Personal finance pop quiz: What's the most important single number in your household budget? Answer: Your income. And while you don't have as much control over how much you earn as you might have over how much you spend, you do have some. Now, one of the more effective ways to get a pay raise is to ask for one, but that can be a difficult conversation to start in any organization.

So, in this episode of Motley Fool Answers, hosts Robert Brokamp and Alison Southwick are joined by Lee Burbage and Kara Chambers of The Motley Fool's People Team to discuss their best tips for making your case for more money. You'll want to go into that meeting in possession of the facts and a solid argument in your favor, so in this segment, they share their suggestions for what you ought to do prior to sitting down with your manager.

A full transcript follows the video.

This video was recorded on July 17, 2018.

Alison Southwick: Let's segue into how you actually prepare for that meeting. You've created a checklist for people here at The Fool to go through before they actually enter into the conversation and approach their manager or whomever about getting a raise. How should you prepare for asking?

Kara Chambers: The first thing you do, I set it up so you can look at your salary benchmarks in the industry. There are all kinds of free services out there that you can use, like Glassdoor or something, just to get a sense. Some companies subscribe to salary surveys. They may or may not make them transparent, like salary bands. If your company has salary bands, figuring out how those are determined could be helpful.

I really just like to help people use that step to say, are you in the right ballpark, are you being reasonable. That can vary. Just figuring out the role and making sure. And if you think, "Hey, the role I'm being paid for is not actually the one I'm doing. I'm doing something so much more than this," that, we think, should be part of the conversation. So, bringing along, "Here's how I defined my role."

That leads me into the second one. It's interesting, a lot of people say, "Write up a job description." What I've found is, people write job descriptions to post for an external recruiting job, and they write a to-do list. They write, "Here are the things you have to do in this job." Someone's like, "I've done three podcasts and six meetings today," or something like that.

What you really want to talk about when you write about your role is how you add value. I'm asking people to put down a bullet-pointed list of things they are doing or can do that adds the most value to our business. The more effort and time you put into that process, we think that's going to be the most helpful in that context.

Again, what I've had is people saying, "See if you can articulate what your job is. Then, see if you can articulate how you add value," that would be the second part of that checklist. Then, the third one is really development. Lots of jobs have ranges. Where you are in that range is really going to come down to development. If you're at the bottom of the range, it could just be that you just got promoted, you just got this job and you have no experience. Understanding if you're at the bottom of a range, and why, and making cases for moving up that range. And, again, what your company's pay philosophy is on that, too.

In our case, we would say, "Hey, we have to figure out where you are in terms of development." What I find with a lot of people, they could be at the top of the range for one job and the bottom for the next job. That's OK, it's the same amount of money. But, knowing where you are, and then making the case of where your development is.

Lee Burbage: We had one internal Fool who gave a suggestion in our discussion about this that I thought was great, which is, think about what would happen if you weren't here, if you weren't doing the things you're doing. That's a good place to start to try to figure out the value that you're adding.

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