Last week Jordan and I were thrilled to welcome little Henry Ellis into our family. He’s our first child and well, let’s just say I had no idea what to expect.
These last 10 days have been a whirlwind and after an extended stay in a hospital room that costs more than any hotel I’ve ever stayed in as well as a lot of 2 AM Amazon orders, one thing is incredibly clear:
Even with all the prepping and planning, this little guy is going to be expensive.
Don’t get me wrong, he’s absolutely worth every penny and more. He’s the best. But as we recognize equal pay day today, on April 10th, I can’t help but get more frustrated than usual with the pay gap. We all know women are paid less, but sometimes those stats feel so removed from our day to day life.
If you haven’t already seen the stats, here’s a quick snapshot:
- Women are paid, on average, 20% less than men (but when you break it down by ethnicity, the numbers are even worse)
- The pay gap exists at all levels of education
- Even if you factor in job type, education, and experience, 33% of the gender wage gap can’t be explained
And this adds up. A $7,000 salary difference early on can add up to over $1 million in lost earnings over a career.
But stats are just that: a collection of data points.
How does it really affect you?
As I sit here thinking about how to create a financially secure future for our little guy, the pay gap feels more personal.
I wasn’t always great at negotiating – it was a skill that I had to learn and to be honest, it made me super uncomfortable at first. Now that I’m self-employed there are moments that I still struggle to charge what I should. But as I look at this little guy I know that pitching for bigger jobs and upping my rates won’t just benefit me, it’ll benefit his future as well.
Women graduating business school negotiated for, on average, 7% less pay than their male classmates. That’s so much better than the average pay gap where women earn 80% of what men make, but it’s still significant.
I did a little math and to me (for him) that 7% pay gap represents:
- Fully funding his 529 plan for the year, or
- Sending him to the nice nursery school down the road, or
- Flying all of his grandparents out to London every year for a visit
You don’t have to have a child to put the pay gap into perspective. Imagine losing 20% of your income tomorrow. What would you do? What life changes would you have to make?
These changes could affect the groceries you can buy. Or it can be about the house you live in, the vacations you take, the debt you need to pay off, the future that you want to have.
Whatever means the most to you, use that, and rather than just listening to the statistics, make the pay gap, personal.
How much are you being underpaid? And what does that mean to you?
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