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Join me in the inspiring tale of a woman (I’ll call her Jane) who discovered the stunning power of women joining with other women to take their financial lives higher.

I’ve never met Jane.  But recently, she emailed me to say a good friend started an Overcoming Underearning® Book Club, and she became a member.  Five women meet monthly, at 7:30am for “OU Power Breakfasts.” The group reads one financial book a month.  I am proud to report the first was mine — Overcoming Underearning®.  Next was On My Own Two Feet: A Modern Girl’s Guide to Personal Finance by Manisha Thakor and Sharon Kedar.

Here’s how the club works:  “We have assignments for our breakfasts, like writing our Contracts with Ourselves and our Wish Lists to share with the group.  We also share our successes in the group in person and via email.  We often include some variation of  “underearning is no longer an option!”  in emails!

“I feel AMAZING afterwards.  It gives me such a boost throughout the day, knowing that I had done something really great for myself and spent time with supportive, uplifting, inspiring friends before going to work.”
But the group gave Jane more than good feelings.  It gave her guts.

“I have a job where I’ve done several extra assignments over the past few years,” she explained, “but have never gotten paid extra for them. I was initially told there was no extra compensation for them and I never asked again.  I was happy for the exposure.”

After she turned in her latest extra assignment, however, her supervisor asked Jane to do more revisions.  The request followed her first book club.  Bolstered by the Power Breakfast, she refused to do more because she wasn’t getting compensated.

Guess what happened?

“My supervisor then said, ‘We can compensate you!’ and within a week all the email approvals had been done to process me getting paid.”

Like most people, she had just assumed a bad economy precluded any extra pay.

“In this climate of cost-cutting I initially did not think that this was going to be possible, but once I verbalized it I realized how much work I had done and that I deserved to get paid, and felt confident that I would. This was a turning point for me in terms of now getting compensated separately for the extra work I do within my company, outside of the responsibilities of my job.”

But the story doesn’t end there.  Her credit card debt, once $10,000,  “is now under $1,000 and I am very close to paying it off altogether, and when I do I’m going to have a party – I will invite you and if you’re in New York I would love to have you there!”

I’d love to come. There’s nothing more inspiring than being around women empowering other women.  If you’ve had any successes with similar groups, I’d love to hear about them!!!

Barbara Stanny

The leading authority on women & money
barbara@barbarastanny.com
www.barbarastanny.com

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A lot of women in my workshops tell me they feel guilty about wanting to make more money, as if a profit motive were something shameful. I understand their conflict. I used to struggle with it myself. But that was before I wrote my book, Secrets of Six-figure Women.

Stone archI always asked every woman I interviewed this question: Are you doing what you’re doing for the money? With rare exceptions, every one swore that it wasn’t the money that motivated her success. It was what the money represented, something much deeper, more personal, and very individual. These women were driven more by what they hoped to achieve rather than what they aspired to earn. Each one had a vision for her life based on cherished values like recognition, independence, security, or achievement. These intangible goals rather than hard cash provided the fuel for their financial success.

However, there was an important distinction that made a big impact on me. Granted, these women weren’t in it for the money. But at the same time—this is the key—they darn well wanted to be well compensated because they felt they were worth it. Their financial success didn’t come from the love of money, but love of self…and the value they placed on what they offered.

I have come to see that achieving self love, self worth, self respect are the real secrets to financial success, much more so than working longer hours or seeking multiple streams of income. Would you agree?

Quick, answer this question with the first number that comes to mind:

CoinsCoinsCoinsHow much money do you think you need to feel rich?

Of course, you may argue, there’s more to being rich than having money—there’s love, health, freedom, etc. All true. But for the purpose of this blog, and in the spirit of research, let’s stick with the original question that recently appeared in The Wall Street Journal: How much money does it take to be rich?

According to the article—which was excerpted from Robert Frank’s blog, The Wealth Report—no one can seem to agree about the amount of money that makes you rich.

According to the Federal Reserve, you’re in the top 5% of Americans if you have a networth of $1.4 million. But when Spectrem Group asked affluent people that question, only 22% said $1 million makes you rich. The majority (45%) said it took at least $5 million to qualify. A quarter of the respondents swore that you need a minimum of $25 million. A few (8%) even put the winning number at $100 million. Still, other studies have shown that people “always give a number that is twice their current networth or income. Those with $100,000 in income say $200,000, while those worth $5 million say $10 million.”

I thought about what I’d say, and realized the term “rich” is so relative, it’d be impossible to come up with a universally accepted number. The best definition I’ve ever seen for “rich” was the one I used in my first book, Prince Charming Isn’t Coming. I forget who said it, but it goes like this: “rich is when you work because you want to, not because you have to.”

That makes a lot of sense to me. Anyone have a better definition than that??

I’ve been writing books about women and money for over a decade. But it’s only in the past few years that I’ve witnessed a growing trend. Women are coming together for the sole purpose of financial education. And not just in formal investment clubs. Women are forming money book clubs or simply study groups on the subject. They are gathering in person, or through the internet. ( Wife.org offers fantastic money groups).

HandsThis phenomenon sends me right back to the early 70”s when, sparked by Betty Friedan’s book “The Feminine Mystique,” consciousness raising groups began sprouting up. For the first time, women were sharing more than tips on how to catch a man or raise a child. We began searching for meaning and purpose outside the proscribed roles of mother and wife. Those tiny gatherings around kitchen tables sparked perhaps the most dramatic social change in history: the feminist revolution.

But you know what the feminists forgot? Money. Today women make up half the workplace, but financially many of us are still in the dark ages.

I am thrilled with this new dimension of consciousness raising. Women finally understand they need to be financially savvy. And we’re figuring out fast that learning in groups is especially powerful. Women by nature are relationship oriented. We learn best from each other. Combining girl-talk with financial-speak greatly decreases intimidation levels and ups the fun factor exponentially. The result: a growing cadre of economically independent women are reclaiming their power, taking charge of their lives, and having a great time in the process.

In case you missed it, a study group guide is included in the paperback edition of Secrets of Six-Figure Women. I’ve gotten a lot of good feedback from women who have followed it.

Have you joined (or started) a money group? I’d love to hear about your experience.

I am delighted you’re here. I’ll be sharing my experiences as I travel the country presenting my workshops and many of the fascinating stories that come from meeting wonderful women. I’ll also tell you about any new articles, helpful resources or other blog entries that I think you’d find interesting. My blog is meant to be a place for you to find support, inspiration and guidance in your financial journey.

Most of all, I hope to hear from you.

You can always find more information on my books and workshops on my web site at http://www.barbarastanny.com.

Sincerely,

Barbara Stanny