By Dr. Robert J. Watkins
Women have made many strides financially in the last 15 years. The year 2017 was the first year since 2007 that the gender pay gap showed a statistically significant reduction, according to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research. And according to the National Association of Realtors report, 18% of first-time homebuyers are single women, compared to 8% being men.
But there is still much work to do for women in order for them to earn and receive the current overwhelming opportunities to build wealth, increase their earning potential, and leave a lasting legacy for their children.
Here are four ways to eliminate any financial insecurity:
1. Keep Asking for More
Researchers have noted that women who ask for raises receive more about 15% of the time.
The story of the Persistent Widow in Luke 18:1-8 tells us of a judge who lacks compassion, and who is repeatedly approached by a poor widow seeking justice. Initially, the judge rejects her demands for much-needed resources. The parable tells us that the widow eventually wore down the judge with her persistence. The judge granted her requests.
She could have gotten depressed and left empty-handed. But she knew her rights. Her persistence won the day. You can’t ask for what you don’t know. Always ask for what you want, be persistent, and know your rights.
2. Become Exceptional at One Thing before Moving on to the Next
In this new COVID-19 economy, there are many businesses and opportunities in which women can prosper. However, it is also very competitive. The way the new marketplace pay scale works is that, if what you do is average—meaning anyone can do what you are doing—you will receive average pay. However, if what you do is considered exceptional, you will ultimately receive exceptional rewards, like an annual pay raise, more clients, or promotions.
Is what you do and how you do it exceptional or average? It doesn’t matter if you are a janitor, an accountant, or a seamstress: become the exception, not the norm; someone will seek after your expertise, and then you can name your price.
3. Treat Your Discretionary Income Like a Business
Discretionary income is the amount of an individual’s money left at the end of the month for spending, investing, or saving—it’s the money that’s left after paying taxes and paying for personal necessities, such as food, shelter, and clothing. Therefore, your discretionary income is precious.
However, beware: every marketer, from retailers to car companies, has devised a plan to come after your discretionary income. My advice is to treat your discretionary income like a business. If there is not a Return on Investment for the expenditure, perhaps it may not be time to make the purchase.
For example, I only buy a new pair of shoes if I have a speaking engagement where there is an honorarium paid. The adage a mentor taught me is this: “If it doesn’t make dollars and cents, then it doesn’t make sense.”
4. Become Retirement Savvy
On average, women work nine years less than men yet they also live five to ten years longer. This means that the money women earn has to work longer, work harder, and be more financially savvy.
The first step to making money work for women is to make a budget that reflects precisely where they are in life right now, today. Open an individual retirement account (IRA) if your workplace doesn’t offer a 401(k) retirement plan.
This article was extracted from the premier issue of Thrive Magazine (Spring 2021). Learn how to get your copy of Thrive Magazine by visiting us here.