Invest Like the Badass You Are
Ladies, listen up! I’m pissed and I’m about to give you a fiery speech. I just Googled “Top Celebrity Investors”, for literally no reason at all, and all the lists I came across had one, maybe two, female celebs on them. This was both infuriating and saddening. Shout out to Tyra Banks though for landing on many of these random lists. Did you know she has a business degree from Harvard and is savvy AF? I feel like she’s my new kindred spirit, you know because of our supermodel looks and business acumen. Side note: I actually laughed out loud writing that last sentence.
Back to my fiery rant: Ladies, we need to get into the investing game. Nothing is stopping us, except ourselves! We need to act! Trust me, I’ve heard every excuse in the book for not investing. Let me give you a few reasons you should be:
So You Can Not Be a Pauper in Your Old Age
First and foremost, you need to invest (at a minimum in an employer-sponsored retirement plan or IRA) so when you become a post-menopausal cougar, you can actually maintain your quality of life. It’s frightening how many older Americans have to live in poverty or become dependent on younger relatives because they didn’t save enough for retirement. The ramifications of not having enough in your golden years are tremendous.
So You Won’t Be a Burden on Your Children/Relatives
This is all about growing old with dignity and grace. Yes, people should absolutely take care of parents and grandparents. But, real talk, taking care of elderly relatives can be a huge financial and emotional burden for the caretakers. I love my parents, and I’d do anything for them, but I really hope they retire with enough cash to hire someone to provide sponge baths if and when that time comes. I bet you $10 my Mom read this paragraph and audibly said “Jesus Christ, Catie, what’s wrong with you?” Which is something my family asks at least once a week. I know I don’t want to be a burden on anyone, and I’m sure you don’t either.
Women Live a Long Ass Time
The risk of living longer than you expected is high, which means you could potentially outlive your money. With advances in medicine and technology, we’re all going to be bionic and drugged to the gills. We’re going to live forever! You’ll need more money than you think to last into your eighth, ninth, and tenth decades. Personally, I hope to be raising hell in my old age. There’s nothing better than a sassy octogenarian.
You’ll Learn A Lot and That’s Empowering
I know people think personal finance is boring, but honestly it’s not! Investing is so interesting once you give it a chance. When I learn something new about money or investing I get a surge of energy and confidence. Also, Sheryl Sandberg wants us to Lean In and I do whatever she tells me to.
So You Can Impress People at Parties
Your investing intellect is a great ice breaker at social events. You’ll be the life of the party! Start throwing out financial industry jargon with reckless abandon and people will be drawn to you like bees to honey. I haven’t been invited to a party in 5 years.
Let’s Talk About Reasons Women Don’t Invest
You don’t want to lose money. You don’t want to make a bad investment. You don’t want to get screwed over. I get it. These are rational fears, and there is risk to investing. The important thing is to know how much risk you’re able to withstand. The best advice I can give is to stop freaking out about the news. The worst thing you can do is react to every bad thing you read or see on television. The market goes up and down every single day, if you make money decisions based on fear and emotion, you will lose every time.
You Don’t Know What You’re Doing
Everyone has to start somewhere. This is again all about educating yourself. You will never have all the answers, but it’s not as hard you may think to gain a basic understanding of investing. There are tons of resources out there. There are people like me who have good intentions and want to teach you as well! There’s no shame in asking for help!
You Don’t Know Who to Trust
I’ve addressed this before, and I’ll said it again, this is a valid fear. There are some scummy people out there. Trust your gut, if a financial professional seems sketchy, they probably are. If they’re honest and transparent about their fees and investing philosophy, then that’s a good sign. There are a lot of great financial planners out there (I know a lot of them!) There’s also many planners who work with specific niches. Get on the internet and find one that may be able to cater to your specific needs. Or you can ask me to point you in the right direction!
So How Do We Get You Started?
I’m not going to give you any “hot stock tips” (those don’t exist and are for suckers). I’m not going to tell you what your investment portfolio should look like either (everybody’s risk tolerance and needs are different). I am, however, going to tell you that investing is imperative to your future quality of life.
Develop a Long-Term Strategy
This is a marathon not a sprint! The best way to make money by investing is through a long-term strategy (that means over the course of YEARS). You aren’t going to make money overnight. It takes a long ass time, sorry, but that’s just how the cookie crumbles. Once you invest your money, just let it be. Reviewing it annually is great, but don’t get tempted to buy and sell all the time (I could get into the tax consequences, but I’m not trying to give you a migraine today).
Patience Isn’t Just a Virtue, It’s Required
If you’re going to be the Tyra Banks of investing, you’re going to need a lot of patience. Between the constant noise coming from the media, the ridiculous tips you’ll get from family members, and the temptation to invest with emotion instead of sticking to your strategy will require immense patience. Warren Buffett famously said “The stock market has a very efficient way of transferring wealth from the impatient to the patient.”
You’re Not a God Damn Fortune Teller
Without getting too technical, I generally urge clients to take a passive approach to investing. This usually means investing in a mix of index funds and ETFs that track the overall movement of the markets. Why do I do this? Because I’m not a fortune teller, you aren’t a fortune teller, and those annoying talking heads on CNBC are not fortune tellers. A passive long-term approach to investing seeks to eliminate making choices based on what you think might happen. Making money decisions based on speculation is the same as gambling.
It’s Not Too Late
I get this excuse A LOT. “I’m too old to start” or “It’s too late for me”. No! Stop it right now, Debbie Downer! Even if you are just a few years from retirement, it’s important to know it’s not too late. We may have to take a much more conservative approach than your 30 year old counterpart, but please know you can and should still do something to save for retirement.
This was a long post, and I thank you for sticking with me. I hope you now feel as confident as Tyra Banks walking a Victoria’s Secret runway.
Image by Flora Gill