How to Negotiate Your Way to a Richer Life


Negotiating is an important personal finance skill that can help you earn more and pay less. Whether you’re discussing a job offer, dickering at a car dealership or just trying to work out a budget with your significant other, the ability to bargain effectively can have a huge impact. You don’t have to be a jerk to be persuasive. The best negotiation tactics allow both sides to win, says Kwame Christian, host of the “Negotiate Anything” podcast and director of the American Negotiation Institute. Confrontational approaches — debating, badgering or insisting on your own way — make other people defensive and less willing to come to an agreement, Christian says. NEGOTIATING SALARIES Most managers expect job candidates to negotiate salary, but many people don’t even try when they’re offered a job, according to surveys by Robert Half, a human resources consulting company. You can prepare for your negotiation by checking salary ranges from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, salary comparison sites such as Payscale or, company review sites such as Glassdoor, or Robert Half’s salary guides. “People make the mistake of not preparing enough, and that's one of the single best things you can do to be effective in a negotiation,” Christian says. Good negotiators also write down a strategic plan that outlines what they want and how they intend to ask for it, as well as a list of good alternatives, he says. In general, the person with more information should make the first offer because that’s the “anchor” around which the discussion will revolve, Christian says. Wait for the person hiring you to name a figure so that you don’t inadvertently ask way too much or too little. (If you’re negotiating a raise for a job you already have, you probably have as much information as your manager and can be the first to name a dollar amount, he says.)



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