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3: Analyze Your Habits

Determine Your Fair Wage

SAM tips

What is Your Worth?

How much are your skills and talents worth in the work environment? To get a quick idea of what you should be paid in your current or desired position, go to and enter your job title and location.

Online Resources

It’s useful to know what your work talents, education and training are worth in the marketplace when you begin a job search or change careers. Here are a few sites to use:

  • The Bureau of Labor Statistic in the U.S. Department of Labor offers several types of information:
    • Career Outlook is a publication that provides information about industries, pay, employment data and much more.
    • The list of Fastest Growing Occupations provides information on employment and median wages for various occupations.
  • presents salary information for various occupations by keywords, industry or interest.
  • O*Net OnLine offers a number of different searches and information on wages and employment trends.
  • lets you enter your job title and location to get an idea of what you should be paid in your current or desired position.
W-4 form mockup

Additionally, you will want to take taxes into account. To learn more about tax forms and tax liability, check out these resources at the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

  • The Employee’s Withholding Allowance Certificate (W-4) tells your employer how much federal income tax to deduct from your paycheck. Learn how to fill out a W-4 with the IRS’s W-4 simulator.
  • The IRS offers sample forms and instructions for arranging your tax withholdings.
  • Use the IRS withholding calculator to estimate changes to your tax liability with different income levels.

When you have analyzed your needs with respect to paying expenses and saving for financial goals, you can begin to assess how well your current paycheck meets those needs and how long your current compensation level will continue to help you in your pursuit of financial freedom.

How is Your Salary Measuring Up?

Use one or more of the online resources listed above to complete the following sentences:

  1. Choose which fits best:  My current salary is ____________ with other salaries for a similar position.

  2. Answer true or false:  If I receive an increase of 3 percent per year for the next five years, my salary will allow me to achieve my financial goals.

  3. I envision my current income situation will be sufficient for more years before I need to do something different.
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