If you’ve ever had a conversation with anyone about money, you know the topic can often be very taboo -well, at least it was for me growing up because quite simply we didn’t have much of it.

As I got older and I started making my own money, I realized no one had ever sat me down and given me direction on how to manage my finances. I don’t ever remember a conversation about how to balance my budget, or what or how to invest – I had to learn over time. My first introduction to credit cards was shady at best – I was offered a free t-shirt to apply for a card on my college campus (trickery I tell you).

I think there’s a tendency to avoid the topic of money for a few reasons. Sometimes there’s an embarrassment surrounding the financial decisions we’ve made, or debts accumulated. Or we might feel that conversations about investments or retirement planning are too complicated and overwhelming, so we don’t bother. Or we simply don’t care -why worry about it, just eat, drink and be merry now, right?

Regardless of the reason, for women, our degree of financial savviness impacts the quality of our life. Often women live longer than their husbands so we need to manage our money well independent of our spouse; if you’re a single woman you’re the sole contributor to your financial well-being now and in the future; and if you’re a single mother your children are relying on you to provide. The list of reasons why we should own our financial future is endless.

So my advice to women is simple as it relates to money: take care of your financial well-being now. Your future will thank you.

Money is such a powerful tool when you use it the right way. It can be planted today and grow so that you have not just enough for you, but for the people that you love most.

Learning how to manage your money means that you put yourself in the driver’s seat of your financial well-being – not just hoping and wishing that everything will magically turn out okay in the future. Because as you’ve heard, “hope is not a plan.”

There are a few books and resources that have helped me as I’ve worked towards financial wellness:

  • Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki – this was the first book I read out of college that started to shift how I looked at money, assets and liabilities. It spurred my interest in real estate.
  • Unshakeable: Your Financial Freedom Playbook by Tony Robbins this book helped me to look at the stock market different. With tips on how to select index funds, what expenses to evaluate when selecting a fund, it was simple guidance and invaluable.
  • Financial Peace University by Dave Ramsey – this course was a great reboot on budgeting and can be taken in person or online. I’ve taken it and sponsored other women to take this course to get their budget best practices in order.

This is a short list but there are tons of online groups and courses where you can get solid advice – from Suze Orman, Dave Ramsey, Tiffany Aliche to Ellevest.

I can tell you that paying off both student loans (goodbye Sallie Mae and Navient!), budgeting, and learning how to invest has required discipline but it has paid off (and I continue to learn so I can reap the rewards). One of the greatest feelings I’ve had is being in the position financially to respond to financial emergencies and unexpected life events not only myself, but also for those I love, because I know far too well what it looks like when you need money and don’t have it.

So, if you’re anything like me and no one taught you how to manage your money or you’ve even mismanaged your money, there’s still an opportunity for you to take control of your financial future.

The greatest part about this is that you will find that it’s not just beneficial for you, but also for those that you love the most.

Velera Wilson is a speaker, author, and consultant who helps ambitious women lead with confidence in their career, relationships, and everyday life. Her next book will be released Fall 2020 – learn more, get exclusive sneak peeks and updates by joining her VIP Book Tribe here.