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To ask how I can make more money by Working Really Hard

(54 Posts)
PaintingOwls Thu 26-Jan-17 13:28:08

I am feeling very disillusioned and depressed over my finances and savings. I managed to save £10k after uni by living with parents for 2 years whilst on min wage and basically not doing anything. I put that money into NS&I and have gotten back about £200 in prizes.

I am mid-20s now and living in London. DP is at uni and in his final year, we live in zone 6. We want to start a family etc once he starts working. He is on an NHS course so hopefully he will be able to find a job very soon after graduation.

I earn £26k per year. This is 20,800 after tax. I don't get overtime or anything like that. There is an annual bonus but honestly it's a pittance and is obviously taxed so ends up even smaller!

After rent, council tax and travel (2.5k a year!!) and food there's not much to put away into savings.

What can I do? I work 8.30-6 with an hour commute at each end. I thought about looking for a weekend job but it's the only free time I get and work leaves me exhausted at the end of each day. I am an Executive Assistant so I basically spend my days running around fulfilling my boss's whims and wishes. I can't keep this up forever.

I always see people saying that they got ahead in life by working really hard -- well how can I get on that bandwagon? I feel really thick not being able to come up with any good ideas sad

SheldonsSpot Thu 26-Jan-17 13:31:36

The only people I know who are making real money have started and are running their own businesses. DH included, but I have to be honest and say he doesn't work particularly hard - or at least not as hard as he did when he was an employee in the firm we used to work at together.

formerbabe Thu 26-Jan-17 13:34:38

The 'working hard' thing is a fallacy. It's much more complex than that. Sorry, no advice but sympathy flowers

Needmorewine Thu 26-Jan-17 13:42:22

Look into changing firms, the EAs in law firms / banks I used to work with were on more like £40/50k and excellent bens. A few now do business manager / project manager type roles which pay more.

SantasLittleMonkeyButler Thu 26-Jan-17 13:46:46

It sounds as though you are working really hard already.

My advice (the advice I wish I'd listened to at your age) would be to live within your means. For example; only have a credit card if you can pay it off each month, only take a holiday if you can actually afford one, don't spend money on things you don't actually need, save as much as you can - even if it only seems like a small amount each month.

All these things may feel like hardship now, but are setting you up for a financially stable future. You are young, your careers will progress (I would also put off having a baby until you can afford childcare - to a point obviously!). I'm not sure many 20 somethings are wealthy by pure work alone.

I know it can seem like a depressing slog ahead of you, but that's life for most of us I'm afraid. Not to say that life shouldn't have fun in it too - but the working to earn money part quite often isn't at all fun!

Bailey101 Thu 26-Jan-17 13:47:20

Have you looked into studying alongside working? I studied to become an accountant while working full time and my earning power hugely increased. It was a lot of work though, and evenings and weekends were mostly spent with my head in a book.

Henrysmycat Thu 26-Jan-17 13:59:26

It's true about the businesses. Most of the wealthier people I know are either in investment banking (2 are extremely intelligent the rest have family connections) or run their own business with good PR behind them. For the rest of us, while saving every penny is ok, generating more income is better. How long have you been in your job? Can you ask for a pay rise? Are you in a graduate scheme? What are your studies on?
Don't get sucked into a company; Rule of Thump: move every 3 years at the beginning and then every 5 thereafter unless you find a child-friendly company so spend your kids early years there. I was at a company that allowed sabbaticals, kid's xmas concerts, time off for children and good maternity support, these are far more important than an extra £5K when toddler is ill and 5 month old is teething keeping you up all night.
Also, going against the grain, do not start a family in your 20s. You have plenty of time and it's better to establish yourself in a career before maternity leaves and children come.

champagneplanet Thu 26-Jan-17 14:01:45

Agree with Bailey, I spent five years of my twenties going to night school doing accountancy and I also worked full time and did a part time cleaning job. That was ten years ago, my earnings have since increased by about 40%. I don't spend all that I earn therefore save a lot but I'm also not stupid with my money, I like to save.

Ironically I am now an EA in a growing company, also a shareholder and on the BOD as I bought in at a time when investment was required. It has been and still is hard work but going to night school helped me to develop my role and take on additional responsibility. Only do something you enjoy though and is transferable.

TheABC Thu 26-Jan-17 14:15:34

The fact you are living in London AND commuting for an hour rang alarm bells for me. I would be looking at options outside the capital - either an hour's direct commute from the surrounding area or a complete move to another city. When I moved to the West Midlands from London, my wages went down, but the amount of disposable income went up as everything was cheaper (especially rent). Its a drastic choice, but if you are thinking about children, this could be a good way forward for you - cheaper childcare, less competition for schools etc.

Short term, look at ways you can use your commute productively. In a car, you can listen to audiobooks or learn a language, on a,train there is reading, business research and downloadable courses. Look at ways to step up to the next level in your career and make yourself more attractive to job agencies. Your boss will never pay you what you are worth, so upskill and move on or apply for a promotion every three years. Alternately, look into starting a small business on the side - there is more advice and support out there than ever for freelancing, setting up an online shop etc. Truthfully that is the quickest way to be rewarded for your work as no one will value your time like you do. But make sure you research it first!

PaintingOwls Thu 26-Jan-17 14:18:37

Have you looked into studying alongside working? I studied to become an accountant while working full time and my earning power hugely increased.

I'm nervous because I don't know what to study. I did a 6 month crash course which was meant to allow me to change careers 2 years ago now. I spent £1500 and when it came to interviews etc they didn't care about the qualification or I was offered poorly paid intern positions without any assurance of progression (think silicone roundabout types). The culture in those companies also shocked me and I am put off ending up there now. What a waste of money!

The thing is I put my head down and work hard to perfect wherever job I am given but I'm lacking direction and career ambition. I want to succeed but I don't know (or care?) at what.

I joined the current company I am at as a generalist support intern and did half a dozen roles. So they were like OK you're super flexible and adaptable and pick things up quickly we think you'd make a good EA. So I took the job at £23k and have had 1 pay increase in that time.

BobbinThreadbare123 Thu 26-Jan-17 14:20:01

OP, your salary is good. But not London good. You earn way more than I earned for much of my previous career as a teacher, and I'm older. Move away from London and you'll find that sort of salary goes a lot further!

Twistmeandturnme Thu 26-Jan-17 14:22:32

So look for a better paid EA position closer to home. (more income, less outgoings, less time out of the house).

NootNoot Thu 26-Jan-17 14:26:59

London is a pig- we are also zone 6. Although we can pay the bills etc it feels like we will NEVER get on the property ladder.

We moved down from East Anglia in 2016 due to his job & despite my income nearly doubling, rent is more than 2x what it was, travel is more ££, parking permits etc etc just eats it up. You have my sympathy.

Only friends we have that splash the cash are in banking :-(

Atlast2017 Thu 26-Jan-17 14:30:55

I only started to save when I left London so I agree you should consider moving elsewhere where all your outgoings would be less.

I also didn't have any money until well into my 30s and that was the case with all of my friends too. It takes that long to establish yourself in many careers. In your case I think you have to find another job or retrain or cut your commuting time at least. If you had a shorter working day, you could do an evening or weekend shift or two.

The two richest people I know are one, a businessman who sold up and took early retirement, and two, a person with a good career who saved every single penny (tight arse) so he could also retire early and still lives like a skinflint even though he is loaded.

LockieS Thu 26-Jan-17 14:31:03

There is always a back story to the "I just worked really hard and made a fortune" types.

Somewhere in the background they either had financial or family network support. I'm sure there are exclusions but generally not.

Somerville Thu 26-Jan-17 14:31:42

Are you a good EA? If so, there are much, MUCH, better paying EA jobs elsewhere in London. I'd refresh your CV and start sending it out.

Somerville Thu 26-Jan-17 14:32:25

Only friends we have that splash the cash are in banking

There are EA jobs in banking wink

empirerecordsrocked Thu 26-Jan-17 14:38:38

EAs can earn 40+ in my firm, even senior secretaries. Time to move job?

Wordsmith Thu 26-Jan-17 14:40:03

Do you have to be in London? The housing costs and commuting sound horrendous. Can't you stick it out until DP graduates and then look for jobs somewhere else? There is life outside London you know wink

I don't know anyone your age who has managed to get on the property ladder in London without working in banking or having significant parental support - paying the deposit for them, for example.

MrsBlennerhassett Thu 26-Jan-17 14:43:13

have you thought about leaving london? Used to live in london and paid the same for a studio flat as what we are paying for our three bed house in the north. We could never have stayed in London with a child i dont know how people do it unless they are earning real money or have a council house.

PaintingOwls Thu 26-Jan-17 14:43:29

Are you a good EA? If so, there are much, MUCH, better paying EA jobs elsewhere in London.

I think I am but this is the only role I've held so I guess I can't really say?

I'm also not sure how much to ask for. I've noticed that salaries are always on a range or "competitive" or something like that. Would I be laughed out of the door if I asked for £40k? Would there be more expectation and less tolerance if I fuck something up? Or would they be suspicious of me because they would see that as a low salary?

mambono5 Thu 26-Jan-17 14:43:34

You are an executive assistant for 26k? You can earn a lot more than that in London. Have a look at job ads that fit your profile, and see what the starting salaries are. Now that you have experience, you are worth a lot more than when you started. In most cases, you get a higher pay increase by moving jobs than staying where you are. The trick is to be very choosy about the companies your work for. Once you have one of the big names on your CV, it gets even easier.

Don't get me wrong, it's long hours and hard work, but salaries can get really attractive. You can always do a course to give you an hedge on an area you are a bit weak.

Oliversmumsarmy Thu 26-Jan-17 14:44:34

I know this sounds really out there and I don't know how this would work but would a full time job that was closer to home, less stressful and maybe paid a little bit less then a few evening jobs/Saturdays/ Weekend work to push the income up work. Lidl pay nearly £20000 per year for a basic shop assistant, £9.35per hour in London x 40 hour week x 52 weeks =£19448 to be precise and you would then save on your travel. Don't forget the £2500 on travel is out of taxed.

On the other hand £26000 doesn't seem to be a huge salary for London Considering you have spent 3 years at uni and spent money and time on further education.

PaintingOwls Thu 26-Jan-17 14:44:46


EAs can earn 40+ in my firm, even senior secretaries. Time to move job?

Are you hiring? grin

empirerecordsrocked Thu 26-Jan-17 14:45:16

If I was you I'd go and talk to a couple of recruitment consultants - see what's available, what they recommend and get you out for interview.

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