Negotiating Is the No. 1 Money Skill You Need to Master: Here’s Why

Brittney Castro says it's essential to know your worth.

To receive a higher salary you need to ask for it. That’s why Brittney Castro says you should develop your negotiating skills first. She would know.

Castro is a certified financial planner, chartered retirement planning counselor and accredited asset management specialist. Though she loved being a financial planner and working for clients at Ameriprise Financial, Castro soon realized that the corporate world wasn’t for her. In 2013, she founded Financially Wise Women, a firm where she empowers her clients via their money.

Click to find out from this Best Money Expert nominee how to build your savings from the ground up.

Castro has become a well-known financial expert and a go-to resource for national media outlets. She’s also a coveted speaker and host, and she loves spreading her wisdom on smart investing, finance and entrepreneurship to the masses.

What is your money mantra?

I am financially wise.

Before achieving financial success, what was your biggest obstacle? How did you overcome it?

My biggest obstacle before achieving financial success was changing the way I thought about money and believing that I was worth more than the level I was currently playing at. I also had to drastically change the way I worked. It wasn’t about grinding more, more networking or longer hours. I learned how to work smarter, ask for help, continue to educate myself and most of all, know what strategies and tactics were truly in alignment with my goals and dreams, and which were the hype of other people’s methods.

What advice would you give your younger self about money?

You have to be willing to be a bit rebellious. Ask for more money and learn to negotiate as soon as possible. Also, don’t chase money because it’s not the holy grail. Enjoy it. Make lots of it. And always remember it’s a resource, not an indication of who or what you are in the world. In the end, none of it comes with you and when you look at money as a resource, that’s when more of it comes towards you.

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What is the best piece of advice you received along your financial journey?

My dad always instilled in me to know my worth and reminded me constantly of my personal power. From a young age, he told me to always make sure I was being fairly compensated for anything I put my time or energy into. It was such good advice because I know instinctively what opportunities are a good fit for me and how to ask for what I am worth in all my interactions.

What is the best thing you did to begin building your savings from a young age?

Make all your savings automatic. As humans, we only have so much willpower in a day. The more you can remove needing to use that willpower to transfer funds to a savings account, the better. So, set up automatic transfers to your savings account one to two times a month, depending on how and when you are paid. Trust the process. When it’s automatic, you won’t even notice that the funds are not there, and soon enough you will have the money you need to reach your financial goals.

What is the best thing you did to reduce your debt after college?

I am very fortunate and did not have student debt after college. However, I acquired debt when I took out loans to start my business. To reduce that debt, I automated the process and consistently reminded myself why I took on the debt. This inspired me to grow my business, which helped me to pay off the debt faster.

If you have debt from college, you can use the same strategy. Instead of feeling burdened by it, remind yourself of all the opportunity that degree has given you, and remember all the memories you’ve made. From that place, paying off the debt has an energy of “thank you” instead of “this is no fun.” I gave up any guilt I felt for having debt at the time. This freed up emotional and mental space, allowing me to be more creative with my debt payoff plan and made everything less painful.

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