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Profitt Report: How to negotiate more than just your salary

Photo credit: MGN

Salary is a big part of your compensation at work but it’s not everything. Your salary only accounts for 68 percent of your total compensation and the rest is made up with benefits, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Since roughly one-third of your compensation is benefits, why not try to negotiate these?

“One of the things we talk to students about is, don’t focus exclusive on the salary offer,” said Mike Major, Saginaw Valley State University’s Career Services director. “It's really common if an organization offers two weeks of vacation up front, you might be able to negotiate a third week of vacation instead of a higher starting salary.”

That’s because vacation time is less expensive than a larger salary offer, he said.

Next up, your company retirement account. Say you’re offered a salary of $35,000 with a four percent 401(k) match. If you negotiate a $33,000 salary with a 10 percent match, you’ll earn more money in the long-run.

Where to ask for these perks? If your annual review is going well, that’s a good place to start.

“Since it's a very positive situation and your supervisor has told you how valuable you are, it's okay to ask at that time about benefits, salary or performance bonuses,” Major said.

There might be wiggle room during brand new job offers, too. If you receive an offer, first ask for it in writing.

“Ask is this open to negotiation? And may I have 24 hours to review? At that point, you can really take a look and crunch the numbers and see, is this a fair offer,” Major said.

You’ll want to do some research on typical salary and benefit ranges in your area to make sure your counter-offer makes sense.

The Profitt Report wants to hear from you - please send consumer questions and story ideas to ProfittReport@WSMH.com

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