Office Hours: I’m Niya Dragova - the co-founder of Candor, the top salary negotiator in tech and an expert in RSU compensation. AMA!Featured

Hi Elphas!

Thanks for having me this week 💛

👉 Let’s talk fintech. I’m the co-founder of Candor – where we help tech employees manage their stock compensation. I think a lot about how the financial system needs to change to be more accessible to all. I wrote about it for a16z Future recently here.

👀 I’m also the top salary negotiator in tech. I’ve helped both tech executives and regular employees negotiate millions more.

👩🏻‍💻 … and I write a viral newsletter on the job market in Silicon Valley.

Before Candor, I worked in senior roles in banking and finance. Born and raised in Bulgaria 🇧🇬. I live for my rescue pup Kashi 🐶 and a nice glass of scotch 🥃 (neat, please). 🔥My end game past Silicon Valley is to fully reform foster care.

Ask me anything about negotiation, compensation, managing your RSU pay, asking for a raise, my life philosophy, or how to swim the currents as a female founder.

My pronouns are she/ hers.

ElphaStaff's profile thumbnail
Thanks so much for joining us @niya!Elphas – please ask @niya your questions before Friday, March 11th. @niya may not have time to answer every questions, so emoji upvote your favorites 🔥👍🏾➕
clairewescott's profile thumbnail
Hi @niya! Big fan of your newsletter. Thank you for connecting with us here. Writing with a compensation question, and here's the background: I am currently interviewing to pivot into the tech industry. I have 10 years of experience in edu/non-profit & a graduate degree in learning design, including a very high level project management role within the sector & many guest lectures at universities. However, during this recent interview process, many tech companies offer me compensation that is only about double the minimum wage in Boston (where I live). These are roles with very transferrable skills for my experience (project management, learning design, etc.). I also run into signifiant backlash and bias for my choice to begin my career in service to others through education, but that's another post for another day.I'm wondering... Is it the expectation of the tech industry that I take a dramatic compensation cut when pivoting into it from another sector? I'm concerned it could set me back a decade in saving for retirement, but I also don't want to box myself out of being able to enter the industry. If you have any tips for how to better frame talking about my transferable skills and/or overcome any bias towards my non-tech background during compensation conversations, please let me know.
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Hi :) You have a very valuable skillset and background. Sadly, what you're experiencing is not uncommon and there are several things I think are compounding based on what you're describing:- Recruiting is (broadly) about pattern recognition. Your experience is definitely different - which is a plus to those who know how to interpret it. Sadly, there's very little interpretation in recruiting nowadays. The way I'd approach this is by focusing on referrals vs applications and having strong advocates when you apply. Affinity groups are a great way to meet like-minded folks who can help. Focus on fewer opportunities but go much deeper on each one.- You could thrive in a variety of roles. This is valuable for early stage companies who want generalists (but don't pay a lot) but not so much for late-stage. Late-stage co's tend to under-pay generalists who move industries. - If you aim for a big company, consider a role that's very close to your current skillset and build a narrow narrative around it- as an example, Learning and Development roles in big tech co's are super fun, location agnostic and immediately relatable to your background as I understand it.- Boston is not a high-paying market for tech in general (with few exceptions in biotech and AI). Many companies will use a " multiple" to downgrade your pay to what they believe is the local cost of living. Breaking into tech in markets like NY, MIA and SF is easier - many of these companies are also fully remote and don't require you to move. There are also companies, like Reddit, who've explicitly said they pay employees the same regardless of location. Make a list of companies you've researched and only pursue them.- Don't interview without knowing the salary range. Every company has a budget, get the range early on. These are all surmountable things - stay positive! There's a lot to look forward to and the right company will come along, you just have to run a process to find it. I'm not sure what your current salary level is so it's hard for me to say if you need to adjust your expectations when you make a move but happy to chat 1:1 and give you more individual-advice, just DM me on LinkedIn.
I would love a tax referral if you have one. My rsu are a little confusing.
LaurenKim's profile thumbnail
Hi @niya! Thank you so much for doing this AMA! I just signed up for your newsletter and remember seeing you in Lenny's newsletter on negotiations so I was really excited you were doing this AMA. I just received an offer at a pre-IPO startup and was looking over a few things.1. I'm currently negotiating for an offer and saw that they bundled relocation assistance into signing bonus. I wanted to ask if that was common and if there was any way to parse the 2 packages. Additionally, is there anyway to justify a higher signing bonus (I'm not currently working and don't have competing offers so this might not actually be viable, but thought I'd ask)2. I read on Candor that annual bonuses are more for public companies. I'm signing at a smaller startup (pre-IPO) and want to see if there would be a reasonable way to bring up a performance / annual bonus. It wasn't part of the package but do you have any recommendations on how to bring up such a conversation, or you see startups not very open to such conversations. I'd love your take & experience on this.3. I was also just curious is there anything you should NOT try to negotiate in a job offer?Thank you so much!
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Thank you for the kind words 🥰1) Common for mid-size companies. Always be careful about taxes when you get a cash relocation package - they can really add up more than you think. It's a matter of preference (based on you tax status) but I personally prefer getting the company to pay for things for me within a budget or reimburse me vs giving me a cash relocation that I will get taxed though the nose. My team wrote about this a bit here if you want to understand it more: https://candor.co/articles/salary-negotiation/5-tips-to-navigate-relocation-assistance - To your sub-question: Sign on bonuses are a retention strategy. Most will have a clause that you have to stay for X time to get it or that if you don't stay X length of months, company can ask for it back. So to answer your question: you can get a sign on without a competing offer if you are in a highly competitive role and the company wants to essentially pay to lock you in. 2) Don't be afraid to ask! You can start by asking:- " What are the goals for the team/ how is success measured?" - " Is the team regularly meeting them?"- "What's the bonus culture?"- " Do you refresh stock between funding rounds?"If you're in a metrics-driven role, you can negotiate to get bonuses if you or your team hit certain benchmarks - usually the case for folks with title Manager and above. 3) I would avoid the approach of referencing data you found on the internet (usually a weak argument when you're asking for a larger raise in negotiating). Also I would avoid negotiating over email - yes, you can get a raise doing it, but it's a fraction of what you can get talking to people in person. Lastly, I would 100% avoid making ultimatums to recruiters - it's unkind and it's never received well or in your favor.
LaurenKim's profile thumbnail
@niya Thank you for your response. This is actually the first time I've heard about not negotiating over email. I didn't realize you might have a better chance negotiating in person so I'll definitely also consider that as well.Thank you for taking the time to answer! I am so grateful for these perspectives. Thank you so very much!
Hi Niya,I am a Director level product manager in the consulting industry. It is a business-focused role. I don't work directly with scrum teams. I am completing an engineering Bootcamp. My original goal was to up my tech skills to be able to manage more digital products but I actually really like coding.Would companies/recruiters value any of my 15+ years of leadership and collaboration experience in a software engineering role or does only engineering experience matter in this case?
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This is a great question! I don't think there's a universal rule here since company cultures vary a lot. I can only speak from my perspective as a hiring manager here - I would not consider it heavily in a junior role but your experience will grow to be a competitive advantage for you over time as your technical skills evolve. Some big tech companies also have specialty hiring initiatives for people who switch careers and you might find companies that target that to have a higher appreciation for what you can uniquely offer earlier on.
Can you share some companies that do have initiatives for career switchers with substantial experience?
That is helpful. Thank you!
Hi @niya! I recently received a job offer from a California startup that listed a salary range of 100-120k. They offered me 110k and I of course want to negotiate more. Is 120k the actual top limit for their budget? Should I push above that by not naming an ideal # but ask them to improve their offer to see if they go over? Also- what are some ways to describe the value + reasoning as to why you want to improve the salary in the job offer?
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Congrats on the offer!Depends on whether you're getting equity and how much - with early stage offers it's always a trade-off. You can usually ask for more cash with a competing offer, compelling reason you're more valuable to the company or by agreeing to forego some equity in favor of cash. Don't know enough about your situation to know what leverage you have but this might be helpful for you as a jumping off point on how to have the conversation: https://www.lennysnewsletter.com/p/negotiating-comp?s=r
michellebanham's profile thumbnail
Thanks for joining us! Do you have any companies you have seen that you admire their pay philosophy or salary structure / pay scales? I will be building something like this for the company I’m with now. We want to ensure there is equitable pay in the culture and a fair process to determine pay and salary increases. I’m just curious where to even begin!! Do I audit who is currently making what and then revise where needed ? Or maybe that’s the last step … feeling like this is a massive undertaking that I really want to get right!
niya's profile thumbnail
Hey there,Omg I love this question!In terms of leveling philosophy and job family mapping - Meta is my favorite for sure. They put enormous thought and care into people ops and it really shows. In terms of pay flexibility and total compensation philosophy - Google. They have multiple vesting schedule options, which is a huge value add for employees, they do a great job at pay clarity and they also do a lot of work to help people fully understand and utilize their financial benefits. A lot of the way they think about this is a free public wiki you can look up. In terms of early companies: Mindbloom has one of the very best setups on pay transparency. The materials they send candidates are super easy to digest and very thoughtful. I would reach out to them and see if they're willing to share. Where you start I think really depends on how much you want to spend. Salary data and tools can get expensive fast, especially if you have more complex compensation. At a very minimum, I would:- join a community like Lattice's Slack to meet others in your role and share resources- create a database that tracks everyone's salaries, levels, promotions and bonuses ( there's great software for this also). Ideally this would also consider gender identity, age and ethnic background so you can run analytics on potential pay disparities in different cohort groups- meet with managers to understand what their pay philosophy has been so far - test a few data resources and pick one to benchmark with - If your promotion process is formal or tied to your review cycle - pull completed reviews and check how consistent the review rating is vs the raise and promotion the person might have gotten. I like to identify managers who routinely rank low or high and with an HR partner and leadership to address that with coaching - Once you have data on everything that's going on, build a small task force - you'll need policies, training, partners in the business and a way to routinely check for pay disparities. If you have a 100+ person org I'd recommend investing in a HRIS system to make your life easier Sorry this was a lot- hopefully it helps and happy to chat more offline.
michellebanham's profile thumbnail
Amazing! Thank you for these leads - I’m on it!!
jacquelinecolognesi's profile thumbnail
Hi Niya,Thanks for doing an AMA! My manager recently asked me to do some research to pull what I believe are appropriate comp ranges for both myself and my direct report; she's trying to work with her supervisor to ensure our team is at market ranges.I'm in a role (content strategy) where the job definition and responsibilities can vary greatly from company to company. Content on the product/UX side, which we are, is generally compensated higher than it is on the editorial/marketing side. However, I'm not sure where to go to find the best and most accurate information on this, and what the best way to present this information is. Any advice?
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Hey there - thanks for the question!I'm getting some 🚩 energy here - let me explain. Compensation is a continuum: you want to think about not just your current salary, but the trajectory of salary growth for the industry and also how much you'd make in your next promotion. Your manager may well mean the very best to make sure you're getting paid fairly, but it's inherently not fair to saddle you with the responsibility of doing salary research ( consulting firms charge like $100K+ to map progression for a single role). If you're at a big company - my advice is to pull in HR and partner with them to do some research. Best case scenario they should also be buying data and salary surveys for your role, location and industry. Most companies will buy data from Radford for this and some larger companies will pay a consulting firm to do competitive research as well. FANGs will also re-calibrate compensation regularly for key roles to make sure you're keeping up with the market. If you're at a startup/ small co, some of this may not be feasible. You're correct that data for your role is hard to source. I would start with databases like OptionImpact, which most startups can access for free through their VCs. Facebook/ Meta also has a very established career ladder and comp structure for your role you can reference. Lastly, DemandCurve has a community of content folks across disciplines and they've done a few good surveys before. Ultimately, if you have to do it all yourself in the end - try to present the data in a way that shows targets for you this year, yearly promotion rate based on industry growth ( also consider inflation), show comparable data points for companies of a similar size if you can get them. I would also absolutely add data on what a promotion might look like and while you're at it, set yourself a target bonus based on company performance ( many larger companies offer stock refreshers for this role).Hope this helps!
AmandaWangValentine's profile thumbnail
@niya - interesting background & thank you for doing this. Yet again Elpha is reading my to-do list! I'm part of the exec/founding team at a small fast growing startup. We have/are likely to hire people from outside of tech. I'm putting together some resources to share help understand options. A couple of articles on your site were super helpful. If you could give tech newbies a great education around RSU, is there anything else you'd add to tool box other than the articles?Also, if you're interested in reforming foster care, check out https://www.fusecorps.org/about/our-team/. They put entrepreneurs into gov agency for specific innovation projects. I was a fellow & helped changed the way "participants" were onboarded in child support (not that i completely agree w this idea) that increased participation 3x. I had another colleague at foster care. Others in police. City's climate change etc. I have so many opinions on gov - the good, bad & ugly & sometimes why these type of reforms sometimes boringly have to come from inside. Hit me up if u ever want to talk more about this
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Hey there,I love that you're thinking about this- your team is lucky to have you! I was chatting with someone at Twilio and I think their company does a really great job at this, I was very impressed with what I heard from them. From what I understand they bring in someone who fully focuses on financial education to help different affinity groups in the company. They create safe spaces to hold these conversations where everyone feels heard and can participate. I love that idea and I think it's really something more businesses should be doing. Many times we assume education is one sided - I've had to humble myself and learn over time that education only works when it's a two-sided conversation. Would be happy to send you some resources for different levels of familiarity with RSUs and stocks, if helpful. Some of them are from Candor, others are from tech employees or other companies I think are doing an amazing job in the space. I try to keep a collection of good reads - would love to exchange notes and see if you've come across anything interesting too! Thank you for the link! I am putting this high on my agenda to check out this week. I hold a semi-regular meeting with folks in tech who want to talk about social reform, I would love to host you if you're interested :)
AmandaWangValentine's profile thumbnail
Yes, I'll IM my email as would love to connect. Thank you for your detailed answers. The company is doing well financially so it's different from most startups I've been involved in. It's likely to be worth something! I'd be interested in your good reads & maybe if u have the Twilio connection. That sort of education has been hard to find.Love to come to your social reform group. Also check out what my friend Patrice started - https://www.assisthub.org/ - I'm on the board. She's made it easier for people to get social assistance via technology. She was also a fuse fellow.
jeankaplansky's profile thumbnail
Thanks for the AMA! I've DM'd you. I got myself into a complex quandary and now need to figure out how to get back on track... I work with a career coach whom I love, but a second opinion is not going to hurt my cause.Thanks for reading! (BTW - you are one of the first Elpha AMA's I've seen who has been INCREDIBLY RESPONSIVE to the whole AMA cycle. Thanks for that!)
Hi Niya! Your self-intro is so inspiring! I'm pivoting into Product Management from Project Management in my current org based in Toronto, Canada. Product Management is a new department in the org, so I want to ensure 1) I'm compensated fairly and 2) a fair precedent is set for future team members who join the department. The org is privately-owned, with fewer than 50 employees. 1. What is a reasonable raise I can negotiate for with this change in job function and scope of work?2. About the compensation "meta," as an employee, why is it easier to see larger increases in compensation from job-hopping every 2–3 years than it is to negotiate for higher compensation with an existing employer? Appreciate your time!
niya's profile thumbnail
Congrats on the move 🎉🎉🎉🎉1) If you position this as a raise, you're likely limiting your upside. Try to build a narrative with your manager that this is a new role, which has much higher responsibilities - essentially give yourself a clean slate on compensation. If you have some form of HR, ask them to buy data or partner with you to create a compensation structure. Ideally you make a few levels like Junior, Mid, Senior and have a % increase for annual raises and a bonus structure based on metrics or company performance. Set the expectation that these numbers need to be refreshed bi-annually and adjusted for inflation.2) Discrimination is much easier to prove for existing employees since there's a data trail - companies are very afraid that giving larger raises will expose them to liability so most have a set ceiling. Second reason is the company has no downside if they don't pay you more - most people end up staying in low paying jobs for a long time . Lastly - some companies legitimately have a tight budget.
Niya, thanks for taking time to respond and your words of encouragement! I didn't realize that buying salary data was an industry on its own. And your explanation about the employer's perspective is insightful, too! What are your suggestions for trustworthy, reputable tools/companies from which to buy compensation data?
niya's profile thumbnail
Radford is probably the longest standing / most mainstream but there are so many options nowadays, I'd start by mapping out who else is similar to them that has data for the types of roles you have.
ria20's profile thumbnail
As a follow up to @annieli's question - when the company says they have a standard policy but I've heard first-hand examples of people being treated by exception (one had a competing offer significantly higher which my company matched, and the other threatened to leave so they gave him an out-of-cycle bonus). Does it improve my negotiating hand to mention these examples? I've told my boss about the market rate for my role and the specific salary bands of jobs I get contacted for on LinkedIn, but he brushed it off. Sometimes I wonder if the only way to get a decent raise is to have a competing offer
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No, I don't recommend doing that - while it's with the best intentions, it will often turn a manager against you. In the case of a raise for an existing job (not a new offer), 99% of the time it's best to go get a new offer on paper. Here's why:- Negotiation when you first get the job is fairly flexible - especially when matching offers- Once you're in the role, most companies have a % max raise they can give- Matching offers is not considered discriminatory but giving existing employees non-standard raises can be a liability for a companyI never recommend giving an example within the same company - it will lead to bad vibes with your manager 100% of the time because you'll be seen as a liability. Instead, get an outside offer and ask to match. If they don't, then you know it's better to leave anyway.
ria20's profile thumbnail
Yes that all makes sense, thank you for taking the time to talk through it!
Hi Niya! Wow, impressive intro. It sounds like you could have so much impact on the foster care system, very interested to see where you go with that.I just accepted a job and out of the three offers I had, it was the lowest base but highest equity. The base is still 25k more than I make now, so I was thrilled to accept. I have no idea what to do with this equity, when do I need to worry about diversification of assets? My goal is to set my husband and I up for retirement at some point, and this equity is a new piece of the puzzle. It is 75k with a three year vest and annual refresh based on performance.
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Thanks! I really care about the space - if you want to get involved, there's a great organization called Freedom Forward in SF that does amazing advocacy for young girls. Congrats on the new job! Re: equity - is it a private or a public company? If it's a public company, I can send you some great resources to do a financial assessment and look at options. For private companies, it's a bit more complicated - you need to establish what you think the equity could be worth and how viable an exit is for the company.
hknowlton's profile thumbnail
Thanks for the reply! I’ll look into Freedom Forward.It is a public company, they are RSU’s.
liztalago's profile thumbnail
Hi Niya!What are your thoughts on salary transparency in tech (or should I say the lack thereof)?
niya's profile thumbnail
Thank you for the question!I think people think about it super-reductively. Most of the wage gap is in equity compensation but when we talk about " transparency" we see companies posting their cash numbers. I want to see more companies help educate on the value of equity, the risks around it and help employees treat it as an investment they can build a lasting legacy from. I also want to see transparency once people are already in the job- promotions, raises, etc. I speak with so many people who started out on equal ground but lost footing after accepting their role. Company politics can create deep pay disparities that stay fully invisible.
liztalago's profile thumbnail
Here here! I'd also love to see more in-house transparency. (Once I discovered a 30K wage discrepancy between myself and a former junior male colleague and it's what ultimately propelled me toward self-employment as a corporate escape coach for good. )I do think the equity issue is important but one that many women will never need to consider. I'm curious to see what happens in NYC after the salary transparency mandate takes effect. Hoping more states/municipalities follow suit!
niya's profile thumbnail
$30k!!!! Would love to learn about the NYC mandate if you don't mind sharing, I'm not up to date on it.
liztalago's profile thumbnail
yeahhhhh 30k....same roleThat's why I now work for myself as a corporate escape coach and content strategist. But back NYC - as of May all job postings will need to include a good faith pay range. This is HUGE as salary transparency is one of the only effective means of promoting pay equity. I'm excited about it because it means more pressure on other areas to do the same. On a more micro level, I no longer share vacancies with my network unless a salary band is provided and I'm seeing this become more and more common. Tiny but important steps!
lxia's profile thumbnail
Hi Niya - thanks so much for doing this! I'm getting ready to negotiate my first job out of college and I've got two questions:1) How do I decide if the offer with higher RSU/lower salary or lower RSU/higher salary is better for me? So far, my thought process is that RSUs will only pay off if they're all vested, which means staying for 5 years, something I'm not sure I'll be doing, and that a higher salary would mean that raises, if done percentage-wise, will be higher.2) What number do I give if I'm asked what I expect to be paid? The job is based in Colorado, so there is a number on the job description, but it's much lower than what my contact at the company started off with. That said, he has 4 years of full-time work experience and I only have internship/part-time experience so far. Should having less prior experience mean that I shouldn't ask for as much as he started with, or is it less relevant because we will be doing basically the same job? Thanks again!
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Hey there - congrats on graduating! you bust be super-thrilled for your first role :)1) Great question! It almost always comes down to personal risk tolerance and cash needs. A big factor right now is inflation and market volatility. Basically money is losing value at a rate of 7%/ year with current inflation. This is causing markets to be volatile - most tech stocks are considered " growth stocks" and they are negatively correlated with inflation - which means the higher inflation gets, the higher the chance tech loses value. Basically both holding cash and holding a lot of tech stocks may not be ideal in this market.- If you choose to get more cash/less RSUs : you should make a plan of how your cash won't lose value. Looks for ways to reinvest into assets that perform well in this cycle.- If you chose more RSUs/ less cash: most advisors recommend diversifying a portion of your RSUs into safer investments in this climate. The big bonus to getting more RSUs is that the # of shares you will get paid in your offer is usually based on the market value of the stock in the last 30 days. If that's been low, you'll likely get a higher number of shares. Some people like that because it means there's higher potential for gains if you hold onto them. 2)Don't ever give a number - it's recruiters' job to price you, not yours. You can say "I'm just now entering the job market and I'd love to hear from you what new grad offers look like nowadays." You can later come back ands negotiate by highlighting skills and projects that make you stand out from other new grads. While early career negotiation can sometimes be limited - many people can get a sign on bonus by simply asking.To your second point, recruiters do take work experience into account heavily - at bigger companies they use a formula to calculate your offer to avoid bias, where # of years is an input.
lxia's profile thumbnail
This is super helpful, really appreciate the response :)
BrienneWong's profile thumbnail
Thanks Niya! I would love to get your advice on salary negotiation. I got offered my first FT job in tech after trying to pivot from another career for a year. I'm pretty happy with the salary I got in the offer but I want to try negotiating for more (like $5k more) because people tell me you shouldn't accept the first offer and women normally don't negotiate. I've never negotiated a salary before.Because this is for my first job in tech and the company would be taking a risk on hiring me, should I still negotiate for a higher salary? Could they rescind the offer?
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Congrats on your first tech role!Rescinding is always possible but highly unlikely (I've only seen in once over thousands of offers). It could only happen if you ask impolitely or position yourself as no longer being a culture fit. So I wouldn't be afraid about that.Re: negotiating more. It really depends. If you're bringing over skills that are valuable and you're coming into an entry-level role, then yes- negotiation is super reasonable here. There are a lot of skills you've likely learned that are highly valuable and translate well to your role. For example: working with senior stakeholders, having professional discretion, managing a team on a project etc. These are skills that translate to all industries. If you negotiate I would lean on how that experience would position you to add value early.If you're leaving a bonus, more pay or something else on the table when leading your job, it's also reasonable to negotiate for that being matched. If you've never negotiated before, here's a 101 easy guide you can read - ping me here if you have more questions: https://candor.co/guides/salary-negotiation
elliemccandless's profile thumbnail
Thank you for being here, Niya! What an intro, I love seeing women dominating in finance. Curious what advice you'd give to a mid- to later-20s tech employee, to set themselves up early? I have a good salary and stock options, and I am a diligent saver, but honestly (like many women) I find the world of finance stressful so I typically just avoid it all. How should I be thinking about saving vs. investing, stock options, etc. now, to set myself up for home ownership, comfort, retirement, etc.
niya's profile thumbnail
💛🔥!! Love what I'm reading. Two things to think about: 1) Read the tea-leaves- Inflation is super high right now and we might be entering a recession- Interest rates are about to rise starting in March, likely 5-7 times this year- Tech stocks, like all growth stocks, are likely to be volatile this cycle and lose valueConclusions from that:- Keeping cash on hand is likely not a great idea past emergency liquidity because cash is rapidly losing value- If you're taking out a loan or need to refinance loans - now's your last chance for awhile since % are going up- Consider diversifying into a portfolio that's realistic for this market - don't just stay in one sector or asset class2) Invest in yourself first- Start by learning about things that feel time-sensitive: for example, tech stocks and many others will be super cheap for a bit. Should you buy the dip? Take time to learn about pros and cons of that and give yourself a chance to explore your risk tolerance and goals.- Reframe how you think about money. Instead of " I wish I could buy a house" >>> " I will buy a house in 7 years - how do I make that happen?" Then map out your cash, investments, risk tolerance etc and build an accountability system.- Learn about trusts and taxes as early as possible. For many, a trust is better than a retirement account.- Speak to women in finance - learn about asset classes, types of risk and portfolios. One super non-intimidating way to start is often attending calls or webinars from women in finance who explain things gradually and fully. I can recommend a few if helpful.But TLDR: Money is just a tool. Think about what matters to you and your community - you could have all of that and more if you set your heart on it. You'll find that learning about finance is mostly about allowing yourself to believe you can accomplish everything you want if you set your mind to it. Sort of a mental switch from " is it for me" to " how do I do it?".
I would love the recommendation on women in finance who explain taxes as s assets classes gradually and fully. When should one get a financial advisor and what’s the best way to vet them? I’ve seen too many episodes of American greed series to trust someone new with my money, when warren buffet says that asset managers don’t do better than the s&p on average.
annieli's profile thumbnail
Hi Niya, thank you for this - I love your newsletter! I'd love to get your advice on negotiating a raise. I coach a lot of women in tech, and one question that often pops up: What's a reasonable raise one should expect every year? Some receive 10-15% and some only 3-5%. 3-5% sounds too low but how should they respond when the companies say "This is our standard company policy and everyone is getting the same range"?Looking forward and thanks again :)
niya's profile thumbnail
Hey there 👋 Most companies have policies around raises that are super - inflexible so I personally don't advise people to negotiate raises without a competing offer. Another strategy is to build yourself a new role: the limitation in how much more you can get if based on your level/ role but if you asked for a new title or function for yourself, you can usually find a lot of flexibility in how you structure compensation.
rebeccale's profile thumbnail
I requested a raise and was denied."since your role covered everything except product, engineering, and sales it was difficult to find the exact role. But you are in the middle of your market" I live in a small town and my company is based on Chicago. I find it highly unlikely I would be replaced with someone from my area. Am I looking at this wrong?Will you share how your career ended up being around comp/fintech?What plans do you have to reform the foster care system?
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Great question! You can ask what metro they're using for salary benchmarking and also to see the data they're using to justify you being " middle of your market". I would approach the conversation with an open, curious tone and ask genuinely to understand the compensation model they're using so you can see what your options may be. Re: job security. "Unlikely"is not "impossible" and right now tech is contracting a lot. More globally, I am expecting to see layoffs in our industry this year if inflation, labor and commodity prices don't start going down. Re: career - sure! I wanted to work in finance from a very young age. My family was extremely poor, I felt a very deep sense of embarrassment and guilt about that and I developed an interest in money and economics very early in life. Most of my career is in private banking - I've worked in a variety of leadership roles from compliance to people analytics to quant analytics. Re: foster care. Today, the system sets up kids for failure and ravages them emotionally. The long-term statistics around employment, health ( especially mental health), incarceration are a direct indicator of how as a society we've failed these children that had no one but us to rely on. The amount of abuse going on - sexual, religious and financial, hardly ever gets fully documented. I truly don't believe there is a way to " fix" the system. We need to fully re-imagine it.On the ground level: Legislation on how, when and why kids are taken into the system needs to change to protect kids sooner and offer mental health support at the earliest stages in the process and a consistent emphasis on education and emotional development. Foster parent screening and routine checks need to be much more rigorous. In the courts: I really want to see more resources towards programs like CASA, which give the child an appointed guardian to take care of their interests and educational rights. This means that even if your social worker, lawyer and foster family change ( which happens a lot) - you have 1 person who is consistently there advocating for you with a deep knowledge of your background.And, this is super sad to say, but we need more law enforcement resources to avoid exploitation of these kids. One of my favorite non-profits in the space is Freedom Forward in SF.