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Your Fear of Negotiation is Hurting Your Retirement, Part 2: Salary Negotiation

November 30, 2019

Last month, I discussed how fear of negotiation hurts women’s retirement savings. I spoke with Elizabeth Suárez, a national speaker, coach, and the author of “The Art of Getting Everything” about negotiating a salary offer: https://tinyurl.com/yxjr4tyl. This month she and I cover what options women have when they are denied a salary increase request during negotiation.

Liz Windisch, CFP®: Thank you for continuing this discussion on women and how navigating their salary affects their retirement. When a woman asks for a salary increase and is denied, is “no” the end of the discussion?

Elizabeth Suárez : For me, “no” is not a final answer. I consider the answer of “no” as a U-turn, where you need to go back to the drawing board and figure out a new course of action. When a “no” is given one must assume one or all of the following:

1. The person to whom you are speaking doesn’t have the power to accept your request for higher compensation on the spot.
2. The person feels uncomfortable having to ask a superior about your request and simply wants to close the deal and get you working immediately.
3. The person might be comparing his/her starting salary to what they offer you, and feels you shouldn’t be greedy.

LW: Given those scenarios, what is the appropriate course of action in that situation?

ES: All of the above three explanations should be treated respectfully. The best way to counter a “no” answer is to do the following:

1. First and foremost acknowledge the “no” answer by stating something along the lines of: “I would like to have a better understanding of why my request for a higher salary has been rejected. Are you the right person who can help me with this?”

2. Most of the time, they will claim they offered you a salary at the highest end of the range. With such a response, you can counter by stating, “Thank you for sharing that. I would like to share with you some research I recently conducted which illustrates that someone of my caliber and background, who works for a company like this one, in this city, is making the following…” (Of course, you need to do complete this research even before you interview. You can reference websites like salary.com for some guidance on salary ranges based on location, type of job, company, etc.)

3. If the above steps don’t help, and the potential employer is not willing to provide you any more money you have three options:

Option A: You negotiate other amenities, such as a professional development budget, an extra week of paid vacation, the opportunity to work from home two days a week, or reimbursement for other items, such as Wi-Fi or cellphone charges.

Option B: You negotiate option A with an agreement to re-evaluate your salary in 6 months based on tangible objectives you agree upon at that time. It would be up to you to discuss and agree upon these objectives and then monitor your progress at your one-on-one meeting with your boss. When you seek agreement, you must ensure your new boss and HR are in agreement with this approach, and it needs to be put in writing by you!

Option C: You walk away from the offer. Yes, you are capable of walking away. Sometimes an offer is not worth it, and there are other options out there waiting for you.

Next month: Setting up the necessary goals to ensure you receive a raise in the upcoming year.

Liz Windisch, CFP® has guided women toward overcoming their money fears and mastering their finances for over 15 years. She believes women will not be socially equal until they are financially equal. For more information, please visit www.lizwindisch.com or contact her at ewindisch@aspenwealthinc.com.

Elizabeth Suárez is an author, speaker and coach dedicated to helping professionals unleash their potential by transforming them into skilled negotiators and decision makers. For more information, please visit https://www.negotiationunleashed.com/ or contact Elizabeth at elizabeth@negotiationunleashed.com.

The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.

Elizabeth Suarez is not affiliated with LPL Financial and Aspen Wealth Management.

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