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How to Ask for a Raise

By Dave Ramsey
Author, The Total Money Makeover – These days it pays to be smart about money. That's why it's important to take this wise counsel from financial expert Dave Ramsey.

Asking for a Raise

Dear Dave,

What’s the best way to ask for a raise at work?

– Anonymous

Dear Anonymous,

I think the first 10 sentences that come out of your mouth should be about gratitude. Let your boss know how much you like being there and all the things you appreciate about the business and your job. It’s always a good idea to get the point across that you’re grateful for what you already have before you go looking for more.

The next step might be to detail the attributes you bring to the company—the traits, habits and accomplishments—that make you valuable to the organization, and why they make you more valuable than your paycheck currently indicates. Then, ask your boss to reconsider your compensation based on these factors. It wouldn’t be a bad idea, either, to do a compensation study based on the salaries of people in your line of work, who are employed by comparably-sized organizations in your region. Asking for a raise is one thing, but putting the research into your request that proves what you’re asking for is fair and well reasoned never hurts!

Smile a lot and make sure you keep any hints of bitterness or anger out of the conversation, too. You’re trying to persuade this person to see things your way. Just remember, no matter how convincing your argument may be, the answer—for whatever reason—could always be “no.” You need to be ready to accept it with the same professionalism and grace that went into your request. If you don’t, you just might knock yourself out of a raise or promotion somewhere down the road!


We're Safe From Murphy, Right?

Dear Dave,

My husband is getting ready to retire. With his pension, we’ll still have an income of about $52,000 a year. He thinks we don’t need an emergency fund because we’ll still have good money coming in on a regular basis. I’d feel better if we had one but I’m wondering what you think.


Dear Karen,

Of course, you need an emergency fund! If you’re breathing, you need an emergency fund! A good pension can feel pretty solid, but there’s always the possibility of lost income or other emergencies. What if your car dies, or one of you experiences a major medical event? Life has teeth, and it can bite you at any time. A good, old-fashioned rainy-day fund will keep you from going into debt when the unexpected happens. I recommend an emergency fund of three to six months of expenses.

Put it in a good money market account with check writing privileges and a decent interest rate. That way, your money will work for you. With a solid, steady income you can lean toward the three-month side. Otherwise, I’d save up five or six months of expenses. A fully funded emergency fund is great Murphy repellant, Karen. It will make you both feel better, plus it can turn a disaster into nothing more than a minor inconvenience!



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Dave SaysDave Ramsey is a nationally-syndicated radio talk show host and author of the New York Times bestselling books, Financial Peace Revisited and The Total Money Makeover. His life-changing advice in the area of personal finance helps people get out of debt, stay out of debt and build wealth that will last a lifetime and beyond.

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