We may live in a patriarchal society, but it doesn’t mean you can’t make your mark in the workplace and create wealth.

But if your ‘get rich’ strategy involves marrying a rich man or winning the Lotto, Meredith says you need to ditch the “princess complexes”. . . and pronto!

The first step towards attaining financial independence lies in understanding your self-worth.

“Research has found that there’s a direct link between your self worth and what you think you’re worth. If you don’t see a positive link between yourself and your value, you won’t ask for enough when it comes to those salary increases,” she says.

This, Meridith explains, is an art that men have perfected over the centuries and one women need to learn so as to negotiate effectively.

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“Men are four times more likely to ask for a salary increase than women, and by the time you reach retirement at the age of 65, you could have lost R5 million through not knowing what you’re worth,” she says.

Fine tuning your negotiation skills is an important skill to acquire in your wealth creation arsenal.

“A deal maker is someone who knows what they want and gets it because they’re informed and they have something to offer the other party. To get what you want in life, ask for it.”

“ If you’re asking, you’ve got to persuade the person you’re asking that you deserve what you’re asking for, or you negotiate,” says Meredith.

Remember your inner six-year-old self – ask, ask and ask until you get what you want

For Montjane, the two elements critical to ensuring financial independence is investing in assets that are recorded in your name and not allowing yourself to be underpaid, whether it’s in the workplace or at home.

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“Women do double the work men do, in that they have their day job and begin their second shift at home. Don’t do unpaid work because it might sound like a small thing, but when you come in and do your second shift you’ve got limited time when you could be advancing your studies or starting a small business, or anything else that can advance your life. That time is precious and should be compensated for,” she says.

Access to finance

Contrary to popular belief, Montjane says financial institutions actually prefer granting loans to women because the default rate among women is considerably lower than the rate among men. So why then is it so challenging for so many women to access finance?

“The biggest source of capital is property and while a lot of women contribute towards bond payments, many aren’t named on the title deed, so in so many instances women lack assets that banks can use as collateral to grant a loan application,” she says.

In the event of a bank loan application being declined, Montjane says it’s important to investigate the reasons behind the application being declined so you can go back to the drawing board and fix the problems obstructing you.

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“Insist on understanding why you were declined and don’t accept it just ‘because the system says so’. You need to know what you have to change to get the application approved in six months,” she advises.

Meredith adds that women also shouldn’t be afraid to negotiate more, especially with the banks.

“You have got to push for the best interest rates the bank can offer you. You have to have something to offer to get what you want. Tell the bank that if they give you a loan at this interest rate, you’ll bring all your business to their bank.

“Be cheeky because what have you got to lose? Remember your inner six-year-old self – ask, ask and ask until you get what you want.”