Even though more womxn are working and earning higher salaries than ever before and breaking glass ceilings all over the damn place, we’re still behind when it comes to retirement and investing—yet we live longer than men do. So what gives?
Well, a lot of the womxn I know in my life feel like they have time to wait, they can invest later when they have more available cash, after they save for a wedding, or after they pay off student loans or credit card debt. Or it’s just not that important right now. Even worse is my biggest pet peeve: that they can rely on their spouse’s 401(k). In other words, they’re contributing to their spouse’s retirement for THEIR future. Well, I’m here to tell you that in most cases, you’re wrong.
You need to be investing what you can, right now. Not only for your future self, but for your present self. So you can change things in the world, literally put your money where you mouth is (or values are), and invest in ESG or SRI stocks (aka, socially, environmentally, and ethically conscious investments). Plus, if you walk away from a marriage or a relationship, you need to have your own damn money to fall back on. Yes, you can have a healthy relationship while still prioritizing your own financial well-being.
And if you’re over there thinking you’ve got it all figured out because you have a good chunk of money in a savings account, kudos. Money in savings is a GREAT first step, but even in the highest interest savings account you can find, your money is still worth less with each passing year. The only way to combat that decreased buying power is by investing that money in something that beats the rate of inflation (which has been an average of 3.22%/year).
First, I’m going to define a few important terms I’m going to use throughout this article:
Compound Interest/Compounding Returns: Interest/returns paid on both the principal balance and on accrued interest/gains.
Retirement Accounts (SEP IRA, Roth IRA, 403b, 401k, Traditional IRA, etc): A plan for setting aside money to be spent after retirement. For the purposes of this article, the retirement accounts I refer to are all qualified retirement accounts per the IRS. Some of them help you pay less in taxes now (SEP/Traditional IRA 401k), and some help you pay less in taxes later (ROTH). For these accounts, you can’t take your money out without incurring a 10% penalty before the age of 59 ½. This is to incentivize you to keep your money in here, and not touch it until you’re actually retired (and also why I recommend also having savings accounts and non-retirement investment accounts).
Investment/Investment Account: A type of account that is post-tax, doesn’t have any long-term retirement benefits, but money can be withdrawn at any time, regardless of your age.
Inflation: A general increase in prices and fall in the purchasing value of money.
Why You Need To Invest
We’re going to talk about compound interest here for a minute. One of my strongest beliefs is that you should get retirement and investment accounts set up first, followed by a savings account. That’s because your retirement and investment accounts will generally give you an 8% average return over a 10-year period.
Now we’re going to do some math (I know, but trust me, it’s important).
If you’re 25 and invested $5,000 now, contributed $100/month to retirement for the next 40 years, and retired at 65, you’d have somewhere around $470,467.71. If you waited until you were 30, invested $5,000 and contributed $100/month for 35 years and retired at 35, you’d have $310,851.00. That’s a difference of almost $160,000, and the amount invested only decreased by $6,000 (5 years of $100/month).
Even crazier, if you’re 20 and invested $5,000, contributed $100/month for 45 years, and retired at 65, you’d have around $708,271.99!!
So when I tell you that compound interest is important and that investing something now is better than investing a larger amount in a few years, trust me on it.
How To Invest
Invest in yourself and your future right now, even if it’s only five dollars a month. Something is better than nothing, and like I talked about above, compound interest is your friend when it comes to taking care of your future self.
If you have a retirement plan offered through a job, you can start now by:
Opening a retirement (or multiple) accounts (if you don’t have access to one through a job).
If you have one through your work, you want to contribute to both a ROTH and regular option. ROTH contributions help future you with taxes, and regular/traditional pre-tax options help you with taxes.
If you’re self-employed or don’t have a retirement plan offered through a job, you can start now by:
Opening two types of retirement accounts: a ROTH and a Traditional IRA (or a SEP IRA if you’re self-employed).
You want to open and contribute to both types of accounts because post-tax ROTH contributions help future you with taxes, and regular/traditional pre-tax contributions help you now when it comes to taxes.
Whether you have a retirement plan offered through your employer or not, I recommend splitting your pre- and post-tax contributions 50/50, so if you can set aside $50/month for now, I’d send $25 to a ROTH and $25 to a Traditional account. I also recommend opening an investment account, then a savings account. I like Ellevest and Betterment.
That’s it. Your step-by-step guide to starting investing today (in like 15 minutes). You’re worth it, and the world needs more womxn investing and taking control of their financial future.
Images: Startup Stock Photos / Pexels
In plain and simple terms, investing is putting money down now in hopes for more money later. But why do we hear time and time again that it’s so important? Well, whether it be to pay off your student loans, save up for your older, richer self, or even for your girls’ trip to Hawaii, investing is a great way to make your money work so you don’t have to. We know it can be scary, but we are here to break it down for you, so you can be well on your way to becoming wealthy like a finance bro… without the douchey attitude.
General Strategies For Investing
Early bird gets the worm: Time in the market always beats “timing” the market. Thanks to the power of compounding, small contributions in the present will reap higher returns than larger contributions later. So start today!
Make a clear plan: Think about your budget. Are you setting aside a part of your monthly savings to invest? Take baby steps even with a small amount of money. For instance, instead of going on an impulsive online shopping spree (been there, done that), set that money aside and invest that bonus. Some apps even allow you to invest using pocket change—who wants coins jangling around in your wallet anyway?
Assess your level of risk: Depending on whether you are 18 or 60, you are going to have vastly different approaches. If your golden days are near, you are better off placing your capital in safer investments, like bonds. If you still have 50 years until retirement, gear your investments toward riskier, but high-yielding investments, like stocks. Allocate your investments according to how much risk you can tolerate.
Different Investment Vehicles
Brokerage Accounts: To buy and sell your investments, you’re going to need a broker. Luckily, opening an online brokerage account is super simple and only takes a few minutes (quicker than your skin care routine, we promise). TD Ameritrade and E*TRADE are great places to begin since they’re user-friendly with a huge wealth of resources.
Mutual Funds: Mutual funds are professionally managed investments that pool money from different investors—almost like a potluck of the finance world where you just show up with whatever the host tells you to bring. They are often one of the best investments you can make, given their low cost and risk. This is because mutual funds spread themselves across a collection of different investments, allowing you to capture the returns of different markets through just one single purchase. As such, these are great for those who want to leave the decisions up to professionals and not go through the work of buying individual stocks and bonds.
Traditional IRA: An Individual Retirement Account (IRA), as the name suggests, is an account for you to save any and all retirement money. These are open to anyone with an income (internships and part-time jobs included). You don’t have to pay tax today on the money you put into this account, which means your money can grow tax-deferred until you start taking it out—aka extra $$ for those golden years. Not to mention that many employers offer to match your IRA contributions, which means even. more. free. money. Why would you not sign up for this?!
Now that we’ve gone over the most common types of investments, let’s hone in on the big money-maker: stocks.
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They say “work hard, play hard,” but here at #HerCapital, we say “invest more, work less” 💪🏽 The topic of finances can seem scary and daunting at times, but we’re here to break it down to make personal finance easy for you 💸 To start today on a light note, here are our favorite throwback lyrics that help explain various investment vehicles! Even if you don’t want to be a billionaire like Bruno Mars, you’ve got a friend in bonds, us, Woody, and Buzz Lightyear 😏👩🏽🤝👩🏻
Like pieces of a pie, buying a “share” in a company entitles you to partial ownership of the company. If the company’s value increases, your investment increases too. Bigger pie, bigger slice! Stocks are awesome investments because amongst the most common securities, they reap the highest returns over the long run. Here are some tips to help you get started.
Consider how active you want to be. Some of us check Instagram every week, some of us check every hour (what else can you do during quarantine?). Similarly, ask yourself how active you want to be with your investments. If you see yourself being an active investor, that means dedicating a bit of energy each week into researching new investments and individually curating your own portfolio. If you see yourself being more passive, go with a robo-advisor, an automated investment management service that can customize a portfolio according to your goals. Betterment is one robo-advisor you can look into.
Choosing a company. When you invest in a company, it is because you believe in their long-term growth. If you are just starting, go with the companies whose products you love, rather than the “hottest” stock at the moment. A great stock comes hand-in-hand with a strong company—think management, strategy, and financials. What is their revenue like? Are they on top of industry trends? What experience does their C-Suite have? Have they been in headlines lately for product launches? There’s quite a bit of research that can go into this, and websites like Seeking Alpha are great places to get your feet wet. But when it comes down to it, just ask yourself—would you be proud to own this company?
Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Investing is like applying to colleges. You do not just apply to one, even if you are sure about getting in. You hedge your bets and wait for the results. Be sure to diversify and invest in different industries.
That’s all for today—thanks for reading, folks. If you have more questions or want to learn more (why would you not?!), the team at HerCapital would love to help! Comment below, check out our website here and follow us on instagram for more tools and resources @her.capital!
HerCapital’s mission is to empower women to invest in their future. Through virtual events and an online knowledge base, we hope to help women with money management all while building a community of strong women who lift each other up. Click here to check out our website and follow us on our instagram @her.capital!
Images: Austin Distel on Unsplash; her.capital / Instagram (2)
2017 was a shit year for almost everything (our democracy, Rob Kardashian, etc.), but it was a great fucking year for Bitcoin. So if you’re hoping that 2018 is the year that
Trump gets indicted you get rich without having to try very hard or even be good at your job, then you might want to think about investing in cryptocurrency. Because anything that can come out of 2017 looking better than it did during the pre-Trump era must be pure fucking magic.
Yes, cryptocurrency is still new, and no, we aren’t entirely sure how it works—but 2018 should be about trying new things, like vegetables or not blacking out. So why not spend less of your paycheck on booze and more of it on your (potentially) richer future? And while it may be too late to get in on Bitcoin, it’s just the right time to bet on its earlier stage crypto alternatives. So if you feel like taking a risk in 2018 (and taking financial advice from a freelance pop culture writer), consider getting in on one of these babies.
As the third largest cryptocurrency out there rn, Ethereum is catching up to Bitcoin like Dave Franco’s career is catching up to his brother’s. Companies are betting on it because it’s also a computer network with enough power to store all the world’s
secrets transactions. It’s so popular that everyone wants to sit with it other currencies are being built on top of its network (IDK what that means, but it sounds fancy), and it’s grown almost 100x in the past year.
Number two on the crypto market and still cheap af (≈$2.50 each), Ripple has grown 375x this year and buys/sells faster than both Bitcoin and Ethereum (no more of that “your deposit will hit your bank account in three days” bullshit). Banks/governments are Ripple’s #1 fans because it’s somewhat centralized—meaning they can bet on crypto while not giving up control. Downside: the whole point of cryptocurrency was to decentralize the economy, so like, Ripple is kind of the Judas of cryptocurrency.
3. Bitcoin Cash
Bitcoin Cash was created from a fork among the OG Bitcoin nerds developers. I assume the breakup convo went something like this:
Bitcoin Cash nerds: We should make Bitcoin better, like with faster and cheaper transactions.
Bitcoin nerds: Nah dudes, we cool.
Bitcoin Cash nerd: Well fine then, we’ll just make our own.
And then one day (August 1, 2017) everyone who had Bitcoin woke up with an equal amount of Bitcoin cash. It was like a surprise buy-one-get-one-free sale, but the thing you got for free is now worth almost $3,000.
Remember like, 100 words ago when I said you can build currencies on top of Ethereum? Well, this is one of those. In addition to making all foods taste better, SALT is a currency/loan platform where you can take out a loan against the value of the cryptocurrency you own. It’s like a crypto credit card but instead of your personal information being stolen by an Equifax credit check and subsequent info breach, they just make sure you’re good for it. It’s a newbie and currently selling for ≈$12.60 a piece.
Most cryptocurrencies have a public ledger (transaction history) where anyone (like Trump, for example) could find out how deep you’re rollin’ in digital monies. But Monero is completely private. You can buy, sell, or trade this ish and no one will ever know. Okay yes, it sounds a little sketch. And sure, it’s v popular on the drug market. But if you want to keep your wealth on the DL so your dates keep paying for dinner, Monero is the secret currency for you. It’s also grown 30x in a year, so your secrets could get real big.
Not convinced? I don’t totally blame you. But why not buy like $20 worth of one of these coins and see what happens? (I’m riding the Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash, and SALT trains). Worst case scenario: you eat leftovers instead of takeout for one night. Best case scenario: You get fucking rich (well sorta—it’s only $20).