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The Get-a-Raise Calendar I Swear By (My Secret Weapon to Consistent Pay Increases)

Let's talk about making more money. We talk often about saving money and watching your expenses, and I stand by my opinion that that is what’s truly within your control and that is where you’ll make the biggest strides overall throughout your life – those daily spending decisions.

But, I do believe you should be seeking annual pay increases not only because I’m sure you’re worth it, but also because it’s important to keep up with inflation.

The best-case scenario is if you pair the two strategies together – keep your expenses low while you continue to get regular pay increases – because you’ll have lots of money left over to throw into investments and create passive income for you so you can create more freedom in your life. And that’s ultimately the goal, isn’t it?

This episode makes a couple of assumptions, the largest of which is that you work for an employer who pays you a set amount regularly. This is because we’ll be discussing how to ask for a raise – and increase your chances of getting one.

I’m going to walk you through the process I started refining in the final years of my corporate career that ultimately earned me regular pay increases, the biggest of which was a 40% salary bump.


The first piece of the get-a-raise calendar you’ll want to note is the actual dates you’re going to need to plan around. Specifically, your company’s fiscal cycle, which may not be something you know.

In other words, you need to figure out whether your company is operating on a normal calendar year cycle fiscal cycle (which would mean the quarters would look like this: Q1 = Jan-Mar, Q2 = Apr-Jun, Q3 = Jul-Sep, Q4 = Oct-Dec) – or something else.

Don’t just assume your company runs on a calendar year fiscal cycle; I've worked for many companies in the past that do not. For example, the last corporate company I worked for used a fiscal year that ended in July… so it varies greatly.

That means your first task is to make sure you know the fiscal cycle your employer uses. You can ask your boss, HR, or a co-worker. Just make sure you know.


Once you know the fiscal year, set a reminder on your phone or on the calendar that will alert you when it’s 2 weeks before the end of the quarter (if your company runs on a calendar year cycle, the dates for your reminders would be: March 15, June 15, September 15, December 15).

As soon as you receive this alert, it’s your responsibility to do one of two things:

  1. Make sure you’ve already got your quarterly review scheduled

  2. Reach out to your manager to request your quarterly review

That is one of the biggest secrets to my process: make 100% sure you’re having regular quarterly reviews with your manager. Now, let’s talk about what to do in each review.


First, let’s talk about what to do in your quarterly reviews for Quarter 1, Quarter 2, and Quarter 4. Quarter 3 is special, so we’ll talk about that separately; however, your quarterly reviews for Q1, Q2, and Q4 will look the same.

Before going into your Q1, Q2, and Q4 reviews, you’re going to want to make sure you know exactly what your goals are – specifically your top 3-5 goals for that quarter – and, throughout the quarter, you’re going to want to track all the progress you’re making to hit or move closer to hitting those goals.

Now, if you’re reading this and you’re thinking, “Oh shoot, I have no idea what my goals are,” then you need to ask your manager ASAP.

You need to know:

  1. The dates of your company’s fiscal year

  2. Your specific 3-5 goals for the quarter – and you want to make sure you and your boss are on the same page about these

What’s even better is if you and your boss can work together to identify specifically how the goals you’re working on align with the goals of the overall company – that’ll make it easier for you to get a raise because you’ll have proof that the work you’re doing is helping the company move toward its mission.


Throughout the quarter, keep track of how you’re making progress toward hitting your goals (numbers are best); if you can quantify, in any way, what you’re doing to hit your goals, do it. People like data, you can’t argue with data. And, again, make sure what you’re tracking is rolling up to the goals.

Here is an example from my resume:

I planned and coordinated our team’s presence at an event in Barcelona resulting in:

  • 95+ demos given

  • 25+ follow-up meetings

  • 65% increase in unique website traffic

  • 210% increase in website engagements

  • 62% increase in social engagements

If you want to see more of the kinds of things I tracked and presented in my quarterly reviews, check out my LinkedIn page and scroll down back to my old corporate jobs and you can get some ideas there – but the point is: QUANTIFY, QUANTIFY, QUANTIFY. Use numbers as much as possible in your reviews.


These are the things you’ll be bringing to your quarterly reviews during Q1, Q2, and Q4. The idea is by showing your successes regularly in your quarterly reviews, you’re going to keep your boss informed of all the success you’re driving. You’re already priming him or her to say ‘yes’ when you ask for your raise (which will happen in your Q3 review).

When you ask for your raise, they’re not going to be surprised or blindsided by the fact that you’re asking for a raise because you’ve shown them, quarter after quarter, how you’re hitting your goals numerically and how you’re contributing to the goals of the team.

In short, you’ve been showing them your successes all year so they’re already favorably primed to say ‘yes’ when you ask for a raise.

Of course, you cannot control them or their management or whoever is making the final decisions about who is going to get a raise, but you have to take control of what’s within your control - and makingsure you have regular quarterly reviews and that you bring your specific success metrics to those reviews are two things that are within your control.


Before we talk about Q3, there’s something else I’d like you to do after each of these reviews. Set another reminder if you must, but make sure you write down all those success metrics and numbers you calculated for your review on your resume and/or LinkedIn. I do both… in truth, my LinkedIn is simply a copy/paste of my resume.

This allows you to be ready at any time for a potentially new and better opportunity.

That’s what happened to me when I got the biggest salary bump of my career – someone reached out to me on LinkedIn about interviewing for a job and, when they made me an offer, I negotiated to make the offer better.

Don’t wait until you suddenly lose your job, or get into another kind of position where you need to switch jobs quickly to update your resume and professional profiles. Updating your resume and LinkedIn will add more stress to an already stressful situation. You’ve already calculated the numbers for your quarterly reviews. Take 5 minutes to paste them into your LinkedIn and your resume.


Your Q3 performance review is where you’re going to ask for your raise. And this may seem counter-intuitive… you’re probably wondering why you wouldn’t ask for your raise at the end of the fiscal year in Q4, and there’s a specific reason for this.

Many companies do their annual budget planning about a quarter in advance because, especially if the company is a big one, the budget will have to go through many rounds of approvals to be finalized. So companies often do their budgets at the very beginning of Q4 so that they’ve got 3 months to nail everything down.

In other words, if you wait to ask for your raise until the end of Q4, you might have already missed the budget planning cycle, which is where your boss, your boss’s boss, and everyone else will have come together to see who is getting raises this year, who is getting promotions, and how that all fits into the overall company’s budget.

Ideally, your boss will have already thought of you when it comes to who is getting a raise, but you do not want to leave that in their hands. Managers are busy people, and they’re human. It’s possible they could forget to submit raises entirely for the team, or that they’ll just pick their favorites. So it’s on you to make sure you’re asking the question.

Remember, the squeaky wheel gets the grease.


Now, when you go to ask for your raise in your Q3 performance review, I’m going to ask you again to rely on data. I want you to have a full list of all your accomplishments from the year (that you showed your boss in your Q1, Q2, and the previous year’s Q4 review), and I want you to know your target number.

You are much more likely to get a bigger pay increase if you ask for what you need upfront… even if your boss comes down a bit, it’s unlikely where you end up will be lower than where they would have started… if they would have even made you an offer for a raise at all.

Again, the idea is to control what you can, or influence as much as you can. And if you calculate your target number the way I suggest, it’ll be hard to argue with. I’ve documented exactly what you need to know to calculate your target number inside my free Make More Money Starter Kit.

In short, your target number is the intersection of 4 things:

  1. What you’re making now

  2. What you need to be comfortable

  3. Your industry’s standard

  4. The specifics of the job you’re doing.

And, if you calculate your target number and you’re already making that amount of money, then you need to look up what inflation is for that year and ask for a pay increase of at least that much… I’d even go a few percentage points over in case your boss negotiates down.

Armed with all the data that backs up exactly how you calculated your target number, the data on the current inflation rate, and the specific numbers-backed success metrics that you’ve been showing your boss quarter after quarter, it’ll be hard to deny what you’re asking.

Now, remember, it’s not guaranteed, but using this process significantly increases the chances that you’ll be successful in getting a raise.


If you’re denied a raise or not seeing the numbers you want you can always look elsewhere for a job and use an offer from another company to negotiate a higher pay rate at your current company... or you can always swap employers.

It’s worth noting that according to a 2022 article by LinkedIn, "new data show that job-switchers received an annual salary bump of 8.5% in July, the largest increase in two decades. Meanwhile, those who stayed put were netting an annual bump of 5.9%."

I think it’s smart to switch employers every 2 years or so if your goal is to continue getting the biggest pay increases possible… UNLESS you love your job, in which case I think you should stay put because that’s worth way more than money.


I’d like to leave you with a few more resources for getting regular raises. What we covered today is essentially a year-in-the-life… the dates you should be noting and planning for in your current job.

But there are a few other things that can help you in both your longer-term plans for pay increases, as well as your day-to-day work life.

I’ve put together a mini-series on The Goodbye July Podcast that covers the gambit:

And last, I’m excited to share that Fidelity, one of the U.S.’s largest brokerage firms, recently approached me to collaborate on an article called “How to Ask for a Raise”. That article recently went live and, in it, you’ll find additional insights from me and tips from 4 other millennials who also got a pay bump.


To recap The Get-a-Raise-Calendar I Swear By, here are the 5 things you need to do:

  1. Find out what your company’s fiscal cycle is (you can ask your boss or HR)

  2. Set phone and/or calendar alarms 2 weeks before the end of each quarter to remind you to get your quarterly review scheduled with your boss

  3. Make sure you know exactly what your 3-5 goals are for the quarter, confirm those with your boss ASAP, and track your progress (numerically)

  4. In your Q1, Q2, and Q4 reviews, come with data-backed evidence of how you successfully hit or moved toward the quarterly goals you and your boss agreed upon. Remember, the more numbers the better; people can’t argue with data.

  5. Before your Q3 review, calculate your target number (again, that calculation is inside my Make More Money Starter Kit) and be prepared to ask for it or if you’re already making that much money, be prepared to ask for at least as much as the rate of inflation, ideally a few percentage points more


I know it can feel awkward to ask for more money. Maybe you have that little voice in your head saying they’ll think you’re ungrateful or they’ll blacklist you.

I’ll give you some valuable advice a friend gave me. She said, “Do you want to avoid feeling awkward for a day, or do you want to increase your chances at a pay raise that will positively affect your life for YEARS to come?”

I don’t know about you, but I’ll take the latter – every time.

Be bold. Have the courage to advocate for yourself. If you don’t, no one else may. So show yourself that love. And make the ask; trust me, employers are used to this kind of thing. It’s not weird at all for them. So just do it – you’ll never know what’s possible until you try.

You’ve got this.



Get a Raise Mini-Series:


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