Women are naturally more risk averse and perceived to be worse with money. It’s statistically proven that we are far less likely to make a risky, bullish move than a man. Is there an underlying expectation that the man is our breadwinner? Despite the fact that women are in positions of power in the workforce more so than ever before, we’re still disproportionately disadvantaged when it comes to achieving financial freedom and investing. We often get ‘mansplained’ about the basics of investing from wannabe Wall Street men, who tend to overcomplicate it in an attempt to make it sound far more complex than it is.
Although understanding money and investing is risky, there’s often a proportion of people that get extremely wealthy during a bear market (which is when the market experiences prolonged price declines and on average, lasts around 230 days). We are currently experiencing what is anticipated to be the ‘worst bear market of all time’.
This is an opportune moment for us, as women, to seize the opportunity and educate ourselves on some healthy money habits so as to better equip ourselves with the resources to build a more financially free future
Here are 5 things you can do to kickstart your journey to be more financially free:
Books like Robert Kiyosaki’s ‘Rich Dad Poor Dad’ are great to get into the mindset of multiple streams of income. Similarly, ‘The Intelligent Investor’ by Benjamin Graham is also a great place to start. If you want something closer to home, there’s a great book by Mary Holm who is one of New Zealand’s most trusted and favoured personal finance journalists. Not only does she write a great personal finance Q&A column in The Herald, she also wrote a great book which appeals to our Kiwi sensibilities and need for banter – ‘Rich Enough? A Laid Back Guide For Every Kiwi.’ With summer right around the corner, picking up any of these great-for-beginner books will help get into the mindset of planning, goal setting and ultimately being more efficient with your money.
Listen to a Podcast
During lockdown, one thing that kept me sane were my daily park walks where I would listen to podcasts. The great thing about podcasts is how accessible they are and that they may even do things like recap whole books whilst being short, sharp and usually quite captivating. My favourite podcast that really got me into the genre of podcasts focused on financial wellbeing was ‘She’s On The Money’. Hosted by Victoria Devine, this podcast has a format that’s compelling and useful with listeners often sharing their money wins and losses of the week. More interestingly than that, they have a Facebook community which makes achieving your money goals more attainable and they’ve created useful things like ‘Savings Bingo’ where you pick a tile each week and save an amount based on that, and ultimately it may get you to $1,000 or $5,000 within a year! Other great podcasts for beginners are ‘Girls That Invest,’ created by NZ’s very own Simran and Sonya, or ‘Cooking The Books’ with Frances Cook.
Stay up to date with financial issues
Although people like to believe that ignorance is bliss, being up to date with financial issues and legislative changes and any benefits you may be eligible to receive is actually one of the best steps you can take in ascertaining financial freedom. Things like the cost of living payment that came out earlier this year, and being aware of tax legislation changes and even the effect of inflation are pertinent to understanding the wider picture and the bargaining power of your dollar. With current inflationary pressures and the employment market in NZ booming with the effect of significant brain drain overseas post Covid, you should be going into your next pay review or negotiations with the amount of inflation as the BARE minimum of your pay rises, before asking for more money.
Make a Budget
This seems simple and counterintuitive, but understanding your incomings vs. your outgoings is such an easy way to see how much you could actually save. Having a benchmark and an understanding of how much you could actually save each week, fortnight or month will make you look back and reflect on where you may have gone wrong. It’s also a regular routine, so for those of you who are creatures of habit, it’s a good way to keep yourself on track and fight the urge to splurge.
Start Investing Now
It’s never too late to start investing, but the best time to start is now. Technically, we’re in a ‘bear’ market. And whilst the study of economics is a study of patterns over time which help us to predict what trends may occur in the future, most bull markets (where security costs significantly rise) are marked by the end of a bear market. This means that shares are technically on sale at the moment, with potential for significant growth over the next 10-20 years. With compounding interest (which means you earn money on both the interest you’ve earned AND the money invested), investing has been historically proven to be the single most efficient way to grow your money. Whilst being an investor and trading on the stock market may seem daunting, there are way more accessible ways to start. Platforms in New Zealand like Sharesies, Kernel Wealth, Hatch, InvestNow and Stake (and a few more) make it easy to invest through their platform whilst paying them a management fee. You can even invest in Exchange Traded Funds or whole stock market products, which decreases the risk involved with investing by making the direction of your investment move with the stock market as a whole.
The worst thing you can do for yourself is to do nothing, so follow these 5 tips to pave the way for a financially free future!