Underearning is a particularly insidious difficulty for women. As I began my journey with money I wanted to teach women because I felt especially proud of building my business, living within my income and learning to invest. Little did I realize until I began to read the literature that I was an underearner. Over the years I had often been soft on setting my fees, billing for missed appointments and late cancellations. I just really did not like the face to face discussions and possible confrontations over money issues.Not until I joined a group of other professionals did I make a serious committment to addressing these issues and they were not easy. One thing that spurred me on was the ability of the men in the group to handle these issues without discomfort and beginning to see the gender variables involved.
Why do women underearn? For many complicated reasons, including caretaking responsibilities and role divisions in the family. However a primary reason is because we are hesitant to ask for the money, afraid to go against the taboos of money talk and making others (as well as ourselves) uncomfortable. I began to realize that for a woman who thought she was money wise I had a long way to go….and then I realized that my southern female training was so entrenched I could be working on this for the rest of my life. I now strive to be matter of fact in my business dealings and to talk openly about the money issues and the feelings they engender. When we do this, there is an increase in the amount of knowledge we have about each other , a new level of understanding and comfort that is reached, knowing that we can talk well about this difficult topic.