Imagine looking at your bank statement and seeing $11,000 more than you expected. If you're anything like me, you would immediately start planning how to spend your newfound riches. Should I be responsible and pay off my debt? Or should I finally take that dream vacation to Paris?
This situation isn't hypothetical. Fifty years after President Kennedy signed the Equal Pay Act into law, women, on average, still make just 77 cents for every dollar a man makes. That adds up to nearly $11,000 in lost wages every year.
Since today is Equal Pay Day, which marks how far into 2013 women must work to be paid what men were paid in 2012 alone, we've put together a list of nine things you could buy with the extra $11,000 you would've earned last year if you were a man:
- Nearly half of your student loan debt: The average US student loan debt is just over $24,000. Imagine how much less stressed you'd be when you check your mail if your monthly student loan payments were cut in half.
- Biff Tannen's hoverboard from Back to the Future 2: It's all yours for the low price of $9,995.
- A full year of daycare: Daycare makes it much easier for parents to work without taking extra time off, but it's also really expensive.
- A cruise to Antarctica: If penguins are your thing, you can use that extra $11,000 to sail to the bottom of the world in luxury.
- Most of your credit card debt: The average credit card debt per household is $15,799. Paying that off would put control of your finances back in your own hands.
- The entire Shaq jewelry collection at Zales: Yes, this is a thing.
- A new car: If you live in a town without reliable public transportation, a new car could make a huge difference in your annual transportation costs. You can buy a new Nissan Versa for just over $11,000.
- New York Mets season tickets: Want to cheer on the Mets from behind the dugout for a whole season? That'll cost you $10,078.
- A year's worth of groceries, health insurance, and electric billsplus a round trip flight to Paris: If you're single, you could use that money to pay for a large part of your non-housing annual expenses and still have enough left over to celebrate in Paris.
In stores, offices and boardrooms across America, millions of women are being paid less than men doing the same job. On this Equal Pay Day, we must urge Congress to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act. The Paycheck Fairness Act provides a much needed update to the Equal Pay Act – a law that has not been able to achieve its promise of closing the wage gap because of limited enforcement tools and inadequate remedies.
Whether you would spend your extra money responsibly or use it to start your collection of Back to the Future memorabilia, we've already earned that $11,000 – now it's time to make sure it ends up in our bank accounts.
What would you do with $11,000? Post your response in the comments and ask Congress to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act.