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BACKGROUND:

The unemployment rate for all Americans is near historic lows at 3.7% and the unemployment rate for African-Americans is currently at 5.5%, the lowest level ever recorded in our country’s history.

With so many people working, the advantage should be with the worker in the current job market. Yet, wages are up only 3% in the last 12 months and, taking inflation into account, the median wage in the country ($63,179) is only 2.7% higher than the previous highs in 1999 and 2007.

In order to truly increase your income, you’re likely going to need to be more aggressive about getting paid what you’re worth. In other words, it’s time to ask your boss for a raise.

WHAT’S THE BIGGEST ISSUE HOLDING PEOPLE BACK FROM MAKING MORE MONEY AT WORK?

When it comes to making more money at work, I think we’re our own worst enemy.

What I’ve found when I’ve spoken to people who feel stuck at their current salary level is that they psych themselves out before they even get to the point where they can make the ask.

They start letting self-doubt and limiting beliefs creep in by asking themselves things like, “Who am I to get this promotion?” or “Why do I deserve to make more money?”

Well guess what? If you don’t believe you deserve it, no one else if going to believe it either.

The Bible says, “You have not, because you ask not.” If you let your boss off the hook by not even asking for a raise, then you’ll likely never significantly increase your income.

There’s no job fairy who is going to come down and leave a raise under your pillow at night.

SO, WHAT’S THE BEST WAY TO GET OVER YOUR LIMITING BELIEFS SO YOU CAN ACTUALLY ASK FOR A RAISE?

Get Prepared

Well, first of all, I think you should view asking for a raise as more of a process than an event. Contrary to what you see in the movies, you don’t just barge into your bosses office, pound on the desk and demand more money. It just doesn’t work that way.

To give yourself the best chance at being successful, you’ll want to start preparing to ask for a raise weeks or even months in advance.

In my book, Secure the Bag, I discuss a 4 step process that everyone can use to get ready to have the salary talk with their boss.

Research the Market 

In order to get paid what you’re worth, you need to know what your skills are actually going for out in the market. One way to do this is to ask your coworkers what they are making.

If discussing salary with your coworkers seems to be too sensitive for you, try checking websites like salary.com or asking recruiters who place employees in your industry.

Gather the Data

It’s not enough to emotionally plead for a raise, you have to have the numbers to back up your case.

I’d suggest you start keeping what I call a “Job Journal” in which you document, daily, everything you do in your job over a long period of time. It’s hard enough to remember what you had for lunch last week, let alone everything you’ve accomplished at work in the last six months. Write everything down so that you can refer back to it easily.

Once you’ve done that and you’re getting ready to have a review with your boss, you should pare down all of the information in your Job Journal into your own personal highlight reel that I call your “Raise Resume.” Your Raise Resume is a summary of your most important accomplishments, together with data showing how your accomplishments have helped the company.

Your Raise Resume provides you with the ammunition that you need to make it as hard as possible for your boss to tell you no.

Entertain Offers

Consider talking with a few of those recruiters we talked about earlier and see if they can drum up a few outside offers for you.

When you walk into a salary negotiation with your boss, you greatly increase the chances of getting what you want if you have other offers on the table. Without any alternatives, you really don’t have any leverage or any real negotiating power.

Be Prepared to Bounce

At the end of the day, your current boss may simply be unable or unwilling to increase your salary. If that’s the case, you may actually have to leave your current company in order to truly get paid what you’re worth.

You shouldn’t get so comfortable in your current situation that you allow yourself to accept being underpaid. You may like your coworkers and you might even like your current boss, and that’s OK.

You can always meet them for drinks after you leave, and with your new higher salary, you can feel comfortable paying the bill.

ROB, WHERE WE CAN WE FIND ADDITIONAL INFORMATION ON HOW TO GET A RAISE AT WORK?

I talk about these strategies and more in my book, Secure the Bag.

Financial advisor Rob Wilson is the chief insight officer at his independent-based financial advisory firm, Wilson Insight. He’s the author of the new financial advice book Secure The Bag: Create The Life You Desire By Managing Your Money LIke You Mean It — as well as a frequent contributor to CNN, CBS, NBC and right here on the Tom Joyner Morning ShowI

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