Women & Money: Tips for Financial Empowerment

Savvy money management skills are a necessity to weather these tough economic times. BlackEnterprise.com has got you covered with our supplement to the magazine’s three-part “Women & Money” series.

Over the next two weeks, we’ll have money management tips and strategies from Harrine Freeman, CEO and owner of H.E. Freeman Enterprises, a credit counseling service.

BlackEnterprise.com: How can women begin to maximize their salary and financial earning potential to pay off debts?

Harrine Freeman: On average, men were paid more than women for the same or similar jobs. For every dollar a man earns, women get paid 77 cents. To help change the pay discrimination, women can write Congress to ask them to support the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act to provide equal pay for women.

Further your education and income potential by obtaining at least a bachelor’s degree. If you can afford it and have the time, get a graduate degree or a few certifications related to your specific job industry. Women with a bachelor’s degree earn $1 million over their lifetime, and those with a master’s degree earn $2.5 million over their lifetime. Women with a doctorate or other professional degree (law, medicine, etc.) earn $4.4 million over their lifetime.

Here are five steps to help maximize your salary:

–Consider changing departments or employers to increase your salary.

–Ask for raises, volunteer for high priority projects, develop a career plan with your supervisor, and discuss the contributions you wish to make to help your company grow.

–Temporarily reduce or stop 401(k) deductions to gain extra money to pay down debt.

–Reduce tax withholding for three to six months, and use the extra money to pay down debt.  (Remember to switch your tax withholding back to your original deductions to prevent owing taxes at the end of the year.)

–Pick a career that has growth potential.

Previously in the series: Women & Money: Adequate Budget Management