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With 8.6% inflation—a 40-year high—many people are feeling the pinch in their wallets as the cost of food, gas, and rent rise. If you haven’t received a raise in the past year, it may be time to negotiate a higher salary. Inflation is a fantastic negotiation tool because it’s an objective standard, says Andres Lares, managing partner at Shapiro Negotiations Institute, a negotiation consulting firm.

“It isn’t me asking for a raise for an arbitrary reason, such as ‘I’m a very good worker,’” he says. “Your boss may or may not agree. But inflation is well documented. If you made $150,000 last year and you’re making $150,000 now, you’re effectively making less money [when it comes to buying power.]”

Ben Cook, CEO of the salary negotiation consulting firm Riva, tells his clients, “If you didn’t get an 8% pay raise this year, you got a pay cut.” “Assuming you didn’t do so poorly that you deserve a pay cut, it’s time to ask for a raise,” he says.

But it’s easier said than done for most people. Asking for a raise feels like a confrontation, says Cook. “Most people don’t like confrontation,” he says. “The cost of not negotiating is hard to visualize. It doesn’t feel like someone is taking money away from you, but it’s money that you don’t earn. It is, in fact, the same thing.”

Read the complete Fast Company article BY STEPHANIE VOZZA:

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