(NewsUSA) - Many employers are finding ways to reward their loyal and productive employees with salary increases. A CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional can offer guidance and strategies for how to maximize your salary increase. Think of this windfall not as an excuse for frivolous spending, but as an opportunity to line up your money with what matters most to you, says Karl Frank, CFP.®
"With a little planning, a salary increase can become an opportunity to make a long-term impact in your quality of life," Frank says.
Some smart uses for the new funds coming in include:
1. Retirement security. If you have not started saving for retirement, a salary increase is the perfect opportunity. If you have already started saving for your golden years, directing more of your salary into your retirement accounts moves you further ahead.
2. Long-term goals. Do you have an event on the horizon, such as a wedding, home purchase or dream vacation? Create an investment account and divert some of your pay increase into it.
3. Debt elimination. A salary increase can be the ideal way to pay down or pay off lingering debt, whether from student loans, mortgages, car purchases, or overused credit cards.
4. Emergency fund. Whether or not you already have an emergency fund, you can use your pay raise to add to it. "Usually, six months to two years of your living expenses are reasonable amounts of money to keep in safe, very low- or zero-interest, accounts at a bank," Frank says.
5. Career development. Setting aside the money from a salary increase to invest in your career can pay off with even greater financial benefits and higher pay. Consider opportunities for certification or an advanced degree in your field that might take you to the next level. Seeking a career change? Setting aside money from a salary increase can help bridge the gap if you decide to switch to a different field, start your own business or take time off.
6. Fun! Spending a salary increase carelessly can be easy, but if you create a budget and mindfully dedicate some of your salary increase to activities you value and enjoy, whether that's gym memberships, sports events, concerts or travel, you can improve your quality of life now and in the future.
To learn more about ways to maximize your salary increase to reach your financial goals, visit LetsMakeAPlan.org.