Asking for a Raise to Help Pay Off Student Debt

As this website has discussed in several prior articles, the income you earn from your main job will be the primary means by which you can pay off student loans. As much as you earn from side-hustles, and save through various financial sacrifices, the money you make from your main job will have the biggest impact on your student debt. Throughout the course of my student debt saga, I received raises, and this made it easier for me to repay student loans. There are a few things that student debt borrowers should keep in mind when asking for a raise to ensure they have more money to pay off student debt.

Pick the Right Time

One of the most important things to keep in mind when asking for a raise is that there is a time and place for everything. Managers usually only make determinations about raises and bonuses during certain parts of the year, and this is when you should ask for a raise. This is typically during the holiday season or shortly after the new year, but some employers may make certain employment decisions over the course of the fiscal year.

If you ask for a raise outside of the period when raises and bonuses are typically discussed, your employer may not be prepared to respond to the request. In addition, if you receive a raise during this off season, you might receive less money than if you waited for when companies typically make decisions about raises and bonuses. As a result, you should inquire when companies typically make decisions about raises and bonuses, and ask for a raise during this period.

Be Prepared

Another important strategy when asking for a raise is to be prepared with your request for a raise. Employers will typically wish for you to explain how you provide value to the company before they decide to award you a raise. This usually requires you to show how you support a team of people at the company, how you produce revenue for a business, or provide other advantages to an employer.

I have a friend who asked for a raise, and he was so prepared with information about the value that he added for a business, that he prepared a memo on the subject. His managers were blown away by how prepared he was and how professional his presentation was, and this definitely helped his case. If you want to get a raise, you need to complete the necessary work, and this usually requires you to clearly show that you deserve a raise.

Leveraging an Offer

Another thing to keep in mind when asking for a raise is that sometimes, it pays to ask for a raise when you have another offer in hand. There is a hilarious scene from The Office in which one of the characters seemingly gets an offer to work elsewhere and tries to leverage it and he fails dramatically. In reality though, having an offer in hand can create a sense of urgency in asking for a raise and can invoke an emotional response that can assist a worker when he or she asks for a raise.

I have a brother who frequently leveraged offers in order to receive more money from his current employer. Of course, this strategy requires some planning. For instance, individuals need to be absolutely certain that they have an offer before they try to use the offer to earn more money or else your current employer may take adverse employment action if you do not have an exit strategy for a job. Nevertheless, if the situation is right, and if you understand your employer, leveraging an offer can be a powerful tool when asking for a raise so that you have more money to pay off student debt.

Talk About Salaries

It is important to discuss salaries among coworkers before asking for a raise. At many workplaces, it is taboo to discuss salary information. This is seen as private information, and people may feel embarrassed or uncomfortable if they discuss salary information among coworkers.

However, not discussing salary information with coworkers gives employers all of the control in salary negotiations. Without discussing how much money people make, workers may not be able to discover that they are being underpaid and are deserving of a pay raise. Moreover, in the right situation, you can convey to an employer that you should be paid the same or more than a given coworker, and this conversation would be better if you knew the salary information of coworkers. Of course, people may make different salaries based on experience and how long they have been in a given industry. However, if similarly situated people are earning significantly less money, it is likely that the worker who is making less money can argue that they should make the same amount of money as a similar worker in the workplace.

All told, no matter how much money you are able to earn from side-hustles, or save through financial sacrifices, the income from your main job will be the primary way you are able to pay off student loans. As a result, it is important to ask for a raise whenever you can, and following a few strategies can ensure that you are paid the most money possible.



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