April is Financial Literacy Month – because who doesn’t get a jolt of reality every year when Tax Day rolls by (or over) us?

Learning to manage money is especially important for women who tend to outlive male partners and spend more years in retirement. And women generally have less to retire on (called “superannuation“), because of the pay gap between men and women, because more women than men take time out of their careers to care for children or aging parents, and because more women will take lower-paying jobs or work for employers who don’t offer retirement plans.

Money management may seem a little off-topic for a menopause site, but your financial health has direct impacts on your quality of life. We’re all about whole-woman wellness at Gennev, and you can’t be at your fabulous best if you’re stressed about your economic wellbeing.

So what can you do to prepare for your financial future? First, take a deep breath. Hold it. Little longer. Little longer…. There. Let it out. You can do this.

According to a 2016 Fidelity study, only 37% of women are confident in planning for retirement. But likely close to 100% of us want to be financially secure in our golden years, so let’s review four steps to get us started.

  1. Build a budget. You can’t make goals for your future until you know where you are now. How much do you really spend in a day, a month, a year? NerdWallet breaks down the popular 50/30/20 budget (50% of income to needs, 30% to wants, 20% to savings and debt repayment) to help you determine how to budget according to your priorities.
  2. Enlist an ally. Financial advisors aren’t just for those with oodles of money. But you want to be sure you find one with your best interests at heart. The Balance has seven steps to help you identify an advisor who will put your needs first. You can also check with WISER, the Women’s Institute for a Secure Retirement, for great advice on saving and investing and planning for retirement.
  3. Be your own best ally. There are some great resources out there to help you wrap your head around how, why, and when to start planning your financial future (spoiler alert: that “when” is now). DailyWorth is a terrific resource for women, so consider joining up for the info they can provide, but also check out their 10 Best Finance Books for Women.
  4. Finally: don’t sacrifice your future. Trying to decide where to put your dollars? Carrie Schwab-Pomerantz (daughter of Charles Schwab and an investment expert in her own right) advised women against doing what women often do: putting themselves last. If it comes down to your retirement or your kid’s college fund, opt to plump up the retirement kitty. Why? There are other ways to finance a college education, and aging parents without sufficient retirement savings can become a burden to their children later on.

Tackling your finances can be a daunting task – and, quite frankly, a potentially dull one. But with more of us living longer, it’s never been more important to secure our financial futures. Here’s to your long, healthy, happy life!