Earn more money, without picking up extra shifts

wealth Jan 04, 2024

I started my career picking up extra shifts to make my financial goals happen. I wanted to pay off my debt early and build wealth. I had $161K in student loan debt to contend with. My income felt like it wasn’t enough, so my solution was to work evenings, weekends, and my scheduled days off to make up the difference. I used that to pay off $161,000 in student loans in 16 months, but quickly realized the downfalls to that strategy.


While the “working extra shifts” strategy may work for short term financial goals, like paying off credit card debt, it’s not a viable long-term solution. It can lead to burnout, and if it ultimately reduces your career longevity it may reduce your long-term income.

The most underleveraged wealth hack is to negotiate more compensation for what you’re already doing, and then use the increased income to reduce debt & build assets.


Here’s a few pearls for the negotiation process itself:


  • Calculate your total compensation, including all bonuses, retirement contributions, profit-sharing, CME budget, professional subscriptions covered, etc. first. You need to ensure you’re comparing apples to apples and understand your true compensation.
  • Stop thinking about the conversation in reference to you, your bills, or inflation. This is a mutually beneficial business relationship, and it needs to be viewed through that lens.
  • Get to know your employer’s goals. Find ways you can help your employer make more money and meet their business goals. This should provide the framework for the discussion.
  • Draft a list of revenue you have generated for your employer, objective ways you’ve streamlined workflows, and other measurable achievements over the last 6-12 months.
  • Research local salary data. AAPA is a reference for PAs. Glassdoor also has free tools to determine this, like their “Know Your Worth” calculator. Coworker salary data may also be useful in this context. This is not necessarily information you share during the meeting but is important background information for you to have for planning.
  • Create a written plan with the metrics you intend to ask for, and several compromises you would still consider a win if you were able to successfully negotiate. Brainstorm non-salary benefits you could negotiate as well.
  • If the answer is no, create a plan for a follow up appointment in the next 6 months with objective metrics you should achieve in the interim that you develop with your employer.


Remember, there is a plethora of data that supports changing jobs will increase salary faster than staying in the same place long-term and negotiating raises.


Why does it matter? Check out what a 10% raise will do for your long-term net worth, provided you utilize the increase in income to build assets.



What if you’re already making great money?


If you’re already at the 90th percentile of income for your specialty and area, negotiate non-monetary aspects of the job. This could be flex time, an afternoon working from home, reduced hours, etc.  

If you’re a hustler like I am and want increased income beyond the 90th percentile of your pay scale, there are quite literally limitless ways to increase your income. I consider the long-term validity of these options based on income potential, the amount of output you get for your input (time spent), and how much passion I feel doing the activity. Within the scope of medicine, things like speaking for a pharmaceutical company or doing expert witness work can be lucrative ways to increase income with more flexibility. Outside of medicine, there are boundless opportunities. The only true limit is the preconceived notion you have of what’s possible for yourself.


I have a framework I teach my clients for negotiating a raise. It is based on the foundational principle that your negotiation is based upon making a profitable business arrangement for both parties and creates a win-win mindset. 

I recently had a PA snag a $6,000 annual raise using this framework, and another who got a 15% annual raise. That's BIG money if you're doing the right stuff with it.


As always, invest early & travel often.

- Kristin


Millionaires in Medicine is the fastest growing coaching program to help medical professionals build wealth & create early financial freedom. Click here to learn how to apply. 



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