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The Strength of Financial Know-How

The Strength of Financial Know-How

Women are just as capable of finding growing investing trends and themes and can spot overlooked ones, writes Victoria Harris, of The Curve.

20 June 2023

Investing isn’t just about money ... it’s much broader. It’s about investing in yourself, investing in your future and investing in your financial wellbeing. Financial well-being is crucial to a woman’s confidence; if she has financial confidence, she feels empowered.

I learned about investing when I was in primary school. I was very fortunate to have parents who had bought me a small number of shares and I used to receive a small dividend cheque a few times a year in the mail.

I thought investing was just sitting back and getting money in the letterbox. Technically, I wasn’t wrong, but I wasn’t entirely right either; I didn’t fully understand investing to generate wealth or its real-life relevance until much later.

Fast-forward to today and I have been in the finance industry for over a decade. For the same amount of time I have seen women around me struggle with confidence when it comes to talking about their finances and building their wealth. Why?

Daunting task

For generations women have been left behind when it comes to discussions around money and investing. This stems back to when men were historically the breadwinners and therefore the main contributors to the household income. Today, women are much more independent and equally present in the workforce but still behind when it comes to financial literacy.

Starting your investing journey can seem quite daunting. Common questions we get asked by women are “Where do I start?”, “Have I missed the boat?” and “What should I invest in?” The main piece of advice we give is: open your eyes, look around you. Investing opportunities (surprisingly) can be right in front of you.

It might sound obvious, and it should be. “Invest in what you know” is a quote from one of the first investment books I read by guru Peter Lynch. He was quoted saying this nearly 40 years ago, and I think it is still relevant in today’s world.

It means invest in what you understand and invest in what you use. Have you started using a new product, or noticed a lot of your friends using a new app? If we look at some of the highest returning companies over the last few decades, many have products or services we use most days (Amazon, Netflix, Microsoft) to name a few examples. By using these products/services you are researching investing ideas without realising it.

Investing edge

Women are just as capable at spotting growing investing trends and themes as men. We might even spot ones they have overlooked. For example, we might spot a new technology that could benefit the next generation of women, or we might see a specific womenswear retail chain full of customers and rapidly expanding its store footprint.

As women, this is our difference. This is our investing edge.

One example I often refer to is lululemon. The share price of this athleisure company has risen from $US40 to $US400 over 10 years. In other words, you could have turned $10,000 into $100,000 if you had noticed lululemon becoming more popular at the gym, the pilates studio (and in cafes) 10 years ago. So, what are you noticing now? What will be the next lululemon?

No matter your gender, race, ethnicity or age, you can identify different investing trends and therefore have the tools and knowledge to grow your wealth. So, to all those women who may think they have missed the boat, you already have more investing knowledge than you realise.

Jargon and graphs

The world of finance can be full of jargon and complicated graphs. But it isn’t as intimidating as you may think. You are probably already “researching” investment ideas every day.

If there was ever a time to feel optimistic about the future, it’s now. I see a future where investing is more openly talked about by women and men, and children are educated in schools about spending, saving and investing. The benefit of this would flow down from generation to generation, changing the shape of society.

Understanding how to grow our money can be so empowering. Not only does it improve your confidence, it leads to financial independence, flexibility and choice. It gives women more control over their lives and it gives them freedom.

Women especially need to be strong advocates for themselves in looking after their financial futures. So let’s educate together. Let’s create a generation of women where simple information flows, smart conversations are had and financial independence is gained.

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