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Senior Correspondent

This will be short and sweet. Because it’s a topic that makes me so angry, I think I should limit myself to as few words as possible.

But I have to say something.

Last week I posted an article on Facebook that I had read in Forbes Online entitled “Why Do Women Round Down When Men Round Up?” by Forbes staffer Jenna Goudreau. Her premise was that, whereas men stretch numbers (and everything else in life) upward, we women shrink everything down. Including our qualities and capabilities.

This was based on a piece out of Harvard Business Review insinuating that women in all professional settings are held back by this tendency to minimize our talents, skills and experience. The conclusion was that we focus on the glass half empty, rather than the glass half full. We are afraid…to make mistakes, look dumb or fall short of being perfect.

Valerie Young, Ed.D, author of The Secret Thoughts of Successful Women, concludes that “Being female means you and your work automatically stand a greater chance of being ignored, discounted, trivialized, devalued or otherwise taken less seriously than a man’s.”

I say that, by the time you’re in your 40s or 50s, hopefully you’re long past what to me sounds like self-victimization. “Woe is me. I wasn’t good at math. I have no control over my own destiny. I have to accept the crumbs that are left to me.”

You do have choices in life. You can either buy into what’s being perpetuated in the media or you can decide that it doesn’t pertain to you.

And here’s why it’s particularly important to straighten out your attitude soon. (If not yesterday.)

Unless you’re already financially secure for life, it’s time to stop playing small. Time to “get real.” No one is going to come save you. It’s up to you to figure out what you need to live today and what you’ll need in the future. It’s time to get real about what you have and what you don’t. What’s important to you and what’s not. (Protect what’s important and shed the rest.)

Nothing in the U.S. or the world economy indicates that we’re on a path to great economic improvement or growth.  Nor will we be seeing “pre-2007” conditions again for the foreseeable future.

This does not mean there are no opportunities out there. They just don’t look like they used to, and you’ll have to be more creative to unearth them. But they’re there.

So, especially if you don’t have a decade or two to waste before starting to get serious about your future finances, my recommendations are the following for anyone not already set for life:

1.    Get your head out of the sand.
2.    Get real about your life and your money.
3.    Stop procrastinating or lying to yourself.
4.    Ignore what anyone says you can or can’t do.
5.    Figure out where you want to be.
6.    Put together a step-by-step plan to get there.
7.    Get help if you need it.
8.    Take the first steps.
9.    And keep going.

Let me know in the comment section below what, if anything, is keeping you from taking these steps to the financial freedom you so deserve.

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