Before a rookie who takes this seriously mouths off to management that they've done this, here is how this tactic works out in my prior life as an employee, before I started my own business. YMMV.
After I had stacked up three years of living expenses, on top of zero debt of any kind, I found that my demeanor in negotiations changed. Not obviously, and not obnoxiously. This, I found by accident, was far more effective than simply blurting out that I could give a damn because I was debt free. The other side of the negotiating table can sense the subtle shift, likely because without that debt clouding my judgement in the back of my mind, I could think without emotion about the negotiation itself. This business-like focus on the merits of my contributions to the bottom line were effective in securing what I wanted.
Years later, I appended additional rules to the two shown above, which other US-based Slashdotters might find even more effective after securing the first two rules.
- Research your health insurance plan options available as a private entity, and be sure to set aside enough in your contingency budget to accomodate that amount. Speak to the billing staff of medical professionals you use today, and ask them which insurance plans (not companies) are the easiest to work with, and ask insurance brokers which plans they use for their own family.
- Especially if you have family to look after, secure a long-term disability insurance policy and term life policy on your own. Read up on these insurance products at Consumer Reports.
After this point, as long as you focus on keeping yourself sharp and relevant to the market (when I was an employee I did this by continuously updating my resume on the job sites with each project I finished, comparing against skill sets listed in open positions I would be interested in if I was looking, and staying on friendly terms with the recruiters that kept calling me), you pretty much call the shots in compensation negotiations as long as you stay within market range.