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Women: Negotiate Salary Strategically

A Fee-Only financial planner can help you manage the money you have and advise you on how to reach your financial goals. Depending on your relationship, a financial planner may offer advice on how to increase your funds. But it is unlikely that your financial planner will be present when you negotiate your salary, fees, or the selling price for a property. Women not only need to manage the money they have, they need to make certain that they are being paid fairly in work and in business  transactions. A financial planner can help you manage your money better and it helps if you have more to manage rather than less.

We previously discussed research on women and negotiating salary offers (Women and Negotiating: Is It Worth the Risk?) and found that the results of  that research were less than encouraging. These results did not conclude that women simply need to negotiate to earn more but rather that women need to be strategic when negotiating and remain aware that men and women may not feel comfortable with a woman who has the confidence to negotiate.

With that in mind, WAMU.org reported on a group that is Training 10 Million Women to Negotiate Higher Salaries—For Free  via an online course and workshops being held all over the country:

“The AAUW salary negotiation program is a free course available online. The idea stemmed from an AAUW study last year that found the average gender pay gap had improved slightly from 77 cents on the dollar to 80 cents. However, that number is still much greater for women of color. African American women are paid just 61 cents for every dollar made by a man. Latina women just 53 cents. AAUW officials say this adds up to women losing out on more than $500 billion in wages every year.”

There are also professionals who work with and coach individuals to help them with the salary negotiation process. Some work with anyone; while others, specialize in helping women.

 

Women’s History: Finance Columnist Sylvia Porter Hid Her Gender

Accounts of Sylvia Feldman Porter’s life often cite the fact that her widowed mother lost $30,000 in the 1929 stock market crash as the thing that lit the spark for her career as a financial columnist but that interest may have been piqued even earlier. Porter also watched her parents lose money selling Liberty Bonds at an inopportune moment, something she said many people did once World War I was over.

Sylvia Feldman’s mother was serious about her daughter getting a good education. After that  loss of $30,000, Sylvia wanted to know how that happened and switched her major from English/History to Economics. While her education may have increased in understanding, it did not guarantee her a job. Sylvia couldn’t find a job but did get an apprenticeship and took business courses.

When Porter started writing about government bonds and financial matters, one of her editors thought it would be amusing to have a women offer financial planning advice. But it was an inside joke: her reading public didn’t know she was a woman because Porter used her initials writing as S.F. Porter to hide her gender. She did this from 1934 to 1942. But in the 1940s, things had begun to change:

The Post realized that her gender was actually an asset so on July 15th, 1942, editors changed her byline to “Sylvia F. Porter” and further revealed her identity by adding her photograph to the column. It was a significant day for Porter, as she reflected in an interview for New Women in Social Science: “ On that day I became a woman.” (https://www.thevintagenews.com/2017/12/26/financial-guru-sylvia-porter/)

The revelation that S.F. Porter was actually a woman brought more requests for lectures and columns in other magazines and her professional renown continued to grow. 

Porter had a mission to make plain the jargon used in the finance sector so the American public could gain an understanding of financial issues and be willing to take charge of their financial lives.

Porter paved the way for today’s female financial columnists  who use their names, a picture, and often speak freely of their families.

Sources:

These Women Have Been Breaking Barriers in Business for 150 Years

In the 1930s, financial guru Sylvia Porter hid her female identity with the byline “S. F. Porter”

 

Women’s History: The Woman who Invented the Monopoly Game

Playing Monopoly may have been your first exposure to banking and property ownership. What you might not have known is that although a man got credit for its invention, the idea for Monopoly originally came from a woman.  According to biography.com, “[Lizzie] Magie created her game as a teaching tool for single tax theory, a popular political movement in her time led by Henry George.”

While a man named Charles Darrow took credit for a version of Monopoly that promotes the idea of getting all that you can, Magie’s original version, called The Landlord’s Game, was a teaching tool to turn people away from “…the big monopolists of her time—people like Andrew Carnegie and John D. Rockefeller.” (womenshistory.org).

Magie was also an inventor and one of the few women in her time to hold a patent.

Darrow learned the game and then sold a version he had learned from Quaker friends to Parker Bothers but he and the company spread the story that Darrow invented the game on his own. And for some this idea that one man came up with this all on his own is more appealing than the idea that a woman who was proud feminist and sparked a bit of controversy in her day was behind such a game.

Another man, Ralph Anspach, unearthed the game’s origins “ yet the Darrow myth persists as an inspirational parable of American innovation.”  Decades after Magie tried to use a game to protest against monopolies, Anspach found evidence of Magie’s game while gathering evidence for his own fight to promote an anti-Monopoly game.

Magie saw little profit from the game even when she tried to lay claim to it. She did hope that despite someone else altering and taking credit, her ideas would spread but “…the vast majority of commercial Monopoly players even then had little to no idea they were learning about single tax theory” (biography.com).

Sources with more information about Lizzie Magie and The Landlord’s Game:

6 Facts About Lizzie Magie: Monopoly’s Lost Female Inventor

Monopoly’s Lost Female Inventor

 

Women’s History Month: Retirement Planning Role Models

It is important for women to think about retirement planning once they reach adulthood (and before if possible). There are young women starting their own businesses and learning about investing long before they leave home to start their adult lives. However, don’t worry if you have given retirement little thought or if you have left that up to a spouse or relied on a family member because it is not too late to learn.

As Kiplinger.com points out, “ Nearly every woman will have sole responsibility for her finances at some stage in her life.”

If you are part of a couple, there is nothing wrong with uniting with a partner on retirement planning but keep in mind that for any number of reasons, you may need to take the reins on your own. And if you see yourself as perpetually single, you can’t predict that this won’t change and if it does, you will still need to protect yourself financially.

Last week, we discussed how one thing you can do to celebrate Women’s History Month is to look at the lives of women who are financial role models. You can learn from their examples even if you cannot implement everything they’ve done with their lives.

Tori Dunlap is a financial rockstar “ who has a full-time job and a side business, both in finance, was given financial literacy lessons from her parents from a young age. She wants to help women everywhere feel the same sense of empowerment her financial education gives her.” Dunlap started a business at the age of 9 and had her own checking and savings accounts a year later. MarketWatch profiled her in an article titled “This 24-year-old is on track to save $100,000 by age 25, and she has advice for other women who want to be rich.”

Dunlap is honest about her own privilege but advises against assuming you cannot do what others have done because of your background or debt. She says, Having a good financial education is a woman’s best form of protest.”

Celebrating Women’s History Month

Power often rests with the person who ‘holds the purse strings.’ Sometimes women have this power and sometimes they do not. Either way, women manage to persevere even when their access to opportunities and capital has been restricted. We’ll be looking at extraordinary women this month and discussing ways women can empower themselves and  exercise greater control over their financial futures. The theme for Women’s History Month this year is “Visionary Women: Champions of Peace and Nonviolence.

When we look at women who changed history, it is easy to think that what we do matters little but that is not true. The things you do within your own sphere of influence have a ripple effect and affect the world, whether you make headlines or not.  And when you consider how women have often been erased from history, you’ll know that they women untold numbers of women didn’t get get credited for their contributions to society but that doesn’t mean they didn’t have an impact.

Romper discusses things you can do to celebrate Women’s History Month. They rounded up  practical suggestions from Bustle and other places, including: “…writing a letter to a woman who has inspired you; watching speeches from this year’s Women’s March…learning more about an historical woman; donating to a women’s organization such as NOW; or buying menstrual supplies for a women’s shelter.”

Magnify Money offers a list of “31 Financial Role Models to Honor This Women’s History Month”  You can read up on the lives of these women yourself and possibly share this information with the young people in your life so they can see women working  and persevering in finance. Some of these women work in finance and others, such as Abigail Adams, found ways to excel without official job titles.

And remember, one of the best ways for a woman to secure her financial future is to plan for it. Financial planning can make a difference at all income levels.

Managing Your Money and Your Relationships

Kiplinger says “ Want to Protect Your Wealth? Then Manage Your Relationships,” noting that the way you relate to yourself and others can affect your financial outlook.

The very first person who may mismanage your money is…you. It helps to know your own habits and shortcomings and to be honest about them to maintain wealth. Otherwise, it is easy to fool yourself into thinking that you are a better money manager than you actually are. And if you think this advice is just about not overspending, think again: someone who is risk-averse may also jeopardize their financial future by refusing to invest and grow their money. So whether you spend too much or leave all your money under a mattress, you could benefit from the advice of a trusted Fee-Only financial planner.

The next category of relationships discussed in the article is personal and professional partnerships. Perhaps you automatically think about how costly divorce or the end of domestic partnership could be but have you considered what happens when business partners split:

“Marriages and business partnerships are just as important as the partnership you have with yourself. The rates of divorce and separation are higher than ever, reaching almost 50%. And business partnerships have an even worse track record, with an almost 70% failure rate.”

Obviously, you want to choose well when picking partners in life or in business but since things and people do change, you can consider what kind of legal agreement would work for you and not leave you financially bereft if a personal or professional partnership does not last.

The article concludes with discussing “the next generation” and what you can do to keep those relationships on track. One important step is to “ensure that your children are financially literate and trained in the responsibility of wealth.” This, plus investing time in your relationship with your children are things that you have control over. You can also do your best to keep sibling rivalry to a minimum as they grow and as you take on estate planning.

 

Galentine’s Day: Check in on Your Friends

The Wall Street Journal declared Nobody Likes Valentine’s Day Anymore.’ Retailers, Florists Cash In on ‘Galentine’s Day,’ a Ladies-Only Spin and if you are in a business that can profit from such a day, we hope you have already decided on and advertised your holiday specials. Galentine’s Day “officially” takes place on February 13 but as with unofficial things that spread by custom, some people will celebrate it on February 14 or any other day during the week of Valentine’s Day.

Whether or not you are able to profit from both Galentine’s Day and Valentine’s Day, we want to suggest that you use this as a time to check in with your friends and see how they are doing financially. Now we don’t suggest that you ask probing questions or embarrass anyone; we just know that when friends get together there may be a moment to bring up financial planning or estate planning. When you meet up for dinner, drinks, or brunch you can see how your friends are doing in this area of their lives, just as you would ask about other areas.

On the other hand, you may not even have to ask; your friends may drop hints. Discussing money can seem taboo or embarrassing. Many of us are hesitant to ask how our friends are doing financially and this is understandable. However, we also tend to ignore when our friends choose to talk about money. No matter what your friend says, be supportive. It can be valuable to listen and respond in a supportive way if a friend owns up to financial difficulties.

If you have done some estate planning or financial planning, there is nothing wrong with sharing that. You do not have to force anyone to do the same but mentioning it can give your friends some food for thought.

Finding the Motivation for Retirement Planning

A while back, we posted about a study which found that viewing an image of yourself as an older person can motivate you to save more for retirement and The Motley Fool recently discussed that same study with its readers noting that, “Present bias is the common human tendency to place more value in immediate rewards than in those that will come in the distant future.” That is what makes it so hard to save for retirement. Your present self may find it difficult to consider what your future self will need. If you think it will help, you can also find an app to age a photo of you so you appear older.

Or, as The Motley Fool advises, “If you’re looking for some more practical advice, then it would be wise to come up with, and frequently revisit, a detailed retirement plan that includes specific goals about how you plan to spend your end-of-life income and newfound leisure time.”

And thinking about all that you want to do once you retire can be a powerful motivator. Some people are motivated by the fear of not having enough. While that is a possibility, one way to keep yourself on track with retirement planning is to really consider how and where you want to live once your career is over. Every single detail of your retirement dreams may not fall in to place just the way you imagine but you will feel much better and work harder towards that end if you concentrate on what you want once your working life is over.

Sound retirement planning means that you will have the flexibility to make choices about your life and the wiggle room to change course if needed. Some of us are afraid to look at the numbers to see how what we have for retirement does or does not align with our retirement goals. But once you sit down with a Fee-Only financial planner and see those numbers, you can use your retirement goals as motivation to manage your money.

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