I’ve been working for my millionaire pal for four years — she’s by no means given me a pay elevate. My husband says I needs to be grateful


Dear Quentin,

I’ve been working part time as an independent contractor (aka Form 1099) for a friend, in accounting and administration for the past four years. When I started she told me how much she was paying and I was happy with the price as it is more than what I could make where I live. I don’t want to ruin this friendship, but I don’t want to be a fool either.

I worked at the same hourly rate for the entire four years. She often tells me how much she values ​​me and what a good job I am doing, and asks me not to go. The price is higher than what I could earn in my place of residence, but it is at least 20% lower than what you would have to pay for someone in your location. The working hours are very flexible and I am grateful for that.

In 2021, she raised the wages of all her employees by 5 to 10% because her company is doing very well after COVID. She never offered to raise my tariff. Admittedly, I did not request an increase. It’s not about her being able to afford it. She’s very wealthy – worth at least $ 20 million. Your company is very profitable.

My husband says I should be excited about what I do. My local friends say they think I’m being exploited. I am torn.

Her thoughts?

Friend and worker

You can email The Moneyist at qfottrell@marketwatch.com with any financial and ethical issues related to the coronavirus and follow Quentin Fottrell on Twitter.

Dear friend and worker,

You’re not asking for a raise because you’re friends and you don’t want to ruin the friendship. She doesn’t give you a raise with everyone else because you’re friends and she doesn’t want to ruin a good cause. She also knows how grateful you are and that your friendship creates a mutually beneficial, if sometimes uncomfortable, arrangement.

Once you have entered into a business relationship with a friend – be it as a partner or employee – the balance of power is at risk. It is no longer the same. Personalities and emotions are not part of a negotiation strategy. In the interests of friendship, you shouldn’t act against your own interests, especially if that friendship has been irrevocably changed – and it has.

Why would she give you a raise when she doesn’t have to? That’s the bittersweet thing about hiring a friend: priorities shift and boundaries blur. The rules of the real world no longer apply. Sooner or later, one or both parties let their needs take a back seat. In this case, those needs are yours. If she respects you as much and is as grateful as she says she would give you a raise.

Independent contractors like you are sometimes treated differently than employees, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t ask for a raise. Tell her that you are happy with your job – if so – and what you have contributed over those four years. Don’t mention friendship. It’s just business. Her time is valuable and she pays for it.

If she falls short, there isn’t much to salvage from a friendship or work relationship. It’s a win-win situation for both your self-respect and the value you place in your role in the company.

Check out Moneyist’s private Facebook Group in which we look for answers to life’s thorniest questions of money. Readers write to me with all sorts of dilemmas. Ask your questions, tell me what you want to know more about, or take part in the latest Moneyist columns.

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More from Quentin Fottrell:

• My married sister uses the most precious possessions of our parents. How can I stop them from ransacking their home?
• My mother had my grandfather sign a deed that left two grandchildren millions of dollars and avoided everyone else
• My brother’s soon-to-be ex-wife embezzles money from her business. How do we find hidden accounts?
• “Grandmother died recently and left a seven-figure estate. Needless to say things are getting messy ‘

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