Women take emotional risks all the time, but rarely do we take financial ones. We rent when we should buy. We buy when we should have rented and invested our extra capital in better ways. We think jobs when we should think careers. And we lose ten good years of saving or investing in our 20s while we're waiting to find Mr. Right.
Another thing: Women never talk about how much money we make, or what's the best way to be on a fast track to a fat income. The culture seems to think that when men discuss earning strategies, they are being heroic—and when women do the same, we are scheming and vulgar. Why is that?
We fear the so-called lonely life we've been told career women face. But according to Millionaire Women Next Door , the median age of women with seven-figure assets is 49; only one in 20 has never been married, and only about 20 percent are divorced.
Women should do what men do: Make the money. Success is a choice. You have an obligation to yourself—to make you your first priority. You don't have to give up love or family; you just have to keep them in balance while you're building your nest egg.
Follow these cardinal rules:
First, believe that becoming rich (or richer) is doable. You need self-confidence and self-knowledge to know what you are good at—and to stop doing what you're bad at.
Second, always look to the bottom line. Make sure your talent matches what your customer/company values. If you're a lawyer, do you bill the most hours? If you're a hairdresser, do you have the most clients in the salon? Are you in a business that's profitable? Before you open a small gift shop, find out whether gift shop owners make good money (they rarely do). If you're stuck in a dead-end job, think about doing something else in the evenings or on weekends. Learn a new skill. Bake pies for the local grocer—Martha Stewart started in a similar way—if you want to be a caterer.
Third, work hard. Set your sights high and go for it. Do not get shamed into not staying late. Not taking work home. The people who are naysayers now are the same ones who will ask to swim in your pool in a couple of years. Ask your husband to be a partner in your career as much as you are in his. Years (alas, sometimes decades) of long hours, shortened vacations, missed school events and dinner parties all add up to a successful future that will find you independent, comfortable, and even, sometimes, a millionaire.
Printed from Oprah.com on Friday, December 6, 2013