Book Review: Secrets of Six-Figure Women by Barbara Stanny

As the cost of living increases, one naturally evaluates their compensation and benefits package. While it is an important topic, it’s often loaded with gender, racial and social biases. Duh.

So whom should we consult to get started, Casey? Well where does the conversation usually begin? With gurus of course!

The Background

The title reminded me of T. Harv Ecker’s Secrets of a Millionaire Mind (2005). Let’s face it we’ve all gone through our blindly positive mindset phase. Clearly grasping for a solution that doesn’t require more years of school, work, or contacts as long a CVS receipt.

At least, that was the case for me (and my homegirls) in 2009 -when we read every self-help book we could get our hands on.

Enter: Secrets of Six-Figure Women (Stanny, 2004). Much like when you shift from hourly to salary, or $25,000 to say $40,000 instead of $25,000 to $70,000, six-figures felt more obtainable, whereas millionaire felt like a hard sell.

More On the Author

Barbara Stanny’s father was the founder of H&R Block tax services. Her husband squandered her trust fund. They got divorced, and he left her, with their 3 kids, to clean up the mess. Barbara recovered by learning about personal finances, and is now a writer and speaker on the subject. She also remarried and is now Barbara Huson (good for them).

She has authored at least 7 titles including:

  • Overcoming Underearning
  • Sacred Success
  • Prince Charming Isn’t Coming: How Women get Smart about Money
  • Breaking Through: Getting Past the Stuck Points in your Life
  • Why Women Earn Less: How to Make what you’re Really Worth
  • Finding a Financial Advisor you can Trust: A Guide for Investors
  • Secrets of Six-Figure Women: Surprising Strategies to Up Your Earnings and Change Your Life

The Gist:

Disclaimer: This post has links to purchase the books mentioned. I may earn a small commission but this is at no cost to you.

In Secrets of Six-Figure Women: Surprising Strategies to Up your Earnings and Change your Life, Barbara lists the following strategies for increasing your earnings:

  • The Declaration of Intention
  • Letting Go of the Ledge
  • Get into the Game
  • Speak Up
  • The Stretch
  • Seek Support
  • Obey the Rules of Money


My first takeaway was that even though the book was published in 2004, there are still valuable gems throughout that can shift someone’s mindset from a place of doubt and pessimism, towards a place of belief and optimism.

Gigs v. Full-Time

She gives an example of a woman learning Secret 2: Working Hard Doesn’t Equal Working All the Time. She revealed that the woman worked what today we would call the gig economy -working several part time jobs or gigs.

Babysitting, gardening, and house painting, took up significantly more time and energy than one full-time six-figure job would. I tend to agree. I’ve tried the gig economy route, and let me tell you, it’s far more exhausting than my current project management role.

Plus, we sometimes diminish the fact that many six-figure positions include benefits like top healthcare and insurance packages, in addition to perks and services like child care stipends, and company vehicles. Further stretching your actual earnings, simply by carrying (read: paying for) the load of other needs.

Practical Guidance

My second takeaway was that she did list some practical guidance amidst the mindset prescriptions. My personal favorite part was Chapter 2: The Lowdown on Low Earners. Stanny describes at length what so-called “underearners” believe, and how it sets them back. Boy did I feel called out and attacked!

9 Traits of Underearners (Stanny, 2004, p.69-82)

  1. Underearners have a high tolerance for low pay
  2. Underearners underestimate their worth
  3. Underearners are willing to work for free
  4. Underearners are lousy negotiators
  5. Underearners practice reverse snobbery
  6. Underearners believe in the nobility of poverty
  7. Underearners are subtle self-saboteurs
  8. Underearners are unequivocally co-dependent
  9. Underearners live in financial chaos

What’s more she made an entire book out of these points. I was so convicted, I immediately found her book Overcoming Underearning and read it cover to cover. No regrets! It lead met to start a confidence and skill building journey that doubled my salary. Yes you read that right doubled!

No regrets! It lead met to start a confidence and skill building journey that doubled my salary.

Crazy Wall Casey

Read or Pass?


On every crazy wall, there’s comments surrounding missing information, links, and breakthroughs in the case. Let’s discuss! Leave a comment below and let me know your thoughts and strategies.

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    2 thoughts on “Book Review: Secrets of Six-Figure Women by Barbara Stanny

    1. Loved the read or pass grid. That’s the good stuff most of us want out of a book review. I also read at least Barbara Stanny books and always leave improved. Great job!

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