Kovar Capital: Should I ask for a pay raise?


Hey Taylor: I’ve been at my current job for three years and I’m starting to feel like I’m due for a raise. I also feel like I won’t get one until I ask and I’m terrified of asking and getting turned down. Should I just do it? I love my job and would love it even more if my income went up! - June

Hey June: It’s a sad-but-true reality that some employers won’t give employees their due until they make a formal request. If you’ve been there for three years, like the work, and are good at it, and others have seen pay increases, you have every right to expect a raise. It should come without you having to ask, but sometimes we have to go the extra step.

I have clients who I’ve helped navigate these waters in the past. Every company is different, so you have to find the angle that works for you and your position before making the request. That said, this type of delicate situation is often best handled by a formulaic approach. Essentially, you need to make a pitch as to why the company will benefit from paying you more. Like any good project pitch, you need to structure it properly.

The hardest part for most people is the introduction; opening a conversation about how great you are and why you deserve more money can be uncomfortable. I find people have more success with this part when they make it about the company and the future: “I love the work we do here and I want to be a part of it for a long time.” Assuming that’s true, it shouldn’t be too hard to say and it opens up the second part of your pitch - the evidence.

As a valued employee, you’ve accomplished a lot over the last three years. Think about those successes, then put a future-tense spin on them: “I’m going to keep increasing our XYZ, just as I increased XYZ by 20% over the last 18 months,” etc. Again, these should all be true statements. You don’t have to brag and you don’t have to sound needy; you’re simply pointing out that a pay raise for you is nothing more than an investment in the company.

At that point, you’ve arrived at your conclusion, in which you reiterate how glad you are to work there, how you appreciate your boss or manager taking the time to meet with you, and how you’ll respect whatever decision is made. If you aren’t properly compensated for your work, you may have to rethink your relationship with that company. However, it’s more likely you’ll get what you deserve and your employer will appreciate you speaking candidly.

Never be afraid to ask for fair pay, June. As long as you do so with confidence and integrity, you’re doing the right thing. Good luck!

Disclosure: Information presented is for educational purposes only and is not an offer or solicitation for the sale or purchase of any specific securities, investments, or investment strategies. Investments involve risk and, unless otherwise stated, are not guaranteed. Be sure to first consult with a qualified financial adviser and/or tax professional before implementing any strategy discussed herein. To submit a question to be answered in this column, please send it via email to Question@GoFarWithKovar.com, or via USPS to Taylor Kovar, 415 S 1st St, Suite 300, Lufkin, TX 75901.


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