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How much do you make? How much does someone else doing the same job as you make? How do you know you are being paid a fair wage for your skill and for the amount of time you’ve been at your current job? Have you ever wondered this?
Because money isn’t something people talk about, especially not in the workplace, I’m certain plenty of people are curious but never say anything. Maybe lack of salary transparency is good in that it keeps drama out, but it’s not good for you if you are being underpaid without knowing it. If you knew just how underpaid you were, would you still work there, or would you aim higher?
I always wondered how people could afford their lifestyle, because we ourselves are middle class, we value thriftiness, prioritize saving money, and there’s not much left beyond small comforts that make our life more enjoyable. The answer is they can’t afford it. That’s what credit cards are for.
A couple months back, my friend had to get a Td vaccine to get some paperwork filled out. His university’s health center didn’t offer it, so we had to look elsewhere. The medical clinic filling out the paperwork recommended we go to the City of Lubbock Health Department, which is a community health center in Lubbock. The clinic personnel specifically instructed my friend to state that he did not have health insurance, even though he did, so that he would only be charged $15.00 for the Td vaccine.
I thought this was weird, but okay. We went to the City of Lubbock Health Department and told the employee at the front desk that my friend did not have health insurance. The department charged him $15.00 and we waited in the seating area.
While we were waiting, a young couple entered the building. The female was only 18 years old and the male was 19 years old. They both had to get the vaccine for Meningitis and they both had private health insurance. The employee then said, “Okay, that will be $120.00 from each of you.” I could tell the couple looked surprised, because of the high cost, but they had to pay anyway. They looked stressed.
Finally, we were called inside. While my friend was getting his Td vaccine, I got a bit snoopy. I wanted to learn more about the office. Maybe there were things I could learn just from looking around.
One of my blog readers, Kelly, encouraged me to start investing my money in an IRA a few months back. I was reluctant because I felt like a complete amateur when it comes to investments. I felt scared of losing my money, as I worked hard to make and save it. I worked four jobs, making an average of $9.00/hour. We were saving as much as possible for the interstate move, in which our funds weren’t even enough in the end. Where could I come up with the money to invest for retirement, and even if I had the funds, how would I know what to invest in?
After our discussion, though, I realized I work too hard NOT to invest my money. Sure, I could lose my money, but I could also grow my money. For those of you who know me personally, you know I work my butt off. If I continue like the way I am now for several years, I will burn out. I cannot work long hours forever. At some point, I will have to retire because my body can’t handle it anymore. I want to retire wealthy so that I can live comfortably.
With Kelly’s encouragement, I looked at the Roth IRA that I opened with a financial advisor two years ago but stopped contributing to after only half a year. What did this financial advisor invest my money in? I got statements every month but never looked.
I saw my portfolio had less money than it did two years ago. I didn’t understand. Why? Kelly told me the market did extremely well last year, so what happened to my money? My advisor invested my money in C-shares that charged 2% in fees every year, on top of the advisor’s annual fee. The mutual fund itself didn’t have a good return on investment either.