Your worth, your money
“Because you are worth it“ – this is how L’Oréal, the French cosmetics brand, appeals to women of all backgrounds. We at Finelles are not exactly a cosmetics brand, but I believe that L’Oréal and Finelles have something in common: we want to encourage our community members to claim what is theirs… and in societies where one’s worth is largely defined by money, that is … money.
Money can come in different forms: an adequate salary, returns from a personalized investment strategy, or per diems from a book you self-published on Amazon. Money is not the enemy, it is a resource we control. Get creative with money! Money is there to provide for you – the emergency fund in the bank that gives you a feeling of security like your favorite blanket when you were a kid. Money is there to work for you – so you have accumulated enough wealth for retirement and do not have to fear old age poverty. Money is not a resource to get all stressed out about – quite the contrary, it can be managed in a smart and efficient manner. No one says you have to become a “Wolves of Wall Street” type active & aggressive investor. Just acquaint yourself with the fundamentals of personal finance and investment, and you will be in a much better position overall (and less stressed – I promise!).
For many individuals, money is tied to feelings of self-worth. Men and woman are alike that way. Receiving an adequate salary makes one feel treated in a fair manner. Luckily, politicians in Germany have understood this – as of January 2018, employees of SMEs and large companies have the right to know what other colleagues in a similar position earn. Gone are the days of hush hush conversations in the coffee corner (“I am sure she makes X% more than me!”). Word of advice: If prior to accepting your next assignment (or job) you want to make sure you get remunerated correctly, bite the bullet and pay for a salary benchmarking report (for example, issued by www.personalmarkt.de). Such benchmarks compare your profile with that of hundreds of others in your industry and your level of expertise and experience. It may come as a shock that you earn 25% below industry and role average. But finding out is the first step in the right direction – towards another round of salary negotiation (for instance). And as we know, the 25% are not far from reality, with women in Germany on average making 21% less than their male counterparts.
“Because you’re worth it” is also a call to action. Because YOU have to recognize your own worth and then make claims. Unfortunately, it does not help to be a nice person and hope that others to recognize your contributions and then allocate you a higher salary. You have to ask for this yourself – and developing a healthy relationship with your personal finances and investments will make you so much more confident.
Written by Caroline-Lucie Ulbrich
Finelles Founder. Coach and organizational consultant (ECB, Deutsche Bank and UBS).