Editor’s note: Sharing the excuses so women don’t invest, is The Money Principle’s way to celebrate International Women’s day. All I have to say now is: women of the world unite and let’s learn to love all sides of money. Let’s love making money, saving money, investing money and managing money. #womenlovemoney #ukwomenmoney
‘I save but don’t invest’ – my colleague said. ‘I just can’t afford to lose my money.’
I was puzzled. How is it possible that a highly educated, well earning woman keeps her money in savings accounts and has no confidence to invest. So, I started asking around.
It turns out that 90% of my female friends and acquaintances don’t invest. This is not all; for many women investing is as alien as meeting ET face to face. Some of my friends invest but they have generally delegated responsibility for their investments to over-priced investment brokers; this naturally means that they may be better off keeping their money in savings accounts, anyway.
Two women I know have invested systematically over the last 20 years; in property.
This made me think. I’m surrounded by professional, empowered women and they have very little consideration for their financial future. Yes, they have made contribution to a retirement plan, but the way these are going…
Then I started checking this out. It turns out that:
Men are about 20% more likely to invest in stocks and shares ISA. Women still prefer cash ISAs.
Only 20% of women have ISAs.
Apart from that, women’s financial literacy leaves a lot to be desired. A study of retirement income literacy found that 80% of the women approach couldn’t answer the quiz question.
To top it all off, women are paid less than men for the same work; and we put up with it.
And I don’t get it, you see.
- Women win wars, but they don’t invest for their future. (Yes, we do. While men are out winning battles we grow food, raise children and keep the economy going. Than men come back.)
- Women can win Nobel prizes (Maria Curie-Sklodowska) but don’t invest.
- Women invented the dish washer (Josephine Cochrane, 1886) and the windscreen wipers (Mary Anderson, 1903), but can’t work out investing.
- Women can outperform men as investment fund managers, but we can invest our own money.
Now you see, why this whole ‘we are women, we don’t invest’ thing sounds to me like a big, fat cop out.
Please don’t feel offended, if you don’t invest either. I didn’t invest until about six years ago. Still, it is time to wake up, face your excuses and bust them one by one.
Remember, you were born to be a successful investor, you just ought to change the way you think about investing and trust in yourself a bit more.
Here are five excuses women don’t invest. These are lame but very powerful.
#1. My husband looks after the money
Yes, I tried this one as well. It didn’t end well for either of us and as a couple we ended up in a lot of debt.
Even if your man is better than mine when it comes to looking after money, your trust may be misplaced.
Sh*t happens, friend. You realise that 42% of marriages in the UK end in divorce. This is almost one in two, girl. Why would you think that your husband looking after your money is a clever idea?
I can tell you what my mum told me (a good Bulgaria communist she was):
‘Every woman must have at least eight sets of outfits and should make sure she can thrive without a man.’
So, stop offloading responsibility for your future to your man and take charge.
#2. I don’t have enough money to invest
Another excuse so women don’t invest.
There is no such thing as ‘enough’ money when it comes to investing. I never have enough.
What I have is money left over after my life is taken care off. This may be £1,000 or it may be £5. Doesn’t matter: it all goes on my investments.
Putting on then side small money is way better than doing nothing. You’d be surprised how fast your investments will start to grow.
There are also platforms for micro investing; MoneyBox and Acorns spring to mind.
#3. I can’t afford to lose my money
This is a very wide spread excuse, so women don’t invest. It come naturally to us women because, according to research, we suffer more often than men from loss aversion (this is fear of loss and can manifest in relation to anything).
There are many ways to deal with this excuse and to reduce your loss aversion levels. One is to invest in index funds, digital wealth managers and other composite investment instruments – this way the risks involved in value stock investing is statistically reduced (you are buying not shares in one company but in a sizable chunk of the stock market).
Next, you’d have to remember that correction (market going down) are part of investor’s life and the market has historically always bounced back. So, in the long run you are unlikely to lose your money. (There is a bit more to this, but I’ll tell you about it some other time.)
You also need to start thinking. I’m willing to bet that you keep your money in a savings account at below 1% interest. Last I checked, inflation is running at 3%, give or take. Do you know what this means? It means that you are losing at least 2% of your savings guaranteed; no ‘ifs’ and ‘maybes’ about it.
Don’t be a victim of this excuse so women don’t invest. It doesn’t make sense.
Are you willing to have a go at investing now?
#4. I don’t know enough about investing
This one held power even over me (I’m not arrogant; I really know a lot about a lot).
Here is the good news: even if you are right and you don’t know enough about investing, you can learn.
Today, with the advent of digital wealth managers (also know as robo-investors) investing has become a fairly ‘low cost’ entry endeavour. You need to learn some of the basic rules of investing and you’d be good to go.
We should also remember that, as Warren Buffet said, at the end there are only two rules of investing:
Rule1: Never lose money; and
Rule 2: Never forget rule 1.
Easy, isn’t it?
#5. I can’t understand these graphs
Now, I’d like to let you in on a secret.
This excuse was created for us by men (by presenting investing as really complicated and near impossible to comprehend). It has dual purpose:
#1. Raises artificially the entry level so women don’t invest (just in case we beat them in this game as well, you see); and
#2. Helps maintain the myth that investing is highly scientific and that investment analysis is reliable.
Honestly, graphs can be useful, but they are only part, and not the most important part at that, of investing.
Today, you can invest even if you don’t understand the graphs; or the maths.
Today, investing for your future is more important than ever.
We, women, live longer and invest much less than men; which is a big problem.
Thing is, investing women do very well but we’d rather stay with the belief that women don’t invest.
In this post I gave you five excuses that ensure women don’t invest. Don’t just read them and agree – or not – with me. Use it as a check list; target and demolish each, and all, of these excuses.
Need help? Don’t hesitate to get in touch – I’d gift my time to help and support ten women to start investing. This is my way to celebrate.
Do you invest? Why?