Outside of sensitive topics, like, say, COVID-19, many people choose not to talk about their finances with others. In fact, some see it as completely unnecessary. Why share your salary if you’re the only one earning it, especially if you feel like it’s a fair number? Fair enough. Still, that simple rationale may not be as straightforward as it seems; especially since unequal pay persists in the workplace.
In a recent chat with marketing guru, “accidental entrepreneur,” and Cubicle to CEO podcast founder (and former BlogHer speaker) Ellen Yin, we dug more into the mindsets behind finance secrecy, and how we can open up to reap the mental and monetary benefits.
Read on for her expert insights.
What are the benefits of sharing your finances, even if you’re someone who thinks they aren’t underpaid?
There is always room to grow when it comes to raising your financial IQ, because you don’t know what you don’t know. Sharing your finances means engaging others in conversation, and hearing other perspectives on money may open your mind to new questions you didn’t even think to ask before.
For example, if the only questions you’ve previously been exposed to are centered on wages (e.g. “How do I ask for a raise?” or “How do I negotiate higher rates with my clients?”) and you don’t think you’re underpaid, you may not realize the questions you actually should be asking for your situation are “Am I using my money to purchase assets that will make me more money?,” “How do I manage risk?,” or “How do I buy back more of my time with my money?”
What are some of the mindsets we inhabit as young women that influence our secrecy around finances as adults?
There are so many harmful things we learn about money in childhood that stick with us through adulthood unless we actively identify and work through these blocks. If money was tight for your family, for example, there may be shame or a scarcity mindset that you adopted that makes you feel uncomfortable with finances. Or maybe you heard your parents or people around you talk about earning money as “greedy” and the “root of evil,” so you learn to disassociate from it because you fear being perceived that way.
Overall, money is usually perceived as a taboo topic that is “wrong” to talk about, but ignorance is not bliss. I believe understanding your finances, not attaching your self-worth or identity to it, and learning how to leverage money as a tool to create more freedom and choices in your life are not only nice but necessary.
What are some easy ways to bring up finances in a conversation with friends?
Lead by example. If you normalize talking about money and show your friends it’s no big deal, your transparency will create a safe space for others to jump into the conversation. I think the key is not to have an agenda going in, but rather to organically share how money is impacting your life – for the good and bad. Share what you’re learning (“Hey, I heard an interesting stat on a podcast about…”) ask for advice (“What investments have you made recently that you’d recommend I take a look at too?”), and celebrate your money wins (“I just landed a new client for $X” or “My boss approved my hourly increase to $X dollars!”).
How have you personally benefited from being so open about your finances?
For three years now, I have publicly disclosed through both written reports and now quarterly episodes on my Cubicle to CEO Podcast exactly how much income my business makes, our profits, and expenses. I believe that transparency is key to leading the way for others to succeed and elevating women to continue smashing the glass ceiling. When women candidly discuss their finances with one another, we all become more informed and empowered to ask for higher rates and negotiate confidently.
To help normalize these conversations and break the money taboo, Iʼve candidly shared my own journey to bootstrapping my business to over 1 million dollars in lifetime revenue as a female founder and woman of color. I read a report in Forbes that only 2% of female founders ever break the 1 million revenue mark, so I believe it is my responsibility to share what I’ve learned so that other women know it’s possible for them too and how they can do it too. The encouraging feedback I’ve received from women all over the world who have been inspired to reach for more because they listened to an income report on my podcast makes all of my efforts worthwhile.
Can you share some helpful resources that women can consult to improve their relationship to money?
Reading has taught me SO much about money! I don’t agree with every single thing that every author teaches, but I always come away with something valuable that I can either try (or eliminate) from my current financial habits to improve my relationship with money!
Some of the books I suggest you start with include:
- We Should All Be Millionaires by Rachel Rodgers
- You Are a Badass At Making Money by Jen Sincero
- Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey
- Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki
- Set for Life by Scott Trench
- The Richest Man in Babylon by George Samuel Clason
- Happy Pocket Full of Money by David Cameron Gikandi
And of course, you can catch up on all my quarterly income reports on my podcast here.
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