Frequently, I speak with women who are scared.

They are scared about their money. They’re scared about investing. They’re scared about doing it alone. They’re scared about making wrong decisions that will negatively impact their financial future.

These fears are so huge that it sometimes causes women to become paralyzed. They’re completely stuck. They can’t move.

But what women should be most scared of is not doing what’s right with their money. Because this is the only thing that could result in their fears coming true.

There is nothing worse than a self-fulfilling prophecy. It’s a cycle. You believe it. This prophecy repeats in your head. Over. And over. And over. It doesn’t stop. You allow this to happen. However, you have the power to stop this.

You have a choice. You can choose to change your mindset. To think differently.

How you choose to make your money work for you is your choice. You can put your money on autopilot and let whatever happens happen, or you can consciously do something different.

You can deliberately choose to make your money work for you.

What do you think is the best route to take?

The women I talk to are successful and accomplished women who, despite their capabilities, don’t know what to do and are hesitant to speak to anyone about their money and wealth. They don’t ask for help. These women, with demanding jobs and extremely busy home lives, rarely talk to their friends, seek mentors, or request professional guidance about their finances.

These women often feel stranded and alone. They have not (yet) made the commitment to do something different with their money. To be in charge of their own wealth.

The result: these women are limited in their ability to grow and create financial independence and freedom. They don’t understand why they can successfully manage people, projects and often millions of dollars at work, but get stuck managing their own wealth.

I tell these women to not beat themselves up. To give themselves a break. Women often land in this frustrating position of not knowing what to do with their money through no fault of their own. They are taught how to create and manage budgets at work from their early days as an employee. However, no one talks to them about their stock options. Or, their 401(k). Or frankly, investing in their dreams.

The result is that managing their own money and making investment decisions that support their dreams are forgotten, ignored and put on the back burner.

Women are frequently intimidated by the investment process, the terminology, and the men who cavalierly toss these investment concepts around.

Even more than sports, the financial world creates a space that is not inclusive and limits the ability of outsiders (i.e., women) to enter the bubble. These barriers to entry force women off to the sidelines; they very rarely make it onto the playing field.

Unfortunately, this makes women less likely to score. We are, once again, on the losing team.

Is this an issue?

It sure is! Women are more likely to pop in and out of the workforce and thus need more money to care for themselves in the short and long-term. They earn less than men—and, therefore have a hard time saving enough money for dreams and well-being.

And, as we all know, women live longer than men and need more money to last a long lifetime of retirement.

This is serious! These issues are real. So real that they impact your life.

What does this look like on a daily basis? How does this impact your behavior?

  • You don’t maximize your employer retirement accounts.
  • You choose extremely conservative investment strategies.
  • You keep an extraordinary amount of money in savings accounts with limited growth.

These are behaviors that leave you stranded and unable to live out the life of your dreams. Instead of your money working efficiently and effectively for you, your money is being spent every pay period. Or, if saved, it’s not being invested in a way that supports your plans and visions.

Here are the top three actions you can take now:

  1. Get professional guidance.
  2. Talk about your money. (Don’t make it a taboo topic.)
  3. Be honest about where you are.

You have to change your thoughts. Believe in yourself. Find a mentor and like-minded communities. Implement a strategy. Make success happen.

Come on! You can do this. Get over yourself. Talk about money with your friends, family and finance professionals.

Be part of a movement of women who feel comfortable and secure with their finances and financial situation. We have to aggressively encourage each other.

Know your money. Do your money.

Make your money work for you.

You, too, can create wealth.

About the Author

Diane Manuel is Director for Foundation & Client Relationships at Adasina Social Capital, creating investment strategies that support racial and social justice. She is also a former UWM advisor, working closely with René Nourse for 5 years to grow the Smart Women/Savvy Money Club. Diane has been active in service and philanthropy most of her life, from her first job at the Watts-Willowbrook Boys’ & Girls’ Club to roles with the Carter Center Philanthropy Council and the Women’s Foundation of California. In addition to a BA from USC, Diane holds a PhD in Psychology and an MBA from Claremont Graduate University. An L.A. native, she enjoys 5Ks, the beach, wine tasting, photography, and walking with friends.