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Women & Money: Erasing The Fear Of Investing

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FORT LAUDERDALE (CBS4) – We all have money fears, but research shows that women lag behind men when it comes to investing.

Often this is because women don’t understand the process of investing.

“We’re not born knowing about money and the worst part is we’re not taught in school,” said Harriet Johnson Brackey a financial planner and former business journalist.

“When I’m making money, I don’t know how to re-invest it to have more money coming in,” says Pamela Roberts.

Roberts is a single mother and successful businesswoman who has owned companies and now manages and sells real estate.

She says she avoids the stock market.

“That makes me nervous because I’m not a gambler and I’m really afraid of losing money,” explained Roberts. “I feel accomplished and I just want to protect my kids and myself for my future and their future.”

CBS4’s Joan Murray put Roberts in touch with Johnson Brackey to develop a strategy for taking action against financial fears.

“The hardest thing is for people to line up their money with their goals,” explained Johnson Brackey.

She recommends the first step is start saving ten to fifteen percent of your paycheck.

“The money you save compounds and it’s amazing what it will do for you at the end of your career,” said Brackey.

Tip number two:  If your company offers a 401 K plan, contribute up to the amount your company matches.

“That’s free money and earnings on your savings,” says Johnson Brackey.

When it comes to knowing how to split up your money in the 401 K, Johnson Brackey recommends you “diversify.”

“You have to figure out a portion for stocks because that’s the only way it will grow and you have to beat inflation because you know it’s going to come back and you need a portion for safer stuff,” suggested Brackey.

She also recommends getting an IRA.  “My favorite is a Roth IRA because you put money in, you’ve already paid tax on it and you take it out tax free.”

Finally, Johnson Brackey says, “The secret is to live below your means.  I’ve seen it work for millionaires and for people who earn $50 thousand dollars a year.

If you can live on less than what you make, you will always be ahead of the game.”

That’s exactly where Pamela Roberts hopes to be.

“Knowing I’m putting a little money aside every month, I won’t have to worry as much.”

Experts say the most important thing is to not stay frozen in fear.

Studies show that when women take the plunge and invest wisely, they often make smarter investing choices than men.

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