I agree with you on not increasing your lifestyle when you get a raise. I recently got a raise and we decided to keep our expenses the same because nothing is 100% certain. This gives more free cash flow to pay down debt and makes my wife happy :)
The story is very typical. You get a call from the big boss and he asks you to come into his main office. You’ve been working hard the last two years and you’ve been hoping and praying for a pay raise. Your blood races faster and you start smiling. You walk confidently into his office and shake your boss’s hand. You sit down and wait for your boss to speak. ”You’re getting a pay raise, Jimmy!”
You smile some more and exhale a big “thank you!”
You feel like you’re on top of the world and now all the hard work has finally paid off. It’s time to celebrate! Not too fast, my friend. With a pay raise comes greater responsibility.
More money means that certain things in your life are about to change. More specifically, it may mean where you work might change. These are things most people don’t even think about. However, it’s critically important to go over these potential downsides of a pay raise. Say hello to more responsibility.
More money means greater responsibility at work
This can be a good thing and a bad thing. Depending on where you work, this could mean you will be pressured to work longer work hours and take on more tasks. Instead of giving into that way of thinking, start working smarter. Studies have shown that if you prove yourself as an efficient worker, you will move up the ladder faster. Just because you’re putting in longer work hours doesn’t mean anything these days unless you work for an “old-school” employer who places importance on that.
Changes to your wallet
More money means a bigger wallet, right? Yes, it may mean that you have additional income now, but you should not assume that you need to spend more money or act differently. Treat money as something that comes and goes. It’s temporary and will eventually disappear when you die. Focus on investing and using the additional income responsibly. Avoid the temptation to change your lifestyle. Instead, change nothing, or if you’re sacked with a lot of debt, put that money toward reducing it.
Co-worker dynamics change
Typically, when one gets a pay raise, more than likely you’ll be jumping up a rung on the corporate ladder. When you once hung out with co-workers and things were care-free due to a level playing field, you may find yourself becoming friends with new people. With a career bump, it can he hard to still enjoy the same talk with your good friends at work. There is always the fact that you are “higher” up on the ladder than them now. Another thing that I’ve seen happen is the bitterness can grow if someone gets a pay raise in a group and the others don’t. These are things that you need to be aware of. Also, it’s not a dead end. You can work hard at keeping this relationships and nurturing them in humility.
Be aware of the changes and evolve
Being aware of the changes greater income brings into your life can help you evolve in the work place and make you an even greater asset to your employer. Stop thinking in negative terms. Yes, this article comes off as negative, but you can take these three changes and use them to your advantage. Simply being “aware” is powerful. Now go show your boss you want another pay raise next week!
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About the Author: Jon the Saver is a personal finance writer at Free Money Wisdom. His mission is to help you succeed in your personal finance life. When Jon is not writing on personal finance, he spends time with his girlfriend, lifts iron at the gym, and plays Scrabble.
I don't mind the aspect of higher pay meaning more responsibility. For the most part, I want my job performance to reflect excellence, so that comes with the territory. However, it's important to manage the extra money wisely. I try to budget pay raises into my savings. That way I don't change my normal budget, but I am saving more. So it will typically go into my son's college account or I increase my retirement contributions.
Thank you so much for this post. It's true that there a lot more things to think about when you get a raise besides simple having more money. The social aspects and the possibility for greater responsibilities/time commitments are some potentially negative effects. You could also be entering a new tax bracket and actually end up with a smaller take-home pay. I really like the idea of continuing to live off of your previous, smaller income, and using the portion from your raise to invest and pay off debt. That way you can achieve your goals in no time and won't face a huge lifestyle change!