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Level Up: 5 actionable ways women can financially empower themselves

In recent years, women have been making serious strides in their careers, at home, and on social and cultural issues. Yet, data shows that women still face significant challenges when it comes to one aspect: money. Most notably, women tend to earn less for the same jobs as their male counterparts. For example, a recent Pew Research Centre study showed that women earned 84% of what men earned in the US in 2020. Women are also more reluctant to generate higher investment returns given the higher implied risk.   

In this article, we share some actionable tips women can use to financially advocate for themselves – both in work and in life. 

1. Advocate for yourself  

It can feel uncomfortable initially to claim credit or vouch for your skills, but remember that there’s no shame in promoting yourself. You’ve got so much to share, and there’s a reason for that. Rather than living in the shadows, look for opportunities where you can present your ideas or values and be bold in doing so. Making your voice heard is vital not just professionally, but personally as well. Trust us, just like with any habit, it’ll get easier over time!   

2. Negotiate without fear 

Women continue to be underpaid for the same amount of work when compared to their male counterparts. Often, there’s a fear that exists in asking for raises – but if you don’t ask, you’ll never know! Do your research beforehand. There are countless sites that can help you figure out what others in your position are being paid, and this can serve as a good baseline for a conversation with your manager. Don’t fear negotiating your compensation package if you don’t feel it represents what you bring to the company.  

3. Boost your financial confidence 

It’s been proven that women tend to underestimate themselves and their capabilities. According to a survey by Fidelity, only 4 in 10 women were confident in their investing knowledge – although they consistently outperformed their male counterparts, earning 0.4% higher in investment returns. You might be under the impression that finance know-how is something you’re born with but that is not true. We all start from somewhere–to build your confidence seek out beginner-level investing content from books, podcasts or finance blogs. The more you know, the more confident you’ll be! 

Also read: 4 super simple ways to start investing

4. Set boundaries

Studies show that women take on the bulk of responsibility in both the workplace and at home. Not only are they paid less, but this invisible “emotional labour” is also often uncompensated and not recognised, whether that’s taking on a heavier workload in the office or overseeing the household chores and finances. Many women may have to continue with chores at home even when they return from working at the office. These hidden costs can take a toll on our mental health and even our career. 

If you have a family, why not try delegating chores or sharing the responsibilities equitably with your better half? Similarly, on the professional front, make sure to set boundaries with colleagues as well as those in management early on to prevent any misaligned expectations later on. By saying no to one thing, you’re able to free up time for other activities and prioritise the work you’re compensated for. 

Also read: What is a “money date” and why you should have one with your partner

5. Create a support system 

They say you are who you spend your time with. It’s been shown that individuals who have a strong support network perform better personally and professionally. Don’t just look for support from those who are in the same industry; after all, support can come from all backgrounds and forms. The most crucial thing is being able to confide and trust that these individuals will speak truth into your life – even when it may hurt. Not sure where to look? Think about a female networking or investors club! Positive support systems can also boost one’s confidence – which helps at the office and with investing.  

Closing the financial confidence gap

While the world of finances and investing can be made to seem complex, anyone brand-new to investing can get started with an education-first approach. The first step is always the hardest, but we encourage you to get started anyway!
This month, keep your eyes peeled for the launch of Autumn Hub, our in-app depository of financial content spanning topics across personal finance, investing and much more. Whether you’re a visual learner or new in your financial journey, sink your teeth into our curated selection bite-sized articles and short videos.
Remember, while it can be tempting to compare yourself to those around you (online and offline), you’re a unique individual – so move at a pace you’re comfortable at. For instance, if taking a conservative approach to investing is all you feel confident doing – that’s perfectly fine! Think about the power of compounding and how important it is to have stable emotions when investing. hose play just as big a role. Be willing to accept fluctuations (they’re inevitable!) and focus on the long rather than the short term. Every step forward, as small as it may seem, is better than no step at all!
Enjoyed this article? Find more useful tips on money, health and life on the Autumn blog, and watch this space for more stories. 

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