Secrets of Six-Figure Women

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  • Edition: Reprint
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  • Copyright: 2010-06-02
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publications
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Quietly and steadily, the number of women making six figures or more is increasing and continues to rise at a rate faster than for men. From entrepreneurs to corporate executives, from white-collar professionals to freelancers and part-timers, women are forging careers with considerable financial success. In Secrets of Six-Figure Women, Barbara Stanny, journalist, motivational speaker,and financial educator, identifies the seven key strategies of female highearners: A Profit Motive, Audacity, Resilience, Encouragement, Self-Awareness, Non-attachment, and Financial Know-How. Based on extensive research and hundreds of interviews, including more than 150 women whose annual earnings range from $100,000 to $7 million, Barbara Stanny turns each of the six-figure traits into a specific strategy for upping earnings. By rigorously fine-tuning them, readers can, step-by-step, climb the income ladder.

Author Biography

Barbara Stanny is a popular motivational speaker and former journalist and syndicated columnist. Her national media credits include Good Morning America, The O'Reilly Factor, The View, Extral, NPR, the NewYork Times, and USA Today, among others

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsp. xiii
Prefacep. xv
Introduction: Welcome to the Era of the Six-Figure Womanp. 1
The Queens in the Countinghousep. 15
The Lowdown on Low Earnersp. 45
Raising the Barp. 71
Strategy #1: The Declaration of Intentionp. 87
Strategy #2: Letting Go of the Ledgep. 107
Strategy #3: Get in the Gamep. 129
Strategy #4: Speak Upp. 149
Strategy #5: The Stretchp. 171
Strategy #6: Seek Supportp. 189
Strategy #7: Obey the Rules of Moneyp. 212
Claiming Our Powerp. 234
Appendixp. 257
Resources (Books and Websites)p. 259
Tips for Getting Out of Debtp. 263
Investing Basics: Wealth Buiding 101 (A Very Quick Lesson)p. 266
Indexp. 271
Reading Group Guidep. 276
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.


Secrets of Six-Figure Women
Surprising Strategies to Up Your Earnings and Change Your Life

Chapter One

The Queens in the Countinghouse

I believe the power to make money is a gift from God.
-- John D. Rockefeller

Money is congealed energy, and releasing it releases life's possibilities.
-- Joseph Campbell

I began my interviews with two broad questions in mind. What were six-figure women really like? And what did it take to make that much money? Our conversations were fascinating and, in many ways, eye-opening. I was reminded of the "surprise balls" my parents used to put in my stocking at Christmas. I'd unravel the layers and little gifts would appear. That's precisely what happened during my interviews. As I began peeling back emotional layers, I discovered all sorts of surprising revelations. For starters, I realized those off-putting images I held of highfliers were nowhere near the actual truth. These women were not intimidating at all. They were personable, likable, and actually pretty much like all the other working women I know -- trying to make a living, trying to get ahead in their careers, and trying to squeeze in a life outside of work. Some were doing it better than others.

What set them apart from the rest of us, of course, is that they made more money. A lot more. Their combined average income was close to $500,000. Individually, their annual earnings ranged from $100,000 to $7 million. The majority, however, hovered somewhere between $200,000 and $800,000 a year. Most of them had far surpassed their parents' earnings. I heard from more than one: "I make more money in a year than my father did in his whole life." And if they were married (85 percent of the women I interviewed were), the vast majority outearned their husbands. (This is actually above average for dual-career couples. According to the Department of Labor, one in every three working wives makes more than her spouse.)

For some of these women, making six figures was a nonevent. "I guess I didn't really think anything about it, because it's sort of the norm when you graduate from business school," explained Celeste Chang, an investment banker. For others, those extra zeros became a validating, and often exhilarating, milestone. Corporate executive Stephanie French at first dismissed her high salary as no big deal. "So many women make six figures, it doesn't even sound like financial success," she said. But after a brief pause, she recanted. "Actually, I remember the first time I hit that mark, and when people on my staff do -- it's like, Wow!"

And still others I spoke to never ever expected to be in this league. "I was absolutely amazed," exclaimed Lucy Tomassi, a bank senior vice president. "I grew up on a dairy farm in Wisconsin, and the idea that anybody would pay me this much money was incredible to me." Lucy, now forty-five, was in her thirties when she crossed into six-figure territory, the average age for most of these women to start pulling in that amount. But I also interviewed women who didn't begin making six figures until they were well into their forties, fifties, even sixties.

During my interviews, I got to see firsthand what the feminine face of financial success actually looks like. Here's what I found.

Six-Figure Females -- Not an Exclusive Club

As one would expect, there are certain fields where you're more likely to come across six-figure women than others. I had no trouble finding investment bankers, financial advisers, doctors, and lawyers who were making big money. But what fascinated me most were those women working in occupations you wouldn't ordinarily equate with high pay. And surprisingly, there were quite a few of them, from artists to actors, from writers to teachers, from musicians to -- get this -- a matchmaker, and even a psychic.

Among the high earners with impressive credentials and advanced degrees, everyone swore her education was responsible for her financial success. "The fact I had Harvard on my résumé got me this job. Definitely," an executive stated emphatically. "That education's been good for my self-esteem. It's opened a lot of doors. I know people in ways that I never would have otherwise. When I advise people now, I tell them to go for the best education they can get."

But for all the M.B.A.'s and Ph.D.'s I spoke to, I also talked to scores of women whose only credential was a bachelor of arts or a two-year associate's degree. And, surprisingly, there were a number who had no college degree at all, some of whom were high school dropouts. What's more, the lack of credentials didn't seem to hurt them one bit.

"Credentials? You can hire credentials!" exclaimed a financial executive who has an undergraduate degree in classical civilizations. "I didn't want an M.B.A. I was scared it would homogenize me in some way. But almost everyone I've worked with told me, 'Frances, you've got to get credentials.' You know something? I've surpassed most of them."

Entrepreneur Kitty Stuart, a seventh-grade dropout, actually sees an advantage in her lack of education. "Because I didn't know any better, I went out and tried things people said I could never do."

Not having a degree didn't stop Karen Sheridan, either. She went from being a full-time, middle-aged housewife to a six-figure earner in four years -- without any college. "I couldn't go to school. I was supporting a family. So I had to learn on the job." Those jobs included stints at Touche Ross, one of the big-five accounting firms; at Capital Trust, selling money management services to pension funds; and at Bank of New York in a senior executive position. She finally enrolled in college and earned a degree in her fifties, long after she had entered six-figure country.

"How did you get all those jobs without a college degree?" I asked in amazement.

I never brought it up and they never brought it up, either," she said, laughing.

Secrets of Six-Figure Women
Surprising Strategies to Up Your Earnings and Change Your Life
. Copyright © by Barbara Stanny. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Excerpted from Secrets of Six-Figure Women: Surprising Strategies to up Your Earnings and Change Your Life by Barbara Stanny
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