Today, female breadwinners are common

June 2013

Maria Cronley, interim associate dean and professor of marketing, was extensively quoted by the Cincinnati Enquirer about essential skills women need to effectively negotiate pay.

Even though they earn more college degrees and are filling graduate schools, women still make about 80 percent of what men do. One reason: Men negotiate 25 percent higher salaries from the start. By knowing what they're worth and asking for what they deserve, women can set a good foundation for future wages and benefits.

Women also need to develop more confidence, and, frankly, nerve. A Prudential study of women's financial behaviors showed that while men invest, women save, and while men risk, women worry. While 45 percent of males said they feel well-prepared to make financial decisions, only 23 percent of females did. That's troubling, especially because women have to lean more heavily on their investments - not only do they earn less, but they live longer.

But confidence is born of experience, and from early ages, females need to come closer to their finances. Cronley says parents should "encourage, actually demand" that their daughters take personal finance courses in high school and college, whatever their major. And financial advisers need to tailor their services to females' learning style. "Women like to learn in groups, face-to-face, with more consulting with other women," Cronley says. "And they don't respond well to jargon."

Finally, experts say it's time for women to be more self-centered. While men focus on their own retirement needs, women focus on college for their children or support for their aging parents. "We focus on paying for everyone else first," Cronley says. "We need to be more selfish."

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