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Getting $5G more pay at age 25 can add $600K over career

The U.S. hundred-dollar bill

The U.S. hundred-dollar bill Credit: Getty Images

Ask and you shall receive. Maybe.

At least ask.

Apparently, young people, especially women, are shy about negotiating starting salaries. Data from Earnest, a San Francisco-based provider of loans, found that only 42% of young men and 26% of young women negotiated a starting salary.

Keeping mum can be costly. Research from academic sources shows that people who successfully negotiated a starting salary increased their pay by an average of $5,000 per year. Over your working years, you could cheat yourself out of $600,000 in additional pay by not negotiating for $5,000 of additional compensation at age 25 on an initial offer of $50,000.

If that truth motivated you, here are few tips to push you further.

  • Have the facts.

“Walk into the negotiations with a solid understanding of current salary trends for your position and location. Research your market value,” says Cliff Weinstein, director of permanent placement at Robert Half in Uniondale.

Industry reports and sites like and can be good guideposts.

“Don’t lowball yourself nor price yourself out of the position,” says Thomas Ward Jr., executive director of the Center for Career Development at Adelphi University in Garden City.

  • Keep an open mind.

“If starting salary isn’t negotiable, consider other benefits, like additional vacation time, a sign-on bonus or flexible scheduling,” says Weinstein.

  • Get your offer in writing.

Says Steven Mitchell Sack of The Law Offices of Steven Mitchell Sack in East Meadow, “Get everything in writing before accepting the offer. Don’t rely on a handshake or verbal agreement; it may not be enforceable.”


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