On April 20th, the Women’s Foundation of Greater St. Louis hosted part one the three-part series “Women Ri$ing.” This three-part webinar series aims to explore the unique financial journeys of women, where we started by taking a close look at the ways life and finances intersect. For part one of this webinar series, we were joined by Natalea Simmons Beaudean, the Managing Director and Wealth Management Advisor with the Simmons Group of Merrill Lynch.

Natalea presented about how the wage gap accumulates over a course of a woman’s lifetime and ways women can make sure they are well positioned for success. The average wage gap of all women within the United States is 82 cents for every $1 earned by all men. Within Missouri, it is even less:

·       77 cents per dollar for white women

·       68 cents per dollar for Black women

·       64.3 cents for Native women

·       61 cents per dollar for Hispanic or Latina women

This wage gap makes financial success extremely hard for women. Natalea shared that the gender wage gap leads to a lifetime earnings shortfall of more than $300,000. She also shared that single women’s average net worth is 3x less than a single man’s due to lack of investments. Natalea also shared that:

“In addition, motherhood has a few other costs that sometimes can be hidden. Women lose economic ground when taking off time from their careers to raise their children and can even care for family members. Women end up cutting back their hours or declining promotions and altering their earnings power and retirement income. So, with this in mind, putting away more money early can help close the wealth gap. Consider using tax advantage accounts… 401k, or even an education 529 account which can help you balance your retirement and college savings goals.”

Natalea’s presentation was then concluded by a discussion of how employers can further support the economic advancement of women through best practices and policies by Keri Koehler, the Executive Director of the Women’s Foundation of Greater St. Louis. Recommendations for employers can be found within the Women’s Foundation’s 2020 Scorecard Community Report here.

Other financial advice from Natalea:

·       Tips for salary negotiation

  • Plan the discussion ahead of time

    • Identify your strengths, present your weaknesses as opportunities, and highlight other beneficial opportunities

  • Tell your managers what you have accomplished

  • Ask what is and is not negotiable, and for more growth opportunities

  • Don’t worry about bragging – this is your time to highlight your amazing work!

  • Search for mentors and advocates

    • Your mentors are there to support your professional growth and your advocates are there to share your accomplishments with others

  • Don’t take rejection personally

    • Use the opportunity to learn and perfect your salary negotiation ask

·       Find a position that matches your needs

  • Identify if a higher salary with less benefits or a lower salary with more benefits works better you

  • Decide if an in person, hybrid, or fully remote position better fits your needs

·       Talk with your partner about money management and assets to avoid future stress

·       Find benefits or other supports to help keep you on the career path longer

Want to hear more financial tips and tricks from Natalea? Watch the recording of part one here. Also – be sure to save the date for Thursday, July 15th at noon for part two of Women Ri$ing: Financial Journey! In part two we will discuss saving and investing tactics to support your future.