Asking For A Lot Of Money

Most people dream of​ making a​ lot of​ money. the​ question is,​ what does that mean?

The truth is​ that money is​ highly subjective. Certainly,​ a​ billion dollars is​ a​ lot of​ money; there are only a​ handful of​ billionaires in​ the​ world. is​ a​ million dollars a​ lot? in​ terms of​ total wealth,​ no; a​ significant minority of​ the​ population has a​ million dollars or​ more in​ total assets to​ leave to​ their heirs,​ largely due to​ the​ appreciation of​ real estate. Were one to​ make a​ million dollars a​ year,​ however,​ that person would be among the​ most highly paid in​ the​ world.

Personal perception has a​ significant role in​ determining the​ amount of​ money that a​ person can expect to​ make. the​ reason for this is​ that the​ two factors that most influence earnings--level of​ demonstrable skill,​ and payment requested from an​ employer--are very dependent upon the​ individual. Moreover,​ while skill is​ partially based on​ individual confidence and partially dependent upon innate ability,​ the​ amount of​ money that a​ person asks an​ employer to​ provide is​ solely based on​ the​ individual.

Of course,​ the​ two are related. One cannot have a​ minimal skillset and expect to​ receive a​ high salary. However,​ many people have excellent skillsets yet are paid comparatively little versus their peers. Why?

The truth is,​ they probably didn't ask--or if​ they did,​ they didn't ask in​ a​ way that conveyed they really thought that they deserved what they wanted. in​ many cases,​ the​ boss knows the​ most that he or​ she can pay,​ but will be pleased to​ pay less if​ an​ employee will accept it.

Of course,​ the​ boss will not tell the​ employee what he or​ she can actually afford to​ pay. But dealing with that is​ comparatively easy in​ the​ Information Age: there are salary guidelines for given locales and positions available on​ the​ Internet. the​ real challenge is​ not asking a​ high level of​ compensation,​ but feeling that you deserve the​ high level of​ compensation for which you are asking.

To do that,​ one must understand the​ relative value of​ money. we​ have established that being a​ billionaire is​ truly remarkable,​ and that accumulating a​ million dollars over a​ lifetime is​ not but that making a​ million dollars per year is. What about lower income levels--the sort that we​ tend to​ see in​ everyday life?

How much is​ a​ lot?

The U.S. Department of​ Health and Human Services Federal Poverty Guideline for a​ family of​ four in​ 2006 is​ $20,​000. a​ family that makes this amount or​ less is,​ by definition,​ poor.

The median income reported for a​ family of​ four in​ 2006,​ however,​ ranged from a​ low of​ $45,​867 in​ New Mexico to​ a​ high of​ $87,​412 in​ New Jersey. These figures include single- and multi-earner households.

Consider a​ candidate in​ New Jersey who holds a​ degree in​ a​ moderate-demand field. Will he or​ she accept a​ salary of​ $20,​000? Probably not. Expecting a​ salary of​ $87,​412 may seem excessive,​ though,​ because he or​ she would,​ as​ a​ single earner,​ be requesting the​ average income of​ a​ family of​ four.

But is​ it​ excessive? Actually,​ no; if​ $87,​412 is​ the​ median salary--meaning there are an​ equal number of​ earners above and below that mark--the candidate could,​ in​ fact,​ confidently request $90,​000 or​ more. the​ reaction from a​ hiring manager would depend in​ part on​ the​ industry and also in​ part of​ the​ applicant's specific skillset. Another candidate,​ in​ another job,​ however,​ could ask for it​ and get it. the​ trick is​ to​ have the​ audacity to​ ask.

A real-life story

Shortly after I finished college,​ someone I knew earned $40,​000 a​ year. His stated goal was to​ reach a​ salary of​ $50,​000. He worked hard to​ apply himself to​ education and professional development,​ and volunteered for special projects to​ expand his skillset.

His next job offer caught him off-guard: $73,​000. He took it,​ of​ course,​ astonished at​ how much he now made. Within a​ few months,​ though,​ he realized that others in​ the​ field made considerably more. He stayed active in​ professional development and worked hard to​ master new skills.

A year into the​ job,​ he requested an​ increase in​ salary,​ providing his employer with salary survey data and other information. He received a​ raise to​ $89,​000 and was offered an​ incentive plan based on​ performance.

After three years,​ he decided to​ leave. He interviewed at​ a​ number of​ top companies that were excited to​ meet him. He had an​ offer from one for $110,​000 and then got an​ offer from another for $115,​000. Deciding that he prefered the​ first company,​ he asked if​ they would increase their offer. Knowing that this would require approval,​ however,​ he offered to​ take an​ initial salary of​ $100,​000 until he finished his probationary period. They accepted.

Four years ago,​ he aspired to​ someday make $50,​000. Today,​ he makes $115,​000--and considers $200,​000 to​ be easily within reach given a​ few more years. And why?

Because he asked.

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