Financial tips for women by 7 On Your Side

NEW YORK (WABC) -- For women, the time is now to take control of your financial futures -- and the stats tell the story.

First, women live longer than men, so it's probable they will need more money in retirement. And the road to financial freedom starts with savings and investment, yet just 8% of investors are women.

"I think the most important piece for women in investing is understand what your goals are," debt solutions attorney Leslie Tayne said. "Are they short term, long term? Are they retirement? How much do you want to have, and how aggressive do you want to be at growing that? But I think more than ever, it's important for women to take control of their money and start investing."

Tayne, based on Long Island, says start small, seek out information, and understand risk. Begin with getting a hold of your finances.

"It's super important for women to be intimately involved with their finances, even if they don't pay the bills," Tayne said. "It's important what bills you have, when they get paid, and the money coming in and out of the household."

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It has never been easier to link and load all your accounts to your phone, and Tayne says to set reminders to stay on top of things. Track your spending habits by keeping an eye on bank balances, and sign up for fraud alerts.

Next, establish an emergency savings account

"An emergency safety net is really important," Tayne said. "That could include a savings account, what you can term an emergency fund you can access should you have a loss of income or need for emergency cash."

Establishing credit is important for financial security, and a good way to start is to sign up for a secured credit card -- that's one you must pay each month.

Woman should also plan for retirement. If your company offers a 401K, sign up. They may match a certain percentage, which is the equivalent of a raise. It'll also lower your taxable income, which will take a bite out of your tax bill.

"As women, we can do this," Tayne said. "We can take advantage of our financial future and empower each other."

Some other big takeaways: If you're in debt, ditch your most expensive debt first. That means paying down the highest interest credit card or student loan.

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Next, make saving a priority. We suggest automating it, so the money comes out of account or paycheck automatically.

And start a budget. That means knowing how much money is coming and going each month. Once you do, you can make a plan to pay down your debts.

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