How Money Talks in Career Management

Personal Wealth Assists Career Management

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In the realm of career development, having significant savings and—just as importantly—having this known to your superiors, gives you an advantage, as you are not highly dependent on your present position and salary to survive. Therefore, you are in a position of power where you can comfortably leave a position willingly or at the request of your employer to find something more suitable.

Increased Flexibility

Regarding job offers and work assignments, having a large amount of money gives you the ability to say no. With a large pool of savings, you can afford to decline opportunities that do not appeal to you regardless of the pay. In the words of financial writer Randall Lane, as interviewed in The Pennsylvania Gazette, the alumni magazine of the University of Pennsylvania, November/December 2010, "Money, to me, is just the freedom to do what you want."

On the other hand, if you do not have an ample cushion of savings, out of necessity, your options are more limited. It will be much harder to turn down a high-paying position, no matter what the downsides. It also will be exceptionally risky to resist demands from your superiors that you seem unappealing or unreasonable.

Being wealthy can give you the freedom to find a job that interests you regardless of salary. Once hired, you will be driven by your passion to succeed, and your new employer will look for ways to keep you challenged and interested.

Added Respect

Money talks also in the sense that, almost invariably, an employee who reputedly has significant wealth earns considerably more respect from their superiors, all else equal, than someone who does not. This is an interesting lesson in management psychology.

The employee who appears to need a job, especially if they may be thrust into a financial crisis by losing it, is an easy mark for unreasonable or excessive demands if management is so disposed. An employee in this position cannot afford to push back, and thus risk a poor performance review or even dismissal. This person, too often, appears vulnerable and is taken for granted by management.

On the other hand, money talks in the case of an employee who is reputed to have ample financial assets. This person does indeed have the capability to say no and to push back against unreasonable orders. Management, meanwhile, normally anticipates that such an employee is not a captive to the job, or to the firm. The financial cushion provided by a large pool of savings allows such a person to walk away from an undesirable situation, with few qualms. Accordingly, management is less likely to push hard against the reputedly wealthy employee than against the one who is not.

Career Insurance

Given the danger of falling victim to a layoff, a bonus cut or a stealth pay cut, having an adequate cushion of savings provides insurance against the personal financial stress that otherwise might result.

Many long-time corporate employees become self-employed entrepreneurs as a result of layoffs or hitting a career impasse among their current employers, finding that because of age they have limited opportunities for suitable re-employment elsewhere. Having ample savings can smooth such transitions and provide seed capital for new ventures, where needed.

Be Careful

Accumulating significant financial wealth, and advertising this fact to management—subtly, but clearly—does not give you carte blanche to become a slacker. Your money talks only if you continue to perform at a high level and thus make your employers particularly concerned about losing your services if they do not treat you appropriately.

Meanwhile, take note of the career rationale for changing jobs periodically. A similar effect can be achieved, in some circumstances, by regularly being on the lookout for new and better opportunities elsewhere. This can affect your reputation and may hurt your career prospects.

Defense Against Credit Checks

A large and growing concern for job seekers is that some employers utilize credit checks in making hiring decisions. Because of this, getting your financial house in order by reducing debt and increasing savings can mean the difference between getting or not getting a position. The basic theory is that job candidates with high credit scores generally are more reliable and trustworthy than those with low scores. The validity of this theory is widely disputed, yet many employers still insist on using credit checks, where allowed by law.

Note, however, that having large savings and low debt does not necessarily translate into a high credit score. Among the many flaws in the FICO credit scoring methodology is that it tends to underrate people with little or no history of indebtedness.