We all want to earn as much money at our jobs as possible. After all, the higher our income, the more opportunities we have to save for retirement, put our kids through college, and afford life's many luxuries. And if you're underpaid, it absolutely makes sense to fight for a raise and get the salary you deserve.

But what if you do your research and discover that your salary actually is in line with what professionals with your job title are making in your area of the country? Does that mean that you should settle for your current wage, or make the case for more money?

It's a less clear-cut scenario than the former, but if your performance is solid, you might manage to snag an increase, even if your earnings already are pretty fair. Here are a few scenarios, in particular, where it pays to have that conversation.

Person in suit holding a paycheck


1. You haven't gotten a raise in quite some time

Some companies give out pay increases annually. Others award raises based on merit. And then there are those employers who rank their staff members and reward only those with the highest ratings with more money. No matter your company's policy, if it's been more than a year since you've gotten a pay boost, you're a strong performer, and you've taken on a greater amount of responsibility in the interim, then you have every right to approach your boss and request an increase. But if your last raise happened not so long ago, it pays to hold off on that conversation to avoid backlash.

2. You can show how you've saved the company money or actively increased revenue

If you're earning a decent wage for your position and industry, you'll need to make a strong case for eking out more money from your employer. But if you can prove, with data, that you've saved the company money, your manager might agree that you deserve extra compensation. The same holds true if your direct actions have resulted in an uptick in revenue -- in that case, your boss might push to give you a tiny piece of those profits.

Effective as this approach might be, however, you'll really need to go in with hard facts. Remember, it's everyone's job to contribute to cost savings and revenue one way or another, so you'll need to prove that your unique contributions produced results that not only exceeded expectations, but far surpassed those of your peers.

3. You consistently go above and beyond

Maybe you're being paid fairly and you're not in a position to directly boost sales or shave costs. For example, if you're an operations-support person, you might be that essential cog keeping the machine running -- but quantifying your contributions with data may not be possible.

If that's the case, then you still can argue for a raise if you're known as that employee who constantly goes well above the call of duty. This could mean working the most hours of anyone on your team, or being that person who will jump in over the weekend in an emergency. Prove that the time you put in merits the higher compensation you're after, and you just might get it.

There's nothing wrong with asking for more money at your job, even if your salary is reasonable to begin with. Just go in knowing that your company may not comply, even if your performance is pretty outstanding.

Remember, employers expect their workers to do the best possible job and don't always show their gratitude for it with money. On the other hand, if you're a top performer with a solid reputation, it never hurts to request a salary boost. After all, the worst your company can say is no.