Negotiating a job offer is often related to the money. And when you are excited to get the job and don’t want to throw up any roadblocks, there may be a temptation not to negotiate hard for fear of being excluded. This decision could impact the individual’s financial life for years to come — so don’t shy away from asking for more money or better benefits.

In addition, getting a lower salary consistently could keep that person at a lower pay scale than his peers, leading to another financial disadvantage. To avoid this fate, be ready to negotiate and be prepared to stop when it is the right time to do so. Keep the following tips in mind when negotiating salary and benefits.

Know the range

Employers are not all the same when it comes to how much they can afford to pay employees. Getting as much information as possible about the potential employer compensation scheme can guide in evaluating what you are being offered.

In addition, moderate this expectation with what was paid in the last job and what one knows of how other employers pay. Coming up with a realistic range is critical. Take into consideration what is an acceptable proposition.

For example, if willing to accept a similar salary to the last pay, keep this in mind. If it is important to increase your personal income, make this clear and pursue the opportunity.

Know what matters

The headline number of that future salary matters, but it is not the only factor. Better benefits could help save a lot of money over the period of employment. Ask to see the overall benefits including health insurance, allowances and perks that you will receive as an employee.

Make sure to understand the costs as well as those related to enrolling your family into these benefit plans. Inquire about bonuses and salary increases. Different employers have different approaches, and do make sure that your compensation isn’t going to remain stagnant and will indeed keep up with inflation.

In addition, make sure the status of the future employer is stable. An employer who is struggling to make it might not be able to make the payroll contributions or end up cutting costs by reducing salaries. Don’t be tempted to jump ship for a higher salary alone, and certainly not until one is confident that any future employer will be there in the long run.

Know when to negotiate

It is advisable not to bring money up early in the process. In most cases, negotiating after receiving an offer won’t hurt because it is the most appropriate time. In fact, some employers might even expect you to negotiate, so there will be some wiggle room to benefit from if you just ask.

But know your employer. For example, government agencies have set criteria and pay scales that can’t be changed. This doesn’t mean you should not ask, but be prepared to hear a “no” if your request exceeds what is allocated for this role.

Finally, be a good negotiator. Don’t negotiate until willing to take the job, and don’t waste an employer’s time if you are certain that the gap is too big to bridge.

In many cultures, asking for money is sensitive topic, which can be even compounded by gender inequality. Women — and men for this matter — must be able to know the fair market compensation for their skills and be prepared to ask for it. Keep in mind, even a small difference in compensation can help through the years of employment when it comes to saving or living a better lifestyle.

So reconsider any sensitivity and be an effective negotiator.

Rania Oteify, a former Gulf News Business Features Editor, is a Seattle-based editor.

Negotiating salaries

* Know what is a realistic salary;

* Be ready to negotiate at the right time;

* Check the benefits and perks; and

* Overcome cultural sensitivities regarding money