Statistically, women earn less than men, but when you look at the same job and the same skill set, the wage disparity is lower than you’d think, according to Pay Scale.

Often the wage difference between men and women has little to do with skill set. Many times it all boils down to how a person perceives themselves and their self-worth. Confidence plays a big factor. Having the guts to ask for more money often equates to earning more.

Working with clients over the years, I’ve discovered a few common denominators between those that ask (and receive) more pay verses those that don’t.

Here’s what I’ve found it boils down to:

Tolerance for Low Pay

Under earners have a high tolerance for low pay, thinking they are not worth the money. They may even pride themselves in thinking that if they take a job for more money they will be a ‘slave’ to the company or have to work long hours. They will often not look for another job, thinking there isn’t another job ‘out there’ that will pay more or even the same amount of money. Some blame age and think that being over 50 will hold them to a certain wage, fearing a company will not want an older employer. Bottom line: skill demands money, not how you feel about it.

Under Earners Are Willing to Work for Free

Under earning is a pattern. This pattern often stems from low self-esteem and continues throughout a career path. One example is the consultant that gives away their time, thinking their good deeds will come back in fees. Sadly, they don’t realize their knowledge is valued and should cost money and not be doled out.

Being Poor Is Cool

Some wear a badge of honor that tells the world that it’s good to not have a lot of money. People with money are bad – very bad. They have a mindset that money is the root of all evil. Somewhere along the line they stopped looking at money as a tool and perceive money as greedy or selfish. This is akin to the starving artist who won’t ‘work’ to get notoriety. The notion is poverty is noble and ultimately, cool.


This is so subtle that it happens over time and is so insidious it goes unseen for years. Self-sabotage is the inability to look honestly at a company’s solvency and have the guts to get out before it all falls apart. For some this is a deep seeded fear of survival mode, which triggers the effect of making poor financial choices over and over again. Often, in these cases, there is a scapegoat: the company, the old boss, timing or just bad luck. It’s always everyone else’s fault.


This is the classic case of thinking you’ve followed all the rules in life, done all the right things and should be protected – and then it all backfires. Women will put their dreams on hold, or worse, hope the man is the financial plan, thinking he will always provide for her. Someday is the motto for this client, but someday never comes. She stays in a relationship not out of love but for survival.

If you stop and look at any affluent person, you’ll find the difference is often their relationship with money. I would be less than honest if I didn’t say that skill set and earning power does have some piece in the equation, but it’s not the total equation.

Money isn’t the issue. Money is energy in motion. In fact, it’s already been printed and is circulating right now.

Under earning stems from a thought and is a direct mirror back to YOU.

How you feel about money is often a reflection of how you feel about yourself.

Challenge yourself. Look at your ideas around money and carefully examine where the concepts came from.