PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – A new Fidelity survey looking into the state of women’s finances found nearly 90% of women say they have made “money moves” recently or are planning to in the near future, from adjusting spending habits and improving credit scores to contributing to an emergency fund.

The Fidelity Women’s History Month 2023 Survey reported financial barriers for some women begin as teenagers.

“The barrier women face start as early as teenage years, leaving a lasting impact,” according to Fidelity. “Teen girls are more likely to feel stress than teen boys when it comes to money. Teen boys are more likely to feel confident.”

The survey found 58% of men recall having money talks when they were under 18 years old compared to 53% of women. Twenty-seven percent of teen boys had conversations about investing compared to 20% of teen girls, the survey said.

“Women need to learn to budget. You actually have to know how much everything is costing each month and that means right down to your groceries. You can save money in every area, but you need to understand where your money is being spent and you need to create a budget,” Dr. Ann Kaplan advises.

Kaplan, the founder of consumer finance company iFinance, says one of the biggest mistakes in finance is not making a budget to stick to.

“For example, if you’re buying groceries, can you save money by buying them online? Do you need to have a car? Do you need to be spending on luxury items?” Kaplan said. “And no one’s going to want to hear this but having a budget and deciding to say ‘I’m not going to need that. I don’t need that luxury item,’ that’s a hard thing to do but that’s what we need to do.”

Kaplan recommends consolidating high-interest debt and changing to a lower-interest rate card or getting a lower-cost fixed-interest loan.

While women face other financial stressors, like gender pay gaps or the ‘pink tax‘, Kaplan says it’s important to think big in terms of financial goals.

“I think the biggest mistake that we make, not necessarily just women, but women in particular, we don’t think big. We don’t think of ourselves as a mogul, as a real estate investor, as a money-maker and we almost get in our own way of asking for more,” Kaplan said.

“Once you learn the game, you learn you’re no different than anyone else,” Kaplan said. “Once your self-worth is valued higher, you’re valued higher.”