The mistake: Women aren’t confident enough to ask for a raise

It’s no secret that men generally tend to make a considerable amount more than their female counterparts.

Local research conducted by the University of Johannesburg recently revealed that the average gender wage gap between men and women in South Africa currently stands at between 15%-17%.

So we know women don’t earn as much, but the problem many grapple with is not recognising their self-worth and going after what they deserve. This is something men have no difficulty doing and can partially explain the income disparity.

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American businesswoman and investor Barbara Corcoran put it aptly in an interview with the Huffington Post, saying: “(Women) devalue themselves and initially don’t price themselves properly, and then, when they do an exceptional job, they want to make people happy more often than they want to take credit . . . I think that explains a lot of salary disparity between men and women.”

The fix: Don’t be afraid of hearing the word “no”

So what’s the worse that can happen? If your boss says “no”, it’s not the end of the world.

The secret to eliminating the stigma of being turned down is trying to get as many “nos” as you can in order to become accustomed to being disappointed. This will soften the blow of hearing the word “no” going forward and make hearing the word “yes” that much sweeter when you hear it.

The mistake: Not saving enough

There is a significant number of single-parent households in South Africa. This means that many women are single-handedly responsible for looking after their families.

Author and financial adviser Sunél Veldtman says that the financial burden faced by many women has resulted in a growing number not building a sufficient nest egg for retirement.

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The fix: “Every woman should have her own savings. By adopting a monthly savings habit, you will gain financial knowledge and experience and also be able to build up a surprisingly large nest egg. Even a saving of R500 per month over 30 years will be worth almost R1 million at retirement,” advises Veldtman.

The mistake: Not taking enough of a risk

Women tend to be more rational and conservative in their risk behaviour when it comes to spending money, taking on debt and making investments.

While certain situations will call for more caution, Veldtman says women shouldn’t shy away from riskier investments like shares and property investment.

The fix: Veldtman says the key to breaking this habit is letting go of your fear. This can be achieved by seeking the professional expertise of a financial advisor who will be able to advise you on the right investment solutions to suit your needs.

“Don’t lose out on good returns because of fear. Learning more about risk and taking a long-term approach will help you become a successful investor,” she says.