There is, believe it or not, a lot more to job happiness than salary. What about health benefits, vacation time and office environment? Still, for many, salary trumps all, and rightly so. So you'll be happy to hear that nearly all of the country's mid-sized or large companies intend to bump up salaries next year.
According to CNN Money, 98 percent of the 1,500 mid-sized or large companies (like Aflac and Intel, respectively) surveyed by Mercer, a human resources and financial services consulting firm, said that they planned to increase salaries in 2013. The average increase is expected to 2.9 percent, which is up from the 2.7 percent salary increase in 2011 and 2012. It's great news, but keep in mind that these pay bumps will be spread out among employees. For “top performers,” the pay increase is expected to be more like four percent, while “average performers” can expect about a 2.4 percent salary increase.
If you're lucky enough to hold a spot at one of these companies, and that pay bump has you excited about the future, don't forget about the distant future. By that we mean if you get a pay increase, make sure you're upping your 401(k) contribution to match it. Looking for a four percent raise next year? When you land it, pick up the phone and call your benefits department. Ask them to increase your retirement contribution by four percent. The best part? You won't notice the missing money — since you're not used to having it — and you'll be that much closer to a retirement on the golf course.