Am I Getting Paid Enough? test

Posted by: Leo Marte, CFP®, MBA | Jun 6 2022

As a Christian, your income is an essential tool to maintain your lifestyle and build wealth over time. For active employees, the question comes from time to time, whether they are being paid fairly for their work. If you recently got a job, there is a high likelihood of your salary being relatively close to your position’s market rate. Inevitably, as time goes on, it should be no surprise that your salary will start trailing the market. Merit increases and other salary adjustments often do not keep up with the market rates. It is a business’s advantage to maintain labor costs as low as possible if you think about it. So if you want to know how to get your worth in the market, let’s begin with getting a baseline.

Know your worth in the marketplace

The first step is to get an understanding of what the market says. There are multiple ways you can accomplish this, and as a Christian financial planner, I recommend you try all three of the following:

  • Get a Benchmark - Services like and PayScale allow you to create a profile with your attributes, region of the country, education, experience, and professional designations (among other things). Once the profile is complete, they aggregate data from multiple sources and estimate what level of income aligns with your inputs. If you provide current salary and bonus information, they can also evaluate your current percentile relative to their estimate.
  • Look at what other companies are paying - Glassdoor allows you not only to see commentary from current and former employees of companies but also provides ranges of compensation for a variety of roles. Compare your salary benchmark report with these ranges, and obtain additional information such as profit sharing and bonuses that may be specific to the types of companies you seek.
  • Consider applying for opportunities - Speaking to a recruiter and going through an interview process will likely give you the most accurate appraisal of your worth. When analyzing an offer letter, think about its components (salary, bonus, benefits, retirement contributions, profit sharing) before making any decisions. If your current compensation package is close enough, you may be better off staying with your current employer if that was your hope all along. If the packages are materially different, it is likely time to consider your options.

Articulate your value to your employer

Before negotiating your compensation, you must go through self-reflection to determine the real value of your contributions. Every company defines value differently; most of them likely tie compensation to one or all of these factors:

  • Revenue - If you are a star sales representative or have played a significant role in your team or division exceeding last year’s goals, there may be a case to increase your bonus or consider you for a promotion. Think about in what ways have you contributed more than the average employee to drive growth.
  • Profitability - Employees who find opportunities to reduce costs and increase profit margins receive recognition and increased incentives. Think about how you have made the business more profitable or competitive in the marketplace. Make sure your compensation matches that value.
  • Leadership - It should be no surprise that people in formal leadership positions or performing outstanding informal leadership roles are top of the heap when it comes to promotions, merit increases, and bonuses. If you are the kind of employee who cultivates a following, develops people, and achieves higher than average results through your skilled leading of others, there is a significant case for added compensation in your future.

Don’t forget that every company has different values and will likely weigh these or other factors when making compensation decisions.

Consider whether a job move or entrepreneurial pursuit is in your future

After evaluating your worth and articulating your value, we must touch on the prospect that your journey with an employer must come to an end. Businesses make decisions to protect their shareholders’ interests, and sometimes increasing employee compensation is not an option for every company. You must be realistic about the prospects that switching employers may be in your and your family’s best interests in those situations.

Before deciding to leave your current job, keep in mind that changes are hard. You will likely experience a burn-in period where you will be putting in a lot more work to establish credibility. Culture matters, since a higher salary does not equate to a happier and more fulfilling work experience. Don’t forget to compare benefits packages to avoid making a decision just based on base salary. You may find that the worth of health insurance employer subsidies or generous retirement contributions may be more in alignment with your goals than pining for a 10% base salary increase.

Your next move may also take you down an entrepreneurial path. Before diving into starting your own business, make sure that you have saved a substantial amount of money to cover your expenses while the company is unprofitable. More often than not, your living expenses and not the business will put you in financial hardship. Having a healthy business plan can mitigate this risk by understanding what your runway may look like and vetting your ideas with other entrepreneurs who have experience doing the same thing to validate your assumptions.


In the end, the matter of being paid fairly is highly subjective and requires research, self-reflection, delivering results, and studying all options available. That is why we help our clients evaluate their true worth annually to ensure their compensation trajectory aligns with their true market potential.

Leo Marte is a Christian financial advisor and CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™. Abundant Advisors provides financial advice for Christians with convenient virtual meetings. Let’s talk if you are ready to make the next move.