Settle on the salary before switching to other forms of compensation, such as a flexible work schedule, a new title, the ability to work remotely and paid time off, he recommends. “If you start off with the creative options, they might feel like they've given you enough,” Christian says. BUYING A CAR In most negotiations, you’ll want to preserve a good relationship with the other person. Buying a car, however, is typically a “purely transactional” interaction so you can bargain harder, Christian says. Research the car you want thoroughly before you go to the dealership. Look for the invoice price on car comparison sites such as Edmunds.com and ask several dealerships to give you their best price on the car. “Find the lowest-price comparison, and then use that as your starting offer,” Christian recommends. Knowing your bottom line — the maximum you want to spend on the vehicle — is particularly important because dealerships will often draw out the negotiating process to wear you down and get you to pay more, Christian notes. “I need to know very clearly what my walk-away point is,” Christian says. “And it seems so obvious, but people don't do this.” BUDGETING WITH YOUR PARTNER A recent survey by Fidelity Investments found that couples who communicate well are more likely to expect a comfortable lifestyle in retirement, rate their household’s financial health as excellent or very good and say that money is not their greatest relationship challenge. But communicating well about money is hard, because “money is emotional,” Christian says. He recommends calming those emotions by acknowledging and validating them and then asking your partner open-ended questions to find out why they feel the way they do. He cites the experience of starting his own business, when his wife was distressed at the amount that they were spending. Christian was raised in an affluent family and didn’t worry much about money, while his wife was raised by a single mom and experienced bouts of homelessness. “Money is survival to her,” Christian says. Rather than discounting her experience or arguing, Christian says he asked a lot of questions and acknowledged that her emotions made sense, given her past.
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