Money

15 Money-Savvy Women On How They Began Investing (And Why You Should Too)

By now, you probably know the basics of getting your money in order (no shame if you don’t though). It looks like this: Pay down debt, build an emergency fund, prepare for retirement, and try to have some fun in between. If you’ve managed to make your money work for you, you deserve a clap. *clap clap*

Investing is a whole different ball game though, and it pays to get some savvy advice from our peers. So, we talked to 15 in-the-know women about investing and why it works for them.

Whether they had some help from their parents, or they did it the hard way (with blood, sweat, and tears), these women are living proof that compound interest and time are your new best friends. Read on.

Samantha, 25, Canada

Stocks: $18,900 (CAD)

I wanted to start investing because I’m now in my mid-twenties and I have to start planning for my future. I still live at home and I do not pay rent. After meeting with my financial adviser, I learned it’s important to communicate … how much you’re willing to invest regularly.

I started to invest last year because I’d saved up quite a bit of money and it was sitting there in savings. I was collecting interest, but I wanted more risk. I still have a bit of money in my personal savings account too, just in case.

Lyn, 31, USA

Bonds: $40,000
Cash: $20,000
Precious metals: $15,000
REITs: $15,000
Stocks: $140,000
Experience: Founder of Lyn Alden Investment Strategy

I was homeless for several years as a child and then grew up in a trailer park. So, I had a desire to build up [enough] wealth in adulthood to not have to worry about money. During my teenage years, I became very interested in saving and investing. I bought my first few stocks in 2006 but began investing in earnest in 2009 during my final two years in college. At that time, global equity markets were selling off due to the global financial crisis.

I began [by] investing my earnings from internships into undervalued stocks. I had $50,000 in student debt, but I wanted to start investing due to the great opportunity. Since I graduated, I’ve been investing new capital each month, and now [have] $230,000 in assets with all my debt paid off.

Betsey, 34, USA

Bonds: 6 percent
Stocks: 90 percent
Other (e.g. CDs): 4 percent
Plus more than $200k in equity on an investment property.

I had a teacher in high school [who] talked about investing money at a young age. I can’t say I grasped compounding interest at the time, but his message stuck. I started contributing to my 401(k) at my first job and never stopped. I read somewhere the first $100K is the hardest to save, so that [was] my target.

As I got comfortable, I branched out to a Roth IRA and opened a brokerage account. I also own an income property. Creating and analyzing my budget [played] a big factor in [knowing] how much I could invest. I invest so I’ll have more money in retirement [and] so the money I’ve saved to travel can grow while I’m not working.

Sandy, 31, Canada

Bonds: 5 percent
Stocks: 95 percent
Property: $300K+ value, 80 percent mortgage

I am a self-directed investor with an online brokerage. I reached a six-figure portfolio by age 27. In 2009, I graduated during the recession and entered the corporate world. I went to one of the big banks and purchased high-risk mutual funds recommended by a financial advisor. It wasn’t long before I lost a few thousand dollars. I took matters into my own hands.

A friend recommended Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki. Since then, I’ve read real estate investment books and attended conferences. My main focus is buying and holding properties to rent them out to tenants and create an ongoing income. I’m excited to be publishing my upcoming book, The Money Master, in May 2019.

Tara-Jay, 33, Australia

Property: $700K value, $500K mortgage
Shares: 80 percent high growth fund, 20 percent balanced fund
Superannuation: $67,000

I started investing for a few reasons. I own businesses and creating a varied income stream is important. There are also tax benefits for contributing to your superannuation. Being female means I’m likely to spend [time] outside the workforce, so I’ve decided to contribute whilst I can [to] try catch up. I’m also an immigrant so I’m behind eight years of contributions and [thus] eight years of compound interest.

Investing in shares appeals to me as I’m busy and therefore don’t have the time to manage a property portfolio. There is also the freedom to not buy shares if something were to happen, whereas you can’t not pay your mortgage on an investment property. As I was brought up in a single parent family that was poor, I wasn’t educated financially, and I’ve had to learn most of this myself.

Annie, 34, USA

Cryptocurrencies: <1 percent
Real estate: 95 percent (including rental properties valued at $2.6 million, with mortgages totaling around $1.6 million, and $50K in real estate syndications)
Stocks: 5 percent (valued at around $50K)

I got into investing by accident. My husband and I started out by investing in stocks, mutual funds, and 401(k)s. Then, when we were purchasing our first home, we had an opportunity to [buy] a duplex. We fell into real estate investing that way. We realized we could defray our living costs and make a bit of cash flow through renting out the “in-law suite.” We started to divert our stock[s] into real estate, because we felt we had more control and could use leverage to maximize our returns.

We replicated this model a few times. Then we started investing passively in real estate syndications. We’ve invested a few hundred thousand dollars of retirement funds into syndications. We’re seeing returns that far surpass the stock market. So, at present, that’s where our investment strategy is focused.

Kate, 33, USA

Real estate: 83 percent (rental properties in Boston)
Retirement plan: 17 percent

Around 2011, my partner and I started exploring multi-family property as a way to diversify our income. It took us almost two years to find the right property. In [that] case, we borrowed against 401(k) savings and utilized federally-backed loan products. After closing, we focused on putting money into the house and paying back retirement funds.

Once things were stable, we set our sights on acquiring our next. Flipping is not my strategy; buy and hold is. I’m bullish on real estate investing because it’s a market I know well and with responsible leveraging, you get more for your money. The downside is the slower pace and the fact houses [need] physical maintenance.

Stacey, 33, Australia

Property: 65 percent
Robo trading: 10 percent
Shares: 25 percent

My parents are great with money and have always encouraged us to invest. They stressed the importance of financial security and how time is our greatest ally. My brothers listened, [but] I ended up in a bit of a mess with credit cards. Fortunately, mum and dad were there to guide me. My dad even gave me A Man is Not a Financial Plan, which revolutionized my thinking.

Working in the finance industry gave me the knowledge and confidence to create an investment portfolio. I started by getting out of debt, then buying shares, then purchasing an investment property. These days I contribute to my superannuation and invest in ETFs using Six Park. Warren Buffett said one of the smartest things people could do was invest in index funds or ETFs, so I knew that was [something] I wanted to do.

Ashley, 34, USA

401(k): $70K
Car: Valued at $30K
Property: Valued at $450K, owe $350K
Roth IRA: $1,200

We invested in our retirement accounts in our 20s, [but] they weren’t a priority. We had debt and took out a 401(k) loan without realizing the ramifications. My husband then lost his job and we couldn’t pay the loan back. That loan will end up costing us about $1 million by retirement. It also cost us about $10K in taxes. I ended up putting what we owed the IRS on a 0 percent credit card.

Then I [discovered] Dave Ramsey and ended up paying off all our debt—$45,000, except the mortgage—in 17 months. We now realize saving for retirement is essential. I don’t want to rely on social security or my pension, so we invest in our future.

Megan, 42, USA

Cannabis (private equity): 1.52 percent
Equities: 42.61 percent
Fixed income: 29.83 percent
Property (less debt): 23.74 percent
REIT: 2.3 percent
Experience: Managing partner at Chequers Financial Management. (This is Megan’s personal allocation and should not be seen as advice.)

I always wanted to be financially successful. I didn’t grow up in a house where we spoke about stocks and bonds. But my grandmother was different. In my late teens, she sat me down and gave me her list of holdings to learn from. Interestingly, she didn’t do this for my brothers. When I got my first job, even though I [couldn’t] afford it, I funded my 401(k) with every spare penny. I liked the feeling of building something.

When bonuses came, I made them “meaningful.” I paid off private student loan debt and started a taxable investment account. A colleague told me (when I was 25) I should have no fixed income in my portfolio given my age, so I ploughed money into equities. Today I have an extensive portfolio. I’m pretty comfortable taking on investment risk. I have a number in my head I’d like to get to.

Nicole, 37, USA

Bonds: 10 percent
Real assets: 5 percent
Stocks: 85 percent
Experience: Chief investment strategist at Chequers Financial Management. (This is Nicole’s personal allocation and should not be seen as advice.)

I believe there’s elegance in simplicity. As the saying goes, know what you own and why you own it. For example, I use bonds to anchor my portfolio and provide stability. This allows my stocks to grow over time, and I can pull from my bond bucket to buy stocks when the markets fluctuate. Investing in global markets allows different pieces of my portfolio to perform at different times.

That way, I’m not only relying on the US market to do well for my portfolio to be successful. As an investor, I try to stay out of my own way. Having the confidence to stay invested during times of fear and to invest more when markets are falling is easier said than done but is essential to successful investing.

Angela, 39, Canadian (living in Australia)

Bonds: 2 percent
ETFs: 30 percent
Managed funds: 68 percent

I’m a buy-and-hold investor. I was originally 100 percent managed funds but last year, I [began] selling them and replacing them with ETFs. I found the process to be much easier than I thought it would be, but I can understand why so many people put it off.

There’s lots of unknowns and jargon that put me off for years. My managed funds and ETFs are “whole market”, but I do own a thematic ETF which tracks the top global cyber security companies, as I believe it will be an important industry in the future.

Samantha, 29, Australia

Raiz: Around $953.99, started January 2018
Spaceship Voyager: $78.34, started November 2018

At the end of 2017, I’d been doing a lot of work around my approach to money. I knew that thinking long-term was essential. A friend [referred] me to Raiz and I thought I’d give it a go. I set [it] up to take $5 a week out of my personal account, as well as round-up transactions. Now I have [almost] $1000 invested. I’m hoping it will be an ongoing investment in my long-term financial health.

I was so impressed with Raiz that I also started to use Spaceship recently. It’s still early days, but it’s performing well so far. In the future, I might up my investment game, particularly as my income grows. Buying an investment property is already in the 10-year plan for my partner and myself. But I found the apps to be an easy introduction to the world of investing in stocks.

Kelly, 57, American (living in Africa)

Stocks: $500K

I never really “started” investing. My stepfather, who was a broker, left me stocks and I’ve added to the portfolio. When he left me his inheritance, I started learning about the stock market. I read The Millionaire Teacherby Andrew Hallam. The book taught me how to invest without siphoning off constant brokerage fees, which allows my money to grow.

I recently bought his sequel, The Millionaire Expat, and this book has helped me organize my finances so I can afford to continue traveling. I’ve been traveling full-time for the past 10 years as a house sitter. I live off my investments, so I live frugally and invest carefully.

Chantelle, 26, Australia

Cryptocurrency(mostly Bitcoin)
Gold
Savings
Stocks (mainly cannabis stocks)

I’ve always been fascinated by finance, investments, psychology and design. Since I started buying cryptocurrencies, I’ve grown the value of my portfolio by almost 200 percent. A large [part] of my investments are in Bitcoin. It has attributes like gold, so I hold it for long term appreciation, as a store-of-value asset. My investment journey began when my roommate was going on about Bitcoin.

I remember [him] asking me: “Why are you studying finance? Everything you’re learning is going to be obsolete by the time you’re done.” After a while, I realized I could do much more by working in a startup, so I bought some crypto, joined a startup (Amber) and the rest is history.

Always speak to a licensed financial services provider or specialist before making decisions that could affect your financial wellbeing.

The Vault at the Girlboss Rally is where women talk openly about money. On Saturday, June 29, we’re hosting IRL workshops to help you understand and manage your personal finances. Then, on Sunday, June 30, we’re hosting one-on-one and group Money Therapy sessions to get your most pressing money questions answered. In order to reserve your spot, register now at girlbossrally.com.


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