For some reason, I cannot ask for more. When applying for a job, I only ask a slight increase compared to my previous job. When I am selling something, I only charge a little bit more than what I spend for capital. I dunno, I kinda feel guilty asking for more, I feel guilty that I am taking advantage of the buyer's ignorance of the original price. Maybe this is because of my upbringing being fair and all that.

This mindset really did messed up my decisions. There were a lot for opportunities for me but I let them slip away because of this mentality.

For example, my current job. When I applied, I was asking for 60k a month (I'm in ASIA). I passed all the exams and all that stuff, then towards the end before I do my final interview with the manager, the recruiter who was very nice gave me a tip to ask for 65k instead of 60k. Then when I talked to the manager, he asks if I'd go with 60k and I know this is stupid but I agreed.

Another example, we have a small store. When selling items, I always charge customers with the suggested retail price by the manufacturers and my mom kept telling not to do that. I dunno, I felt it wasn't fair for the customers to be charged a little bit more compared to what is suggested by the manufacturer.

I don't want to feel this guilt anymore, I would like to earn more. How do I overcome this?

I don't want to earn just enough, I would like to earn more.

  • This almost certainly belongs on interpersonal.SE.
    – RonJohn
    Aug 2, 2018 at 9:00
  • @RonJohn hopefully my answer will change your mind on that.
    – MD-Tech
    Aug 2, 2018 at 9:11
  • @MD-Tech maybe, but it seems pretty off-topic according to money.stackexchange.com/help/on-topic
    – RonJohn
    Aug 2, 2018 at 9:14
  • @RonJohn the question really seems to be about how to price things produced by oneself and that is on topic. Maybe it needs editing to bring it more on topic
    – MD-Tech
    Aug 2, 2018 at 9:26
  • 1
    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it's about assertiveness, not personal finance.
    – RonJohn
    Aug 2, 2018 at 9:44

1 Answer 1


Your work (as in what you do in a job) is simply a service that you provide to that company so I will refer to it as such below.

Your problem is that you are valuing things by how much they cost and not how much the various markets value them. Rather than looking at the cost of producing something you should look at what people are currently paying for the item or service. Every so often I look at the prices I charge for the various things that I sell - this is mostly my own labour - and compare them to the market rate for a similar item. If the similar item, such as a different job using my existing skill set, is charging more than I am currently charging then I am selling too cheaply and should raise my price (or salary expectation) to the market rate.

Once you realise that the value of something is not the same as its cost (cost of labour is rent, mortgage, food costs etc.; the cost of living) it is simple to calculate how much you should be charging over what you are charging currently and amend prices to fit.

This might mean raising the price of items on Ebay, asking for a raise, or finding a higher paying job. The Good or service that you are selling is irrelevant, what is important is what people will pay for it.

You mention fairness in the question but only in terms of what is fair to others. This means that you are giving something away for free to them by not charging as much as the market would. You are being overly generous to them and undervaluing your contribution consistently. You should have no guilt for charging what everyone else is charging exactly because everyone else is charging that; that's what being in the market means. The market is there to set prices (and salaries) to be fair.

Any basic economics text will teach you this (we don't do recommendations here but the Economist has some excellent internationally relevant books about how markets should work and how to price things).

  • FYI: Asking for book recommendations in a question isn’t allowed, but if you want to make an unsolicited book recommendation in an answer you certainly may.
    – Ben Miller
    Aug 2, 2018 at 9:48
  • @BenMiller there is a book recommendation request in the question and I didn't want to give the impression that it is on topic to ask.
    – MD-Tech
    Aug 2, 2018 at 9:50
  • @BenMiller I guess the whole thing is moot now as it looks like I'll be deleting this answer.
    – MD-Tech
    Aug 2, 2018 at 9:52
  • @MD-Tech to be honest with you I do not really see it that way. thank you for making me realize this even though this question might be deleted already. one time during christmas, my mum told me to increase the price of alcoholic beverages to plus 30% and I couldn't process why would she suggest that. turns out as I remember all the other stores already increased their prices due to the high demand. anyways, I really appreciate the time you used on this one.
    – chip
    Aug 2, 2018 at 10:06
  • @niccolom. someone might edit the question to bring it on topic so this might stay. I'm glad that I helped. Always remember that you aren't doing people a favour when you're selling, you're competing in a market
    – MD-Tech
    Aug 2, 2018 at 10:11

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