This guest post is by Cindy Golub and Laurie Girsky, founders of G-Squared Advisory, a fee-only financial planning firm.  G-Squared Advisory does financial planning especially for women.  Their services include budget analysis, college savings, estate planning, insurance review, investment advice, retirement planning and financial checkups.

Consider these statistics a wake-up call: a resounding majority of women–80 to 90 percent of them worldwide–must, at some point, manage their own finances. And in this country, women control as much as $19 trillion of wealth (both independently earned and inherited), which accounts for more than three quarters of the nation’s financial makeup.

So even if at this moment you aren’t in a position that requires you to manage finances on your own, it is imperative to be prepared–it goes without saying that life is unpredictable. The best way to navigate these uncertainties is to take responsibility for yourself. It’s critical to learn how to live well today without sacrificing your future. 

You work hard to earn your money, so it’s about time to learn how to make your money work for you–especially in this day and age, while the prospect of social security has become increasingly uncertain, and people aren’t getting pensions like they used to. Without these safety nets in place, now more than ever, you are ultimately responsible for your financial well-being.

Here are a couple of basics to get you thinking about your finances:

  • It may seem like your retirement is something you don’t need to think about for a while, but the power of compound interest works in your favor if you start saving right now.
  • Establish sterling habits for yourself.  Start saving part of your income now so that you don’t fall into debt later; one rule of thumb is to save 10% of your income. If you can’t do that, choose a number and pay yourself first.
  • Free yourself from financial stress by articulating your goals, then break them down into manageable steps so that you can realize your aspirations. Take the time to educate yourself about your finances.

It’s empowering to be knowledgeable.  Women need to live within their means and develop strategies to grow their financial wealth. Over the course of our series, we will give you advice on how to implement these strategies.