My Interview with Amanda Steinberg
by Tabby Biddle
"It's more common for a female job candidate to ask what the job pays, rather than walking in the door, clear about her own bottom line ... Women often approach jobs and contracts with fear and insecurity, hoping 'they'll want us,' and don't think about the established market value of what we bring to the table."
-- Amanda Steinberg, Founder of DailyWorth.com
T: I'm familiar with your work and your mission, but a lot of my readers are not. Please describe what you do.
A: Sure. I am the founder of DailyWorth.com. Our mission at DailyWorth is to transform women's relationship to money and help women specifically build real net worth. How we do this is similar to Daily Candy -- which you may have heard of. We email women daily about different money issues. The types of money issues that we cover are really a broad range. We cover everything from earning -- how to negotiate a raise or budgeting -- to what kind of budgets really work: to the nuances of how to save and how to invest.
T: Why do you think this is important for women right now?
A: We are actually at a fascinating time in history as it relates to women and money. There are two trends converging at this very moment in time. On the one hand women are in control of money more than they ever have been before. This year it's projected for the first time that we will be 50 and then 51 percent of the work force. That's never happened in history. It's been estimated by the latest Maria Shriver Report that as many as 40 percent of married women are the breadwinners in their home. Imagine that dynamic where so many women are actually responsible for the income that's putting food on the table. And I could go on and on. [The point is] that more and more women are at the center of both earning money and controlling how it's spent.
At the same time women are really behind in terms of our own net worth. Women still earn 20 percent less than men. We retire with as much as a third less in our bank accounts than men. And I've even talked to some divorce experts who talk about the nuances of the way assets are divided at the time of the divorce, which affects more than 50 percent of women. Their net worth can be drastically reduced as a result of it.
So DailyWorth really exists to support this shift in society and to make sure that women have the knowledge and the expertise to make sure that we really have the equity of financial standing that we totally deserve.
T: Yes, we deserve a lot more than we give ourselves credit for. I know so many women who undervalue themselves or have trouble asking for what they are worth. What advice or tips could you offer us to overcome this?
A: Women need to make sure they are paid what they are worth. It's more common for a female job candidate to ask what the job pays, rather than walking in the door, clear about her own bottom line ... Women often approach jobs and contracts with fear and insecurity, hoping 'they'll want us,' and don't think about the established market value of what we bring to the table. Here are a few tips that come from our contributing experts at DailyWorth:
Know the marketplace. It's important to know what others in your position earn. Do your research. Ask around. Then focus on the higher end, and ask for it. Never low-ball yourself, because climbing up from the bottom rung is tough.
Request the range. When an employer asks what you expect to be paid, politely but firmly say it depends on many factors, and ask for their range.
Know your worth. Quality employees come at a cost. Chances are you have a lot of experience in what you do. When asking for a raise or stating your fee, lay out your relevant experience and achievements. People pay you because you're good, not because they like you.
Rehearse. Pretend a potential employer is on the phone. State your ideal salary or fee out loud. Repeat that figure until it feels natural--and you get that question mark out of your voice.
Close the deal with confidence. When you believe you're worthy, others believe you're worthy. Hold the vision of yourself as worthy, and then after you ask for what you want, stop talking. There's no need for further explanation when you know your worth.
T: Great tips. Thank you Amanda. How did you choose this path?
A: Well it's funny. You know a lot of things in life kind of happen to you. It was definitely not pre-meditated on any level. I've been an entrepreneur for 10 years, and having been raised by a single mom who really struggled with money, I've always said how important money is to me, and how being able to take care of myself - not depending on anyone else has always been important to me. And I've always done really well on the earning side. I've been really good at making money for the last decade I've been in the work force. And yet when I was 30 years old, I bought my first house with my husband and we really over-mortgaged ourselves. Despite having a household income of upwards of $200,000 a year, we really struggled to make our mortgage payment. And I asked myself, "How is it that I've always said that money is really important to me, and yet we are struggling to make ends meet?"
So I started to do the research, and it led me to the realization that so many women (and men) - but I have a particular interest in women - don't understand the very, very basics of financial management. So I thought, what better than to give women a daily email - not necessarily a blog post because you have to go seek out blog posts - and I don't know about you, but I'd probably rather be reading UsWeekly than Kiplinger magazine for example. So I thought email was really the right format because it comes to you, instead of you having to go after it.
T: You talked about being really good on the earning side but you and your husband struggled to make your mortgage payment. It's sounds like something else was going on. Tell me about that.
A: Yes. In my 20s, I discovered I had a knack for earning money. As a high performing saleswoman, I was commanding six figures in my mid-twenties. Unfortunately for me, I was just as talented at spending it.
Fast forward 10 years. My husband and I bought a gorgeous house and surprise! We spent more money than we should have and put ourselves into quite a financial hole.
One autumn afternoon, staring down at four unpaid bills on the kitchen table, I had an epiphany: "It's not how much you earn, it's how much you don't spend."
Radical notion. Why, I asked myself, had it taken 10 years to recognize my flawed behavior and how much income I'd wasted on therapy-shopping?
T: So what did you do?
A: After scrutinizing my patterns in the areas of budgeting, spending, saving and investing, I made the conscious choice to value my net worth and to hyper-educate myself in all areas of personal finance. DailyWorth.com is the outcome of this resolution.
T: Very cool. I love that you are taking on this issue where you struggled, and are now helping empower other women like you empowered yourself. I heard that DailyWorth just had its first LIVE event. Tell me about that.
A: Yes, we had our first live event last week in New York and 150 people came to it. I have to say -- I've done a lot of public speaking over the last 10 years, but often times I get to the microphone and no one knows who I am. And I asked the audience how many were DailyWorth subscribers, and the entire room raised their hand. It kind of took my breath away. It was really overwhelming.
Women said they were riveted by it, and I've gotten three emails since* about how they went to their boss and negotiated raises and how well a lot of those conversations went.
*I interviewed Amanda five days after the event.
T: Are DailyWorth LIVE events something you are going to continue?
A: We definitely plan on doing a lot of live events. But to all of you who are moms out there, you know how challenging it can be. If I didn't have kids, I'd probably be doing a lot more traveling -- a lot more live events. So it's something I'm trying to figure out: How to be a mom - how to be there - and also how to produce these events.
T: What does the future look like for DailyWorth?
A: We are going to continue to be a daily email. That is always going to be our core service. I think a lot of businesses lose their power when they try and diversify into all these different tool sets. I think if we remain a media engine first and foremost about bringing you the most innovative budgeting tactics and demystifying aspects of investing, I think that we are ultimately going to best serve our market.
We are however exploring the development of certain tools. For example, we are looking into writing some eBooks. We also would like to plan a tour. Of our 20,000 subscribers, about 20 percent of them are in LA, about 20 percent in New York, and the rest are distributed across the country. We would like to do this, but I think first and foremost we are going to remain a daily email.
T: How can people get involved with DailyWorth?
A: There are a few ways.
- The first way to get involved is to sign up for our daily email at www.DailyWorth.com. You can also follow us on Facebook, and you can follow me on Twitter, @AmandaSteinberg.
- In terms of engagement, we always invite conversation at the end our blog in the commenting section. We'll get anywhere from 10 to 50 comments on our posts every day. So it's a really active community.
- We invite article contributors, but we are not looking for recycled personal finance advice -- we are really looking for women's personal stories. For example, things that are less talked about in society - like the nuances of money management between a husband and a wife, or what it's like when you really get into a cash flow situation. Things of that nature. If you would like to contribute to us, send us an email at email@example.com.
A: You're welcome!