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How women can overcome their financial fears

Many women have problems investing their money. “Today” financial editor Jean Chatzy addresses issue in her new book, “Make Money, Not Excuses.”
/ Source: TODAY

In nearly two decades, I don’t know that I've ever had such an exciting workweek. So I wanted to share.

On Monday, I launched a daily radio show for Oprah and Friends, a brand new XM Satellite Radio channel (you can find it at XM 156). There I'm joining exciting colleagues like Gayle King, Nate Berkus, Dr. Robin Smith, Marianne Williamson, Dr. Mehmet Oz and Oprah herself.

My show will be about helping you make the most of your money — from earning more to investing better to making smarter spending choices — so that you can eliminate the financial worries so many of us suffer from and build a prosperous, secure financial future. I’ll be taking your calls and answering your email questions. I’ll also be talking to fabulous guests (Donald Trump and Robert Kiyosaki are already on deck).

As if that weren’t exciting enough, yesterday my new book, “Make Money, Not Excuses,” hit stores. Here’s a very condensed version of Chapter 8, which is devoted to helping women who feel they can deal with their money but for whom investing is daunting, or worse. I hope it helps.

Chapter 8For many women there’s a huge disconnect between making and spending money and investing money. Think about it. You can wow your colleagues with an in-depth analysis of what’s wrong with the competition’s promotional strategy.

You can get three kids out the door in the morning with their teeth brushed, hair combed, and homework complete.

Yet, when it comes to investing, many of you just don't trust yourselves.

And because you lack that trust, you rob yourselves of any real shot at a prosperous financial future.

You have to allow your money to work just as hard as you do if you're ever going to be able to reach your goals, retire, and feel financially secure.

  1. Before you start, you need to knock down the obstacles to investing — there are four big ones — standing in your way.
    Investing bores you. For some women, the mere words "Wall Street" elicit a big yawn.
  2. Numbers make your eyes glaze over. If you can't get past the basic math it's very difficult to get yourself to make even the simple decisions about how much of your money you want to invest, what percentage of your income, makes sense. (If I'm talking directly to you, there's a whole chapter in the book devoted to math anxiety).
  3. You don't speak the language. I spent a few years working on Wall Street and I remember initially feeling like I was in a foreign country.
  4. You're scared s---less. When you come right down to it, you're afraid if you invest your money, you'll lose it. That's why so many of you keep your money where it's "safe" in the bank.

If you don't learn about investing, the only money you will have over your lifetime is money that you earn from working.

Moreover, if you don't invest, then your money actually loses value over time.

When you do nothing with your money — because of taxes and inflation — your dollars are worth less tomorrow (and the tomorrow after that) than they are today.And the reality is: If you don't invest, you won't have the money you need for a long, comfortable retirement, or extra cash to give your kids a helping hand.

Start by putting contributions into your investments (automatically kicking money into your 401(k) at work, your IRAs and Roth IRAs at your brokerage firm, etc.) and put the diversification of that money on autopilot as well.

Take yourself (and your emotions) out of the rebalancing process.

Thankfully, in the last few years, mutual fund companies have rolled out “life cycle funds” and “target date retirement funds.”

These ask you what year you're planning to retire.

As you approach that date, the fund company shrinks the percentage the fund has in stocks and boosts the percentage it has in bonds, to reduce your risk over time.

This way, if the stock market tanks a year or so before you're set to retire, you should still be okay.

Jean Chatzky is an editor-at-large at Money magazine and serves as AOL's official Money Coach. She is the personal finance editor for NBC's "Today Show" and is also a columnist for Life magazine. She is the author of four books, including "Pay It Down! From Debt to Wealth on $10 a Day" (Portfolio, 2004). To find out more, visit her Web site, .