Experts agree women need to be assertive with money matters. Here's how to ask for a raise without alienating your boss.
I asked for my first raise at 26. The response from my boss? “Don’t hold your breath.” It was my third job since graduating from university, and up until then I’d never negotiated my salary. It wasn’t until a colleague pulled me aside to tell me he’d caught a glimpse of my paycheque—he thought I should be making $1,000 more a month—that I had the courage to even ask about money matters.
The thought of having the “money talk” had always made me uncomfortable. In my final year of journalism school, I interned in a newsroom for three months. When they offered me a job, I was so relieved to have full-time work that I hugged the HR woman instead of playing salary hardball. A year later, I took a new job in communications and again accepted the salary offer without discussion. Months later, I found out that friends in similar roles were making close to $5,000 more a year. Still, I didn’t ask for a raise out of fear that it might jeopardize the strong relationship I was building with my boss.
Skip ahead six years, and I’m now a partner in Smart Cookies, a small, successful consulting business that helps people stay in control of their finances and create a debt-free life. But, sometimes, I still feel like I’m not doing enough to demand what I’m worth. It makes me angry to think about all the money I’ve missed out on by not advocating for myself—or not advocating properly. The reality of just how much I’ve lost out on didn’t hit me until I picked up Ask for It: How Women Can Use the Power of Negotiation to Get What They Really Want.
The book includes an example of a 22-year-old man and woman who both receive offers for jobs that pay $25,000 a year. The woman accepts the offer while the man negotiates to obtain a starting salary of $30,000. The authors calculate that if the man deposits the extra $5,000 into an account earning 3-percent annually and if, every year after that, both employees average 3 percent raises and the man saves his additional earnings, when he retires at 65, he will have an additional $784,192 in his account simply because he negotiated that one time.
Learn what the experts say about preserving your relationships while negotiating money matters on the next page...