How should I ask for a raise?

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Q. Any suggestions on the best way to ask for a raise?
— Getting ready

A. You need strategies, and we’re so glad you asked.

Just like all important things in life, asking for a raise should consist of planning and preparation.

Going into a meeting to discuss your compensation unprepared will typically not end well and will reduce your chances of the manager/supervisor giving your request fair consideration, said Jim McCarthy, a certified financial planner with Directional Wealth Management in Rockaway.

McCarthy said your first step should be to do some research for the market wage rate for your position in your geographic area. This will allow you to have a better understanding whether you are being under/overpaid.

He said you should also research average company-paid benefits, like health insurance, group life/disability, dental/vision.

“These all factor into what your employer likely views as your `total compensation’ package,” he said. “For example, a below average salary may be offset by above average company paid benefits.”

Once you have this information. it is time to start preparing a list of achievements which you have contributed to your position.

McCarthy said you should include any extra responsibilities that you have taken on which weren’t part of your job description. Also include any responsibilities that you would like to add to your job description.

“Based on these pieces of important information you should have a raise increase amount in mind which will reflect by your contributions to the company and the compensation market for your position,” he said.

The final step would be to set up a meeting with your supervisor or manager.

During the meeting, McCarthy said, you should be direct about asking for a raise, presenting your rationale based on your contributions to the company and the research you did.

You should be sure to look at the raise from your employer’s perspective.

As a small business owner, Jerry Lynch, a certified financial planner with JFL Total Wealth Management in Boonton, said he doesn’t like high base salaries because having a high payroll — when the economy is bad — “can kill you.”

He said you should tell your boss you really like your position and you’re looking to see how you can earn more money for the company and yourself.

And you should think creatively.

“I would always push for a salary increase but bonuses are a lot less scary to a business owner,” he said. “As a business owner, I love reasonable salaries and high bonus opportunities as we both win on the upside.”

Lynch said you should be realistic about the value of what you bring to the table.

He said he’s had employees who were underperforming ask for crazy raises, which Lynch said undermines their credibility in the future.

But if you just did an exceptional job on a recent project, now is the time to ask, he said. Know what you are good at and how it adds value to the company.

He said you should also think like a business owner.

Lynch said he generally doesn’t like increasing his overall cost structure, or expenses, unless it is necessary.

“I have absolutely no problem giving part of increased profits as a bonus,” Lynch said. “Identify how the company makes or loses money and use that as a way to say, ‘It costs you nothing, and in fact you make more money, by doing this.’ A win-win.”

Good luck!

Email your questions to moc.p1493514955leHye1493514955noMJN1493514955@ksA1493514955.

NJMoneyHelp.com presents certain general financial planning principles and advice, but should never be viewed as a substitute for obtaining advice from a personal professional advisor who understands your unique individual circumstances.