According to research done by Kiplinger, females are more methodical long-term investors than men. In general, we save more and we trade less. This means we don't expose ourselves to the friction costs of investing, which ultimately eat into any margin earned. Therefore, we earn more on our investments annually. Additionally female investors tend to be less eager to sell than male investors, which is ironic as most of the best investors say their worst decisions have been sell decisions.
Taking the first step towards investing can be daunting. I have first-hand experience of this. Fear is natural but what makes investing so worthwhile, is that the benefits far outweigh the risks. Since entering the market two years ago as a novice investor I have built up fundamental knowledgeable and understanding, my portfolio has expanded (better than any savings account or managed fund has returned for me), and I have really enjoyed the journey so far. However, I have really been struck that as a female investor I'm part of a very small minority, which doesn't help tackling that daunting fear I mentioned earlier, but rather exacerbates it.
At a recent hackathon I dug deep in this phenomenon to understanding the core reasons as to why more women either don't invest at all or at least to the same levels as men, despite it being proven that women are more successful at it. The main reasons I came away with were perception of affordability, potential risk, lack of trust, not knowing where to start and a lack of guidance.
The great thing about all of these challenges is that they all have solutions entirely within our own control. Given our natural predisposition to successful investing, I think it's about time that more women owned their financial future. I wholeheartedly believe, from first-hand experience, that stock market investing offers the best long-term opportunity to do so.
Here are five simple ways that have built my confidence to get started, and hopefully they will help you too.
This is a scary thought, right, but it doesn't have to be. Starting is the most important step that essentially requires two things - time and money.
Time relates to the hours you are willing to invest in building the knowledge necessary to reduce the risks associated with making uninformed decisions. It's important to know the basics. I found the perfect app that helped me get started. Start where ever suits you best, but the important thing is to get started. Your knowledge also relates to the length of time that you are comfortable investing, which will change your potential for higher returns-- hence the importance of getting started, now.
The second thing that is required is money. People presume they can't afford to invest or that they need thousands to get started. When realistically you can start with as little as ten dollars (although I recommend starting with a bit more than that, so that you are cushioned against the costs of investing - transfer fees, commissions etc.). Many apps offer fractional share investing, meaning you can buy a fraction of a share if the full share price is too large for you.
I believe that there is no better experience than that which is gained from the actual act of investing. Once you make your first move you are committed and this sense of commitment will lead you to understand, with greater clarity, how stocks and the stock market operate.
I adopt the 'buy-and-hold' philosophy. This requires buying part of the companies that you understand and believe in, and holding them for the long term (ten+ years). The reason I adhere to this philosophy is because it has been tried, tested and proven to be the best way to outperform the market.
Never Borrow to Buy
Borrowed money comes at a cost, usually in the form of interest, which will over time eat into your returns. As a good habit, with each paycheck I receive, the first thing I do is save ten percent of my salary. Save whatever you can and before you know it you'll have a nice little bundle to dedicate exclusively to investing. Or, you could follow the rule of investing what you can, when you can and on a regular and fixed period each month.
That famous adage, 'don't put all your eggs in one basket' can be perfectly applied to stock market investing. By spreading your risk across different stocks in various industries and diverse territories, you are providing yourself with the best opportunity to reduce your exposure should the market take a turn for the worse. Over time aim to build your portfolio to 12 stocks or more. You could even start with an ETF, which offers instant diversification.
Buy What You Believe In
Reflect on the brands that you consume every day. Whether it's Amazon, Apple, Nike or Netflix, start to build up your knowledge of what goes on behind the scenes of these companies. All listed companies have an Investor Relations page on their website. You can start there and get to know the nuts and bolts of the company.
From my experience investing has been a very enjoyable pursuit because I've invested in businesses that I believe in and understand. I have also learned a lot about new sectors, emerging trends and the broader business world along the way.
Since I began to invest it has only been a positive experience for me - even when the stocks that haven't performed as I expected have provided a learning opportunity. While some mistakes may be made along the way, there are ways to minimize these risks. Follow these five simple steps to build your confidence. Start today and enjoy the journey.
Being stared at by strangers is something I have become very accustomed to. Not because I am a beautiful, ethereal being that catches everyone's attention (but I will take it if that's what you're thinking), but in the way that I am a Black woman, a Black person, and people tend to notice my presence. I don't think there is a Black person out there that can deny knowing what it's like to be stared at by a random person.