When it comes to women and money, data suggests that women are farther behind on their money journey than their male counterparts when it comes to aspects like income, net worth and even retirement readiness. One of the root causes of this disparity is the gender wage gap.
According to Payscale, a career advice site, women still earn only 79 cents for every dollar their male counterparts make. They also report that there is an opportunity gap — meaning there are also structural barriers keeping women from advancing in the workplace.
Though there will need to be a major systemic overhaul to level the playing field for women in the workplace in regards to compensation, there’s a way that women can take the matter into their own hands. Here are some ways to minimize or even eliminate the effects of the gender wage gap in your life.
Ask for a raise
Don’t forgo money that could be due to you. Ask for a raise — especially if you deserve it! Asking for a raise is probably the lowest hanging fruit to reach for when it comes to increasing your income.
A survey by Payscale revealed that only 43% of survey respondents asked for a raise. That means that potentially 57% of employees are leaving money on the table. Don’t let that be you!
When the extra money comes in, make sure you don’t increase your lifestyle. Plan to save and invest that money so that your money can work on your behalf to reduce the effects of the gender wage gap.
Start a Side Hustle
If you can’t squeeze any more income out of your current employer, it might be time to take matters into your own hands. Starting a side hustle could mean extra money that can go towards paying down debt, saving or investing — things that can all ultimately reduce or totally eliminate the effect of the gender wage gap in almost any woman’s life!
Begin investing ASAP
With investing, time equals money, so the earlier you start, the better. Instead of putting your fate totally into the hands of your employer or annual income, let your saved money do the heavy lifting.
The beauty of compound interest is that it works while you are eating, sleeping, working or even having fun. Your money can multiply over time but the key is that you have to invest it in assets that appreciate. Stocks, bonds, mutual funds, real estate, and even businesses all qualify as investments that can grow over time and bring in passive income.
Reduce your expenses
A penny saved is a penny earned, right? Look at your discretionary spending and find things you can either reduce or eliminate.
You might explore house hacking, couponing or even working out at home instead of going to the gym. There are many creative ways to save money and reduce your expenses. The more you can cut back on your spending, the more you can save or invest.
Network and help other women
People say that women can be catty and competitive in the workplace. Instead of falling into that stereotype, make an attempt to network with your peers and colleagues. Some of the best opportunities come from people you know — new jobs, contract work, and even business relationships can blossom from networking.
Opportunities can mean more money which can mean more savings and investing. This could lead to the total elimination of the effects of the gender wage in your life. So network away!
Sure, some systemic, structural changes may be in the works and they could very well be the start of a real solution to the gender wage gap. However, while you’re waiting for that to come down the pipeline, do what you can so that you’ve got a head start on your personal journey to earning, saving and investing more. At the end of the day, you might have to take matters into your own hands when it comes to eliminating the effects of the gender wage gap in your life.
Aja McClanahan is a writer that covers personal finance and entrepreneurship. She blogs regularly at www.principlesofincrease.com and works as a freelance writer. Aja has written for numerous web outlets including CreditKarma, CreditCards.com, LendingTree, Discover Bank and more.