6 Warning Signs That You Need a New Job

Data show that a good economy is helping workers leave their jobs for more money.

According to The Wall Street Journal, career experts used to tell people to stick to one job as long as possible, even if there was a down economy. The idea was that if you were planning on finding a new job at some point and had a history of job hopping, employers might have considered you unreliable.

The Journal reported this in 2004. Fast forward to the present, and more recent data suggest the opposite may be true. The 2017 Q3 Workforce Vitality Report from ADP, a payroll processor, found that among full-time workers, job switchers saw an earnings increase by an average of 4.9 percent. Job holders lagged behind at 4.3 percent. A similar ADP report from the first quarter of 2017 found that a better economy is giving workers more leverage, meaning they feel more comfortable leaving a job and negotiating a salary increase.

A better economy is giving workers more leverage, meaning they feel more comfortable accepting the signs it's time to change jobs.

This significantly changes the career game. Now that switching jobs won’t necessarily hurt you, it’s crucial to discuss ways you know it’s time to quit your job.

Here are six warning signs you need a new job:

1. You haven’t seen a raise in two years

According to another ADP survey, there is a sweet spot for trading in your current gig for a new opportunity. The survey found that individuals who leave a company after at least two years, but before five years, get the highest salary increases at a new job.

Individuals who try to switch jobs after working five years at the same company won’t see as much of an increase as those who leave between the three- to five-year mark (this, the survey found, is when employees get the greatest salary bump). The longer you stay past five years, the less of an increase you’ll see, the ADP survey found. More experience often means you’ll have higher pay at your current job, so you’re less likely to see as much of a pay bump if you leave.

2. The company is having money problems

One surefire warning sign that you need a new job? “If your paycheck suddenly starts becoming irregular,” says Sandy Smith, a senior certified human resources professional with seven years of experience working in corporate human resources. It’s a clear indication of cash flow issues within the company, she adds.

Not seeing a raise in two years or if your company is having money trouble may be warning signs you need a new job.

Smith, who is also the founder of the personal finance blog Yes, I Am Cheap, says this is one of the major signs it’s time to change jobs.

“Saving money by not paying employees is the death knell of a company on its last legs,” she says, “and you should immediately jump ship.”

If your employer is starting to cut benefits or lay people off, Smith suggests that it might be a warning sign you need a new job and time to financially prepare for a job transition. While one layoff or cut may not be definite signs it’s time to change jobs just yet, Smith says to keep an eye on it.

“Layoff after layoff indicates a serious issue, and you should never take for granted that your job is safe,” she says.

“Saving money by not paying employees is the death knell of a company on its last legs, and you should immediately jump ship.”

– Sandy Smith, founder of Yes, I Am Cheap personal finance blog

3. You’re stagnant

Going as far as you can go with a company is one of the ways you know it’s time to quit your job.

“If you are upwardly mobile but you have no opportunity for advancement within the company, it might just be time to move,” Smith says.

And because you alone are in charge of your career, it’s essential to be proactive, Smith says. That means you can’t wait for your manager to give you a promotion or tell you when there’s no promotion anywhere in the foreseeable future.

So, if you find yourself lacking mobility, it may be a warning sign you need a new job, and finding a new employer could be the best way to advance. Smith also points out that taking a new job in this scenario will likely allow you to increase your earning potential as well.

According to a 2016 global report by LinkedIn, 74 percent of job candidates want a job where they feel like their work has a sense of purpose. If that need for fulfillment isn’t being met, it may be one of the ways you know it’s time to quit your job.

While there were several factors that contributed to Tara Falcone’s decision to leave her well-paying job, a lack of purpose was one of them. When she started her own investment firm in 2016, ReisUP LLC, she was seeking more personal and professional satisfaction.

Before going out on her own, Falcone spent four years working as an investment analyst on Wall Street. She enjoyed what she did, but she wasn’t exactly feeling fulfilled by it. She spent her days helping people who were already wealthy manage their money. Instead, she wanted to help people who came from backgrounds similar to her own attain more wealth.

74 percent of job candidates want a job where they feel like their work has a sense of purpose.

– 2016 global report by LinkedIn

“Coming from a humble, blue-collar background, I yearned to find a way to use the skill set I had acquired on Wall Street to help people like my friends and family.”

Even if you identify a lack of fulfillment as a sign it’s time to change jobs, leaving a secure paycheck is a difficult decision for anyone, especially when, like Falcone, you’re making a pretty hefty sum. Yet, money was not the biggest factor in her decision to leave her job. Ultimately, she valued other things more—like helping an underserved community and having more personal time.

“The money was good, but not good enough to tie me down, nor more than I thought I could ever make doing something else,” she explains. “I grew up without money, so I wasn’t chasing it. And I knew that a big shiny paycheck would never fulfill me on its own.”

6. Your job is negatively affecting you

A final way you know it’s time to quit your job: It’s negatively affecting your life. Of course, this may look differently to different people. For some, health problems are the warning signs you need a new job. For others, like Falcone, it’s when your job starts getting in the way of your personal life.

“My work started negatively affecting the limited time I spent with family,” she says. “As an investment analyst, you don’t really get true vacation time when the market is open.”

Falcone recalled going home for Christmas and still needing to be available for work via phone and email. Eventually, she felt like it became too intrusive.

It’s time to find a new job

If you're not fulfilled with the work you do, it could be a sign it's time to change jobs.

If you see yourself in any of these six scenarios, take them as signs it’s time to change jobs. Dust off that resume, get on LinkedIn and start reaching out to your contacts. Now that the job-hopping stigma seems to be a thing of the past, you have far less to worry about should you decide to quit your job and find a new one.

Source: discover.com

What Is a Financial Planning Pyramid?

What Is a Financial Planning Pyramid? – SmartAsset

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Setting priorities in the process of creating a solid financial position can be challenging. The financial planning pyramid provides a visual explanation and reminder to help people make the right moves at the right time. It aims to keep people from taking inappropriate risk by gauging the relationship between risk and reward. The pyramid also takes into consideration the element of time as a person makes progress towards his or her financial goals. It is a simple way to suggest how much of a person’s assets he or she should commit to different investments and other financial products.

Deciding how to allocate your financial assets and when to do so is something a financial advisor can offer invaluable advice on. 

Levels of a Financial Planning Pyramid

There’s no single version of the financial planning pyramid. Some varieties have just a few levels and others have several. Some describe a wide variety of specific investments, asset classes and financial products and others just a handful of broad categories.

A core element of all versions of the pyramid is that the least risky financial moves are at the bottom, while the riskiest ones are at the top. The width of the pyramid at the level where a financial product appears suggests how important it is and how much of a person’s assets should be committed to it.

Here are levels of the financial planning pyramid:

Level 1 – The lowest level is the widest, which indicates its importance and where it should be in terms of priorities. It is also the least risky and, in fact, focuses on reducing financial risk. This level includes automobile, home, life, health, disability and liability insurance.

Level 2 – Once the first level is addressed, people can concern themselves with the second level. This level is focused on emergency savings. It includes money put into safe investments such as federally insured bank checking and savings accounts, certificates of deposit and government bonds.

Level 3 – The third level consists of savings and investment vehicles that may pay better interest rates than the very safe ones in the second level, at the cost of somewhat greater risk. They include money market accounts and high-grade municipal and corporate bonds and bond funds.

Level 4 – At the fourth level investments in equities begin to appear. These take the form of balanced mutual funds and high-grade shares of preferred stock and convertible bonds.

Level 5 – The fifth level consists of shares of blue-chip public companies as well as investments in growth-oriented mutual funds and real estate.

Level 6 – The sixth level represents investments in collectibles, speculative stocks and lower-grade bonds and mutual funds.

Level 7 – At the very top of the pyramid is a narrow wedge representing the small amount of assets that may be prudently committed to highly speculative investments. These could include commodities, over-the-counter penny stocks and the like.

Key Concepts

The main idea of the financial pyramid that the width of pyramid at a given level expresses how much a person might wisely commit to the investments in that level. That is, more of a portfolio should ordinarily be invested in blue chip common stocks than speculative penny stocks. Time is also a factor. This means people are advised take care of the risk-management tools in the first level before starting to build emergency savings or begin investing in the stock market.

Different investors have different situations, which can affect the pyramid. For instance, a person in the middle of his or her career may be more heavily invested in growth mutual funds than someone approaching retirement, who would likely emphasize safety of principal with investments in high-grade bond funds.

Some versions of the financial planning pyramid have an even lower level. This may include the creation of a financial plan. Another item sometimes included as part of the lowest level is a budget that aims to make sure a person has cash left at the end of the month to stock an emergency fund and, ultimately, invest.

While financial products at the bottom of the pyramid are lower risk than those on higher levels, there is no risk-free investment. Even government bonds may generate a negative return in terms of buying power if the return does not keep up with inflation. There is also a risk of paying insurance premiums without ever making a claim on the coverage benefits.

Bottom Line

The financial planning pyramid is a road map to help people decide where to put their emphasis today in preparing to reach their ultimate financial goals. It is a reminder of the relationship between higher risk and higher reward, and helps to ensure that people have the building blocks of a solid financial foundation in place before chasing better returns with riskier investments. While financial products at the bottom of the pyramid are lower risk than those on higher levels, there is no riskless investment. Even government bonds may generate a negative return in terms of buying power if the return does not keep up with inflation. There is also a risk of paying insurance premiums without ever making a claim on the coverage benefits.

Tips for Investing

  • If making and implementing a financial plan seems like a complicated challenge, consider working with an experienced financial advisor. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with financial advisors in your area in five minutes. If you’re ready to be matched with local advisors who will help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.
  • Once you’ve decided to start investing your money, you’ll have to decide on an asset allocation that’s appropriate for your goals, age and risk tolerance. And unless you invest in a target date fund that automatically adjusts that asset allocation, you’ll have to rebalance your assets over the course of your investing time frame. That’s where a free, easy to use asset allocation calculator can be extremely helpful.

Photo credit: ©iStock.com/Gajus, ©iStock.com/FG Trade, ©iStock.com/howtogoto

Mark Henricks Mark Henricks has reported on personal finance, investing, retirement, entrepreneurship and other topics for more than 30 years. His freelance byline has appeared on CNBC.com and in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Kiplinger’s Personal Finance and other leading publications. Mark has written books including, “Not Just A Living: The Complete Guide to Creating a Business That Gives You A Life.” His favorite reporting is the kind that helps ordinary people increase their personal wealth and life satisfaction. A graduate of the University of Texas journalism program, he lives in Austin, Texas. In his spare time he enjoys reading, volunteering, performing in an acoustic music duo, whitewater kayaking, wilderness backpacking and competing in triathlons.
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The Surprising Upside of Procrastination

We all groan about procrastination as though it’s a problem we have to fix. But what if procrastinating offers some magical secret advantages?


Rachel Cooke
March 1, 2021

describes an experiment to explore the relationship between performance and procrastination. In it, participants were randomly assigned to one of two groups. Each participant was asked to think of a new business idea. In one group, the instruction was to pitch the idea immediately. The other group spent a few minutes playing a game before pitching their ideas.

The result? Ideas pitched by those who played before responding were rated overall as 28% more creative than ideas delivered by the right-away group.

“It turned out,” Grant said of the experiment, “that procrastination encouraged divergent thinking,” a more expansive way of thinking.

So what does this mean for you? Maybe leveraging procrastination isn’t about doing everything at the last minute. Instead, what if you chose to let procrastination fuel tasks commanding creativity, and you were intentional about letting your brain roam free for a bit before committing to an answer.

Procrastination can trigger a feel-good rush

For some, scrambling to deliver something at the last minute feels chaotic and icky, like you’ve lost control. For others, though, procrastination delivers an adrenaline rush. that dose of excitement you get when you race down the slope or jump out of that plane. In other words, it feels great! That rush of adrenaline may be the very thing that sparks your creativity and gets you moving to the finish line.

I have to confess that my adrenaline-infused race to the finish also felt oddly good.

While I’m pretty much a planner to my core, I did have a snafu a few months back when a client made a last-minute change to a program design that had me overhauling my facilitation plan up to the last minute.

In the moment, this last-minute scramble felt off for me. I was born to plan. But I have to confess that my adrenaline-infused race to the finish also felt oddly good. And I credit that rush with the creativity it took for me to land the finish at the 11th hour. And the program was a win!

If you’re a chronic procrastinator, start paying attention to how you feel in the last-minute rush. Is it exciting? Does it inspire creative ideas? Or is it stressful, leaving you wishing you’d just done it sooner?

Because ultimately, if it ain’t broke, why fix it?

Sometimes the problem just solves itself

Years ago, I had a boss who patently ignored any non-emergency problem the first time it hit his radar. When he first announced this professional philosophy to me, I laughed. It wasn’t the funniest of jokes, but when your new boss cracks one, you chuckle.

He didn’t laugh back. He wasn’t joking. Whoops!

“If it’s important enough, or if they really need my help,” he told me, “they’ll call or email again. And if they don’t, then they didn’t really need me after all.”

I say this in the kindest way possible: You may not be as necessary as you think. Celebrate that!

I’ve got to tell you, this actually worked in his favor. Sure, I saw him get burned once or twice—your ability to prioritize effectively really is critical here—but on balance, problems really did resolve themselves.

If someone’s asking for help that you can offer in five minutes or less, then do your colleague a solid and drop that favor. But if the ask will require more time or energy, maybe just sit on it for a bit. Resist the urge to respond for now and see if a follow-up request finds its way to you.

I say this in the kindest way possible: You may not be as necessary as you think. Celebrate that!

Procrastination shuts down over-polishing

It’s been a while since I’ve eaten in a restaurant. But I remember this quirky thing that used to happen. I’d look at the menu and decide what I wanted. Then I’d put the menu aside while my dining companions continued to browse. After a minute or two I’d pick up the menu again and start to reassess. And I’d second guess every choice I landed on.

I finally learned the trick for me was to wait until the waiter approached the table. At that point, I’d give myself a minute to peruse and choose on the spot.

Part of being successful at work is knowing when to call something good enough and move onto the next.

Maybe I just have food on the brain. But sometimes when you finish something too early—whether it’s choosing a meal or wrapping up a project—you feel compelled to keep returning to it, wondering if there’s more to be done or a better choice to be made.

There is almost always a better use of your energy. Part of being successful at work is knowing when to call something good enough and move on to the next. If you’re someone who struggles to declare “all done,” then dipping your toe into the pool of procrastination is worth a try.

So where does this leave us on procrastination? Does it help or hurt us? The answer, like the answer to so many big questions, is: It depends. If you’re a chronic procrastinator, ask yourself whether it’s really a problem before you head down the path of solving it.

And likewise, if you’re a planner like me, maybe it’s time to consider just a dalliance with waiting till the last minute on a low-stakes piece of work. You never know what creative solution or adrenaline rush you’ll end up celebrating.