As we wind down the third quarter of the year, you’ll probably notice your firm is starting to gather information for next year’s budget. Don’t be left behind. Start compiling a list of your accomplishments and value to your firm. This information will be used as you start probing your manager about merit increases. Some firms have a formal review process – more than likely it’s once a year. Most people who wait for this conversation fall behind because their manager has already made a decision. Be proactive and have regular conversations with your manager about your performance and your firm’s performance. Here are 5 steps towards a higher salary:

1- Look at your 2015 goals and write specifics about how you accomplished them. Replace subjective accomplishments with actual numbers. Instead of saying “I completed a lot of projects” be specific – “I completed 6 projects which generated $600,000 for the firm.” You can also use this information if you need to update your resume.

2- Know your value in the marketplace. Use job search sites to find out the average income for someone in your role. Make sure you compare similar industry and responsibilities – don’t rely on titles. A “manager” at one firm may have significantly more responsibilities than a “manager” at another firm. If your firm is hiring more people in your role look at the job description. In it you may find a salary range – are you at the top of the range or the bottom?

3- Research how profitable your firm has been. If your firm is publicly traded, listen to analyst calls or read your firm’s SEC 10Q filings. This information can be found on your company’s website. If your firm is privately held, look for increases in workload and new hires. If your firm has been profitable, there’s a better chance they will offer merit increases.

4- Define your target income using information from #2. Attaining your income goal may mean working in a different department or advancing to another management level. If that’s the case, then create 2016 goals which will stretch your current capabilities.

5-Incorporate #4 in your discussions with your manager being mindful of #3. Practice this conversation with one of your mentors or hire a career coach.

Conversations about your salary can be uncomfortable but with preparation you’ll be more confident. Follow the above 5 steps to boost your confidence but balance it with reality.


Niv PersaudNiv Persaud, CFP®, CDFA™, CRPC®, is the Founder of Transition Planning & Guidance, LLC. Life is more than money. It’s about living the lifestyle you want and can afford. For that reason, Niv consults with clients on money, life and work. Her approach capitalizes on techniques she learned throughout her career, including as a management consultant, executive recruiter and as a financial adviser. Her services include spending plan, financial plan, divorce financial review, life strategy and professional progression. Niv actively gives back to her community through her volunteer efforts. She believes in living life to the fullest by cherishing friendships, enjoying the beauty of nature and laughing often — even at herself. Her favorite quote is by Erma Bombeck, “When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left and could say ‘I used everything you gave me’.”