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No matter how much money you earn, you could probably always use a little bit more — but if you're hoping for a raise in 2018, you might be disappointed.

In December, consulting firm Korn Ferry released its prediction for pay increases in 2018. The news isn't good.

According to the report, U.S. workers are only expected to see an average 3 percent increase this year. It's the same amount as in 2017. And while a 3 percent raise might seem like a decent increase, the report said once adjusted for inflation, the real wage hike is only 1 percent. Korn Ferry said that's down from last year's 1.9 percent.

So what can you do to secure your 3 percent this year?

On this episode of Forever 39, we're joined by Barbara Pachter, a business communications and etiquette speaker based in Cherry Hill, who told us there's three things that employees should do when asking the boss for a raise:

  • Get prepared: Spend time planning what you're going to say to your boss, and schedule a time to meet
  • Sell yourself: Once you're in the meeting, make sure you clearly state why you deserve the raise — Did you contribute to an increase in sales? Did you get additional schooling? Did the company add extra responsibilities to your title?
  • Ask for the raise: Don't forget to ask for the raise once you're sitting face-to-face with your boss.

How long should a worker wait to find out if the raise will happen? Pachter said a time frame should be established during the initial sit-down with the boss. Once that deadline passes, waiting two to three more days before asking for an update is a good rule of thumb.

Pachter said one mistake some workers make when asking for raises is bringing up personal reasons why the raises are needed. She said employers don't care that you have additional expenses because your mother-in-law moved in with you. Another mistake is when workers use wishy-washy wording like "I was just wondering." She recommends being assertive in your word choices when asking for the raise.

So what happens if your boss tells you a raise this year isn't possible? Pachter said perhaps there are other options that can be negotiated like an extra week of vacation or a telecommuting schedule.

Have you recently asked for a raise? Did you employ a strategy that you think helped seal the deal? Let us know by emailing us at

Also from this week's Forever 39 podcast — The dangers of e-cigarettes. PLUS: Comparing your physical attributes to others. Click on the podcast player above to hear the entire episode.

Share your thoughts on all of them below, on Twitter, on Facebook or at

— Annette and Megan, Forever 39

Join us for next week’s podcast when we discuss how soon is too soon to begin dating again after a divorce, the popularity of wardrobe capsules, and dealing with friends that keep secrets.

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