The time has come for working mothers to help themselves and help other women, for the sake of our children, who are inheriting this country and its future economy. Will it be a place where our daughters can grow up to become women who can prosper financially on their own?
It has to be. We can no longer wait for our spouses, our bosses, our corporations, the government, assistance programs, laws or society to help us. The need is urgent. We must all answer the call.
The economy is steadily improving, and financial prospects are better than they’ve been for years, especially for people with stocks and businesses and wealth. But for blue collar and white collar workers who earn an hourly wage or a salary or a day rate, expenses continue to increase faster than pay.
That’s where we have to step in. We have to do whatever we can to increase pay and decrease expenses for other women.
In my case, I manage rental property. I have control over how much the rent increases from year to year, and I received this request from my assistant:
Our tenant wants to stay with us, but says that if we raise the rent again she will have to leave and move out of state. I asked her if there would be anything she would want as a bonus to sign a new lease for $25 more per month; she said the idea of new floors seems really nice, but in the end she doesn’t need anything; the price on the apartment is just getting too high. She has always been a wonderful tenant: never paid her rent late, doesn’t complain about anything unless she really needs a repair. I would hate to lose her. She just wants her rent the same for a new one-year lease.
I raise rents because expenses increase every year; the cost for repairs, maintenance, insurance and property tax is up. But despite those challenges, I stepped up, and did my part to help another woman, by responding:
If she’s been a really good tenant, and she can’t afford even $5 more per month, I will leave the rent the same. You can re-sign a lease with her for another year. We will revisit the topic in a year. Maybe by then she will get a raise at work. I know it’s tough.
And then my assistant revealed the true scope of the sad reality that trickle down theories don’t work. Despite the Dow Jones Industrial Average near all-time highs, companies are spending those extra profits on executives and perks and not the employees doing the real work, as evidenced by so many statistics and stories like the response from my assistant:
Thank you! I know she will appreciate that! But just so you know, a lot of places don’t offer raises quickly or easily. I haven’t gotten a raise in 7 years. My husband’s last raise was 2 years ago, and that was only 25 cents. I have a friend who has been begging for a raise for about 4 years now. It really is hard, and I know of many other people who work their butts off for not enough pay. I think you and your husband may feel that way too. So again, thank you.
Yes, we do feel that way, and I replied:
I worked for the same company for 15 years until 2014, and the last 9 years I had no raise at all. The company also offered no benefits — no paid days off, no paid vacation, no paid sick days, no insurance, no 401k. I can relate!
If you can relate, then do something about it yourself. Don’t wait for others. We all have more influence than we think. Use it. I just did. Now it’s your turn.