Money is power—women need more of it

Money is power—women need more of it

Sallie Krawcheck, once known as the most powerful woman on Wall Street, left a sparkling career as the head of wealth at Bank of America to work on the advancement of professional women. She did this first through her professional development network Ellevate, but soon pivoted her attention to focus squarely on women and money. Today she serves as co-founder of Ellevest, an online investment platform for women.

For anyone interested in women’s advancement, paying attention to where luminaries such as Krawcheck choose to bet the farm is useful. In multiple interviews, Krawcheck has suggested that money is a major source of power and influence—and that women have far too little of it.

Studies published by the World Economic Forum back her up, calculating that it will take 170 years to close the global gender wage gap. Meanwhile, women retire with roughly two-thirds the money men do. In the years after divorce, men’s incomes drop by six per cent, women’s by a whopping 30 per cent.

Women are starting businesses faster than ever before, but according to research published in the Harvard Business Review, the majority of new women entrepreneurs do not replace their corporate income. And anecdotal evidence from financial planners suggests that while women are often the managers of day-to-day spending, many continue to leave larger wealth-focused decisions up to the men in their lives. Do these questions matter if you are making more money and creating the headspace to serve your clients well and buy back precious time? Not really.

It’s this burden of evidence that has prompted Krawcheck to suggest investment education is the best professional development that women still aren’t getting. Many women (and presumably men, also) make mistakes when it comes to pricing and earning. Here are four strategies to help you earn and grow your money— so you can leverage it later.

Raise your prices: this is the quickest and easiest way to boost your earnings. And unlike other types of changes inside your business, which can require big investments of time or energy, raising your prices is a “stroke of the pen” change that can be accomplished in moments. Yes, raising your pricing structure 10 to 30 per cent may cost you some existing clients. Will you close as many new clients? Perhaps not. Do these questions matter if you are making more money and creating the headspace to serve your clients well and buy back precious time? Not really.

Beware of what the “market will bear”: Atlantic Canadians often have strong opinions about what our “market will bear.” In some instances, these opinions are based on hard evidence but often they are rooted in the individual’s own money mindset (see below). A wise, wealthy and successful mentor—this is a woman who contributes hundreds of thousands of dollars to charities each year—told me once that “what the market will bear” is the minimum a person should charge. Set it as your pricing floor.

Fix your money mindset: Yes, maybe you read Gabrielle Bernstein’s The Universe Has Your Back. Your bookshelves are lined with the words of Wayne Dyer. But if talking about or asking for money makes you uncomfortable, survey says your money mindset requires some expansion.

Change your target market: Whether or not your ideal client has the money to pay you what you are worth can make or break your business. One simple way to increase your earnings is to reposition your marketing to focus squarely on clients who can easily afford to hire you.

Like it or not, money continues to be the heart of influence and power in our culture. Embracing money— making it, growing it and leveraging it, is one of the most important steps a woman can take to empower herself and close the gender wealth gap.

Eleanor Beaton
About Eleanor Beaton

Eleanor Beaton is a writer and consultant who has helped some of Canada's most successful women entrepreneurs build influence and make an impact through courageous and unforgettable storytelling.

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