It's hard to ask for a raise. But it's doubly so when you secretly doubt you deserve it. So you may, unconsciously, sabotage yourself.
Sheryl Garrett, founder of the Garrett Planning Network of fee-only financial advisors, knew of one woman who made well-below market rate for her job at a charity. Not only did she not ask for a raise that would rectify that, she refused a raise that her board offered her because she felt the money would be better used on the charity's efforts. End result: She lived like a pauper and donated her financial security to the cause.
"First and foremost, you have to take care of yourself. It's not selfish to be responsible," Garrett said. Otherwise, you undercut your ability to take care of others long-term.
Try this: One way to think about a raise you don't feel worthy of on some level is to break down the numbers.
How much is a $5,000 annual raise per hour? If you work a standard work week, it's $2.40 an hour before taxes. After taxes, it's probably closer to $1.50. Do you really think if you're a valuable employee that you're not worth an extra $2.40 an hour? No? Your boss may disagree because she'll have to pay roughly 1.5 times your annual salary to replace you. So it's worth asking.
As with a raise, the financial cushion that can come with an inheritance from your parents or other windfall may feel undeserved because you didn't do much to earn it. But you can earn it now.
Try this: Take responsibility for your good fortune. Another former client of Garrett's inherited a great deal of family wealth he didn't feel he deserved. But rather than proving himself right and mismanaging the batch, he confronted his fear by learning to be a good steward of the money and preserving it for future generations. "He got a fishing pole and learned to fish," Garrett said.