It Doesn’t Hurt to Ask

I work at an independent school.  That means that my salary isn’t set at some schedule with publicly known increases according to experience, education, etc.  It also means that other financial stuff is a bit more negotiable.  I’m not talking a salary raise here – I’m about to begin my third year of real-world employment and I still cannot imagine asking for a raise.

However, I coach sports in addition to my base contractual duties.  This results in a stipend for each sport: soccer in the fall and basketball in the winter.  This year I am receiving $2000 for soccer and $3000 for basketball.  It’s certainly nothing to complain about, though there are days when the coaching requirement throws another 8-10 hours of work onto my plate, so it never really works out to an amazing hourly rate.  I love doing it, however, so it is certainly worth it.

Normally, these stipends are paid during the school year, in lump sums either at the end of the sports season or during the season.  In February, when I signed my new contract, I asked if I could receive the stipends spread out over the 12 months of the contract.  They said “sure!”  I love my place of employment.  They accommodated me with no guff at all. Basically, I will begin receiving my coaching pay earlier that I normally would have, but by the end of basketball season, I still will not have received the entirety of it.

I think this is the smart move.  I start getting the money immediately in July and August, instead of waiting until September for soccer pay to start kicking in.  And though it will be spread out over more months, I think those first two months of early pay are worth it.  We know the power of compound interest.  With a balance as high as mine, the sooner I can bring it down, the more money I am saving.  The drawback, of course, is that when basketball ends in February, I won’t have $1668 yet since it will be spread out over the remainder of my contract.  I haven’t done the math, but it’s probably a close call as to which would be the better route to payoff more of my loan.  There certainly would not be a substantial difference.  However there is also the added benefit of having the regular payments to make my budgeting simpler.  Plus, knowing my summer costs, having that money now (even though it means less later) lets me get through the summer and its big expenses while staying on pace to meet my loan payoff goals.

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