Women and Money: Is the ‘Ambition Penalty’ Costing You?

by Barbara Hadden

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You’ve probably heard about the gender pay gap. But women aren’t just dealing with the effects of getting paid less than men for equivalent work.

Women also face what’s known as the ambition penalty. Research shows that ambitious women face financial and relationship consequences when they ask for more.

Let’s talk about it.

Stacy Johnson and I are joined by producer and novice investor Aaron Freeman to discuss the issues surrounding the ambition penalty and what we can do about it.

Our special guest is Stefanie O’Connell Rodriguez, founder of the Too Ambitious newsletter addressing gender, money and power.

Remember, even though we sometimes talk about specific investments on this show, don’t take them as recommendations because they’re not. Before investing in anything, do your research, and make your own decisions.

You can watch this episode below, or if you’d prefer to listen, you can do that with the player at the top of this article. Or, you can download it wherever you get your podcasts:

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Don’t forget to check out our podcast page for more episodes designed to help you make the most of your money and our YouTube page for more videos.

Is there really a gender pay gap?

Spoiler: There is a gender pay gap. Sometimes it deals with getting paid less for the same work, but it’s more complicated than that. Women sometimes make less in situations when they negotiate their pay, which can put them behind in other ways, from how much they make today to how much they can put aside for retirement tomorrow.

We dig into some of the realities that contribute to the gender pay gap.

  • Harvard Business Review: Women Ask for Raises as Often as Men, But Are Less Likely to Get Them.
  • Stop Punishing Women for Being Ambitious: Our guest, Stefanie, wrote an op-ed about this subject.
  • Research on the impact of COVID-19 from Deloitte: COVID-19 and gender equality.
  • Check out our article on how lower wages for women result in lower retirement savings.
  • It’s not all bad news when it comes to women and money. There are some places where women out-earn their husbands.
  • Unfortunately, it’s not just about money. It can be hard for women to maintain their relationships when they make more money.
  • Miranda reflects on the issue of making more during the time she was married.

How do we promote better gender equity in pay and life?

Because so much of what happens in our relationships to money and each other is ingrained because of our conditioning and society, we take a look at some practical ways you can prepare, especially if you’re a woman.

  • Avoid this top financial regret of many older women.
  • Check out this podcast episode from Maggie Germano where Stefanie goes more in depth about how to reduce the ambition penalty.
  • There are some fast-growing jobs that more women are getting. Check out areas where employment is surging for women.
  • Want to own real estate? Check out these places where women are buying homes.
  • If you’re a woman, don’t make these costly Social Security mistakes.
  • Don’t forget to invest! Women are actually more effective investors, and we’ve got the research to back it up.
  • Getting rid of the patriarchy isn’t just good for women — it helps men, too! Let’s take a look at how we can all live more fulfilling lives, without being fenced in by traditional gender expectations.

Meet this week’s guest, Stefanie O’Connell Rodriguez

Stefanie O’Connell Rodriguez / Money Talks News

Stefanie O’Connell Rodriguez is a writer covering ambition, money and power in her weekly Bulletin newsletter, Too Ambitious, with bylines in Bloomberg, CNBC, Newsweek, USA Today and Business Insider. She is the host of Real Simple magazine’s “Money Confidential” podcast (named one of Spotify’s “Best New Shows of 2021”); the founder of Statement Cards, a line of greeting cards that celebrates milestones beyond marriage and motherhood; and the co-founder of Statement Event, dedicated to connecting the dots between gender equity and financial power.

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About the hosts

Stacy Johnson founded Money Talks News in 1991. He’s a CPA, and has also earned licenses in stocks, commodities, options principal, mutual funds, life insurance, securities supervisor and real estate.

Miranda Marquit, MBA, is a financial expert, writer and speaker. She’s been covering personal finance and investing topics for almost 20 years. When not writing and podcasting, she enjoys travel, reading and the outdoors.

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