Let’s be honest with each other for a minute here, ladies: when was the last time you spoke to a close friend about money? Like, had a real conversation about your finances, the raise you’re hoping to get, or even how much money you make? I’ll bet you are drawing a blank. Growing up, many of us were taught that talking about money is impolite. However, times have changed, and talking with friends about money is no longer considered a faux pas. In fact, we should encourage it. We all need to change our way of thinking, and women specifically need to talk more about money with each other.
You Are Not Alone
One reason we women don’t talk about money is that we tend to develop an emotional connection to our income and the state of our finances. This is especially true if you have fallen on hard times or are having difficulty managing your money. We all have—or may even be—the friend who nervously laughs or quickly tries to change the subject when the topic is brought up. But it’s important to realize that the problem isn’t money itself, it’s how we view it. Ashley Feinstein, author and money coach at The Fiscal Femme, says:
“One of the reasons we feel so alone in our money struggles is that we don’t talk about them with even our closest friends and family, so we don’t realize that our best friend sitting across from us at dinner is going through something similar. One of the reasons we don’t talk about our money situations is that we often equate our self-worth with our net worth. Meaning, just because we aren’t doing well financially that somehow makes us less worthy as a person.”
Facing a financial problem head-on can be the best way to deal with it, but there’s no reason to go at it alone. Making money a safe topic of discussion among friends is key. To better understand our relationship with our finances, we need to talk about why financial discussions make us uncomfortable at times. As women, we often don’t think twice about picking up the phone to discuss relationship issues or chat about our medical problems with friends (which, incidentally, is one reason we live longer than men). There is no reason for us not to be open about money, too.
Say “No” and Earn More
Growing up, I was always taught to speak up for myself. It wasn’t until I got older that I realized not everyone received the same lesson. If you want something, ask for it—because no one is going to give it to you otherwise! And yet, women are less likely to ask for a raise compared to their male counterparts. Talking about money with other women helps to not only foster a healthy relationship with the subject, but it can also encourage us to ask for what we are worth. Within my work environment as a blogger, we are finding this to be true more and more often.
“I have found that the number of conversations about rates among influencers are on the rise. I have been tagged in Facebook and Instagram posts where creators are telling their negotiation stories and receiving two or three times the rate the brand originally offered them. These conversations are how we will achieve transparency in our industry and how everyone will be paid the rate they deserve.”
—Brittany Hennessy, Author, Influencer: Building Your Personal Brand in the Age of Social Media
I keep Brittany’s book right by my bed and refer to it often before I negotiate a deal. Experience has taught me that you must be ready to say no if you truly want to be successful and earn more money. Every deal is not meant to be closed; and if the other side is not able to accommodate what you need to work with them, you have to be ready to walk away. More often than not, this tactic leads to being offered more money. As women, we have to share our success stories so we can motivate others to do the same.
This Is Not a Competition—We All Win!
Not long ago, history taught us that women didn’t belong in the workplace. Those social norms are a thing of the past. Yet, for some strange reason, we still believe that in this ever-changing economy, there is room for only a few us to succeed. Some of the most successful women I admire, like Oprah and Michelle Obama, spend their time trying to uplift and motivate others. This should be the same in your community.
“I do think salary is one of the last taboo topics out there for women, but I think it’s really starting to change. Groups like Ladies Get Paid, Ellevest, and the Fiscal Femme really have been working to put this topic more squarely on the table. When I work with clients, I encourage salary transparency with their friends when applicable so everyone can move ahead. What I don’t think most people realize is that companies of course discourage this kind of sharing, but the only people that lose when this happens are the workers themselves! If you find out Sally makes more than you for the same job, you don’t get mad at Sally—you use it as information to [inform] how you’re going to get paid what you’re worth. It’s so a win-win, and once you shift that mindset from one of scarcity/embarrassment to abundance/empowerment, that’s when the real change—both on an individual and societal level—can occur.”
—Jill Ozovek, Founder, The Career Passport
The saying is true: “Rising tides lift all boats.” If we, as women, spend more time chatting about our financial situations, it only empowers us to make smarter money choices for ourselves and our family. Conversations are just the starting point. By becoming an active participant in the financial matters of your life, you lead yourself down roads you never knew were available. One of my favorite shirts says “Support Women Support The World.” I truly believe that if we support each other in matters of money, our success will have no limits.