Tips for negotiating your path to a richer life

Negotiation is an important personal finance skill that can help you earn more and pay less. Whether you’re discussing a job offer, chatting at a car dealership, or just trying to budget with your partner, the ability to negotiate effectively can have a huge impact.

You don’t have to be a jerk to be persuasive. The best negotiating tactics win both sides, says Kwame Christian, host of the “Negotiate Anything” podcast and director of the American Negotiation Institute. Conflicting approaches – arguing, harassing or pushing in its own way – make others defensive and less willing to come to an agreement, Christian says.

Negotiate salaries

Most managers expect candidates to negotiate their salaries, but many people don’t even try when offered a job, according to surveys from Robert Half, a human resources consulting firm.

You can prepare for your negotiation by checking salary scales from the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, salary comparison sites such as Payscale or, company review sites such as Glassdoor, or salary guides from Robert Half.

“People make the mistake of not preparing enough, and that’s one of the best things you can do to be effective in a negotiation,” says Christian.

Good negotiators also write a strategic plan that outlines what they want and how they intend to ask for it, along with a list of good alternatives, he says.

In general, the person with more information should make the first offer because that is the “anchor” around which the discussion will revolve, Christian says. Wait for the person hiring you to name a number so that you don’t inadvertently ask for 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.)

Adjust the salary before moving on to other forms of compensation, like a flexible work schedule, a new title, the ability to work remotely and paid time off, he recommends.

“If you start with the creative options, they might feel like they’ve given you enough,” says Christian.

To buy a car

In most negotiations, you’ll want to maintain a good relationship with the other person. Buying a car, however, is usually a “purely transactional” interaction so you can negotiate harder, says Christian.

Research the car you want thoroughly before you head to the dealership. Look up the price charged on car comparison sites like and ask several dealers to give you their best price on the car.

“Find the lowest price comparison, then use that as a starting offer,” Christian recommends.

Knowing your bottom line – the maximum you want to spend on the vehicle – is especially important because dealerships will often prolong the negotiation process to exhaust you and make you pay more, notes Christian.

“I need to know very clearly where my starting point is,” says Christian. “And it seems so obvious, but people don’t do that.”

Budgeting with your partner

A recent Fidelity Investments survey found that couples who communicate well are more likely to expect a comfortable lifestyle in retirement, rate their household financial health as excellent or very good, and say that money is no isn’t their biggest relationship challenge.

But communicating well about money is difficult, because “money is emotional,” says Christian. He recommends calming these emotions by acknowledging and validating them, then asking your partner open-ended questions about why they’re feeling what they’re feeling.

He cites the experience of starting his own business, when his wife was upset by the amount they were spending. Christian was brought up in a well-to-do family and didn’t care much about money, while his wife was raised by a single mother and experienced episodes of homelessness.

“Money is its survival,” says Christian.

Rather than neglecting his experience or arguing, Christian says he asked a lot of questions and recognized that his emotions made sense, given his past.

“If you just go to problem solving, the person doesn’t feel validated,” Christian says. “The emotional problem is still there.”

It was only after summing up the wishes of each partner that the couple began to negotiate an outcome to meet both needs: the goal here is to make sure that we have a certain amount of money in the bank account. . How do you reconcile these two things? ‘”

Skipping any of these steps – or trying to have these talks when you’re tired or anxious about other things – risks alienating your partner and making things worse.

“If you are very emotional, the first thing you want to say is probably the wrong thing to say,” Christian says.

RELATED LINK: NerdWallet: How to Buy a Car: Your Car Buying Cheat Sheet

About Veronica Richards

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