How aggressive to be asking for a raise?

I’m a 27 year old mechanical engineer. The school I graduated from average starting salary is around $64k. I make $68k despite this being my 7th consecutive year with my half-billion dollar company. (3 years as a co-op, 4 years full time salary).

I really like the company, my relaxed work schedule, the environment, the people, everything really except the stagnant pay. We get 2% inflation raises every year usually but that doesn’t add up to anything.

I’ve told myself that if I don’t get a more substantial raise by this time 2020, I’m going to search for something else.

Here’s my question: how aggressive should I get with my manager about this? We don’t have performance reviews here, instead we just get together every year and talk about any raises they’ve decided to give. I’ve asked my manager 3 years in a row exactly what I need to do to earn more money in the company with no answer.

Should I tell him that I’ve thought of leaving for better opportunities as a way of pressuring him? Should I mention even the thought of leaving? Could I be fired for that?

I know I’m a good, smart worker, and I know they want to keep me, but I just don’t know how demanding to be with my manager. Should I get another offer first and then come to my manager with that offer in hand?

Thanks for any advice. I do want to keep working here if I can because the job itself is awesome and exactly what I love to do, I just can’t take stagnant wages for so many years when I know I can make more by jumping ship.

Thanks!

EDIT: thanks for the advice everyone, this got way more traction than I expected. I’m very busy making money for my company today but I’ll reads everyone’s replies when I get a chance. Thank you so much!

EDIT2: Wow this got SO much more traction than I thought it was going to. Thanks everyone for your advice and (mostly) kind words. I can’t reply to all of you but I’ve read just about everything. Sounds like I need to get my resume up to date and put myself out there a bit. This thread alone is giving me good motivation to do so, so thank you guys so much!

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