Investing, when done right, is one of the best ways to build your wealth.
When I started writing this article, it shocked me to see the difference between men and women when it comes to investing. There is a stereotypical belief that women do not make good investors, and that needs to change.
A recent study of 2,800 investors over three years by the Warwick Business School, found that women investors outperformed men by 1.8% per year over a 3 year period. The study found that women are long-term planners and focus on getting to their financial goals rather than the thrill of playing the market and trying to make quick returns. Women are also more likely to ask for financial advice from experts in the industry than their male counterparts.
Here are a few things I have learnt along the way about investing like a (girl) boss:
Pay off your debt
Owning the house that you live in, is one of the best investments you will ever make. I make sure I pay a little extra into the bond every month to start working away at the chunk of interest that comes with the debt. Putting any amount that you can afford into your bond will help you in the long term and knock a few years of your loan term.
I have been using the well-known 50/30/20 approach to budgeting for the last 4 or 5 years. That means that 50% of my income is used to pay for the things I need to live – groceries, bond, lights and water, medical aid etc. 30% of my earnings goes towards self-care – manicures, haircuts, eating out - these are all things that make me happy and I could do without them, but I do not want to. How boring would life be if you can’t do the things that you enjoy and that make you happy? 20% of my income is invested. I invest 5% of that with Franc and the other 15% goes into the investment accounts my financial advisor helped me select. I do not always follow the 50/30/20 approach perfectly – if anything, during lockdown, I should have been investing more instead of having UberEats on speed dial. I do however make putting money away into investment accounts a habit and I ensure I am putting something away every month.
Know the basics of investing
You do not need to be an expert in everything, but you should know the basics. Knowing the basics is important so you understand what is happening with your money and the funds your money is being put in. Read up on stocks, bonds, money market accounts and ETFs (to name a few)
Conservative vs. Aggressive
This is something I had never considered before investing with Franc (who help you to pick your risk profile – I highly recommend it). I was always quite happy with my money growing slowly over time - that was my long-term goal, however this has changed thanks to Franc. I now see the benefit of aggressive and conservative strategies. Aggressive strategies typically get you a higher return over time, but they are also riskier. Conservative investment strategies mean you money will be put into bonds and money market accounts that are more stable and have less opportunity to get maximum returns on your money. Out of personal experience I have found that having a mix of conservative and aggressive strategies is the most beneficial to me now, this may change over time.
Don’t wait to start investing
If you do not think you have enough money to invest, you are wrong. You do have enough. Robo-advisors like Franc let you start investing from as little as R10 a month. The important thing is to just start with that you have and work towards being able to put 20% into an investment account every month. A great saying I saw somewhere went something like, “Someone is sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago”. So if you don’t ever start, you will never get to sit in the shade of your own tree 😉
There are risks that come with investing, but there are also rewards that will help you to meet your financial goals faster than if your money was just sitting in a savings account. So, go on, and start investing like a boss!