Earn Careers

HerMoney Podcast: Claire Wasserman And How Ladies Can Get Paid More (Episode 172)

Kathryn Tuggle  |  July 31, 2019

You never get what you don't ask for.

When’s the last time you asked for a raise? In this week’s episode, Jean sits down with Claire Wasserman, founder of Ladies Get Paid, a career development organization that helps women negotiate for pay and power at work. Claire dishes on power, value, and the wage gap in the workplace, and why women have to ask for more money. She also talks about her journey to becoming a feminist and the best advice she’s ever been given around negotiating and asking for more money. She walks us through the negotiating process and tells us why, anytime you negotiate, you should walk through the door with three numbers in mind. (Hint: that first salary offer you get is only a starting point for your negotiating!)

Plus, in mailbag, Jean tackles questions about home building, some of the best ways to increase your retirement savings, and in Thrive, Kelly shares the top money lessons she’s learned after spending six years working with Jean.

This podcast is proudly supported by Fidelity Investments. You work too hard for what you earn to let it sit on the sidelines. Let Fidelity show you how to demand more from your money. Learn more at Fidelity.com/HerMoney. Fidelity Brokerage Services LLC Member NYSE, SIPC.

Editor’s note: We maintain a strict editorial policy and a judgment-free zone for our community, and we also strive to remain transparent in everything we do. Posts may contain references and links to products from our partners. Learn more about how we make money.

Transcript

Jean Chatzky: (00:06)
HerMoney is supported by Fidelity Investments. We want you to demand more from your money, so start by knowing what you own and what you owe. We’ll help you take the next step at fidelity.com/demandmorenow. HerMoney comes to you through PRX. Hi everybody it’s Jean Chatzky. Welcome HerMoney and today we are going to talk about earning more. When was the last time you asked for a raise? We’ve got some recent research out of the Harvard Business Review that found that contrary to what we have thought, women are asking for raises just as often as men are, which is great news. The not so great news, they’re not getting them. We’re not getting them. In fact, women who asked received a raise 15% of the time, men got an increase 20% of the time and that 5% gap over the course of a lifetime adds up. Which is why we are so glad that we’ve got Claire Wasserman here in the studio. Claire is the founder of Ladies Get Paid, which is a career development organization that helps women negotiate for pay and for power at work in less than three years. Her community has grown to more than 40,000 women from 50 states, more than 100 countries and she is currently writing a book entitled Ladies Get Paid, of course, which will be published next year. Claire, thanks for being here.

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Claire Wasserman: (01:46)
Thanks for having me.

Jean Chatzky: (01:47)
We are excited. You and I have been talking for a while and I’ve been part of your community for awhile and it is just exciting to have you on the show.

Claire Wasserman: (01:55)
Have you been in our Slack group yet?

Jean Chatzky: (01:57)
I am in your Slack group and in fact I’ve actually posted, we are hiring at HerMoney, and I’ve posted some jobs in your Slack group.

Claire Wasserman: (02:04)
It’s wild in there.

Jean Chatzky: (02:05)
Yeah, it’s fantastic.

Claire Wasserman: (02:07)
I think what women discover when they go into our Slack group is that they are not alone in their struggles. I, you know, and they’re getting strategies and essentially they’re crowdsourcing their career advice. But I think the most powerful part of it is recognizing that you’re not the only one going through these struggles. And so many of them come in and really thought it was just them and I watch it happen. That’s what’s sort of fun is, you know, being at the top of this, looking at these women discover that there are people like them from Ghana and from Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Jean Chatzky: (02:36)
So I know we’re going to get this question. We might as well just put it out there right now. If somebody wants to join the Ladies Get Paid Slack group, how do they do that?

Claire Wasserman: (02:44)
Easy. Ladiesgetpaid.com/join. You’ll receive our weekly newsletter and I will add you personally to our Slack group.

Jean Chatzky: (02:50)
Excellent. When and why did you start this group?

Claire Wasserman: (02:55)
Mmm. Misogyny, sexism. No. You know, whenever I get asked that question. It’s sort of like, “how much time do you have?”

Jean Chatzky: (03:03)
“I have a lot of time.”

Claire Wasserman: (03:03)
The journey to become an entrepreneur I think kind of starts when you’re a child. But I’ll tell the short version of the story. I have to admit, I didn’t consider myself a feminist. I think I had a complete misunderstanding of what feminism is. I thought it meant you had to hate men. You had to be angry, you know, not shave your armpits or something. And what’s strange is my mom was the second class of women in her college, but she never talked about it. She sort of didn’t give me a heads up that there was a thing called sexism or misogyny. I just assumed that, you know, we were graduating 50% of the, you know, of our class, it was women. And so of course when you go into the workforce, it has to be equal. Right?

Jean Chatzky: (03:42)
Right. Of course.

Claire Wasserman: (03:43)
Right. But what I wasn’t seeing was women going upwards. Right? They were getting stuck at that middle management, but I didn’t want to call it out because it wasn’t obvious yet. I think I had all of these little experiences over time that when I look back, I was uncomfortable. There were things that were sexist, but because nothing was blatant, I couldn’t stop and say, “this is a problem. We’ve got to do something about it.” Until there was something plate and that happened.

Jean Chatzky: (04:10)
What happened?

Claire Wasserman: (04:11)
Yeah. So I went to Cannes, so there’s an advertising festival that happens every year. I went, I was part of another company and I remember walking into a party and this older guy comes up to me and friendly and sticks out his hand and he says, “hi, whose wife are you?”

Jean Chatzky: (04:26)
Oh.

Claire Wasserman: (04:26)
And it was, it was like, “Oh, okay, we’re, Mad Men. All right, I see where we are.” And it was this week of me pitching the business, needing clients, right. So there’s inherently a power dynamic because I, you know, I had to get business right. And just constantly being objectified. You know, where I would be talking about the work that I do when somebody would stop me and go, “Oh, you’re hot.” And I was so exhausted by the end of this week trying to navigate conversations that felt really uncomfortable back to a place of business. I said, “I’m just going to write an essay about this.” And my essay was less about what happened in Cannes, but more about me trying to process it and realizing that so quickly I thought it was my fault. “Well, if somebody is gonna objectify me, it must be because I’m wearing a short skirt.” Right. And I thought about publishing it, but I didn’t have the guts. I thought, you know, “maybe I’ll be fired. I might lose clients.” You know, even though I wasn’t pointing fingers at anybody, I was too scared. So I shared the essay with some friends and they wrote me back with their stories. They said, “Oh my God, this was my experience too. Do you mind if I share it with my friends?” And I said, “okay.” So they shared it with their friends who I didn’t know, but they wrote me back with their stories.

Jean Chatzky: (05:38)
Wow.

Claire Wasserman: (05:38)
And the essay kept getting passed forward. So it was interesting to kind of watch it go viral in our inbox. I mean, this was before #MeToo, was sort of mainstream. But again, the power of recognizing that you’re not alone. And so what that made me do was just start to research. Research things like the wage gap. Research the definition of feminism. I didn’t even know how I would define it. And I started to uncover statistics that were so disturbing to me. Like the fact that the wage gap is not 78 cents to the dollar for everybody.

Jean Chatzky: (06:07)
Oh no. For women of color, it is so much larger.

Claire Wasserman: (06:10)
Hispanic women are making 55 cents to the dollar. I felt so ashamed because I am an educated person and I did not know that. And it was actually the shame of not knowing that made me want to do something about it. You know, I felt like, “well do other people not know this? Because if they did, wouldn’t they be going into the streets?” And you know, this was pre-2016 so you know, now we have taken to the streets.

Jean Chatzky: (06:32)
Exactly.

Claire Wasserman: (06:33)
But you know, from researching, it took me about a year to do anything. And you know, I think when you discover statistics like this, you have basically three choices. You can stop reading because it is so awful. You can keep reading and feel terrible. And you, and the third one is do something.

Jean Chatzky: (06:50)
And what you did was take these women who were viral and bring them into a community and you did it, I mean, the first time we talked, it was well over a year ago. You must have just been starting. You did it on Slack, which I thought was so interesting. Why Slack?

Claire Wasserman: (07:09)
So the first thing I ever did was host a town hall about money and I picked money because of what it represents beyond the dollars. It was all right, let’s talk about power and value and freedom and also if we’re going to talk about the wage gap, how about you go and make more money? That is a way that you can have some agency. Let’s not wait for our bosses to do the right thing. We certainly can’t wait for the government to do the right thing. So I knew that was a place to begin and I knew that I didn’t want necessarily to have experts come in, you know, in a town hall format. I’m encouraging people to stand up, get on the microphone and talk about the tough stuff and ask people in the room, “anybody else?” You know? And, and that was my instinct. And out of that first event, there were so many different topics that came up, right? When you’re going to have a conversation about power, there’s lots to talk about.

Jean Chatzky: (07:58)
Absolutely.

Claire Wasserman: (07:59)
So Slack, which was something we were using at my old company, there are different channels. And so because there were so many sub-themes that were coming out of this conversation of money, it seemed to me to lend itself to these different channels on Slack versus a private Facebook group, which seemed like it would be an infinite feed and get kind of messy. Also, these subjects are uncomfortable and there was something about having separate channels that you know, would allow for intimacy. And I’m really proud to say, I mean, two and a half years later, we have had to maybe step in twice to moderate the group. I mean, we’ve got 40,000 women and only twice we’ve had complaints.

Jean Chatzky: (08:36)
It’s pretty amazing when you get women together. Our Facebook community, and we did start our private community on Facebook, it’s not as big as yours, but I’m always taken by the fact that the conversations are so helpful. So not judgy. And there is a complete lack of snark. We have had to step in a few times to say, “no, you can’t sell here.” But beyond that it’s just women helping women and saying, “yes, me too.”

Claire Wasserman: (09:05)
Well tell the women who are selling things, tell them to come over to us because we’re Ladies Get Paid. So we encourage people, promote the heck out of what you’re doing. If it’s a pyramid scheme, you know, of course, maybe not so much that, but we’re like, “go get clients. If you got a jewelry brand, I want to buy from you.” And I actually have, I’ve hosted future, you know, more town halls and I’ve bought jewelry off of people who make it. So yeah, tell them to come over to the Ladies Get Paid.

Jean Chatzky: (09:30)
Absolutely. How have you navigated the topic of negotiating for and asking for more money? When you look at this community, what’s the best advice that you’ve seen, heard, given?

Claire Wasserman: (09:47)
Well, first, Salary negotiation, from the beginning, it was so clear that that was the number one issue that women had. And I was sort of pleased by it because that to me was a way of closing the wage gap or like I said, you know, having some agency in closing the gap. And in the curriculum that we’ve built, we kind of separate it into the emotional stuff, right? The self worth. Do you feel like an impostor? Right? Do you believe in yourself? And then sometimes we refer people to therapists. So you got to build a foundation of self worth and then it becomes objective. “Okay, how do you do market research?” And out of that we talk about normalizing the conversation. You can’t stop at PayScale and Glassdoor. You’ve got to talk to real people. And we’d like to remind people to talk to white men since they’re getting paid the most. So then it turns into a conversation about “why are you uncomfortable?” Why? We always sort of step back and make this all very philosophical.

Jean Chatzky: (10:43)
When you have, well, first of all, I want to talk about both of those things. So when you have that conversation with white men, what are you saying?

Claire Wasserman: (10:54)
Well, I think there’s not a one size fits all. We don’t recommend that, you know, you go up to somebody and simply ask, “how much do you get paid?” I mean, sure, if you feel comfortable doing that. Instead we say, all right, do the market research and go to somebody and say, “here’s what I found. Here’s the ballpark, here’s the range. Am I off base?” Or talk about the statistics of the wage gap. “I want to make sure I’m not being underpaid. Out of curiosity, what do you think?” So you can spark a larger conversation. Even acknowledging the fact that you feel awkward, right? It can become kind of meta. And that’s what I love about salary negotiation because it is such a bigger conversation about recognizing your worth, advocating for it. And then are you in the right environment, right? Are you in a place that is ever going to recognize you?

Jean Chatzky: (11:38)
And if not, it’s time to start thinking about getting out. But you first may have to deal with the fact that you feel awkward and uncomfortable about even having that conversation. How do you get yourself to the table if you are feeling like you don’t deserve it, you are feeling like an impostor. You are feeling like for whatever reason, you just can’t get there.

Claire Wasserman: (12:01)
I mean, I think first let’s break down the common fears, right? So I think number one, women tend to feel like they might be jeopardizing their relationship with their manager.

Jean Chatzky: (12:11)
Or their job.

Claire Wasserman: (12:12)
Or their job. Well, first of all, the strongest negotiators are those who can walk away. So always be looking for work. I mean, have one eye out there, have a side hustle, savings, my God, have savings because that will allow you the freedom to have choice in your life. So that’s first of all. Everybody negotiates, you’re supposed to negotiate. The salary that somebody offers you usually is them thinking it’s the first round. They’re expecting you to counter. So you’re not acting outside of the expectation, first of all. Second of all, it’s, for me, not really what you say, but rather how you say it.

Jean Chatzky: (12:48)
For example.

Claire Wasserman: (12:48)
Well, there’s a thing called the double bind and this is when women act outside of sort of the social norm of how we expect a woman to act. So a woman is nice, you know, good girl, don’t disrupt, right? And the really crappy thing here is that women penalize other women for acting outside of the norm just as much as men do. So here’s an example. I go in, I’m assertive, I state my worth, right? But chances are you perceive me as aggressive and women of color know what I’m talking about here. And this is a real thing even, you know, it’s not in our heads. So unfortunately women have to think about “how do I soften my ask while still being assertive? Is that smiling?” I hate that. I have to tell women to smile. It’s the worst. It’s using words like “we,” you know, don’t give your power away. Don’t, don’t keep referencing the team and sort of taking yourself out of out of the team effort, but you have to talk about the larger goals and you working towards the good of the company so that you don’t appear greedy. Again, I hate saying that, but this sort of speaks to your point earlier with that statistic you mentioned that women are asking just as much as men, but we’re not getting it. And that could be for a lot of reasons, but it might be because of the double bind. And I sort of think of it as like Ginger Rogers did everything that Fred Astaire did, but backwards in heels, and this is why we’re exhausted. But part of this is practicing. Talking about your worth and talking about how you’re so excited to keep working there, you’re appreciative, you’re respectful, it’s thoughtful. Bring it back to the market. It’s objective. You just found numbers that doesn’t need to be emotional. That being said, tell a compelling story about the work that you’ve done and the impact that you’ve had. That’s when you can get kind of emotional, right, and being so passionate about your work. And I would say that’s where women should spend the most time, is talking about their accomplishments. And that can be very hard for women.

Jean Chatzky: (14:40)
It can be extremely hard for women. And it’s also just hard to get the number out of your mouth. You know, if you’ve got a number, whether it’s a counter or whether it’s a number that you’re going to ask for, it can be really, really difficult. And I have found, because I run this small company, and so I’m negotiating all the time, it does get easier. It gets easier with practice. Once you say a number and you realize that the world didn’t come to an end, then you can say it again and maybe you’ll even say one that’s a little bit higher.

Claire Wasserman: (15:13)
And when we, in our classes, we have women shout out loud, their rockstar money. We, you know, and just say it over and over again and it becomes real. But one thing I want to mention is we have women, we suggest go in with three numbers.

Jean Chatzky: (15:26)
Ah, how does that work?

Claire Wasserman: (15:27)
Yeah. So when you look at the range, right? And this is called a pay band. When you do your research, you find this range and we say, all right, start with the rockstar money. That’s the top of the band. Hey, or maybe you even push it a little bit higher. Right. Okay. Middle number. That’s the feeling good number. Bottom line, and we say, I respect myself too much. I’m walking away. And actually we encourage women to spend a lot of time figuring out their bottom line because if they so want this job and they get nervous, they may find themselves starting with the bottom line and then, oh, they’ve been negotiated down and they just say, okay, I’ll take it. So anyway, you know, you start with the top, they negotiate you down, but hopefully you’re getting close to the middle. But practice to your point and do it in the mirror.

Jean Chatzky: (16:08)
Yes.

Claire Wasserman: (16:09)
Yeah. And one thing that’s sort of funny now is we do a lot of brand partnerships and you know, we negotiate and I remember a number from last year that I could not believe we were quoting. I mean, I could barely say it out of my mouth. It sounded so strange and I look back and I’m like, “Oh, that was so cute. That number’s so small now.” You know, so your perspective can pretty rapidly change, but that means you have to continually re-examine your value because that’s the only way it’s going to change as if you are evolving in your own self-worth.

Jean Chatzky: (16:41)
I want to just take a breather for a second to make the also important point that this conversation and our podcast in general is sponsored by Fidelity Investments and Fidelity is all about helping women demand more from our money, not just in terms of our salary, not just in terms of the rates that we’re charging our clients, but making sure that our money is working as hard as we are because that’s what’s going to help us reach our financial goals faster. That all starts with a financial checkup and an understanding of what you own and what you owe, and from there the folks at Fidelity can work with you to evaluate your investment options and different ways to grow your savings. You can get started at fidelity.com/demandmorenow. I’m talking with Claire Wasserman, founder of Ladies Get Paid. What’s your take on the, who should throw out the first number question?

Claire Wasserman: (17:39)
Controversial here. You know, various coaches will tell you different things. I think you start first.

Jean Chatzky: (17:46)
You do.

Claire Wasserman: (17:47)
Yeah. Yeah. Controversial, right? So, so anchor high, right? You’re setting the tone here. I think it’s harder for them to begin and you to have to negotiate because chances are if they start low, you might get demoralized, you might get nervous. So if you’re the first one, the ball’s now in their court. So I think what’s the harm in you starting first if you’ve done your market research, this isn’t random.

Jean Chatzky: (18:11)
Right. You’re not throwing out a number, that’s just a wishlist number. You’re throwing at a number that has some basis, some fact.

Claire Wasserman: (18:18)
And don’t just say the number and be quiet. Go into why you believe that you can back up that number. You’re a top performer. Right? So I would say pivot pretty quickly from the number into your accomplishments, right? And you can also end it with, “but obviously I want to make sure that we’re getting to a place that’s fair for everybody. What do you think?” Right, so it’s opening a conversation and not making a demand.

Jean Chatzky: (18:42)
We’ve had two questions recently that I wanted to run by you. One came from one of our listeners and one came from my daughter who just graduated college. So I’ll start with my daughter. Julia actually is in the process of applying for jobs and she asked should I be applying for jobs that say they want experience when I’m just out of college? And I thought, I wrote her back and I basically said, “if they’re asking for one-ish years, I would definitely apply because you can argue you that your internships translate to that. If they’re asking for two or more, I might not.” But then I was thinking “men would probably just go ahead and apply anyway.” So what do you think?

Claire Wasserman: (19:25)
Yeah. Yeah. So there’s this statistic that says that, you know, men will apply for a job if they have 60% or less, you know, of the requirements and women feel like they need to have almost 100%. And we actually had a woman in our community who found her dream job, didn’t apply because she felt like she didn’t have enough years of experience, met somebody at one of our coffee meetups who said to her, “you know, there’s an open role at my company. I think you’d be great.” And of course it was that company. And she got the job. So I saw that statistic come to life. Here’s the thing, if you don’t try, 100% you’re not getting it right. What I would recommend is look at the past couple of years, college, I’m sure you had projects that you worked on that you’re proud of. Maybe some side hustles. Tell the story about the skills that you gained and how they’re transferable. And that might mean the EQ, right? It might be, “well, I worked really hard. I learned fast. I made magic out of no resources.” Right? Because I think what, you know, folks who hire, right? I want to see that somebody can learn quickly and they have a good attitude and that there’ll be a good team player. So I think it’s just spending time getting creative and telling the story of how you may not have the exact years that’s specific to that industry, but you have a lot of other skills that you’re going to bring and you’re going to bring a fresh perspective and maybe even the fact that you’re young can bring the very perspective that that company needs.

Jean Chatzky: (20:50)
Right. And the other thing is, there may be another opening next week and just because you’ve been there and you’re in front of them, you could be considered for that next job. So you never know exactly what’s changing at all of these various companies that you’re applying to. Second question came from a member of our community who wanted to know about negotiating, not for salary, but for the vacation and paid time off. And she basically said that that’s, she works for a big company now. She’s got a huge amount of vacation and paid time off. She’s been at her job 15 years and she wants to know when and how to make it clear to her next employer that that’s really important to her.

Claire Wasserman: (21:35)
Yeah, I mean I think if something’s really important to you, you have to bring it up pretty quickly in the process of interviewing. Same thing with salary. Personally, I wouldn’t bring these things up in the very first interview. I mean hook them, get them excited about you, but second interview, yes, you need to be talking about this. I just want to mention that this is called full compensation, so when you do go into negotiate, use that word, HR will know is that okay, I’m full comp. I also want to throw out something that could be a bit controversial. Most coaches will probably tell you that you should be negotiating everything at once, meaning negotiate your salary while you’re also negotiating full comp, and those are things like flexibility, career development, the vacation days, right. My recommendation would actually be finish the salary conversation, get the number that you want and then say, “I’d like to talk about my full comp.”

Jean Chatzky: (22:24)
And why do you bifurcate it that way?

Claire Wasserman: (22:26)
Yeah. I think because if you bring up, “tell me about your career development opportunities, I’d like to discuss flexibility.” Then perhaps they can use that as leverage to get your salary down. But again, if something is very important to you, yes, you should bring that up first. Right. In terms of trying to negotiate for things like flexibility, anticipate all the reasons they’re going to say no. All right. Already have an answer for them. Right. Make your case where at the end of it they just have to go “okay.” So in, in thinking about flexibility, well, what’s the reason they’d say no? “Well nobody does it here.” “Okay. How about we try it out? How about once a month I work from home.” Okay. What would be another reason they might say no? “Well, I’m concerned that you know, transparency or communication will get messed up it.” Okay. “How about I send you a list of the things that I, you know, that I did during the day?” So write out all of their concerns, have an answer already for it and practice.

Jean Chatzky: (23:25)
Okay. That sounds like really, really good advice. Before we wrap it up here, another potentially controversial question. We have, as I said, a private Facebook group for the HerMoney community and a big debate is should we let in the men who want to be there? We haven’t to this point, are we perpetuating gaps by not letting men in?

Claire Wasserman: (23:52)
Do you know my story?

Jean Chatzky: (23:53)
No, I don’t know your story about this.

Claire Wasserman: (23:56)
So I was sued by a group of men’s rights activists. Yes. Men rights activists. I would think that it’s funny except that it happened to me. There’s a group of men out there that go around suing women who do not allow them into their group and they’ve done this over 300 times. Actually, they’ve done it beyond women’s groups. They’ve sued baseball teams for giving out hats to women on mother’s day.

Jean Chatzky: (24:19)
Oh my goodness.

Claire Wasserman: (24:20)
And for them, I mean I think this is part making money.

Jean Chatzky: (24:25)
It’s absolutely about making money.

Claire Wasserman: (24:27)
But it’s also ideology. It is for them because we’re a very small organization. I can’t imagine they thought they were going to get a lot of money.

Jean Chatzky: (24:34)
So what happened?

Claire Wasserman: (24:35)
Well, they tried to come to two of our events, one in San Diego, one in Los Angeles. They were told why we’re not having men in our group. And that’s because the basis of our events, you know, it’s having women share vulnerable things and to have somebody in the room who is the reason that you know, a person feels triggered.

Jean Chatzky: (24:51)
This is why we’re HerMoney. I mean, I get asked all the time why just money advice for women. And it’s not so specifically the advice, it’s the fact that we are more able to be ourselves in groups that are female only.

Claire Wasserman: (25:05)
So, you know, I stood by my decision. I don’t regret it. It is technically illegal. I don’t know how it works online, but certainly in person there is no discrimination. You have to let anybody who comes in, you know, who wants to come in or who buys a ticket. So we didn’t do that. Didn’t think I’d get sued, but I was sued in both Los Angeles, San Diego, me personally, Ladies Pet paid, the venues, the sponsors, and here’s the worst part: six of the women who helped organize the event.

Jean Chatzky: (25:32)
Oh my goodness.

Claire Wasserman: (25:34)
And so I represented all of them and this was about nine months of dealing with it and soul searching and asking ourselves the same question you asked us, which is “are we perpetuating?” Right? “Are these guys in some way right?” Right. And we just kept going back to there is a time and place for all of us to come together. Absolutely. We are not going to make progress unless we involve men. They’re the ones with power, so clearly we need to, but there is such merit to giving marginalized people a space where they can talk about how it feels to be marginalized. Long story short, we ended up settling. Can’t go into those terms, but you know, we settled and we had to crowd fund. We were totally out of money and at a crossroads where you know, we were out of business and so we went to the community and we laid ourselves bare and we said, if you want us to continue, you have to put your money where your mouth is. It’s sort of ironic because we’re Ladies Get Paid, but we never really asked them for money beyond purchasing tickets to our conference or workshops. And in three weeks we raised $116,000 from over 2000 people.

Jean Chatzky: (26:40)
Amazing.

Claire Wasserman: (26:41)
And that’s how I’m writing my book. I mean I’m not writing my book about the experience, but it led to incredible things. And also for me personally, I got over my fear of asking for help. That was the biggest lesson I got is sometimes you just have to ask for help. And that required me to be vulnerable, which is the very thing that I ask our community to do.

Jean Chatzky: (27:03)
Claire Wasserman, Ladies Get Paid. I am sure that you will get a lot of new members from this show. So thank you so much for being here.

Claire Wasserman: (27:11)
Thank you. And thanks for the work that you do. I’m so honored to be part of this.

Jean Chatzky: (27:14)
Absolutely. And we will be right back with Kelly and your mailbag. Our producer Kelly Hultgren is in the studio with me. Hey Kel.

Claire Wasserman: (27:25)
Hello.

Jean Chatzky: (27:26)
So that was a great conversation.

Kelly Hultgren: (27:28)
She is wonderful and so are you of course. But I am a huge fan of Claire’s.

Jean Chatzky: (27:33)
Yeah.

Kelly Hultgren: (27:34)
I absolutely love what she’s created. There are so many parallels with HerMoney and I think it’s really cool to think of how we can integrate in the future. But no, I loved all of her advice and I would love Julia to apply for jobs that have two to three, even four years of experience. ‘Cause I know her and she has the soft skills that should get her in the door. Employers should want her in the door and then she’ll prove the rest.

Jean Chatzky: (28:00)
So funny. I’ve not been worried about Julia out in the world ’cause I know she, she’s a really hard worker and she will, she’ll kill it no matter what she does. But she, you know, when you’re giving advice to your own offspring, it’s, it’s a little different.

Kelly Hultgren: (28:14)
Yeah. But I even think back to before I started with you in 2013 just out of college and I was Julia too questioning it and I didn’t apply for jobs that I thought I wasn’t qualified for. Like I’ve been in that, I’ve been in that same seat and looking at it, I’m like, “well I don’t have experience. Like this isn’t for me.” So, but then that perpetuates all these gaps that we’re talking about, these opportunity gaps that we’re talking about. And I’m so excited to see what she ends up doing.

Jean Chatzky: (28:43)
I’m excited to see what she ends up doing. What our listeners don’t know is that the job that I posted, one of the jobs that I posted on Ladies Get Paid is yours. So Kelly joined me right out of college. She had graduated from the University of Arizona, moved to New York without a job, got a job hostessing at a restaurant, applied for a couple of positions, one of which she didn’t get, but I got a tip off that she might be a good fit for me. And we met for coffee and I hired her a couple of days later and it’s been six years.

Kelly Hultgren: (29:26)
Oh my gosh.

Jean Chatzky: (29:26)
And Kelly is leaving to take a job with JP Morgan Chase. She’s just going to do amazing, amazing things in the world. But I’m really happy for you and I’m really sad.

Kelly Hultgren: (29:41)
I’m already crying. It’s really bittersweet. I’m so sad, too. I’m so sad. Clearly.

Jean Chatzky: (29:52)
Oh, we’re going out for drinks when this is over.

Kelly Hultgren: (29:56)
I wish we had them right now. Gosh, I love you so much.

Jean Chatzky: (30:00)
You too. And you have just, you have exceeded. Oh, I should tell people, because this is, Kelly and I had a little bit of a rocky start.

Kelly Hultgren: (30:11)
Oh my gosh. Yeah. That’s a nice way to put it.

Jean Chatzky: (30:14)
Our first three months were just not, we just, were not clicking. And then all of a sudden one day it was just, we sort of picked it up, we understood each other and you just, every step of the way you have taken the initiative, put yourself out there, done it so excellently and I can’t wait to see what you do in the world. But I’m just so grateful that you gave me all of this time.

Kelly Hultgren: (30:48)
I’m so grateful you gave me all of this time too like going back to the very beginning. Like I would call Ariel O’Shea who was on our team before. You’ve probably heard us talk about her. And I would call her on a weekly basis those first three months and be like, “Jean’s going to fire me.” What do I do to not get fired? ‘Cause I wanted the opportunity so much and I have every step of the way and I’m so grateful for you giving me this opportunity and all of the opportunities along the way. Like it’s just so much gratitude, so much love and appreciation and you not just being my boss but like family and a mentor to me as well.

Jean Chatzky: (31:27)
You’re not losing me. It won’t be that easy to get rid of me.

Kelly Hultgren: (31:31)
Oh my gosh. Our listeners are probably like, “Oh my goodness.”

Jean Chatzky: (31:33)
Here it goes.

Kelly Hultgren: (31:34)
Ah, but we wanted to tee that up sooner rather than later in the episode. And I will be on the show. I’m phasing out. It’s a transition and we’ll be on the show. This isn’t the last show you’re hearing me on. And if you know, in the future we are able to have our ways. I would love to come back and do more. But we’re teeing this up now because we’ve joked about mailbags in the past because we’ve talked about mail in a way that we’re actually getting letters from people. That’s never been the case. It’s always online. So it’s emails, on social media and we finally got a letter, we received a letter and I thought it was so fitting to do it for this show. And it’s one that you’ll love hearing from. Again, I don’t know if you remember our friend Brit who wrote in a few months ago and she was asking for advice on how to get her niece’s college savings going ’cause it’s just something that’s really important to her and I believe her siblings might not have been in the best financial place to start doing that. So Brit wanted to take it on herself and the question made you nearly cry like we are now and you wanted to send her a book and we sent her a book and she sent a thank you know the mailbag question.

Jean Chatzky: (32:42)
Okay, let’s see. What did she have to say?

Kelly Hultgren: (32:44)
All right, I’m going to read it directly from the card Brit and thank you Brit for the thank you note. I know it’s weird to thank people for thank you notes.

Jean Chatzky: (32:50)
But you don’t get them these days.

Kelly Hultgren: (32:50)
You don’t get them. Yeah. So she goes, PS, I know I already sent in the question about starting 529s for my nephews and niece, but I have another. One of my own personal dreams is to build a tiny house to live in, but I have very minimal building experience. Habitat for Humanity volunteer days are pretty much the extent. However, I know I need to save more money than the $12,000 I’ve saved so far if I want to make this dream a reality. How would you suggest I save that money? Right now it’s in a savings account through my credit union with an APY of 0.10% I know that I can do better. I just don’t know where to take that money. Help. Thanks. Hugs. Brit.

Jean Chatzky: (33:31)
Aw, I love that and I don’t know if she’s talking about a small house or truly a tiny house, but I think, I think tiny houses are way cool.

Kelly Hultgren: (33:40)
Tiny house sounds cute.

Jean Chatzky: (33:42)
Yeah. I would do two things. I would first open a separate account for that money and name it my tiny house fund. Because just the fact that you have a separate place for money that you’re growing for that purpose will actually help you get there faster. And then I would go ahead and talk to your credit union about whether they have a money market account or a higher interest rate savings account. You can get on the open market 2.5% these days. It is not hard. Um, and you can get it with taking absolutely no risk. So go ahead and go to a website like bankrate.com, magnifymoney.com. Check out the rate tables and you will be able to figure out where to move that money to and then just add to it automatically every single time you get paid. And every single time you have a windfall. So if you get a tax refund, for example, it goes straight to the tiny house fund and eventually you’ll have a down payment on that tiny house. Maybe you can get a mortgage for a tiny house and and you’ll be on your way.

Kelly Hultgren: (34:54)
I love how many times we were able to say tiny house.

Jean Chatzky: (34:55)
Exactly.

(34:56)
Thank you for writing in Brit and being in our community and we’ll do a couple more from our traditional mailbag. Elena is wondering, she goes, I was hoping to get some advice on retirement savings. I am 26 years old. I have no 401(k) through work but I max out my Roth. My partner and I both work full time with similar incomes and keep a yours, mine, ours money approach, sharing only our budgeted joint expenses and we each manage our own savings and investments separately. I am just starting a new job which thankfully comes with about an 11% raise. That’s awesome. This job also offers no 401(k). I don’t want my higher income to just go into lifestyle creep and I intend to save it. Given that I already maxed out my Roth, I want to pad my emergency fund savings a bit more. What would you recommend is the best investment for my increased expendable income? I don’t have investments other than my Roth held in a mutual fund, but we’d like to invest more in the stock market. Is that a good idea at this time? Is there another option for investing for retirement other than the Roth?

Jean Chatzky: (35:52)
The Roth is a fine option. You want to absolutely max out the Roth. If you’ve got a health savings account, you can put the maximum into a health savings account as well. Investing that money, which can turn into a supplemental retirement account. The bigger question that I have about this additional money is what is it for? If it is indeed for the real longterm, for retirement, for something down the road, then by all means just open a brokerage account and invest it in a way that doesn’t have all of those different tax advantages. Just put it in a portfolio of stocks and bonds that make sense for your risk. The amount of risk you want to take based on your age and your risk tolerance and that’s really all you have to do. It’ll probably look very similar to the investments that you have in your Roth. If, on the other hand, it’s for something else, you’re thinking I’m going to buy a house in five years, that is not money that you put into stocks. That’s money that you keep in a high interest rate savings account or some other place where you’re not going to lose it if the market takes a tumble, but otherwise brokerage account and just have at it.

Kelly Hultgren: (37:06)
Nice. Thank you Elena and thank you everyone for writing in. You can email us your questions mailbag@hermoney.com and if you really want a mail us one, let us know on that email.

Jean Chatzky: (37:18)
We’ll give you our snail mail address today. I thought I would hand thrive over to Kelly because we’re always giving you news you can use and I asked her to pull together those top money lessons that she thinks that you all need to know after spending six years working here.

Kelly Hultgren: (37:38)
This is so sad. Okay. Try to do this. Read this, that my notes that I put down with water in my eyes. Okay, so it’s not easy to distill nearly six years with you and three years with our HerMoney community into, I’ve chosen, four lessons but I tried. These are all things I hope everyone already knows, but these are ones that are very important to me. First I’d say be honest with yourself about your money and be honest about your money with your family and your friends because it feels so good to express how money makes you feel and even better to understand why those feelings or emotions exist. Jean talks about it in her new book, Women With Money. It’s your money story. And because, without this invaluable information, I think you’re more susceptible to your money taking control of you rather than you taking control of your money. So I think it is the foundation and the grounds for you making the lasting changes you want to make for yourself and your financial life, your life. It doesn’t even to be financial life, it’s just your life. My second lesson would be doing a values check at least once a year. We talk a lot about values based spending and I want to add in the fact that our values can, and likely will, change because we change as people. And if you don’t think, and if you don’t check in on those values, expenses are more likely to go on autopilot. Dining out, cable, certain subscriptions are all examples of things I’ve cut or cut back on in the past, past few years especially. And values check also challenges my love of making money ’cause you know, I love making money and making money for other people, but sometimes, and most times, the answer isn’t necessarily more, it’s less. So if I feel like I need more money, I take a harder look at my finances to see how I can spend less. So sometimes the answer is less, not more. My third, if you don’t ask, the answer will always be no. It’s one of my favorite money rules from Jean, of course. And this goes for opportunities with saving money, with making more money. I’m so fortunate that you answered yes to me asking to be on your calls and for me asking to be in meetings with you because it’s why my role has evolved the way that it has over the past six years and why I have the opportunity that I’m heading into now. So thank you for saying yes. And my last but not least, which is very important and integral to why we have the show is putting your money to work for you. And that means starting to save and invest for the longterm as soon as you can. I owe my little but growing nest egg, always growing nest egg, to you in more ways than one. And even if it’s just $50 a month or whatever amount that is, even 50 sounds too high. Start putting away as soon as you can. You won’t regret it. So those are my big four. I have so many, but those are my big four. Thank you Jean. Thank you to the HerMoney team. Thank you to our listeners.

Jean Chatzky: (40:28)
And thank you Kelly.

Kelly Hultgren: (40:30)
I love you guys so much.

Jean Chatzky: (40:33)
Oh my goodness. I’m not going to be able to wrap this up. Thank you for joining both of us today on HerMoney. Thank you to Claire Wasserman for the fantastic conversation. If you like what you hear, we do not cry on every show. Please subscribe to our show and Apple Podcasts and leave us a review. We do love hearing what you think. We also want to give a big shout out to our sponsor, Fidelity. We record this podcast out of CDM sound studios. Charles de Montebello saves our life on a regular basis. Our music is provided by Track Tribe and our show comes to you through PRX. Join us next week. We’ll be back with Addie Swartz CEO of Reach Higher, and we’ll talk soon.


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