Perhaps financial adviser and LexION Capital founder Elle Kaplan says it best: “In an ideal world, companies would give out raises and salaries based on our true worth,” Kaplan tells Glassdoor. “Until that day happens, you need to stand up and get it for yourself. Knowing what you’re worth—and taking steps to get it—is incredibly liberating and empowering.”
But how do you know what you’re worth? And whether that number is more this year?
As it turns out, knowing what you’re worth doesn’t have to be difficult. Glassdoor’s Know Your Worth Guide outlines the steps you need to take to determine your market value. For starters, head to the Know Your Worth calculator, which will give you a free, personalized salary estimate based on today’s job market. When you’ve got that number, you can take a couple more things into consideration to know your real worth: determine whether where you work today is where you want to work tomorrow, so you can make sure you’re looking at the right markets, and evaluate years of experience to see how many are really relevant.
But the Know Your Worth calculator isn’t the only way you can determine your worth.
“In today’s Internet age, there is a wealth of information available online about salaries that can help you find your true worth,” says Kaplan. “For instance, sites like Glassdoor show anonymous salaries by position and department. Even if you can’t find the exact salaries of your current coworkers, you can discover the average pay for your skillsets and position.”
Once you know your real worth in today’s market, it’s time to take financial control of your career. If you find that you’re worth more this year than you were last, initiate a talk with your boss to see if you can get a salary boost. “The worst thing you’ll hear is ‘no,’” points out Kaplan. “You won’t get fired or demoted just because you asked for a reasonable raise. In fact, there are plenty of bosses will respect your self-confidence and initiative. And if they don’t acknowledge your values, there are plenty of other fish out there in the sea who will.”
If you’re not worth more this year than last—according to Glassdoor’s calculator or your own honest assessment—you can do something right now to begin to increase your worth.
“You don’t have to wait for a promotion to start increasing your net worth in the office,” says Kaplan. “There are so many opportunities for free learning and development that you should take advantage of to boost your value. For instance, you can start learning to code online, or you could join a public speaking group.” After all, she points out, “well after they graduate, ultra-wealthy, successful people don’t stop learning, and you shouldn’t either.”
What’s more, you can take what you do make now and invest it, which could increase what you’re worth—according to the bank, at least. “Millionaires rarely became wealthy on just salaries alone,” Kaplan says. “To get your hard-earned money working as hard as you do, you also need to invest it. Even with your current salary, you can dramatically increase your net worth over time by investing a portion. If you get started today, you’ll reap exponential benefits for a lifetime.” (Not sure where to start? These nine books about money could help you take control of your finances and also begin investing, too.)