If you don’t already invest, we bet some of you have considered it - but something’s held you back.
Lack of knowledge? Not enough cash? Worried about timing? Waiting for the market to crash? Want to avoid the Wolf of Wall Street at all costs?
What if we told you these were nothing more than unhelpful myths holding you back from investing. Seriously.
Let’s demystify this sh*t
We need to break out of this cycle. Because it turns out we’re pretty good investors and can make even better investors than men, with research showing women consistently outperform male investors.
Financial literacy has held women back but we have the power to change this - starting from today.
We’re going to break down these barriers today. Before you know it, you’ll be jumping over them and slaying harder than Gi-hun in Squid Games. But first things first, let’s back up a bit…
Where do these myths come from?
Good question - you’re asking all the right ones.
Investing has typically been a ‘boy’s club’ that’s heavily marketed to men, at the expense of excluding women. Because it’s no secret STEM is a hostile place for women…
Traditionally men and women have been fed different narratives about money. Men have been encouraged to go out, take risks and make money as the breadwinners. Women have been encouraged to be more cautious, stay at home with the family and fulfill domesticated roles. We may be living in more progressive times now, but this mindset is going to take a little longer to shift.
As Ellevest co-founder and C.E.O. Sallie Krawcheck argues, “in our society, money is a male construct.”
Why women have a different mindset
Generally, women still tend to save rather than invest. Having less wealth (hello gender pay gap) puts us more into a saver’s mindset. We pay into more Cash ISA accounts than men, but less of us add money to Stocks and Shares ISAs. Women with families often view their money as the family’s money. We live under the false pretense that all our money’s safer in a savings account. But this mindset is coming between you making investing moves.
So let's break down these myths, now.
Myth No.1: ‘I don’t have enough money’
The biggest misconception is you need to be as rich as the Oppenheim brothers to start investing.
What if we told you could start investing with £1. Today. It just might be the smartest pound you’ve ever spent.
Some investment platforms like Weathify allow you to get started with just £1. Hargreaves Lansdown lets you invest as little as £25 per month or with a small lump sum of £100.
If you decide to regularly invest small monthly amounts, this can be a great way to build your confidence and get a feel for investing. Regularly investing small sums can help smooth out the market’s ups and downs as you’ll be putting regular amounts in the market, regardless of its movements.
Myth No.2: ‘Investing’s wilder than the Wolf of Wall Street’
Investing is a long game. AKA, not Pete Davidson’s dating life.
This isn’t about offices full of testosterone ringing with cries of “Sell! Sell! Buy!”. It’s nowhere near as thrilling as a joy ride in Leo’s Lamborghini.
Investing is a way of steadily growing your wealth over a number of years. We’re talking a minimum of five years and ideally ten plus. Whether your long-term goal is buying a house, saving for children or a comfortable retirement - these goals will determine how long you need to invest for.
Don’t get swept up by those stories you hear about people making money through risky investments - those stories are few and far between.
The market rewards long-term investors. Investing requires patience and the ability to stay calm when the market inevitably falls. Famous investor and philanthropist George Soros sums this up best:
"If investing is entertaining, if you're having fun, you're probably not making any money. Good investing is boring."
It certainly pays to be boring.
Myth No. 3 ‘I don’t know enough’
You really don’t need to have a financial background or be a numbers whiz to start investing. So if you didn’t make the cut to join Cady in the Mathletes - no sweat.
Investing doesn’t have to be about spending hours going through financial reports so by the time the next dinner party rolls around your chat’s drier than your gran’s cheese crackers. While it’s important to check in overtime to see if you’re on track to meet your investment goals, knowing too much can actually be detrimental. If you’re constantly monitoring the market it’s tough to remain level-headed when it falls.
Women generally tend to know far more than they think. One financial literacy study across eight countries revealed women were more likely than men to answer ‘don’t know’ but when researchers took away the option, women answered correctly as often as men. So let’s give ourselves credit and trust our intuition.
Myth No. 4 ‘I need to wait until the market turns’
Repeat after us - no you don’t.
People think to ‘beat the market’ you need to buy stocks when prices are at their lowest and sell stocks when the market is riding high. The problem is, there are so many factors influencing the market it’s almost impossible to predict it.
If professional fund managers can’t beat the market, how can individual investors?
“Tt’s not about timing the market, it’s about time in the market”
The important thing is to start as soon as you can and invest for as long as you can. Some downturns will be unavoidable, but provided you’re not forced to sell during a dip, you should be able to ride out any turbulence.
Key take-away: Long-term investors can make gains
UK stock market data between 1970 and 2017 reveals if you invested in the market for just one day at any point since then you would have had a 53.5% chance of making gains on your investment.
That’s about the same as tossing a coin.
If you invest for one month that likelihood of gain rises to 62.8%, 77.8% for one year and 98.6% if you invest for the recommended ten years.
This means someone who invested in the stock market for more than 11.1 years during this period would be guaranteed a gain.
So how risky is that?
The longer you’re willing to leave it, the better the return. Suddenly patience sounds a lot more appealing.
Today’s your lucky day
Ever heard of the famous proverb, “The best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago, the second best time is now”?
The same applies to investing. The earlier you start, the bigger and better the rewards - and starting is better than not starting at all.
If we want to work towards narrowing the gender investment gap and giving the middle finger to these myths then we need to start now. What better day than today?
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