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Negotiate Your Compensation, Not Salary: 4 Non-Cash Payments to Consider

career change dalan vanterpool money negotiation Dec 02, 2019
Compensation Negotiator

by Dalan Vanterpool

photo by Emmy E

Let’s be brutally honest here. Besides the fluffy talk about fulfilling dreams and helping humanity, you’re working because you want to get paid. That may not be the only reason, but it’s a crucial component otherwise you would be running around hunting for a full-time volunteer position. People will keep showing up at a job for years even though their personal or professional aspirations aren’t being fed, but let the money stop and see how quickly things escalate.

But wait a minute, is compensation only about money? Not to downplay the facts here, because money matters for a few reasons:

  • It’s a tangible recognition of the economic value you are providing to the company or client.
  • You have bills to pay and investments to make.
  • It’s an agreed upon way to store and exchange value, albeit to varying degrees.
  • It feels good.

Still, I believe it’s a sign of maturity when you step to the negotiation table demanding more than cash. At different stages in your career the balance of importance between cash and non-cash compensation shifts. Early in the game cash may be king since you are trying to accumulate savings, possibly pay off student loans, navigate the growing expenses of adulthood, and want to feel the independence of comfortably managing your own finances. This is fair reasoning, because in my 10+ years across business, banking and accounting the question of “how many days do you get to work from home” has never come up in trying to assess whether a person qualifies for financing.

I want to challenge you to think more broadly about compensation beyond just the usual salary and bonus. Here are 4 non-cash payments to consider when negotiating.

4 non-cash payments to consider

1. Access

One of the fastest ways to boost your career growth is through building meaningful relationships with influential players in the workplace. Some years ago, I was anxious to switch jobs and stumbled upon an opportunity over dinner. My dad had tickets to attend the anniversary celebration dinner of a fancy private bank, but couldn’t attend at the last minute, so he asked if I could go in his place. I was reluctant at first because I wanted to stay home and focus on job hunting.

At the dinner, I ended up being seated between my current boss, and a global vice-president from the private bank. Opportunity knocking? By the end of our dinner conversation the VP gave me his card to line up an interview with the local CEO. Over the next weeks we had a few lunch interviews and set a date for me to join the bank.

Realizing the power of access to the right people, as part of the deal I requested a quarterly one-on-one lunch with the local CEO. The lunches moved from formal to a casual meeting that we enjoyed mutually as colleagues. This led to favorable connections with other high-level executives who still remain in my professional network.

2. Equity

Do you know what high-level executives often have over other employees? Ownership. They don’t just work at the company, they participate in the ownership by owning shares, stock options and other instruments. This is how you see people leave a company or get fired, yet still receive a substantial payout. Do your research and see whether you believe the company will perform well going forward. If yes, consider requesting some equity-based compensation.

This does two things. First, it links part of your compensation to the company’s performance and sets you up to get paid beyond your base salary. Second, it’s a strong signal to management that you are committed to the company’s success and increase your chances of being selected for leadership positions.

3. Travel

How would you like to see the world with someone else paying most of the bills? After living in many countries, I can confidently tell you that experiencing different cultures, people and languages can be one of the most formative tools in your life. Constant travel can be a hassle but depending on where you are in life and family, work travel may be a great way to explore.

To maximize the travel, see if you can keep the travel miles or other rewards from the airlines. If you’re visiting an interesting place, work during the week and pay for an extra day or two with your own cash. You’re still winning because the company already covered flights. If time is short, at least scout the area to see if it’s worth a return trip.

4. Time

Freedom is gold! Would you rather have a $5,000 increase or an extra 5-7 days of vacation? Think about this carefully. That breaks down to approximately $417 per month or $14 per day. How much is your free time worth? If you manage your time and skills properly you can use that 5-7 days of “vacation” to work on a second income stream activity that generates $10,000. Build your business, take on a speaking engagement, or take a half day off from work to present a masterclass with the team at What’s Next.

Build your high value skills so that your time is more valuable than the small cash sum that a job may dangle in front you. Remember, cash is crucial, but think like a boss not an employee when negotiating your next move. Access, equity, travel and time can be excellent non-cash payments to consider beyond your base salary.

Questions: What other great non-cash payments would you add to this list? At this point in your life and career are cash or non-cash rewards more important?


About Dalan Vanterpool

Writes, speaks and podcasts about: Career development, personal finance, secondary income streams.

Dalan is an executive career coach and private banker from the British Virgin Islands. He helps young professionals build meaningful careers that lead to more time, money and freedom. A few years ago, he moved to Panamá where he now works and speaks decent Spanish on most days.

Over the past 15 years Dalan’s career path, educational and musical pursuits, allowed him to work, play and study across 5 countries, 4 multi-national firms and 2 languages. During this time, he noticed how many people are just surviving rather than thriving in their careers. He set out to solve this problem for himself and others through research, experimentation, and interviewing thriving professionals. His focus is largely on building careers and additional income streams.

When he’s not helping high net worth clients manage their money, Dalan produces digital content about careers and hosts Focus The Fire podcast weekly. He’s always happy to chat about cookies or jazz.

Dalan’s WHY: To help young professionals build meaningful careers that lead to time, money and freedom so they can live well and influence communities positively.

You can connect with Dalan via Twitter, LinkedIn or his Website.


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