Ask Dave, Aug. 14, 2014

Asking for a raise

Dear Dave,

What’s your advice on asking for a raise at work when you have more responsibility than a co-worker but the same title on paper? After being with my company four years, I feel like I should make more money and I have the right to complain about this.

— Vanessa

Dear Vanessa,

Sorry, no. You don’t have a right to complain. You agreed on your pay, and you are doing your job the way your character and integrity tell you to do the job. If someone else is a slacker in the same position, that doesn’t mean a whole lot in terms of your personal compensation.

I’ve got several people at my company who hold similar positions and make similar money. Some of them have been here for years and others are new. I don’t pay people for how long they’ve been in the building, and I don’t want anyone on my team who doesn’t give 100 percent. Now, that may be a different issue than pay, but at the same time I don’t want someone who gives 50 percent and I pay them 50 percent. I want everyone at 100 percent, but that kind of thing isn’t your problem. It’s the company’s problem, because she works for them and not you.

If you honestly feel like you deserve a raise because of your effort and performance, that’s fine. Sit down with your leader and make a logical and reasonable argument for why you deserve more money. But don’t bring up your co-worker and what he or she makes in the discussion. That’s just not relevant. What is relevant is your worth and the value you bring to the organization.

But a comparative analysis with someone else on staff just isn’t a good idea. I’d stay away from that, Vanessa.

— Dave

 

Paying insurance penalty

Dear Dave,

My wife and I live in New York, and we’ve had whole life insurance for several years. There’s a 7 percent penalty if we cash out the policies now. If we wait a few years, we won’t have to pay into the premiums anymore. Should we cash out the policies anyway?

— Brian

 

Dear Brian,

The reason you won’t have to pay into the premiums anymore is because you built up enough savings, and they are not paying you enough on the savings to amount to anything. The amount they should have been paying you versus the way they were ripping you off will buy the life insurance.

It’s not like you can pay for it because you still have probability of death. As long as there’s a probability of death there’s a cost to life insurance. The only question is whether you’re paying out of your savings account or your checking account. In this case, you’re paying out of savings.

The 7 percent figure is just your surrender charge, so I’d get out of that policy soon. Here’s the problem, Brian. If you die today, do you know what they’ll pay? Face value. They won’t pay face value plus the savings you paid for. In other words, you’ll lose your savings.

I’d get term life insurance in place by the end of the week. Compare prices on term, because you’ll be surprised at the difference some companies charge for term insurance. Make sure you get good 15- to 20-year level terms policies valued at 10 to 12 times your annual incomes.

— Dave

Dave Ramsey is America’s trusted voice on money and business. He has authored five New York Times best-selling books: Financial Peace, More Than Enough, The Total Money Makeover, EntreLeadership and Smart Money Smart Kids. The Dave Ramsey Show is heard by more than 8 million listeners each week on more than 500 radio stations. Follow Dave on Twitter at @DaveRamsey and on the web at daveramsey.com.

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