As a woman, what are you worth? That may sound like a trick question, but it's not -- it's a revealing one.
Few women would respond with a numerical calculation equal to their net worth. Instead, they might describe their roles as wife, mother, daughter, friend, relative, employee, community volunteer; or they might list accomplishments, achievements, who and what they're responsible for.
Most men would respond with a number that describes net worth. They'd know it off the top of their heads.
This difference is at the heart of the 'women and money' issue.
It's often said that women don't earn as much as men is because we don't handle salary negotiations well; we're not as forceful in conveying our skills, experience, and worth to our employer. Whether that's true or not is debatable.
What is true is that many women share a reluctance to pin a number on self-worth. And without knowing our self-worth, financially speaking, how can we expect to increase that wealth through savings and investments and build a secure future?
These same thoughts came to Amanda Steinberg. A contributor to ForbesWomen.com, she decided to start a personal finance website for smart, ambitious, working women -- one that would make complex financial concepts simple and provide women key insights into building real net worth. With the editorial assistance of MP Dunleavey, former New York Times "Cost of Living" columnist and the creator of MSN Money's†"Women in Red" personal finance series, Steinberg launched DailyWorth.com.
Sign up for DailyWorth (it's free) and you'll get a daily email on personal finance for women with practical tips that focus on self worth, net worth, saving, spending, earning, investing, taxes, entrepreneurship, and more. And you'll get access to an anonymous discussion forum where you can be honest and open with questions and anecdotes about the financial challenges facing you.
If you're reading this thinking "Great idea!" but a little too much for you (i.e. if your bills are paid at the end of the month, it's a good month), think again. Steinberg 'gets' the financial dilemmas women often find themselves in, and in an email launching DailyWorth.com last year, she explains who it's for:
I've designed this website for my friends and myself....Take my friend Maxine (name changed to protect privacy). She's 2nd in command of a major non-profit in San Francisco, traveling the country giving lectures -- and she can hardly pay her rent. And then there's Sarah. She's a marketing strategist in NYC, afraid to send her clients invoices because she wonders if what she delivers is worth the payment (smack!). You get the point.
We've got issues, and they're psychological, deeply rooted in our consensus-building, care-taking, entitled to buy what we want (but can't always afford) minds. DailyWorth addresses the psychology of our self-worth....Our aim is to replace negative, defeatist thoughts with positive, empowering ones.
There isn't a woman on the face of this planet who can't do without "positive, empowering" thoughts regarding self-worth. Steinberg even uses the phrase "financial feminism" and it's an apt one. Women cannot achieve complete gender parity in the workplace unless we know our worth, take control of our spending and debt, and set personal finance goals. A future of independence is a future of financial security.
Now, with all this in mind, let me ask you again. "What are you worth?"