not personal finance, but the two are inextricably linked. A career (and the earning potential it brings) is many people's largest asset. So good career planning begets good financial potential. However, good money habits beget good career potential, since having a strong financial footing gives you leverage to negotiate harder, hold out for your ideal job, and take more career risks.
You can manage your career in minutes per day. Here are 10 money moves you can also make in just minutes:
Read a Money Blog
Fidelity has an interactive component on their site which provides information, calculators and other tools for different financial issues. It takes just a few minutes to play around with one tool at a time—e.g., the stay-or-go calculator for career change. Or resolve to read just one article a day. I personally read blogs by Financial Samurai and Financial Mentor.
Check Your Credit Report
Prospective employers may run your credit as part of the employment process. You should know what yours includes—for your financial health and your career prospects. You can get a free report from each of the three agencies (Experian, Equifax and Transunion) at AnnualCreditReport.com. It takes just a few minutes to order your free report online.
Check Your Benefits Selections
At the very least find out when you are next eligible to change your benefits, and mark your calendar for a few weeks before that deadline, so you know when you should do this research. Then when your reminder alerts you, review your selections and see if they are still relevant to your current circumstance. You might have dental work coming up and need to bump up your flexible spending contribution. You might have paid off your child's braces and need to decrease that account. You also want to look at non-medical benefits—retirement contributions, commuter benefits, and special perks.
Ask For Interim Feedback
You shouldn't wait till your scheduled performance review to get feedback. A significant money move you can make is to ask for a raise, and you increase your chances of getting one if you're performing well. You need feedback to know if you're performing well and to know what to refine to improve your chances at a promotion, raise, or performance bonus.
Reconnect With a Former Colleague
Networking is a money move. Your network is a support system, an information hub, and a pipeline of leads. If you don't take a few minutes each day to connect with people not just immediately in your department, but outside your department, outside your company, and outside your industry, then your network will be small and insular and not as helpful. If you don't take a few minutes each day to connect with people just for the sake of connection, then the only time your network will hear from you is when you need something, and no one wants to be THAT type of networker.
Return a Recruiter's Call
A recruiter may have a relevant lead for you, or they may just have market knowledge—salary estimates, what the in-demand skills are, which sectors are hiring. A significant amount of the hires I made in my 20+ years of recruiting were of people who weren't actively looking when I contacted them. Return the calls. Or reconnect with recruiters who called you previously (and might have stopped because you didn't return the calls!).
Research Your Market Value
Recruiters can help estimate your market value. Professional associations often keep salary data. Your university career services or alumni office might track salary data. Spend a few minutes making a call or checking online at salary sites, such as Payscale, Glassdoor, Salary.com. or GetRaised. If you've been at your job for a while, you may be losing ground.
Check Your Company Financials
If you normally just toss aside the company newsletter or press release or annual report, save it for later, and spend a few minutes once each quarter checking in with how your employer is doing. Check your industry too and the growth prospects for your role. You want to stay aware of the market around you.
Start (Or Increase) an Automatic Savings Plan
Even if you wouldn't dream of quitting your job, knowing that you can is very empowering. Start a reserve fund, getaway fund, career change fund, or start a business fund. If you already have savings, earmark some for your career goals, or push yourself to increase your contribution even by a few dollars or percentage points.
Schedule Your Next Steps
If you check your credit report now with one agency, you can check another agency in four months for free. Set that reminder now so you establish the habit of regularly checking your credit. Set aside time each quarter to review company financials. Set aside time each week to read your money blogs or reconnect with old colleagues or return recruiter calls. Block out stretches of time during tax season so you're not scrambling to organize your papers (because you know the deadline is April 15 every year!). Schedule money moves that you know about in advance so when they come up you already made the time for them.
By scheduling money moves in advance, you seamlessly integrate them into your workday and won't have to choose between career and money. Career and money management go hand-in-hand.