YouTube is a guilty pleasure for most of us. The video-sharing website is a notorious timesink, offering an endless catalog of videos for viewers to zone out to. However, YouTube can also serve as an incredible tool for learning something new or diving deeper into a topic. Below, we’ve outlined three YouTube videos about money. While comical and good for a laugh, the deeper message behind each can teach you a valuable lesson on personal finance.
People That Deserve a Raise
As one of the original YouTubers, Jenna Marbles has always had a knack for bringing comedy and relatability to her audience of millions. In her video People That Deserve a Raise, she applauds hardworking retail workers, bus drivers, flight attendants, and more for their ability to make her day a little brighter and life a little less stressful. She highlights their median average salaries — such as $30,000 per year for bus drivers — and emphasizes that they deserve a raise for a job well done.
How to Ask for a Raise
While Jenna’s rant may have you laughing, she highlights an important skill every working professional should know how to do: ask for a raise. If you’ve been working hard and have not seen your efforts rewarded, it may be time to ask for a pay increase. Before you ask, take some time to research your position, salary trends, and your own work history to better present your case. The following steps can be your jumping-off point:
Do Some Salary Research
A simple search on Google, Indeed Salaries, or Glassdoor can show you the median pay for your job type and position. Are you paid significantly lower than the national average? Has it been a year or more since your last pay increase? Remember that things like years of experience, education, and company size can also skew a salary range higher or lower. Once you look into the numbers, you can come up with a percentage increase that you’d like to ask for. Note that an increase of around 3% is considered average.
Build Your Case
Make a list of all accomplishments, achievements, and contributions you’ve made with your company. If your job responsibilities have changed or increased, be sure to include how. Whenever possible, quantify these things with numbers. For example, maybe an initiative you spearheaded resulted in a 10% increase in sales. Having measurable changes to present will only serve to strengthen your case. Plus, if your boss needs to have a raise approved by someone above them, a list of your accomplishments can expedite the process.
Set Up a Meeting With Your Boss
Asking for money apropos of nothing may not work in your favor. Instead of blindsiding your boss, ask if you can schedule a time to sit down and talk privately. Imply that you’d like to discuss salary (“I’d like to set up a time to briefly discuss my compensation with the company. Will 1:30 work?”). Be intentional in your timing. Don’t ask this question if your boss is clearly having a bad day or in the midst of a high-stress project. You should also consider the health of the company in general. If you know that the company recently underwent major budget cuts or a string of layoffs, it likely isn’t in the financial position to grant you a raise.
Prepare for the Meeting
You should practice exactly how you’d like to begin the conversation. Express gratitude for your boss taking the time to sit down with you. Keep things polite and professional but to the point. Next, figure out how you’ll present your reasons justifying why you deserve a raise. Be straightforward and confident, avoiding passive language such as “I feel” or “I believe.” Once you’ve presented your case, you can ask for a certain dollar amount or percentage increase.
The conversation will likely not end here. Understand that your boss might ask you questions, probe further into some of your listed accomplishments, and/or negotiate on the dollar amount. You may even get turned down altogether. You should have answers prepared for all of these talking points.
If the answer is no, ask why. While it may be something out of your control — such as company budget cuts — it may also be due to improvements your boss thinks you could make. If these are reasonable to you, you can always work on your job performance and then ask again in a few months. You can also ask for things like a title change, additional vacation days, or a telecommuting option if you did not get the raise you were looking for.
What One Billion Dollars Looks Like
YouTuber Reckful has garnered over four million hits on his video What One Billion Dollars Looks Like. In the clip, he opens up notepad on his computer and types out $100,000 — a dollar amount, he says, that most of us could only hope to make in a year. He then copy-pastes $100,000 10,000 times, providing a visual of what it would look like having $1 billion. The document becomes a wall of text.
He decides to “donate” $100,000 and deletes it from the note. Suddenly, that dollar amount that most of us would be lucky to earn in a year seems inconsequential. It’s hard to even see where he deleted the $100,000 because there is still $999,900,000 left.
He continues the example, deleting rows of $100,000 for a few million-dollar donations here, a new Lamborghini there. It becomes evident that as much as he’s “spending,” it’s almost impossible to notice the loss.
Reckful’s example is extreme, but it speaks to a broader problem. Lifestyle creep, or lifestyle inflation, is the habit of spending more money as you make more money. After a raise, for example, you might suddenly feel it’s within your means to buy a new car or go on a shopping spree. Since you have more money, it’s harder to “feel” the loss of spending. And this cycle can quickly overtake your daily habits, leading you down a path of debt.
Pay the Necessities First
It’s tempting to spend money on frivolous things following a big pay raise. However, it’s critical that you ensure all necessary expenses are accounted for first. This covers tedious things like bills and debt payments, but it also needs to include retirement contributions and emergency fund savings. It’s helpful to set up automatic payments so that these expenses are taken care of without you having to make conscious efforts to do them.
Set Aside Dedicated Fun Money
You deserve to treat yourself once in a while. However, you should be setting money aside for fun purchases rather than spending every time the mood strikes. Once you’ve budgeted for the necessary expenses outlined above, you can set aside a dedicated dollar amount each week or month that you’re allowed to spend however you like. Stay within this allotment. Don’t borrow money from your emergency fund to finance a shopping spree. The structure will help keep you on the right track without causing you to feel like you can never splurge.
Maintain Good Credit Habits
Lifestyle creep can lead you toward debt. While you may not feel the consequences of your increased spending right away, it will eventually catch up with you should you let it. Maintaining good credit habits is crucial no matter your financial standing. If you cannot afford to pay for a purchase outright, you cannot afford to put it on credit. Your credit card balances should ideally be paid off in full each billing period to avoid piling interest charges.
30 Unusual Wills
In 30 Unusual Wills for Mental Floss, author John Green pokes fun at comical, passive-aggressive, and outright strange last wills and testaments from history. Notable examples include Englishman Henry Budd, who bequeathed £200,000 to his sons on the condition that neither ever grew a mustache; American Garvey B. White, who bequeathed his son-in-law $0.50 to purchase a rope with which to hang himself; and Harry Houdini, who left behind a secret code his wife could use to contact him through a yearly seance.
While it’s easy to laugh at such outlandish examples, Green’s video does bring up an important consideration for each of us: writing a will.
What Happens if You Die Without a Will?
If you die without a will, your estate will be settled based on the laws specific to your state. Intestate laws vary. Typically, your surviving spouse will be the first to inherit, followed by your children, parents, siblings, and distant relatives. If you wish you distribute your estate differently upon your death, it’s critical you leave behind a will.
Writing Your Will
In your will, you’ll need to name the beneficiaries of your estate, an executor to ensure your wishes are carried out accordingly, and a guardian for any dependent children. Be as specific as possible and don’t leave things up to interpretation. Understand that while you can divide cash equally among your heirs (should you choose), you cannot divide your belongings equally. Spend some time carefully considering who will receive jewelry, artwork, and other tangible things, and again, be specific. If you believe there will be conflict, you may wish to have a conversation with your heirs upfront about how you intend to divide your estate.
Hire Professional Help
You can DIY a will with the help of reputable legal software. However, you should tread very carefully going the do-it-yourself route. Simple mistakes or oversights can leave your heirs facing steep taxes or legal fees. And if you have a complicated life situation — such as a disabled adult child, or a live-in partner you weren’t married to — DIY software may not cut it. Hiring an attorney can offer you peace of mind in making sure all of your bases are covered.