One of my aims for 2019 is to start investing money in order to secure some measure of comfort for the long term.
I recently became a Monzo investor but that was more of a brand love investment than a carefully thought-out plan.
For the first half of the year I’m focusing purely on research as I’ll be doing this without the help of a financial planner.
I’m already set on investing passively (rather than going down the active management route which mainly seems perfect for losing lots of money) but I’m aware that there’s so much more I need to learn first.
Quick but important disclaimer: I have no idea what I’m doing here and I’m learning as I go along. Please don’t take any of this as advice and definitely do your own research as to what to do with your money. This is just an insight into where I’m beginning and I hope it’s of use to you.
I’m starting my research with the following three books, which come widely recommended:
Investing Demystified by Lars Kroijer
The Intelligent Investor by Benjamin Graham
Some group wisdom via two sub-reddits:
A podcast (of course):
And events too, such as She’s On The Money’s upcoming Girls Just Wanna Have Funds
Why is all of this important?
From earning less than a man throughout her working life through to living longer, a woman has to work a lot harder to make her money go further. I don’t want to fall into that trap and I hope other women will start on their road to financial independence too.
According to YouGov, even though four in ten women agree that investing is a good idea, just one in five women (21%) currently hold an investment, against over a third (35%) of men.
In an example on the Ellevest website (a company aimed at getting women into investing) it’s clear that current investment trends just don’t work for women.
A retirement scenario for a man and a woman, both 30 years old with bachelor’s degrees, earning $85,000 & investing 10% of their salaries. Because of the gender pay gap, she’ll have about $320,000 less when they retire at 67 and so her money could last 6 years less than his, even though she’s likely to live 3 to 5 years longer.Why for women, Ellevest
As The Telegraph outlines, there are three major factors at play keeping women from being financially secure:
The combination of having less disposable income to save, failing to put their money to work in assets that can beat cash savings and living longer is a toxic one that puts women’s finances at risk as they grow older.Why do so few women invest? The Telegraph, 23rd May 2017
Not only is there no sector that pays women more, men are paid higher bonuses than women, fewer than one in seven companies pays women more than men and men make up the majority of higher-paid jobs… but those are just the mid-life issues that women face.* Inequality starts young: the gender pay gap begins in childhood, with 2018 possibly the first year when girls started getting more pocket money than boys.*
Clearly we need to keep fighting the gender pay gap and other elements of inequality but that’s not the only fight, and it’s also one where we need some serious cooperation and agreement from others. Investment, on the other hand, is an area where each of us can make a difference in our own lives and also act as role models for others. So get out there and start investing. And then start telling others about it!
Also, if you’re just starting out in getting on top of your finances (which was me just a couple of years ago) I’d recommend an app such as YouNeedABudget. You can get an extra month free if I refer you, so hit me up if you want to give it a go. As Pete Matthews from Meaningful Money mentions often: a budget isn’t just an end-of-the-month reconciliation – you should be planning in advance where your money is going to be going.
Final note on the gender pay gap: though I’ve said this isn’t something that can be solved alone, it is actually easier than most want to have you believe. Follow Marc Benioff’s example and though it might cost you quite a bit upfront, you’ll prove yourself to be of the utmost integrity. Having seen his behaviour as far I’m concerned everyone else is just making excuses.
“CEOs, with one button on one computer, can pay every man and every woman equally. We have the data. We know what everyone makes. There’s no excuse.”Salesforce’s Marc Benioff in Denial, bargaining, acceptance: Salesforce’s CEO on his reckoning with equal pay for women, Quartz, 16 April 2018
* All data via the BBC and their work on the gender pay gap on its first release in 2018 Gender pay gap: Six things we’ve learnt from 7 April 2018
** See the odiously titled press release for the annual Halifax Pocket Money Report Little Misses Get More Moolah, as well as reports on Santander‘s pocket money survey (in the Huffington Post for “2,000 children from schools across the UK, boys cited receiving £12.60 per week on average (£10.70 last year), while girls said they got £9.80 (up from £8.50 last year)”) and the Childwise Monitor report 2018