Good Magazine - Breaking the fear of investment
Why it’s no longer a “boys’ club”.
Have you invested before? Maybe in property, the share market or cryptocurrency? Chances are, if you answered no and you’re female, you’re not alone.
Research shows that women have always been behind in the investing game, and not necessarily through our own fault. Societal conditioning meant that in the past, women were less than likely to be the breadwinners or have an income of their own and therefore tended to be left out of the financial discussions.
But this isn’t a depressing story about women’s inequality. In fact, it’s rather empowering. While we may have started on the back foot, studies show that women are beginning to have more say in their finances. With more women in the workforce and having financial independence, paired with growing educational resources and easy to invest platforms, it’s simpler than ever for women to take steps towards building their wealth.
According to a Forbes article, women investors consistently outperform men. Studies show that women spend more time researching their investment choices and take a more level-headed approach to investing. When it comes down to it, women are more likely to play the long game, rather than chasing trends and constantly trading shares. Historically, these make for better investing outcomes.
So we’re better investors, but why else should we start thinking about investing for our future? Victoria Harris, co-founder of The Curve, points out that women are known to live longer, some take time out of the working field to have and raise children and women also earn less (thanks to the gender pay gap). So we’ve got more life to live and less money to live off.
When we look at managing money we also need to consider our emotional attachment to money. And this isn’t just women, it’s everyone. If you type “emotional attachment to money” into Google, endless articles on the topic pop up. There are so many reasons why we build attachments to money, whether or not they’re healthy – from societal conditioning, to our parents’ financial circumstances growing up, to patterns we carry from our early childhood.
An article from the late spiritual influence Ram Dass says, “Some people come through life with a lot of anxiety about starvation and hunger, passed on from their grandfathers two generations back. And so they need a certain security before they’re free enough of their neurosis or that panic or that fear to be able to be free to do inner work and be productive. Other people can go right along the edge with no savings whatsoever and seem to ride along with it, there’s no general rule.”
What we can all most likely agree on is that times are a-changin’, and the time to start taking control of your finances, for freedom and empowerment is now.
We spoke with four inspiring women to hear about their journey in the investment world and what they’re doing to help others.
“Money and sex, they’re two taboo topics that no one wants to talk about. And it’s like, the more you can talk about them, the more you can learn.”
Victoria Harris, co-founder of The Curve, an investing education platform for women, is here to talk about the taboo of money. As someone who grew up with
a mother who taught her and her sister about money and investing from a young age, Harris is returning the favour by bringing this education to as many
women as possible.
The Curve was founded on the basis of Harris’ own experience with her friends and family. Women around her were constantly asking for advice. Harris thought, if her circle of women were wanting to know more, surely there were more out there? She was right: support for The Curve has been overwhelming, so much so that Harris is kicking herself that she didn’t start it sooner.
Harris has found being in a male-dominated landscape challenging, particularly when it comes to self-confidence. When you’re a minority, it’s easy to sit back and not participate. But Harris sees now that women bring a different set of skills. “We can spot trends that men can’t and we have a more considered approach to investing. We’re not as gung-ho about it.”
Harris recommends starting to invest conservatively, with the learn-as-you-go model. Which bears on question of the role of cryptocurrency in the investment world. Crypto is known for its boom-bust style of making money, and it’s tempting since everyone wants to make a quick buck. That’s not to say there isn’t a future for cryptocurrency, but its volatile nature makes it something that typical investors generally steer clear of.
“I just think Bitcoin is so hard to comprehend in terms of how it works and what drives it… Whereas when you invest in a company, the share price is usually a reflection of the earnings. So the earnings are growing and the share price is growing.”
What about ethical investing?
Alongside The Curve, Harris leads the sustainability fund at the company she works for and says it’s people like you and me who really create the change of where money goes. There has been a big shift towards ethical investing (also known as investing in ESG – environmental, social, governance – funds), which has pushed not-so-ethical companies to shift gears to keep up with market trends.
Where can we go to learn more about investing?
Not surprisingly, Harris recommends The Curve, which offers free and easy-to-digest information through its workshops and podcast. Fund management companies such as Fisher Funds and Milford also provide updates on the sharemarket which are easy to understand.
Harris also recommends an “invest in what you know” approach. Look at trends and companies your friends are buying products from and begin there.
Harris is also a big advocate of KiwiSaver, seeing it as a really easy way to start your investing journey.
If there ever were a time to feel optimistic about the future, it’s now. Harris dreams of a future where investing is more openly talked about by both women and men, and children are educated in schools about spending, saving and investing. This would flow down generation to generation, changing the shape of society.
With The Curve, Harris wants to reach as many women as possible so there’s not a woman out there who feels like there’s somewhere she can’t go.
The full article can be viewed HERE