It's not easy to ask for more money. And because it's so intimidating, a lot of people end up earning much less than they're worth. Over time, not asking for a raise can cost you hundreds of thousands of dollars. Knowing the classic traits of an "underearner" can help you understand where you might be going wrong. Photo by Dan Moyle.
Author Barbara Stanny runs down some common traits of underearners in her book, Secrets of Six Figure Women (though it's just as applicable for men). Chances are, if you have a hunch you're an underearner, it probably means you are. But these traits can help you pinpoint the areas you might want to improve on. Here are six of the traits that seem to resonate most:
- A high tolerance for low pay: You know you could be making more, but you accept your lower wage. You might even try to justify it.
- A tendency to undervalue your worth: You assume you'll never be paid well.
- A willingness to work for free: There's a case to be made for working for free, but you don't think twice about it.
- Lousy negotiating skills: You're reluctant to ask for more and fear what might happen if you do.
- Reverse snobbery: You assume that being wealthy comes at a high price and it's not worth it.
- A belief in the nobility of poverty: Similar to the above, you think being poor gives you access to a certain sense of morality, and money is evil.
Stanny interviewed 150 women and found that the ones who earn less typically share these qualities. High earners, on the other hand, show the opposite: they embrace negotiating, they're not afraid to take risks, and they're cool with just getting started and making mistakes along the way.
If you want to check out the rest of what Stanny has to say in her book, you can find it at the link below.