I’m back with more questions that I’m commonly asked, and the pithy answers I provided. Let me know if you disagree (or agree) with any of my responses.
1. How does a person, like myself, who is inexperienced with negotiating, learn how to do it successfully?
I’ll tell you how I’ve learned to be a better negotiator: by 1) taking classes, 2) reading books, 3) talking to people who are good at it; 4) learning from my mistakes. If I have to choose the one that’s been the most powerful, it’s #4.
2. I have a lot of external constraints—3 children and an active family lifethat prevent me from achieving my full professional potential. What can I do?
Your external conditions are not actual constraints. They’re excuses…pure and simple. I talk to too many women, with those same constraints, who are succeeding magnificently. And then there are others who don’t have kids or a family, yet have all kinds of other “constraints” as reasons for not acting. More often than not, we use those “constraints” as justifications, so we don’t have to do what we’re scared to do.
3. How can I most effectively teach my children about personal finance?
Whenever anyone asks me ‘how can I get my kids to be smart about money?’ my answer is always the same. Start by getting smart yourself. When it comes to children, you teach best what you model most. Also, I suggest talking openly and consistently (without preaching) to them about money. Include your kids in conversations about the family budget, paying bills, investing, saving for college, the danger of credit cards, etc. Managing money was, and still is, a very common topic of conversation around our dinner table.
4. I am a 50-year-old chronic underearner in a dead-end job with no advancement path. Is there any hope for me?
I was in my 50’s when I finally overcame underearning. And I’ve interviewed women who didn’t start making good money until their 60’s or 70’s. Overcoming underearning has nothing to do with age, lack of education or credentials…or anything else we think we need to make the big bucks. The only requirement necessary is the willingness to do what you fear, including thinking bigger, valuing yourself, and going outside your comfort zone (which may mean finding a new job)
5. Discussing money can be seen as crass, rude, or inappropriate. Until this changes, how can I find support, like you suggest?
I’ll tell you how I found support. I went to networking events, joined professional groups, attended financial conferences…anywhere I could find people who were like I wanted to become. I’d talk to them openly about money. It wasn’t crass. I didn’t ask how much they made, but I’d pick their brain and find out how they got smart. You’d be surprised how people will respond when you’re authentic and sincere about learning more.

So, do you agree or disagree? I’d love to hear your thoughts.