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How to Think Like an Investor: A Step-by-Step Guide to Conquering Your Fears and Securing Your Financial Future

Investing is a skill that can be learned fairly simply, starting with a small amount of money. What is more difficult is how to think like an investor consistently. This is the skill you will need to create the financial future you want. 

In this post, I’ll take you through 5 practical steps to start and stay thinking as an investor does. 

INVEST IN YOUR FINANCIAL EDUCATION 

The main reason that most people don’t invest in the stock market is that they don’t understand money and financial markets.  We are not taught anything useful about money at school – how to make money, manage money or grow it!

So please don’t feel bad about this or that you ‘should’ have started sooner or done more. This not our fault but a massive oversight in our education system.   

The solution is very simple. Invest some time into your financial education! Choosing to spend time learning to invest is the best thing you can do to improve your financial future and become wealthy.  

You are, after all, your most important asset. Investing is as difficult (or easy) to learn as driving a car. 

BREAK IT DOWN INTO SMALL STEPS  

Investing is about starting small and taking one step at a timeProgress is more important than perfection. 

It is easy to think that we need big chunks of time to learn anything new. But I’ll let you into a secret. 

If you can dedicate small and focussed periods of time to learn on a consistent basis, you will reap the rewards.  Ten or twenty minutes a day is more than enough! 

I set an alarm and do this on a regular basis to tackle things I really don’t want to do and am resisting. This includes all my investing admin.

As Desmond Tutu put it so wisely: ‘’There is only one way to eat an elephant, a bite at a time.’’  

MANAGE YOUR EMOTIONS

The stock market goes down and up in value all the time, sometimes more dramatically than others. Your investments will too. This is normal and to be expected.

That doesn’t mean you will like it.  You will have lots of feelings about it.  Ranging from fear, worry, excitement and enthusiasm.  

There is nothing wrong with feelings.  But successful investors don’t make decisions based on them.

The thing is to be aware of them rather than react to them. Keep calm and carry on!   

Here are some handy tips to manage your emotions when dealing with financial matters:   

  • Keep busy. 
  • Turn off notifications on investing apps.  Or remove them from your phone altogether. 
  • Don’t make any rushed decisions. 

“The most important quality for an investor is temperament, and not intellect.”

Warren Buffet, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway.

Young woman holds the steers the wheel of a sailing ship
Simple Successful Stocks Boring is Best

BE CONSISTENT AND BORING

Simple, successful investing isn’t exiting. It is boring. If it’s exciting then it is likely you are following a story of what you think (or someone else thinks) will be the The Next Big Thing.

But how do you actually know this for sure?  Because no one really knows what is going to happen on the stock market.

History shows that investing money steadily and consistently in long-standing, and seemingly ‘boring’ companies can give outstanding returns. Chasing the latest trends or innovations in the investment world can be riskier than putting money into a diversified range of established companies with proven track records. 

As Paul Samuelson famously says, ‘Investing should be more like watching paint dry or watching grass grow. If you want excitement, take $800 and go to Las Vegas!’’

REMEMBER THE POINT OF IT ALL

The purpose of investing is to live from your assets or the money your assets are making. You are aiming to live on your capital rather than live from your labour. It’s a long-term project. 

The ups and downs of your investments over the past 12-18 months don’t really matter in the grand scheme of things. Save and invest for another 10, 20 or 30 years and you’ll struggle to see the wobble in your records.  

Navigating the world of finance need not be overwhelming. When you invest time in your financial education, take the next step, are aware of your feelings, embrace consistency and think for long term you have the foundations to live from your money, rather than your work.   

Are you ready to get started? Download your Seven Simple Steps to Start Investing Today! 

If you enjoyed this post, you may also enjoy:

Why is Investing so Scary? And Why You Should Do it Anyway

Forgotten Female Investors: Female Investors Who Defied the Odds

Disclaimer:  Simple Successful Stocks are not financial advisors and the content of this article is for financial education only.  Please read our disclaimer here.

How to Get Going with Investing!

A dark haired woman from the 1940's peers over a small black book she is holding in front of her face.

Investing in the stock market is not just a financial strategy; it’s a powerful step towards creating a future where your money works for you, paving the way to financial independence. Unlike the linear exchange of time for money in employment, investing in assets like stocks, property, or even art, means your money grows independently, working tirelessly on your behalf.

The Essence of Investing

Investing in stocks, or equities, means buying a slice of a company. As the company grows, so does the value of your share. Yes, the market fluctuates, but history has shown a consistent upward trajectory over the long term. For instance, the UK stock market has seen an average annual return of 5-7% over the last century, and the US market a striking 9-10%. These figures, even before adjusting for inflation, outperform traditional savings accounts or property investments.

The Power of Compounding

Einstein wasn’t wrong when he called compounding the ‘Eighth Wonder of the World‘. The concept is simple yet profound – the returns on your investment generate their own returns, and so on. This is the heartbeat of successful long-term investing

A Long-Term Game

Investing is not a shortcut to wealth; it’s a marathon, not a sprint. The ultimate goal is financial independence, where the passive income from your investments can comfortably cover your living expenses. And beyond that lies financial freedom, where life’s choices are no longer constrained by financial limitations.

Why Women Must Invest

A recent survey by Boring Money highlighted a concerning ‘investment gap’, with women having on average £39k or 28% less in their private pensions compared to men. This gap stems from unequal pay and the financial impact of care giving roles. However, despite these challenges, women have been found to excel in investing, often focusing on both profit and purpose, aligning investments with personal values and global betterment.

Overcoming Financial Fears 

It’s natural to fear loss or feel you must know everything before beginning. The key is to start responsibly – never invest money you can’t afford to lose. Set aside a safety net of 3-9 months of living expenses and clear any high-interest debts. Diversification is your safeguard in investing, spreading your investments across various sectors and geographies to mitigate risks.

Starting Small

The misconception that investing requires substantial initial capital is just that – a misconception. Modern investment apps allow you to start with as little as £1. Aiming to invest 10% of your net income is a great goal, fostering the habit of ‘paying yourself first’.

Investing is Not a Full-Time Job

You don’t need to be glued to a computer screen all day to succeed in investing. In fact, a busy life can be an advantage, leaving your money alone to grow over time. The key to success is consistency, discipline, and a straightforward plan.

The First Steps

The most critical step in investing is educating yourself. It’s a learnable skill with a wealth of resources available to guide you. Start by reading and absorbing as much as you can, then approach investing with a consistent, disciplined mindset. Avoiding random and whimsical decisions!

Investing is a journey of empowerment. Taking that first step might seem daunting, but it’s easier, more exciting, and more rewarding than you might think. Remember, the goal is not just financial gain but the freedom and choices that come with it.

*Elizabeth Pearson’s insights into the world of investing demystify the process, encouraging especially women to take the plunge into this rewarding journey of financial growth and independence.*

If you would like to start investing and don’t know where to start or who to trust then please do click HERE for my investing guide: Girls Just Want to Have Funds! The 7 Simple & Sparkly Steps to Start Investing.

If you liked this post, you might also enjoy these from the archive:

Girls Just Want to Have Funds:  3 Surprising Myths About Women and Investing

Female Investing:  The Gender Gap & How to Bridge It

Forgotten Female Investors: Pioneers Who Defied the Odds

Two women place their hands of their collarbone and look curiously at each other about forgotten female investors ..

In the world of finance, women have historically faced significant challenges and biases due to their gender. Not only have they been excluded from participating, but their stories and successes have often been overlooked or viewed through a patriarchal lens. In this blog post, we shine a light on five remarkable female investors who defied conventions and made their mark in the financial world. They show that women can invest, always have and are exceptionally good at it!

WHERE DID IT START?

Women’s ability to own, manage, and create financial wealth has always been closely tied to their marital status.

In the 9th century, European women were allowed to own property, whether married or not. Norse societies allowed women to engage in business on equal terms with men.

However, by the 12th century, English common law introduced a concept known as coverture.  This defined married couples as one financial entity. Married women’s possessions were considered the property of their husbands. This led on to the belief that married women themselves were their husband’s property.

WOMEN AND THE FINANCIAL REVOLUTION

The late 17th to the early 18th centuries is a period known as the Financial Revolution in England. During this time women from all backgrounds actively invested in various financial opportunities.

The opportunities arose out of a need to finance England’s war against France. Women made up a significant portion of the investors in this so called ‘loan industry’ (one-fifth to one-third). Often making speculative and risky investments women worked alongside brokers and bankers.  This expanded their connections to a wider network beyond their traditional family circles. 

The capital provided by women played a critical role in Britain’s emergence as a dominant economic, military and colonial power. 

Sarah Churchill:  Largest Single Account Holder at the Bank of England (1660-1744)   

Sarah Churchill, the Duchess of Marlborough, was not only a sharp businesswoman but also an early adopter of the Financial Revolution. She had a powerful friendship with Queen Anne, depicted in the film “The Favourite.”

After her husband, the Duke of Marlborough, passed away in 1722, he left behind an estate worth £1 million.  It was managed by trustees, including Sarah. When Sarah passed away in 1744, this fortune had grown to an estimated £4 million.   

Despite lacking formal financial education, Sarah developed her own successful and mysterious money management techniques, that left her contemporaries astounded. At the time of her death, she held the distinction of being the largest single account holder in the Bank of England, with an account worth £166,855. 

FINANCIAL CHANGES IN THE 19th CENTURY

As the 19th century unfolded, England and Wales experienced population growth, rising incomes, and the emergence of a thriving middle class. The Companies Acts of the 1850s and 1860s expanded investment opportunities. Single and widowed women were granted the same financial rights as men.

Single and widowed women could now own bank accounts, write checks, and purchase investments in their own name. They could also attend, speak, and vote at company annual general meetings. Married women eventually gained similar rights through the Married Women’s Property Acts of 1870 and 1882.  They could then acquire and retain property in their own name, control their earnings, sue and be sued.

These legal changes liberated women from coverture, allowing them to live independently from their husbands and support their children.  But the social stigma attached to this meant that women very rarely did this.

Fanny Cockerell: Financial Success to Make a Difference (1834-1900) 

Born into a prominent and wealthy family, Fanny Cockerell defied societal norms to become a successful investor in the stock market. She displayed a remarkable ability to assess market trends and identify lucrative opportunities.  She amassed a significant personal fortune. Her diversified portfolio included investments in railways, industrial enterprises and various other sectors, reflecting her astute approach to wealth management. 

What set Fanny Cockerell apart was her commitment to using her financial success for philanthropic purposes. She generously supported charitable causes, particularly those focused on education and women’s rights. Her contributions played a pivotal role in advancing the feminist cause in the 19th century. 

ACROSS THE POND: NOTABLE WOMEN IN AMERICAN FINANCE

The Gilded Age in the United States was marked by booming economic growth and innovation. While John D. Rockefeller, Cornelius Vanderbilt, Henry Ford and Andrew Carnegie are known as the titans of industry, several women also made their mark in finance and investing.

Mary Ellen Pleasant:

”Capitalist by Profession” (1814-1904) 

Mary Ellen Pleasant was a 19th-century entrepreneur, financier, real estate magnate and abolitionist. She defined herself as a “capitalist by profession”.  Her mission was to amass wealth to help as many people as possible.

Mary Ellen had a successful business providing lodging for miners during the California Gold Rush. After moving to San Francisco, she made intelligent investments in gold, silver, various companies and banks.  While working as a live-in domestic she overheard conversations between the wealthy men she served.  She used this information to inform her investment decisions.

Mary Ellen was aware of her precarious position as a black woman who had achieved financial and political power.  She found ways to integrate into the culture of her time, forming a close alliance with Thomas Bell.  He was a wealthy banker and capitalist and he helped her keep her true financial status a secret. Their collaboration meant she could finance and build her own mansion, that outwardly appeared to belong to the Bells. Mary Ellen served there as the housekeeper, managing both the household staff and relationships amongst the Bell family.  

Victoria Woodhull: Stockbroking and Séances (1838-1927) 

Victoria Woodhull and her sister Tennessee Claflin established the first women-owned brokerage firm in 1870. They initiated their enterprise by connecting with railroad magnate Cornelius Vanderbilt offering a “seance” by which they gave him investment advice based on insider information. 

Impressed by their acumen, Vanderbilt provided them with financial support to create Woodhull, Claflin, & Co., the first brokerage firm in the U.S. managed by women for women. Before this, women could invest but only through male brokers who charged substantial commissions. 

Following this achievement, Victoria and Tennessee founded a newspaper, becoming among the first women to do so. Two years later, Woodhull used the profits from her stockbroking firm to make a historic run for the U.S. Presidency. 

Victoria Woodhull was a suffragette who championed women’s freedom to love, marry, divorce, and bear children without societal and government restrictions. She divorced her alcoholic and unfaithful husband, challenging the hypocrisy that tolerated men’s infidelities while forcing women to remain with unbearable spouses. 

Hetty Green: The ‘Witch’ of Wall Street (1834-1916) 

Hetty Green, once the wealthiest woman in America, was a skilled and disciplined investor known for her no-nonsense approach to finance. Born into a wealthy whaling family, she excelled in mathematics and finance from a young age. 

She secured an early example of a prenuptial agreement to keep her finances separate from her husband, Edward Green. He was a speculative investor with an extravagant lifestyle. When Hetty discovered that her husband planned to use $550,000 of her money to cover a loss without her consent, she separated from him.  This was groundbreaking at the time, as divorce was very rare.

Her approach to investing was based on a clear strategy and discipline. Hetty practiced a form of value investing, similar to the approach used by modern billionaire investor Warren Buffett. She held onto her shares when others panicked and bought them when they were cheap.   

Hetty always maintained a significant cash reserve for lending purposes. During the Bank Panic of 1907, her financial knowledge and investments protected her. She also bailed out New York City along with numerous other investors.

She was a Quaker and despite her substantial wealth lived abstemiously, avoided high society and was known for dressing in black after her husband’s death. Called ”The Queen of Wall Street” by some Hetty is better known as the ”Witch of Wall Street”.  A reflection of how her success and appearance were judged by a male-dominated financial world.

Young women faces into the wind holding the steering wheel of a ship

A CHANGING LANDSCAPE

The history of female investors has been a long struggle to attain equal access to own, manage, control, and create wealth independently. 

There are far fewer female investors compared to men and there’s scant information on the ones that are known about. Writing this post has been challenging! This inequality, particularly affecting women of colour, reflects historical biases, racial disparities, and limited opportunities within the financial world for women.

Today, there are many accomplished female investors and financial professionals contributing significantly to the industry, breaking down the barriers that once restricted them. As we celebrate these forgotten female investors, let their stories inspire us to continue challenging gender and racial biases.  And work towards an inclusive, equitable, and balanced financial world where everyone can thrive.  

If you would like to start investing and don’t know where to start or who to trust then please do click HERE for my investing guide: Girls Just Want to Have Funds! The 7 Simple & Sparkly Steps to Start Investing.

If you liked this post, you might also enjoy these from the archive:

Girls Just Want to Have Funds:  3 Surprising Myths About Women and Investing

Female Investing:  The Gender Gap & How to Bridge It

Redefining Wealth to Include and Empower Women

woman balances precariously on a roof ledge

My mission at Simple Successful Stocks is to make finance accessible, interesting and less intimidating for women so they can feel confident in investing in their financial futures.

The word wealth is used frequently in relation to investing and personal finance. This blog post will take a look at what the term “wealth” means, for whom and the power it holds.

WHAT IS WEALTH? 

The word wealth traces its roots to the Old English term “weal,” which originally meant “well-being” or “prosperity.” This ancestral word stems from the Germanic base “wel,” signifying “to wish” or “to choose.”

In times gone by wealth was about a holistic sense of abundance that included harmony of mind, body, and spirit.  Ancient societies revered virtues like wisdom, knowledge, and community and acknowledged their role in shaping true wealth.

The meaning of the word has changed over time.  The Industrial Revolution marked a significant turning point where wealth became about accumulating assets, amassing capital and controlling resources.  Fast forward to the present day, and the concept of wealth has evolved dramatically. In contemporary society, wealth is often synonymous with immense financial resources and luxurious lifestyles.  The Have’s and Have Yachts!

HOW IS WEALTH MEASURED?

A dark haired woman from the 1940's peers over a small black book she is holding in front of her face.

On a personal level our wealth is measured in financial terms by our net worth.  This is our assets minus our liabilitiesAssets include your pension, investments in the stock market, investment properties, businesses and any intellectual property you own.  Liabilities are the mortgage on your home/investment properties and any loans, credit card debts and hire purchase agreements you have.

It is very important to remember however that your net worth is a number and not a measure of your self-worth!

On a global level countries define wealth by their Growth Domestic Product (GDP).  This is a measure of the monetary value of the goods and services a country produced in a given year.

Both measures of wealth neglect the intangible aspects of life that contribute to well-being, such as relationships, personal growth, health and overall happiness.  GDP is criticised as a limited and misleading measure as it fails to include many important activities contributing to society. For example, unpaid labour, primarily done by women, such as caregiving and housework.  As a measure it also contributes to the endless pursuit of economic growth at the expense of the planet.

THERE ARE ALTERNATIVE MEASURES OF WEALTH

There are other measures of a nation’s wealth that are more expansive:

Kate Raworth’s Doughnut Economics advocates an economic model that respects both human needs and environmental limits. It proposes a balance between social and planetary boundaries.

Bhutan’s Gross National Happiness Index (GNH): is an alternative measure of wealth where non-economic aspects of wellbeing and happiness are equally important for sustainable development.

How The Word Wealth Excludes Women

Personally I always cringe when I hear the word wealth and people talk about wealth management.  It is a term I feel is exclusive, and this is because of the gender bias of societal, economic, and historical factors i.e. the patriarchy Until relatively recently women were excluded from owning, controlling or managing wealth in their own right.

Both measures of wealth neglect the intangible aspects of life that contribute to well-being, such as relationships, personal growth, health and overall happiness.  GDP is criticised as a limited and misleading measure as it fails to include many important activities contributing to society. For example, unpaid labour, primarily done by women, such as caregiving and housework.  As a measure it also contributes to the endless pursuit of economic growth at the expense of the planet.

BUT WE CAN ALL BE WEALTH MANAGERS

Defining what ‘wealth’ means for ourselves is important and very different for everyone.  The whole concept is actually a subjective one and everyone’s definition of wealth comes from their perceptions and measures of value.  Working with clients I always start by asking them to collage, describe or draw what their life would look like if money were no object.  This is my drawing.

And then there are simple steps we can take to create this financial wealth:

Empower yourself through financial education.  By learning and understanding how money can work for you will gain the confidence to do it.

Taking steps to invest in the stock market, which can be done in small amounts of time and less money than you think.

Challenging stereotypes by becoming an investor yourself and being a role model for others around you.

WHAT TO DO NEXT

To take your first steps, you can book a free call with me to explore how investing can work for you. Let’s have a conversation and help you become the investor you aspire to be! 

In the meantime, do contact me to subscribe to receive ”Investing Matters” once a month.  It is full of interesting and helpful financial news and tips.  

If you enjoyed this article, you might also enjoy these from the blog: 

It’s Never Too Late: The Time to Invest is Now 

Three Surprising Myths about Women and Investing 

 

Girls Just Want To Have Funds: 3 Surprising Myths About Women and Investing

This post follows the content of my most recent event, Girls Just Want To Have Funds which took place on Wednesday 21st June at the most glamourous Brydges Members Club in the West End.  

We explored three common myths about women and investing. Read on for some surprising facts and for information on how to get started with investing yourself.  

THE 3 BIG MYTHS ABOUT FEMALE INVESTING

Did you know that by 2025, 60% of all the wealth in the UK will be in the hands of women? It’s part of a global wealth transfer that’s taking place. Some of it comes from women inheriting money through widowhood or divorce, while others will receive support from baby boomer parents.  

Additionally, more women than ever are actively creating wealth as entrepreneurs and business owners.  

However, despite these achievements, research by the WealthiHer Network found that 72% of women feel misunderstood by the finance industry. 

To shed some light on this issue, there are three major myths about female investing that hinder our financial growth and freedom: women being risk-averse, lacking investing confidence and believing that investing is not for us.  

Let’s look at these myths one by one.  

FEMALE INVESTING MYTH NUMBER 1: WOMEN ARE RISK-AVERSE 

This is a risk stereotype that harms women financially, as it often leads to encouraging women to avoid risk in the investing choices they make. This can harm our financial growth and returns in the long term.  It is far more accurate to describe women as risk aware rather than risk-averse.  

In a survey where women were given a broader range of options to describe themselves as either a risk seeker, a risk taker, risk aware or risk averse, fewer than 10% of women described themselves as risk averse. 

When presented with clear opportunities aligned with our values, women are motivated to take calculated risks. Being risk-aware actually makes us better investors, with studies showing that women outperform men in terms of returns over time. 

FEMALE INVESTING MYTH NUMBER 2: WOMEN LACK CONFIDENCE

This so-called lack of confidence may stem from how women perceive themselves rather than our actual capabilities.  

If you ask any woman, no matter how much she owns, earns or has created, whether she is confident about her finances she will say something along the lines of, “I should be doing more” or “I need to learn more”.
 

Women tend to downplay their skills and achievements, experiencing imposter syndrome. Yet, when it comes to managing businesses, properties and households, women have competence and transferable skills related to investing and numbers.  

Looking at this myth form another perspective it may be that male investors are overconfident! Men are much more likely to give investing a go and take a punt. They do not feel they have to understand it all before they begin. 

When surveyed about their financial literacy women answer ‘I don’t know’ far more often than men. However, women are diligent researchers and take the next financially safe steps, which ultimately leads to success. 

FEMALE INVESTING MYTH NUMBER 3: WOMEN ARE NOT INTERESTED IN INVESTING 

This couldn’t be further from the truth! This is very clear for me by the numbers of conversations I have with women who are ready to learn and engage, and by their attendance at events, both online and in person, 

It is more that the male-dominated finance industry, biased communication, and lack of representation have historically excluded women.   

Over 75% of financial advisors are men. In 2019, the number of fund managers in the UK called Dave were more than the total number of female fund managers! Financial products are designed by and for men and the advertising reflects this. 

This is what women are not interested in. 

When investing language is clear and relatable, based on experience, and aligns with our long-term goals and values, women become highly interested and engaged. We care about purpose and profits, seeking investments that address wider societal concerns. 

WHY DOES THIS MATTER?

Becoming a female investor is crucial on three levels: taking control of our financial future and setting an example for those around us, creating financial equity due to our unique circumstances, and using conscious investing to contribute to the greater good. 

So, are you ready to get going with investing? Remember, you don’t have to know everything to begin. Start small and sustainable, dedicate time to learn and discuss money and investing, and understand a few key principles that you can consistently apply. Successful investing is actually boring but the results can be astounding. 

WHAT TO DO NEXT

To take your first steps, you can book a free call with me to explore how investing can work for you. Let’s have a conversation and help you become the investor you aspire to be! 

In the meantime, you can contact me to subscribe to my Investing Matters newsletter full of interesting and helpful financial news and tips.  

If you enjoyed this article, you might also enjoy these from the blog: 

Female Investing: The Gender Gap And How To Bridge It 

So You Want To Start Investing? Here’s How To Do It Simply And Sustainably 

 

It’s Never Too Late: The Time To Invest Is Now!

A woman in a swimming costume stands poised and ready to dive off a rock into the sea

You have made up your mind to start investing in the stock market. Hooray! But things could be looking a little up and down with the economy and/or the state of the world, so how do you know when the best time is to start?

This article will explore questions related to time and investing; when to start investing, how long it takes to do and reach your financial goals, as well as the importance of leaving your investments alone for as long as possible.

Read on to find out when you should start!

WHEN IS THE RIGHT TIME TO START INVESTING?

One of the most common questions beginner investors ask is, “When is the right time to invest?”

The answer is that once you have a few things in place for your financial security (a fund for expected, unexpected events and a cash safety net) then start as soon as possible! 

There is a well-known saying when it comes to investing “it’s not about timing the market, but about time in the market,” 

Timing the market refers to trading rather than investing.  Traders are doing their best to predict what the stock market will do and are buying and selling stocks and shares in the short term to make a profit. 

Timing the market perfectly is nearly impossible, even for experienced professionals! As no one actually knows what the stock market will do. 

So, What Is Investing?

Investing is buying and holding stocks and shares for the long term.  One of the key principles is to leave your money invested, especially through all the ups and downs. By maximising your time in the market you always harness the underlying upwards growth in the stock market.  This will be enhanced by the magic of compounding. 

More Time In The Market Means Greater Returns 

Time has shown that falls in the stock market tend to be concentrated in short periods of time and the biggest gains are often clustered together. 

If you react to falls in the stock market, sell your investments and then wait until things have calmed down a bit you are likely to miss the ‘good’ days when share prices increase significantly. Days which no one can predict!  Historically, many of the best periods for stock markets have occurred during periods of extreme volatility. 

Leaving your money in the market means your investments will benefit from these.  If you are trying to work out when these days are going to be you are more than likely to miss them and harm your long-term returns. 

Doing nothing is the best policy! 

HOW MUCH TIME DOES IT TAKE TO INVEST?

The time needed to invest depends on whether you pay a financial advisor to invest for you or you decide to invest yourself. 

Option 1: Financial Advisor

When you employ a financial advisor (for a percentage fee) you will meet them at the start to look at your financial situation and goals.  The advisor will put together a financial plan, provide some options and manage your investments for you. After this you meet with them every 6 or 12 months to review your progress and make any adjustments as required, to meet your goals or in response to any changes in your circumstances. 

Option 2: DIY Investing

If you want to invest yourself then you will need to spend some time learning how to do this.  Don’t worry it’s simpler than you think!  You do not need to know or understand everything, only some simple principles that you put into practice consistently and online. You will then be able to open a tax efficient account (Stocks and Shares ISA or SIPP) with a robo-advisor/online broker, put some money in and choose some investments yourself. 

As a DIY investor you can invest in funds or learn to choose a portfolio of individual stocks and shares. Simple investing in funds can be learnt and set up in a few hours and then be left alone. It is then good practice to review your investments once a year. 

More adventurous investing (buying a portfolio of shares of individual companies) does require more time to understand and learn.  But you don’t need to spend hours in front of your computer watching charts go up and down. The important thing is to have a strategy.  On an ongoing basis, you then need several hours every few months or so to rebalance it.  This means selling off the shares not doing well and replacing them with ones that could do better.

What About Trading?

Trading meanwhile requires a much bigger time commitment. In Live on Less, Invest the Rest, Andrew Craig states that you need the equivalent of at least an A Level’s worth of study (more like a degree) before you will be comfortable and any good at it. Even when you have put this time in you still need a significant amount of time on a daily basis to trade.  There is no guarantee of success, it is time consuming and can also be an emotional roller coaster.  

HOW LONG WILL IT BE BEFORE I CAN QUIT MY JOB?

The desire to quit the daily grind is a common motivator for many investors. The purpose of investing is to reach financial independence or freedom by having a passive income. A passive income is money generated from something other than an employer or a contractor i.e. you are not selling you time for money. It comes from assets that require only minimal monitoring on an ongoing basis. With a passive income, you can then choose to work or not. 

The timeframe for achieving this goal varies significantly from person to person and depends on whether you are aiming for ‘financial independence’ or ‘financial freedom’. 

Financial independence means that you are debt free and have assets (and this may not only be stock market investments) that provide you with an income that is the equivalent of your current lifestyle. 

Financial freedom is a level of wealth beyond beyond this. You can afford your current lifestyle as well as being able to afford the things that you want living your ideal life, without any financial constraints. 

The assets needed to be financially independent or financially free are different for everyone and depend on their current financial position and current lifestyle. If, for example you need £2000 per month to cover your living costs you will need a smaller pot of assets to provide this as a passive income than if you need £4,000 or £6,000 per month to live on. 

You can use this financial calculator to work out much you need in assets to be able to stop working/retire.  

SAVE TIME BY HAVING A STRATEGY AND STICKING TO IT

If you use a mediocre strategy consistently, you’ll beat almost all the investors who jump in and out of the market, change tactics in mid-stream and forever second guess their decisions. Successful investing isn’t alchemy; It’s a simple matter of consistently using time tested strategies and letting compounding work its magic.’ 

James O’Shaughnessy, What Works on Wall Street

Successful investors have a clear strategy and stick to it. They are consistent and boring rather than random and whimsical!  

This approach will save you both time and energy time setting up and managing your investments on an ongoing basis.  You then don’t need to worry about and get can get on and enjoy your life, knowing your money is working for you.

THE TIME TO INVEST IS NOW!

A simple strategy to get your money working for you now can be done alongside your life and in the time you have. Leaving it alone for as long as possible is the best way of achieving financial independence and creating a brighter future for yourself. 

Investing in your financial education is the first step in doing this.

If you want to learn more, you may want to check out these blogs from our archive: 

Why Is Investing So Scary? And Why You Should Invest Anyway

So You Want To Start Investing? Here’s How To Do It Simply And Sustainably

 

Why Is Investing So Scary? And Why You Should Invest Anyway

When I bought my first investment in my lunch hour at work I was terrified! I had never done anything like this before and this was real, my money, a lot of money, that I had been saving for two years.

This article will look at why investing feels so scary. We will talk about how risky it is, and if you could lose everything as well as what you risk if you do not invest! And, finally how to do it simply and sustainably so you can sleep at night.

WHY IS INVESTING SO SCARY?

Simple Successful Stocks Coaching

The word risk is thrown about all the time in the world of investing, and it is very off-putting. Risk is the possibility of something bad happening at some time in the future.

Risk in investing refers to the possibility that you might lose some or all of the money you’ve invested.

But could you actually lose all your money if you invest? 

Technically, yes but this is very rare.  Even if you put all your money in one share (a highly risky investing strategy!) and the company did really badly you’ll usually retain some residual value.

What you do have to tolerate is that the value of your investments will go down and up in value. This is to be expected. It is part of being an investor. While in the short-term things go up and down, generally the overall value of the stock market increases.

ARE WOMEN MORE RISK AVERSE THAN MEN?

There has been a lot written about women being risk averse. This can present a problem when it some to investing. I prefer the term risk aware. Let’s explore this.

WOMEN AS RISK AWARE

Generally, women earn less than men. They also often end up taking more career breaks to care for family.

This means many women have less savings and a smaller pension! So, for many women there is more at stake when they invest simply because they have less money to play with in the first place.

Coupled with a general lack of financial education and knowledge, it is understandable that women want to understand investing before they begin.

This presents its own challenges. The financial sector does not traditionally represent or include women.

  • Women are under-represented in the workforce.
  • Images and advertising show women only saving pennies or splurging on shoes.
  • Investment products are designed for men and the language used reflects that.
  • Men who invest generally tend to focus more on returns and how to chase them, while women have a more holistic view of investing.

On the other hand, women’s risk awareness means that they invest in a wider range of things. They are also less likely to panic and sell their investments when the stock market is falling.

This means they have better returns in the long term. Women are actually better investors!

WHAT DO YOU RISK BY NOT INVESTING?

While there are risks in investing there are also big risks in not investing.

Inflation, a rise in the cost of goods and services means that money in a low-interest savings account or under your mattress, is losing value.  You can buy less with it than you could be before.

When you invest you are buying an asset for the long term with the intention that it increases in capital value and pays you dividend.  By reinvesting the money you make and with the power of compounding your money grows and works for you.

By not investing, you miss out on what Einstein called The Eighth Wonder of the World’.  Over the long term, compounding can significantly increase your wealth as the money you make is making more money.

Investing is a means of building wealth and achieving your financial goals. Without investing, it can be challenging to accumulate enough funds for major life milestones, such as buying a house, funding education, or retiring comfortably. Your financial growth may be slower, and it may be harder to achieve long-term financial security.

SIMPLE STEPS TO TAKE TO MANAGE RISK WHEN INVESTING:

# 1 Diversification 

The best way to ensure that you don’t experience massive losses in stocks is to be well-diversified.  Spreading your investments across different assets and sectors can help reduce risk. If one investment performs poorly, others may compensate for the loss. 

#2 Manage your feelings 

The best investors do not make decisions on feelings.  Not easy!  Behavioural economics shows that we suffer more when our investments go down than we feel joy and happiness when they are moving in the upward direction.  I know this from experience! 

If you are aware and expect this then you do not react to these feelings and do anything with your investments – like sell them in a panic.  You can even have a sense of humour about it.  

#3 Don’t invest money you cannot afford to lose 

Before you invest it is smart to have £1000 in a cash savings account for expected unexpected events and between 3-9 months of your basic survival income, in case you lose your job, have an unexpected illness etc.  This money provides you with security and protection so that you can then invest and watch things go up and down without feeling like your survival is at stake. 

Investing is for the long term, at least 10 years.  With the combination of the simple principles above your investments work away for you in the background, leaving you to get on with your life. There is then no need to feel anxious, worried or scared with day-to-day fluctuations in the stock market.  

KEEP CALM AND CARRY ON INVESTING

What you need to remember is that while investing always carries some risk, not investing in your financial future is just as risky.  While the stock market goes up and down the simple rule is not to fiddle, tweak, sell up in a panic or take money out.  Investing is for the long term, emotions are normal and are best ignored.

If you enjoyed this and want to learn more, you might enjoy these articles from the archive

So You Want To Start Investing? Here’s How To Do It Simply And Sustainably

Female Investing: The Gender Gap And How To Bridge It

Or to discuss your goals in more detail then get in touch with me today for a free no obligation conversation about simple sustainable investing.

So You Want To Start Investing? Here’s How To Do It Simply and Sustainably

Young woman looks and cradles a beautiful and exotic flower in her hands.

If you’re eager to begin investing, understanding the stock market might seem overwhelming. And, if you wish to align your investments with your values, it can become even more complex. This post will provide straightforward steps to kickstart your sustainable investing journey including choosing where to invest, making your pension more eco-friendly, and finding sustainable funds. 

WHERE SHOULD YOU START YOU INVESTING?

When you decide to dive into the world of investing, you need to select an investing platform. These online platforms provide easy access to various investment options, such as funds, stocks, and commodities. 

OPTION 1 TO START INVESTING: ROBO ADVISORS

Different providers offer a variety of investments. If you’re new to investing, robo-advisors are user-friendly digital platforms that offer ready-made investment options, often with a sustainable or ESG focus.

These platforms distribute your money across various companies and business types, reducing risk and promoting diversification. Some robo-advisors exclusively offer sustainable investment packages. 

OPTION 2 TO START INVESTING: ONLINE BROKER

If you prefer to build a diverse portfolio from a broader range of investments, an online broker is your best choice. With an online broker, you can invest in a wide range of investment funds, individual stocks, bonds, and commodities. 

Boring Money is a helpful resource for selecting where to invest and comparing costs. For robo-advisors, the fee covers both platform usage and the investment package. With online brokers, you pay for the platform usage separately from the investments you buy.

As a DIY investor, aim to keep your investment costs at or below 1% of your portfolio’s total value. 

Boring Money lets you specify whether you want your investments to be green or ethical, and whether you want to use a Stocks and Shares ISA or SIPP.

SHOULD YOU START INVESTING THROUGH YOUR BANK?

Many banks and building societies offer investment services, which can be convenient since all your finances are in one place. However, it’s essential to consider the environmental impact of your bank. Some banks, like Barclays and HSBC, are major funders of fossil fuel projects.

Reviewing your bank’s ethical practices is crucial to align your money with your values, as they use your deposits to fund various projects and businesses. 

You may not agree with what they fund.

WHAT ARE YOU INVESTING IN?

Once you have chosen where you are investing, opened an account and put some money in, the question is what to invest in?

INVEST IN PENSIONS

The UK’s pension industry is valued at £3.2 trillion. If you have a workplace pension, it’s an easy way to start your sustainable investing journey by examining where your pension is invested. Many people default to the standard investment option, only to discover their money is often invested in industries like fossil fuels, arms, and tobacco. 

You can change this by following these simple steps: 

  • Log in to your pension provider’s website. 
  • Review your investments, often in the default option. 
  • Switch to a sustainable or ESG investment option. If there isn’t one available, contact your provider and request one. 

If you’re not sure where your pension is, you can use the “find a lost pension” website to locate it. 

INVESTMENT FUNDS

An investment fund is a pool of money contributed by investors to purchase various assets. These funds can encompass a wide range of businesses, from the entire UK stock market to specific sectors like clean energy. 

There are two main types of funds: 

  • Passive funds: These are computer-managed funds that track an index and have lower costs. 
  • Active funds: These are managed by individuals or teams who make investment decisions on your behalf. Active funds often come with higher fees. Most sustainable funds fall into this category. 

The market for sustainable/ESG funds has grown significantly in recent years. While assessing these investments can be complex, the industry is continually evolving and improving. 

RESOURCES TO GET STARTED INVESTING IN FUNDS

1. Fund Ecomarket, soon to be relaunched as Socially Responsible Investment Services allows you to put in a number of criteria to find funds that meet what you are looking for.  It is not a place to buy funds.  Once you identify what you want, have a look if you can buy it with your online broker.

With approximately 132,000 funds in the so called ‘fund universe’ an online broker will not stock them all.  But if there is a fund you want and it is available do call your broker and ask them to pop it on their platform. I did this and it works!

2. The Big Exchange is an investing platform set up The Big Issue. It lists only ethical and impact investments. Each is given a gold, silver or bronze medal rating. You can also choose fossil free investing and female led funds.  50% of their customers are women.

3. Monevator’s list of passive funds.  Monevator focuses on ‘armchair’ investing in passive funds. The site lists the lowest cost funds in various categories. They generally have an ESG option in each.  

ALL THAT’S LEFT TO DO IS START INVESTING!

Now, all that’s left is to start investing! Sustainable investing is a personal choice for those who want to generate financial returns while making a positive impact on our planet.

Once you clarify your goals, making investment decisions that align with your values becomes much simpler. 

If you found this post helpful, you might also enjoy reading these related articles on our blog: 

Do You Want to Use Your Money For Good? Sustainable Investing Can Help Your Wallet And The Planet

Female Investing: The Gender Gap And How To Bridge It

I’d love to have a chat.  You can book a free-no obligation call with me here or find out more about working with me on my website.

Do You Want To Use Your Money For Good? Sustainable Investing Can Help Your Wallet and The Planet.

Sustainable investing is an investing strategy which balances long-term financial returns with positive environmental or social outcomes. It is about investing for purpose and profits.

It has become an increasingly popular investment strategy in recent years, in particular amongst women.  With a growing awareness of the climate emergency investors see the need to move finance and capital into businesses that consider, address and solve this problem.

In this blog post we’ll discuss the benefits of investing sustainably, the different ways of doing it and how to start.

WHY SHOULD YOU CHOOSE SUSTAINABLE INVESTING?

The leaves of a flower unfurl as it grows

Less Uncertainty

One of the primary benefits of sustainable investing is the potential to lower risk.

The rising temperature of our planet is having an effect on the weather systems of the world and we are seeing the impact of this across our planet.  A company or investment product that takes this on board is simply being a responsible business or product.  To ignore this is a business and financial risk.  To take it on board as a factor is about mitigating this risk.

Positive Social Impact 

Sustainable investing also has the potential to make a positive social impact. It is an effective way to create social and environmental change. By investing in companies that adhere to social and environmental standards, you can directly support causes you care about.  Whether it’s investing in renewable energy projects or companies that promote gender equality, sustainable investments offer a way to make a difference in the world.

It is something you CAN do!

It is easy to feel overwhelmed by the scale of the problems facing our planet. Choosing to invest sustainably means you can make a difference with your money, probably more than you think.  According to Make My Money Matter, greening your pension is 21 times more effective at cutting carbon than stopping flying, going veggie and switching energy supplier combined.

A woman in a 1940's dress and surrounded by hat boxes, chooses the one she wants.DIFFERENT TYPES OF SUSTAINABLE INVESTING

There are 3 main ways of investing sustainably, which differ in terms of their financial goals and the difference they are aiming to make.

Responsible Investing 

This type of investing avoids destructive businesses which don’t look after people, planet or processes. In the early years of ‘ethical’ investing this would mean avoiding investing in companies based in South Africa during apartheid.  Now it is about screening out so called sin stocks.  These are shares in companies involved in activities that are considered unethical, such as alcohol, tobacco, gambling, adult entertainment or weapons.

Sustainable or ESG Investing 

This is a broad approach to investing where you include companies that are taking positive steps to challenge and address planetary problems.  These can range from companies focusing on renewable energy to those working towards a more equitable economic system. ESG refers to the environmental, social, and governance practices of an investment that may have an impact on it’s performance.  What is is their environmental footprint? How do they impact society? And how is the company governed?  The ‘ESG’ factors tell you if a company is morally worth investing in and also indicates how risky the company is from a financial perspective.

Impact Driven

Impact investing is a type of sustainable investing that aims to generate financial returns while also making a positive impact on society and the environment.  You are investing in possible solutions to create a more just and sustainable world. This could be fighting climate change, preserving natural resources or providing opportunities for under-represented populations.

These terms (and more!) can be used interchangeably and confusingly to describe sustainable investing.  This simple diagram shows the different types of sustainable investing in a clear and understandable way.

Two women in overalls, headscarves and big goggles solder together.

HOW TO GET STARTED

When it comes to sustainable investing, knowing where to start can be both intimidating and overwhelming.

The most important first step, however, is to be clear about your focus. If there is something you feel strongly about it makes it simpler to work out what you want to invest in, or what you want to avoid.  This focus will be different for everyone.

A client of mine, for example, lost her father to lung cancer due to smoking.  She was adamant she was was not investing in any companies related to tobacco production.  I have a friend who wants nothing to do with palm oil because of the deforestation that has occurred from the plantations.  For me what is important is avoiding companies involved in fossil fuel exploration and production.

Making investment choices based on what we feel strongly about may affect your returns.  Tobacco companies for example traditionally pay good dividends.  By avoiding any fossil fuel companies I have not benefitted from the $200 billion profit the top 5 oil companies made in 2022.  However, this is not personally the way I want to be making a financial gain. It is about my integrity as an investor.

When you are clear about your values you can then narrow your search for investments and choose an approach:

  • Do you want to exclude certain types of business altogether? (responsible investing)
  • Would you prefer to invest in problematic companies in order to improve them? (sustainable investing)
  • Or do you want your money invested in finding solutions? (impact investing)

It is important to still remember the simple principles of successful investing when investing sustainably. You always want to invest in a range of different things, rather than put all your money into the latest hottest company promising to solve the world’s problems.

SUSTAINABLE INVESTING FOR GOOD

An elegant young women, with the breeze in her hair, stands at the helm of a sailing ship. Looking happy and to a bright future of sustainable investing!

‘Put your money where you want the world to go. It is as simple and as powerful as that.’

Christiana Figueres  – Former Executive Secretary, United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change

In the future the terms sustainable and traditional investing may no longer be used.  Financial decisions will hopefully consider the the long-term health of a company and it’s impact on the planet rather than only short-term financial gains.

The world is changing, and so are our investments. Sustainable investing is an important tool that can be used to create a better future for both our portfolios and the planet. 

While it’s not yet clear whether sustainable investing gives better financial returns or not, investing in this way is important for investors who want to lower their risk, make a positive social impact and invest in alignment with their values. 

In future blogs we will be looking at where to invest sustainably, greening your pension and choosing sustainable funds, so make sure you don’t miss them!

Or get going with sustainable investing yourself with an online Investing Taster Class, Girls Just Want to Have Green Funds for £35.

If you enjoyed this article, you might also enjoy The Gender Gap And How To Bridge it.

Female Investing: The Gender Gap & How To Bridge It

While the absence of women from the investing picture has been researched, written about and highlighted over recent years there is little sign that this gap is reducing. The number of women employed in the financial sector is low, the amount of money women have invested compared to men remains small and the lack of confidence women feel in investing still gets in the way.  In this post, we’ll look at what this gap is, why it exists and how to make investing more accessible for everyone.

FEMALE INVESTING:  THE CURRENT STATE OF THE GENDER GAP

The gender gap in investing is considerable.  Women make up about a quarter of senior roles in the investment industry, received 1% of venture capital funding and a only a seventh of start up funding in 2021.  But the gender gap is not just a matter of female representation. The amount of money women have invested in stocks and shares is paltry compared to their male counterparts.  According to recent research from Boring Money:

  • 3.3 million fewer women hold investments in the UK compared to men (the equivalent of three times the population of Birmingham).
  • Men in the UK have £599 billion more than women in ISAs, investment accounts and private pensions.  This is greater than the GDP (Gross Domestic Product) of Switzerland.
  • The average private pension is £99k for women, £39k less than men (the average for men is £138k).
  • Only 22% of women feel confident making investment decisions versus 41% of men. 

WHY IS THERE SUCH A BIG GAP BETWEEN MALE AND FEMALE INVESTING?

And why is it so persistent?  It comes down to three things:  income, communication and culture. 

1. Women have less money to invest 

The Equal Pay Act was passed in the UK in 1971.  Fifty years later the gender pay gap is still 15%.  Women spend less time in paid work because they have children and have greater caring responsibilities.  They thereby lose earning potential, often pay the bulk of (expensive) childcare costs and also live longer.  All these factors mean women have less disposable income and less money to invest in their financial future.

On top of this women have the false perception that they need a lot of money to start of investing.  The £20,000 limit on how much can be put into an ISA every year is perceived by as the minimum to invest.  Actually the minimum needed to open an account and start investing is £25.

 2. Women are excluded from the world of finance 

The financial sector is still overwhelmingly male, pale and stale. Until 2019, of the 1496 listed investment funds in the UK there were more managed by men named Dave (108) than the total number of women who were fund managers!

The biggest barrier to women  investing is that they (quite understandably) want to understand it all before they begin.  But riddled with the most dreadful jargon the finance industry simply does not speak to anyone in simple straightforward English, take into account what motivates women or address the reality of their lives. 

Financial products are designed for and aimed at male customers while the word ‘risk’ is bandied about all the time (how about using the word ‘uncertainty’) creating a fear for women about even starting.

 3. Women are told they are not good with money

False stereotypes about gender are still influential in our society today.  Women were traditionally considered as overly emotional, irrational and lacking the intelligence and logical faculties of men.  Judged as less capable and able to properly manage their personal finances it was seen for her own good that a woman was not allowed to control her own financial situation.  It was only in 1975 (not so long ago!) that a British woman could open a bank account and apply for credit and loans in her own name, without her husband’s permission.

These stereotypes prevail with a gender bias in the images of money and investing in the media.  Men are advised on investment strategies with images showing wallets of cash.  Women are targeted with pictures of saving pennies and piggy banks or told to stop splurging and buy fewer shoes. 

WHY DOES ALL THIS MATTER?

Getting your money to work for you by investing is a powerful way to increase personal prosperity and provide greater independence and freedom.  Through the investment choices we make we can align our money with our values to make a positive social and environmental impact as well as making  financial returns. Women (and in particular younger women) are more likely to invest (or invest more) for social and climate impact if they could invest with a clear goal or purpose for good.

The fact that women are less likely to invest compounds their already existing financial disadvantages, choices, freedom and influence in the world.  It gives them less of a voice.  Bridging the investment gap is critical for women’s personal prosperity, financial equality, for society and our planet.

BUT THE THING IS … WOMEN ARE BETTER INVESTORS!

Although fewer women invest when they do their returns are better.  A study of more than eight million investment accounts by Fidelity revealed that women outperformed men by around 0.4% a yearLater research by Warwick Business School showed the gap to be even bigger, with women outperforming men by an average of 1.8% over a three-year period.

This is because women buy and hold their investments for the long term with their future goals in mind, invest in a wide variety of things and do not lose money by taking punts on things.  Women prefer a slow and steady, boring is best investment style.  And while the difference in performance does not seem that much as a percentage, if you factor in the magical force of compounding this this can make a huge difference in financial returns over time.

IT’S SIMPLER THAN YOU THINK (OR ARE TOLD) TO START INVESTING

So what can we do about all this?  Apart from sorting out equal pay, creating an inclusive financial sector and overturning the system we are in….?!?  Well, to get going with investing the best thing is to start investing NOW!

With your financial foundations in place (an emergency fund, a cash safety net and paying off consumer debt) you can start investing small and simply and get going with growing the financial future you want for yourself.

Investing is something that can be learned and the principles behind it are very simple.  It is about making up your mind to invest in your financial education.  Take a bit of time to learn the basics so you can understand and get your money working for you.  Read a book, learn your Investing Basics on You Tube or attend an Investing Taster Class with me. Know also that you can invest for purpose and profit, your money can back things you care about and avoid things that you don’t want to have anything to do with.

If you’re unsure where to begin or want to learn more about how I can help you bridge the gap, get in touch. We can have a free, no-obligation chat to work out how you can start investing for your future.