Does More Money = More Happiness?
“I read an article the other day that stated that at a certain salary level – in Switzerland at CHF120K/ annum – your happiness does not rise. So why should we ask for more money if that won’t make us happier?”
This was a most excellent question raised in my Facebook community (https://www.facebook.com/groups/womeninnegotiationwin/) recently and I love to talk about this subject: the importance or non-importance of money in our lives. So indulge me please, and let me know any thoughts you may have on this subject.
Let me first clarify one thing: I want women to negotiate in their careers and lives for whatever is important to them. Be it money, be it flexibility, be it a fair division of the workload at home, be it where they are going to spend Christmas (especially the latter, ha!).
I focus my coaching programs on salary negotiations for a couple of reasons. First of all: salary negotiations are the hardest type of negotiations out there. They are within the confines of an ongoing relationship. They ask you to value yourself and your contributions and express those in financial terms (gasp!). So if you nail the hardest negotiations of all, you can handle any type of negotiation.
And secondly I am going to argue that a serious raise in salary does have potentially life changing capacities.
A 20, 30 or even higher percentage increase WILL change your life, whether it brings you above or under the cap of CHF120K/annum as mentioned in the article. The extra money might not make the difference on a day-to-day basis (though it might). But it will if you calculate (and save!) the total extra lifetime earnings you receive after such a raise, and if you continue to negotiate your salaries. Depending on your starting point and circumstances, we’re talking hundreds of thousands to millions of USD / EUR / CHF earned more over the course of your career, compared to if you never negotiate your salary. That’s the magic of compound interest.
There is simply no way that these amounts do not positively influence your life: you can send your kids to university for that. You could send it to charity and make a serious difference in the lives of others. You can stop working years before official retirement.
So I am all for not making your salary the focus of your life. But I do urge you to refrain from underestimating its importance. We have a tendency to fall into the trap of “Oh, I earn enough. Those couple of hundred bucks a month are not going to make a difference either way” and talk ourselves out of asking for them. But those amounts seriously add up!
What would you do with that kind of money to make a difference?
(And that’s leaving out the question of the tie between your salary and the value you are seen to bring to the company you work for – we’ll get to that some other time!)
If you want to learn how these calculations work, please watch my online training at https://womeninnegotiation.org/seminar/. It includes a detailed calculation of the difference between being a negotiator and not being a negotiator, and importantly, shares the shifts you need in order to get these increases!