Daring To Be Ourselves… Financially

Do you have enough money?

Last week I wrote about the high cost to women of not speaking up for ourselves financially in the workplace.  One statistic from that piece keeps floatingthrough my head like the Goodyear blimp:  Women who consistently negotiate their salaries throughout their careers earn $1 million more over their work lives than women who do not.
This struck me for two reasons.  First, during my 15 years in corporate America I never once asked for a raise.  Why?  When I’m 100% honest with myself it’s that I was afraid to “Just Do It” as the Nike commercial says.  I didn’t want to sound pushy, greedy, or heaven forbid:  “Not. Nice.”  Second, 57 women were kind enough to take a short survey I put together about their feelings around money.  By far the number one phrase that popped up was “not enough money.”  Some of it was frustration about not having enough money right now due to job loss, health issues, lack of understanding about personal finance and/or poor spending habits.  Some of it was fear around not having enough money in retirement.  But over and over that same phrase, “not enough money,” kept coming up.  So I asked myself to what degree our fear about not having enough money and ending up old and poor can be transformed by our own actions.
For inspiration, I decided to turn to Feminist.com founder Marianne Schnall’s inspiring new book, Daring To Be Ourselves: influential women share insights on courage, happiness and finding your own voice.  Schnall’s book is a delightful compendium of quotes from women ranging from Maya Angelou to Madeleine Albright to Margaret Cho.  While these insights extend to broader issues, I find that they can also be applied to money.  For example, if you are feeling like you don’t have “enough money” and that the root cause might be that you are not speaking up in the workplace and/or daring to be yourself financially, here are a few of my favorite abbreviated snippets to use as money mantras:

“… no matter how hard it is to do it, it’s harder not to do it.  Then you’re stuck with wondering, ‘What if I had said…?’ ‘What if I had done…?’  –Gloria Steinem

“Get over the feeling that the two words don’t go together – women and power… We have to own our personal power…” – Jane Fonda

“Stop living your life as if you’re going to be rescued… and you will transform whatever pain is inside you. ” -Eve Ensler

What about you – do you have any money mantras that help you speak up and own your financial power?

6 Replies to “Daring To Be Ourselves… Financially”

  1. Wow, Manisha, thank you for this newsletter/blog. It is perfect, because MONEY is the microcosm of the macrocosm! If women aren’t asking for the MONEY they work for and deserve, it is very likely that they aren’t asking to have their needs met in other areas of their lives as well. I can see in my own life where I WISH I had stood in my power! Thank you for the reminder. An opportunity to dissect my relationships, spiritual life, health & wellness, fun, and MONEY and check in on my POWER LEAKS! You rock!

    1. Cate – So glad you liked his post. You hit the nail on the head. As I was writing this piece I was flooded with thoughts of over the years how many women, all over the globe, have silenced themselves in so many ways… and all the great things that will happen for women, men, and the whole darn world when that no longer happens. Happy New Year!

  2. Manisha, I love getting your emails every week–it’s great to read something that actually applies to me on a regular basis! So thank you. In regards to your post last week about not being afraid to ask for a raise, thank you for writing about that. However, there is still a little voice in my head that somehow convinces me that if I bite the bullet and ask for the raise I feel I deserve, there’s a chance I will not only get turned down, but lose my job altogether. Or be viewed by my superiors that if I am not granted a raise I will not continue to work as hard. I realize a good part of this is having strong self-esteem (which I do have normally!) but in such a shaky economy, I fear how I will be perceived. Perhaps I am alone in this, but I thought it was worth a shot asking!

    1. You absolutely are NOT alone with that voice in your head. Those were the exact thoughts that ran through my head… and that was when the economy was good. Interestingly, Professor Babcock’s research shows neither of us are crazy for our concerns. Studies show that when women negotiate we can easily be perceived negatively if we don’t frame our request in a manner that is viewed as a win-win and base our ask on the value we add (whereas studies show men do not get penalized for their negotiation styles, grumble grumble). I like to think that if we ask pleasantly and in a way that lays out our case professionally, we show we respect ourselves which teaches others to respect us too. But that still doesn’t make it easy to do!!

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