Women invest 40 percent less money than men do, according to a recent Wealthsimple survey. And it’s not just because we don’t have access to the funds (hello, pay gap) to invest: In another report, people were asked what they’d do with an extra $1,000. Women who responded were 35 percent less likely to invest it than men.
But when women actually do get in on the stock market game, they consistently earn higher returns than men, according to research from Fidelity. Yet many women still believe the stereotype that they aren’t great at investing—only 9 percent of women believed they were better investors than the guys. So at Glamour we’re issuing a challenge. Stop viewing the investment world as an old boy’s club, and go get that coin. Here are a few tips to help get you on your way.
Get in the habit
Just because you don’t have thousands of dollars to play with doesn’t mean you shouldn’t start investing your hard-earned money. “When you first start investing, establishing the habit is more important than the amount you actually invest,” says Stefanie O’Connell, a millennial personal finance author. “If you set a small amount of money aside on a consistent basis, you’ll be better able to scale your investment contributions when you’re able—when you get a raise for example. Investing as little as 1 percent of every paycheck can help you get started and learn more about investing while you do, without feeling like you have to give up a ton of money for your essential needs and short-term goals in the meantime.”
One of the best ways to start investing is with the options provided by your company. Maybe you can contribute to your corporate-sponsored 401K, or an alternative retirement plan. “You can elect to have a small percentage of your salary automatically set aside from each paycheck,” says O’Connell. “Even if you don’t have this option through an employer, you can set up regular, automated contributions on your own into accounts like a ROTH IRA. Automating is helpful because you don’t have to think about it. And when the money is automatically invested, you’re less likely to think of that money as available for spending.”
Find the right plan for you
There are a huge number of investment options to choose from. Whether you decide to chart a retirement plan, join a full-service brokerage firm—where they’ll guide you on how to invest money and advise you on stock options—or take a more DIY approach, the options are (almost) endless. But for first-time investors, Nicole Lapin, founder of The Money School, recommends working with a discount brokerage, which is a firm that buys and sells for you at a lower commission rate, but cannot give investment advice. “I’d go with a firm like E*Trade, TD Ameritrade, or Fidelity,” says Lapin. “These are typically do-it-yourself operations, and are much less expensive. For each trade you make, it’s only around a $4 to $5 fee. They’re a good way for investors seeking a low-cost, self-directed approach to investing to get in the door.”
And when you’re on the hunt for your brokerage firm, investing platform, or savings plan make sure you’re not biting off more than you can chew. “Most funds require an initial minimum investment that can vary between $500 to $5,000, which often discourages women from participating as it creates a barrier of entry,” says Kassandra Dasent, a financial consultant and owner of Minding Your Money, LLC. You don’t want to invest all of the money you’ve set aside during your first time out—this is a habit you’re getting into, remember!—so don’t go with a plan that will make you invest $2,000 to get started, if that’s all you have saved up. Consider your options. “Research online brokerage firms that will waive account minimums, if the individual is willing to set up automatic monthly investments, which can be as low as $25 per month,” says Dasent. “The latter option allows their money to be put to work immediately in the markets and encourages them to invest consistently.”
Stay on top of your portfolio
Once you pick a plan and enroll in automatic monthly investments it doesn’t mean your work is over. The financial landscape is constantly changing, and the stock market can be a volatile place. One day Snapchat is one of the highest stocks on the market, the next it’s plummeting. If you take your eyes off the prize, you could feel some serious consequences. That doesn’t mean you should buy and sell every time your investments rise and fall—riding out those swings can sometimes be the best course of action. But you shouldn’t ignore things completely. “Every year, if not more often, you should rebalance your overall investment portfolio to get your portfolio back in balance with the original allocation you determined fit for your goal and risk tolerance,” says Brittney Castro, founder and CEO of Financially Wise Inc. “When market volatility picks up, your portfolio can get unbalanced, which means you may be taking more or less risk than you think, hence more regular rebalancing may be needed. Work on determining the best rebalance strategy for your financial situation.”
Published at Wed, 01 May 2019 13:00:00 +0000