I recently wrote an article about a holistic concept of net worth, and in the book Women’s Worth: Finding Your Financial Confidence, author and certified financial planner Eleanor Blayney devotes a complete (excellent) chapter on human capital. She states: “Our most valuable asset … is our ability to turn our intelligence, education, skills, and experience into income through work.” She goes on to point out that significant wealth is seldom the result of investments in stocks, bonds, and other traditional assets. Rather, our human capital is the path to wealth building.
Blayney shares an illuminating worksheet that calculates the lifetime value of your earnings and shows how things such as asking for a raise, leaving the workforce for three years to parent full-time, or getting retraining impacts the value of human capital over time.
She asserts that “the value of your earnings are every bit as important to grow and manage as your investment accounts.” One way to do this to this is to obtain and sustain a competitive standing in the job market. Blayney shares, “Studies have shown, for example, that a college education can increase lifetime earnings by as much as $1 million.”
However vital keeping yourself retooled is, it is trumped by an even more important piece of the equation: asking for more. Blayney points out that this is something that men are much more comfortable with. The current wage gap means women earn seventy-seven cents for every dollar earned by men in the same job. This may not seem like much, but to put it in perspective, for female college graduates this will result $1.2 million dollars less in earnings over their working life then their male counterparts!
So far, this is my favorite sentence in the book—and may even be one of the most powerful statements I’ve read my whole life:
“I can state with certainty that the investment of time and money spent on improving [negotiation] skills can make women wealthy in a way that simply becoming savvier about investing cannot.”
I hope this is music to some of your ears, because I know how much you ladies dread comprehending your financial portfolios. Now, I’m in no way saying ignore learning about your investments, but it seems to me that there is something super efficient about using negotiation skills to up-level one’s income. Blayney attests that it is the biggest bang-for-your-buck ROI. And negotiating skills can be leveraged in every area of our lives, not simply in our boss’s or client’s office. Think about how beneficial those skills could be in getting your partner to take out the garbage or accompanying you to that chick flick you’re dying to see!
So, ladies, be on the lookout for more information about developing successful negotiation skills because I’m seeing how important this is to rocking your money mojo—and we are going to be on it!
Financially Smitten Call to Action for You Today:
I’d like you to pull out your money journal and write about your response to this article. What images, words, and feelings come to mind when you think about “asking for more” and/or negotiating? These are not typically feminine qualities, so I imagine there may be some conflict arising.