Under-earning means getting less income than you need. And what you need are the basics -- enough money for food, shelter and clothing of decent quality on a regular basis. Sounds simple, but the fact is, under-earning is far from uncommon among women.
Often, there is no legitimate reason for the women to be earning less than they should. Jerry Mundis, author of Earn What You Deserve, has a great phrase for under-earning. He calls it a "self-created lack," which means it's something you can change.
The hardest part of changing is often just acknowledging the problem. To get a better sense of what it means to be an under-earner, determine how many of the following characteristics apply to you and your financial situation:
- You have no savings to speak of. One big emergency -- a medical crisis, loss of a job -- and you're in trouble.
- You have few assets (property you could easily sell for cash).
- You are often short of cash and have to scramble to find work.
- You feel as if life is one big emergency.
- Something always seems to happen that requires money you don't have.
- You feel stressed out and worried about money all the time.
- You do a lot of unpaid work.
- You give or lend money to others even if it means falling behind on your own bills.
- You have only a vague idea of what your expenses are.
- You generally feel that money is bad.
- You are proud of your skill at getting by with little money.
- You think your occupation prevents you from earning a good salary.
If several of those points describe you, you need to change your ideas about money. Try imagining what it would mean to not be an under-earner. Simply put, that means imagining having regular paychecks that provide the money you need to meet your needs. It means being free of constant stress about money. It also means, one day at a time, not sabotaging your ability to earn what is necessary for you to have a balanced life.
There is no sense taking blame for the situation. Put your energy into changing it. For many of us, the first step is getting paid the salary we deserve.