This article is part of a paid partnership with Female Invest.
If you think investing is only for a) men b) the rich, then you’ve landed in the right place. It’s no secret that women around the world are falling financially behind compared to men, and one of the reasons for this is that women are investing less.
Research suggests that when we do invest, we actually outperform men.
Typically speaking, we tend to save more, preserving what we already have rather than growing our money. We err on the side of caution when it comes to making mad financial moves but that’s not to say we’re not good at investing – research suggests that when we do invest, we actually outperform men (Fidelity) – we just lack the confidence to do so.
Imposter syndrome 1, Women 0.
Starting your investment journey can be intimidating but contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to be a stock market expert to get started. Everyone can invest, you just need to know the basics and that’s where Female Invest comes in.
The social e-learning platform makes personal finance and investment easy to understand and more inclusive by providing women with a dedicated space to learn, grow and connect with like-minded women.
Created by women, for women, Female Invest is on a mission to close the financial gender gap by empowering women with the tools, guidance, and community to achieve financial success and get to where they want to be.
They’re committed to educating women in the A-Z of money matters, so that we can enjoy the same financial freedom as men and cash in on the equal opportunities to build wealth. Finally, someone’s talking about money and including us in the conversation. We love to see it!
In a male-dominated industry with disproportionately few female advisers, Female Invest empowers women to not only get savvy with their money but *grow* it too. With 25+ e-learning videos including in-depth articles, quizzes and downloadable materials, and live webinars covering everything you need to know about investing, you’ll be well on your way to setting yourself up for a blossoming financial future.
Whether you want to master personal finances, plan for retirement, improve your negotiation skills for your next promotion or kickstart your investment journey (stocks don’t have to be scary), you can have an incredible catalogue of resources right at your fingertips.
Why women should consider investing more
According to a study by Merrill Lynch, women are still reluctant investors compared to men, with 41% of women citing not investing more as their biggest financial regret, whilst 7 in 10 (69%) women wished they had started investing their money sooner.
In the face of issues like career breaks / parental leave, state pension disparity (to the tune of £29,000 apparently. We feel violently ill) and the gender pay gap – full-time female employees are currently paid 7.9% less than full-time male employees (ONS) – it’s even more important that women take action and invest in their future in order to accumulate the same amount of long-term wealth as men.
Whilst putting away a respectable portion of your paycheck each month to fall back on is a great habit to get into for short-term goals, you could be doing yourself a disservice by leaving longer-term cash in savings thanks to historically low-interest rates and inflation. Of course, holding onto cash for emergencies is always a good idea but when it comes to long-term savings, investing can make your money work as hard as you do.
There’s also a common misconception that you need to be earning vast amounts of money before you can invest but starting small with £25-£50 a month could grow into a sizeable sum over time. You don’t have to be loaded to start but you do have to understand the potential risks and get comfortable with the concept of investing.
There’s a lot to learn – and unlearn (society, that’s on you) – but with the help of Female Invest, you can keep your financial wellbeing in check and achieve better, long-term financial outcomes.
Not sure where to begin? Here’s a few tips to get started with investment and ensure you never have to miss out on potential earnings ever again.
How to start investing
1. Let go of ‘the fear’
If the appetite for knowledge is there, it’s half the battle. Sure, investment might not be the sexiest of topics but it’s just a case of getting started, educating yourself and getting comfortable with the lingo. The biggest barrier to financial investment is fear – the fear of not knowing how to invest but klaxon: you can always learn.
2. Do your homework.
Learn about stocks, risk & time and mutual funds. When you have learned the basics of the stock market, you are ready to take the leap and begin investing. Here’s your 101 guide:
- Stocks are bought and sold on the stock exchange.
- Companies raise money to build their business by issuing stocks.
- You get access to trade stocks through an online trading platform.
- Simply put, stocks are a way to build wealth. They are an investment which means you own a share in the company that issued the stocks. By buying stocks, ordinary people can invest in some of the most successful companies in the world. For companies, stocks are a way to raise money to fund growth, products, and other initiatives.
- But the main reason investors buy stocks is to earn a return, which generally comes in two forms: The stock’s price appreciates, which means it goes up. The stock pays dividends.
- Over the long-term, the average annual stock market return is around 8%. That means £1,000 invested in stocks 30 years ago would be worth upwards of £10,000 today, due to compound interest.
- Risk and time horizon. Every investment involves some degree of risk and it’s commonly said that risk and return go hand in hand. This means that low-risk investments tend to give smaller and more stable returns, while high-risk investments generally have larger fluctuations and higher returns.
- Consider your risk profile: never invest more than you can afford to lose. Invest your way – we all have different long-term goals and needs. Make sure that whatever you’re investing in is right for you, your objectives, and your risk tolerance.
- Consider your time horizon: when do you need your money?
- Diversify your portfolio: invest across countries, regions and industries.
- Mutual Funds – when a group of investors join forces and make mutual investments, it’s called a mutual fund. In this way, money collected from many investors is used to purchase securities like stocks or bonds. In this way, the value of the mutual fund depends on the performance of the securities it buys.
3. Create a trading account.
In order to invest, you need to create a trading account. Therefore, choosing a trading platform is the first step to your investment journey. Different countries have different dominating trading platforms, which makes it difficult to compare platforms across borders. However, the three things you need to consider are:
- Fees: how expensive is it to trade? Do you pay to create an account?
- User-Friendliness: How easy is it to navigate the platform?
- Access: How many markets and products can you access?
4. Transfer money
How much money should you invest? The answer is ‘it depends’. It depends on the trading fees, your strategy, and your financial situation. It is commonly said that you can get started for a few hundred pounds, depending on the fees of the platform.
You are now ready to make your first investment! It goes like this:
- Type the name of the stock or mutual fund you wish to purchase in the search bar.
- Click ‘trade’
- State ‘amount’ and ‘price’
- Amount: How many stocks you wish to purchase.
- Price: The price you are willing to pay.
- Once you press ‘buy’ your order is in the market and it will be completed once someone decides to sell. Large-cap stocks usually have many buyers and sellers, and it typically takes seconds or minutes for a trade to go through. On the contrary, small-cap stocks often have fewer investors, and it therefore might take longer for the trade to go through. The stock will appear in your account as soon as the trade is complete.
6. Join the conversation.
Join the Female Invest community and seek help from their large community to speak with other members about your investment journey. Attend the Female Invest free webinar ‘Introduction to Investing’ on May 1 and they will walk you through everything you need to begin your investment journey! Use code: ZOELLA40 to get 40% off the Female Invest annual Membership bringing you one step closer to financial freedom. Huzzah!
This article is part of a paid partnership with Female Invest.