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Dough, moola, coins–whatever you call it, it’s time to start talking openly about money.

This isn’t about comparing paychecks with your friends. It’s about having serious discussions where you feel safe to ask questions and can learn something new.

Talking about money can be uncomfortable (many of us were taught it’s rude), but if we can improve our financial knowledge and self-esteem as women, we can make huge strides in earning equal pay a lot sooner than 2059.

Normalizing Finance Conversations Among Women

Wouldn’t you love to know Sheryl Sandberg’s take on real estate investments in high-priced urban areas? Or, whether she took a high-risk approach to her retirement investments when she was young?

It’s unlikely many of us will chat up Sheryl anytime soon, but there are plenty of women ascending the ranks at big companies, starting their own enterprises and generally leaning in (catch that reference) and being #badass every day. Most of us know a great female leader, but how many of us are tapping into their knowledge about money?  

Hearing others’ perspectives allows us to learn and integrate the parts that speak to us into our own lives. Another perk: These conversations help us expand our financial vocabulary, and the savvier we are, the better off we’ll be when it’s time to negotiate a salary or make decisions about investments.  

Nav it: Find a mentor. Is there someone in your life whose financial prowess you admire? Look for someone whose core values align with yours, but can also expose you to other viewpoints.

Negotiations: A Time to Slay, Not Back Away

I sat on an Equal Pay panel last year that also included an HR expert who has hired and recruited thousands of people at all levels. She had one piece of unwavering advice: Always negotiate.

Here’s the deal: If an employer is providing their best offer and doesn’t want to negotiate, they will say that upfront. While you should be realistic about your level of experience and the company’s resources, there’s always room to negotiate. Worst case scenario? They say no and you must decide to take what they offer or move on. Doesn’t sound that bad, does it?

But you can’t negotiate if you don’t understand the market or what type of package you’re being offered. Most importantly, #knowyourworth so you can command the pay you deserve.

Nav it: Do your homework. Research an average salary/benefits package commensurate with your experience. Sites like PayScale can help you narrow down pay information by geographic location and industry.

But, don’t get sucked into an internet rabbit hole. Talk to others in your field to hear real-world insights.

Practice Makes Paycheck: Become a Master Negotiator

Negotiating your salary is about finding a compromise between the company’s budget and a benefits package that compensates you fairly for the work you’ll do to drive company success.

In addition to your salary, you’ll want to know what type of retirement plan options an employer provides. Will there be a 401k match? Is the health insurance comprehensive? Do they offer commuter benefits like a subsidized bus pass? If the company won’t budge on salary, you might be able to negotiate these other benefits.

Nav it: Negotiating is not the time to wing it. Practice your negotiating skills by role-playing with trusted friends, colleagues or peers.

Beginning with negotiation, let’s work on closing that wage gap ourselves and shatter some glass ceilings in the process.