Although gender equality has come a long way, there’s still more progress to be made, especially in terms of perceptions. One example is the financial world, or specifically, the act of investing. If you do an Internet search about investment banking, you’ll probably see articles mostly written by older gentleman. Those may not seem very relatable nor encouraging for today’s younger, career-focused women. But perhaps the list of 11 investing tips from successful women below can shift your viewpoint.
Look for Someone You Can Relate To
Whether you want to take a course about investment tips or are looking for someone to help manage your finances, try to find a professional who speaks your language. That may not necessarily be another female, but it should at least be someone who speaks your language and understands your goals. Kristen Robinson, a representative from Fidelity Investments, says she initially sought advice from coworkers who were older than her, and asked them how they were handling their money, then eventually got enough confidence to contact an advisor.
Don’t Be Shy When Talking About Money
In some circles and cultures, it’s seen as inappropriate to talk about wealth, whether it’s already been acquired, or is something a person wants to have someday. However, the more you open up, the easier it’ll be to get tips you can truly use. Kathleen McQuiggan, the senior vice president of a New Hampshire management group, feels women don’t talk about money enough, and need to become more confident about bringing it up.
Plan for the Worst-Case Scenario
Helen Gurley Brown was the editor-in-chief at Cosmopolitan for three decades and published a book advocating women’s financial independence from men. She once said, “Money, if it does not bring you happiness, will at least help you be miserable in comfort.” In essence, take that quote to heart by considering the more financial stability you have, the better you’ll be able to weather storms that come your way. Even if your life is relatively stable, things can always change quickly.
Steer Clear of High Risk Investments
Barbara Swenson, who has acted as a contributing writer and editor for several business and financial outlets, warns against investing in a very risky way, such as by gambling. For reasons that are probably obvious, doing so could be extremely catastrophic. Rather than taking that route, meet with a financial planner and discuss how you can best achieve your goals with minimal chances of failure.
Realize Investments and Savings Are Not the Same
Financial guru Suze Orman cautions how it’s important to understand how it’s necessary to keep your savings and investments separated. Specifically, she suggests money for investments should be funds you do not need to access for at least seven years. On the other hand, funds that go into an emergency fund could be sent to a savings account. View investments as funds that are used towards putting long-term goals within reach.
You Have Control Over Your Future
Amanda Steinberg is the founder of DailyWorth, an e-mail service that sends daily financial tips specifically geared towards women. She started offering them because she wanted women to realize they have control over future wealth. Even if you have never been encouraged to invest money before, it’s never too late to start.
Michelle McKinnon, a financial advisor based in New York, explains that women like to have their finances personalized specifically for their needs.
“I think specifically women, we love to have that personal touch. We like to know that it’s about our needs. It’s all great to talk about returns, but [women] want to know why these particular investments are in their portfolio for them. And I do see it with men, but in more cases I see this with women.”
Make Time for Investments
Rebecca Bast, a financial advisor for Northwestern Mutual, advocates making time for investments, saying women too often take a “head in the sand” approach to long-term financial planning. However, building time into your schedule is necessary to move towards feeling secure about money matters.
Try Not to Be Fearful of the Unknown
Barbara King, a financial advisor, knows many women are nervous when it comes to thinking about their future money plans. That nervousness is shared even by some experienced investors, who are worried about what’ll become of their nest eggs.
However, try not to let that fear get the better of you. King recommends expanding your understanding of investing as much as possible. Then, hopefully the facts will outweigh the emotions, allowing you to make smart decisions.
Keep Track of How Things Are Going
King also suggests setting between three and five financial goals per year and checking in annually to see how much progress has been made. Often, success comes via making seemingly small decisions.
Be Informed About Your 401k
Brittney Castro is a contributor to the Financially Wise Women blog, and she strongly recommends financially savvy women to make sure they fully understand the specifics of their respective 401k plans and what options are available. For example, you can leave the contributions in cash form or invest towards mutual funds. Also, be careful about withdrawing from a 401k plan too early, because doing so when you haven’t reached the minimum age usually means paying a penalty.
Hopefully these wise words from admirable women who are diligent with managing their money will prove investing is not a task that’s over your head. The tips above could help you start making a good investment game plan.