In 2010, Grant Sabatier, then 24, had only $2.26 in his bank account. It wasn't even enough for him to buy lunch at Chipotle. He knew things needed to change, so he set a goal for himself on the spot: Earn $1 million and retire as early as possible.
And he did it: Sabatier boosted his income to more than $300,000 per year and managed to save around 80 percent of what he brought in, which he invested in the market.
Only five years, three months and six days later, Sabatier reached his goal with more than $1.2 million saved. That was in 2015.
While beefing up his savings rate was a key part of Sabatier's success, he says his best advice for building wealth quickly is to focus on increasing your income. And the first place to look, he says, is at the work you already do.
"Start with your full-time job. You want to be making as much money as possible in your full-time job," says the 34-year-old Millennial Money founder and author of "Financial Freedom: A Proven Path to All the Money You Will Ever Need." "In reality, most people are probably leaving a lot of money on the table."
If you're not sure where to start, schedule a meeting with someone in your HR department. Go in and ask, "Am I taking full advantage of my benefits?" Sabatier says. "That could have an insane ROI."
Next, make sure you're getting paid fairly for the job you're doing.
A lot of Americans aren't: Only 19 percent of workers in the U.S. feel comfortable with how much they're making, according to a 2018 salary report from Indeed. Within that, 60 percent of participants said they'd need a raise of at least $6,000 to feel as though they're earning enough.
"A vast majority of Americans believe they deserve a raise, but then they don't go and ask for one," Sabatier says. "They're too afraid that if they ask they're going to get fired, or they have some fear of authority, so they just keep on working and they don't make as much money as possible."
But, Sabatier points out, it can be costly for companies to replace high-performing employees, which often gives you the upper hand. "Going in knowing that gives you leverage," he says. "In fact, most employees have more leverage to negotiate a raise than they think they do."
Landing the raise is still easier said than done. So, before sitting down with your boss, Sabatier recommends doing your own research in order to understand how much you should be making. "Your market value is simply the amount of money another company would pay someone like you to do a job based on your skills and your experience," he explains.
Here are three resources you can use to understand how much you're worth.
- Online job sites like Glassdoor and Indeed. Online job search sites are the simplest place to start. These sites allow current and former employees to share company reviews and compensation information and can give you a quick overview of where your salary falls compared to similar positions. "Just a 20-minute search can tell you whether or not you're getting underpaid," Sabatier says.
- Recruiters. Befriend recruiters in your industry, Sabatier suggests, because "they get paid to help you find a job. These are the people who are going to know what you're worth." Recruiters will be able to give you specific data points about how your position and salary compare, and may even present you with bigger and better job opportunities.
- Industry reports. Scour the internet for industry-specific reports that do the work for you. "It's never been easier in history to make more money because there's so much data available," Sabatier says. "You can go out and read reports to find out how much someone with your experience, with your job title are making."
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