According to How To Get Paid What You’re Worth“negotiating a raise of $5,000 for your first salary can result in more than $600,000 in additional lifetime earnings.”

$600,000 in additional lifetime earnings.

If you’re young or in mid-life, worried about retirement, but still thinking, “it’s OK, I’m being paid well enough” or “I’d rather make less money than risk alienating my employer by asking for a raise,” ponder for a moment what $600,000 in additional lifetime earnings can mean for a woman.

The majority of older women in America are unable to cover their basic living expenses, and the percentage of those in distress is 50 percent higher than that of men, according to a new analysis of U.S. Census Department data conducted by Wider Opportunities for Women.

“Three out of five women over 65 have incomes that won’t cover their most basic daily needs, whereas among men it’s 40 percent,” says Donna Addkison, president and CEO of the organization. “Older women are at much greater risk of economic insecurity than older men.”

Men Don’t Take ‘No’ For An Answer and We Shouldn’t Either

It’s a negotiation truism that the negotiation doesn’t really begin until someone says “no.” Before that time, there’s little reason to do the work of bargaining. If you don’t hear “no,” you’ve already agreed.

The point of a negotiation is to find a way to reach an agreement that satisfies both parties and gives you something more than you believe you can get. That requires the work of negotiation. But don’t be deterred. It’s not that hard and women are really good at finding ways to satisfy everyone’s needs and desires at the same time.

Here’s the scenario: It’s your annual performance review. Your employer is giving modest raises again after a recession-era 5-year freeze on salaries. You’ve been working outside your job description for so long now that you simply consider it your job. You forget that you were asked to take over the duties of an employee who was laid off in ’09 and that the austerity re-organization and natural attrition loaded you up even more.

Before the recession, you used to end your day at 5 or 6 or 7. Now you leave the office at six, cook dinner, bathe the kids, get them to bed, and then do two hours of additional telecommuting work before you crawl exhausted into bed at midnight.

You’re giving your time away for free as corporate profits soar.

It’s time to take personal responsibility for the growing income inequity in this country.

You don’t need to elect a new President or make Congress live on minimum wage. You don’t need to sign a petition at, march for higher wages or join an Occupy off-shoot.

Political action is necessary, but when do you have the time?

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by Victoria Pynchon

Victoria Pynchon is an attorney-mediator and arbitrator. She is also a principal in the She Negotiates Consulting and Training firm for which her blog “She Negotiates” is named. In addition to writing for the legal blog “On the Docket,” Pynchon also authored the book “A is for A**hole, the Grownups' ABCs of Conflict Resolution.