What the experts say
Did you get a micropromotion?
More employers are handing out promotions without pay raises, said Sue Shellenbarger in The Wall Street Journal. Nearly 4 in 10 companies now sometimes engage in that practice—up from 22 percent in 2011. Workers who don’t get more money with a new title are often stunned. “I looked at the letter and thought, ‘They made a mistake here,’” said one vice president who’d happily taken a promotion to COO. Part of what’s driving the trend is that employers know Millennials hunger for affirmation and so give them a small change in job title, or “micropromotion,” as encouragement. If your boss does offer you a promotion without a raise, try not to sound defensive, but ask for one anyway. And try to “discreetly ask current or past co-workers about what others at that level are paid.”
How to save your vacation
Last year, 700 million vacation days went unused, said Allison Aubrey in NPR.org, and 200 million of them were permanently lost. Half of American workers don’t take all the time off that they’re due, and workers now take three fewer days off than they did in the 1990s. Even worse, technology has created the expectation that you’ll work even while on vacation. Workers are so reluctant to log off that one startup founder offers employees a $7,500 bonus if they are willing to go totally off the grid. Another option, if your boss isn’t that generous, is to explain to co-workers why you’re going offline. One pediatrician’s successful vacation email: “I am away from the office, and my children have made me promise that I won’t check email.”
Investing fees are falling
There’s a war among investment managers to offer the lowest fee funds, said Sharon Epperson and Jessica Dickler in CNBC.com. This month, Fidelity became the first fund company to offer an exchange-traded index fund with no management fee at all; some Schwab funds have expense ratios at low as 0.03 percent—that’s three hundredths of a percentage point. The investment companies hope to make money from their funds in other, less direct ways, like selling advice or charging interest on margin accounts. This is a good time to “check the expense ratios” on the funds you’re invested in. You can expect to pay extra for investments in which you work with a human adviser. Even so, if you have funds with expense ratios higher than 1 percent, it’s probably time to switch.