When it comes to investment decisions, studies show that women are a lot less likely to take risks than their male counterparts. While much of this goes back to societal pressures to adopt traditional gender roles—and the fact that a lot of women are still socially conditioned to be homemakers, a role that creates a bias towards saving and conservative financial habits—being financially-savvy, and learning how to weigh risks and rewards in a contextually optimal way is how to pave the path to real wealth. And it’s why financial literacy is so important. 

Across the board, the lack of financial literacy in the U.S. is hurting Americans more than they realize, but it’s also completely understandable. We don’t teach financial basics in school like how to file taxes, how to create a budget, or how to invest. And—while that information is certainly out there—it’s difficult to know where to begin in such an overwhelmingly vast and complicated subject. Learning about money shouldn’t be that hard. 

For women in particular, this has created a second gender gap when it comes to finance—the financial literacy gap—and it’s one of many obstacles women face when it comes to building lasting wealth. So how can women address it and level-up their financial literacy?

  1. Face your financial fears and anxiety.

Money is the #1 cause of stress in America today, and it holds us all back. When dealing with stress brought on from anxiety over your finances, it’s going to be important to follow traditional ways of dealing with the symptoms themselves. Explore tactics like exercise, meditation, therapy and even breathing techniques.

But as far as removing financial anxiety from your life permanently, it’s important to seek out sources of information that you trust in order to give yourself the financial education that you didn’t get in traditional school. You’ll want to find sources that are relevant to you and your unique situation. Getting educated will give you the confidence to take more financial risks. 

  1. Dig deep to uncover what types of investments appeal to you.

There is no hard and fast rule when it comes to deciding what financial assets you should invest in.  It all depends on your risk appetite, your lifestyle choices, and your personal interests. For example, some people are more suited to owning rental properties because they enjoy doing handyman work and dealing with people. Others may be more suited to starting a business. Others yet may be suited to managing a stock portfolio.

Owning financial assets does not guarantee that you will become a millionaire. However, not owning financial assets guarantees that you will never become a millionaire—unless you are one of the very few people who are able to command $500,000+ in salary from your employer or you come into an unexpected windfall such as a lottery win or an inheritance).

  1. Study the women who have pioneered the movement.

Change becomes far more likely when there are role models to emulate. The emergence of high-profile female business executives, investors, and entrepreneurs has certainly shown the world that glass ceilings can be broken—which, in turn, provides inspiration to young women and girls. From Carly Fiorina to Sheryl Sandberg to Indra Nooyi, and more recently, Whitney Wolfe Heard, there have been many trailblazing women whose success reminds us that there are those who have gone before us and that we, too, can aspire to great heights simply by applying ourselves and never giving up.

What do all three of these points have in common? They’re all ways to increase your understanding of finances before you take a leap into investments. It’s important anytime that you are taking a risk to evaluate all the factors beforehand to make sure it’s a measured risk. Now you’re ready to dip your toe into the investment world, with your eyes wide open. If we can increase financial literacy among women, we’ll see women build wealth and increase their opportunities to launch their own businesses. Financial literacy can be a game changer, it’s time to get educated.