Save $20K? Pay Off $11K in Debt? How We Hit Huge Money Goals in 12 Months
Tagged in: ,

"If you're ready to hustle, anything's possible!"

Tap to Read Full Story

"I almost doubled my net worth in 12 months."

David Cole, 32, U.S. marine in Meridian, Miss.

"I began tracking my net worth a little over a year ago. As of September 2016, it landed at $44,000—not too shabby for someone bringing home about $50,000! (That’s a combination of my taxable income, plus military benefits like a housing and food allowance.) I already had an $8,000 emergency fund, no debt and was putting away more than 25 percent of my salary in a Roth IRA and military retirement account. Still, I thought there was more room for growth.

So I made a goal to save and invest about half my income each month. I don’t have cable or an expensive phone plan. I prep meals to keep food expenses under control. And I don’t care much about material things or buying the latest gadgets, which allows me to stretch my take-home pay. I do, however, allow myself some fun purchases, and don’t stress too much if I don’t save the full 50 percent every single month.

For example, when I went on vacation to Key West in August, I ended up saving just 25 percent of my income—but then made up for some of the shortfall another month, when I saved 65 percent. Giving myself some leeway keeps me motivated to keep going.

Today, my net worth sits at about $92,000—thanks to my high savings rate and a killer bull market—and I have no plans of slowing down on my way to $100,000."

"I scored a 38-percent raise using some clever interview hacks."

Jessica Kay, 32, digital marketer in San Diego, Calif. 

"I have one career tip that's never steered me wrong: not sharing my previous salary with a potential new employer. The way I look at it, how much I get offered should be based on my skills and experience—not what my last employer was willing to pay.

This strategy played a major role in boosting my salary from $72,000 to $100,000 when I landed a higher-level management position with another company last year. After six years in my previous role, my salary had stalled, and I knew I was worth more. I’m glad I listened to my instincts; the bump helped me pay off around $5,000 of debt and bankroll my wedding.

Whenever I’m asked about my salary, I respond with something like: ‘I usually like discussing compensation in terms of the value I can bring to this position. Given my experience, here's what I'm comfortable accepting.’ Then I confidently hit them with my qualifications to back up why I deserve that salary. It's all about proving your worth.

Of course, the salary piece is just one side of the coin; I also thoroughly prepare for interviews so it’s clear I’m a candidate worth paying well. To snag my 38-percent salary increase, I spent about three hours researching the company and practicing my responses to anticipated questions—especially ones that showcase specific skills and accomplishments.”

[subscribe]

<< Page 2 of 2