July 2018 marks an important for my journey as a female investor.
It all started with the critically acclaimed book called Slay in your Lane also known as The Black Girl Bible. To be honest, I did struggle to relate to some of the concepts in the book not being Black British or growing up with the burden of being a minority in a European country. Many I could and a particular sentence in the book I still remember to this day. It would change my approach to investment forever. It went a little something like this.:
“Do you know as much about stock and shares as you do about makeup?”
Instantly, a sense of shame invaded me. I didn’t. It never occurred to me. Until then.
Vanessa vs Investment
My financial education around investment I inherited from my parents. Their go-to has always been the property market. My mother inherited acres of lands from both sides of her family as well as high-value properties from her father. My father, originally from a very poor background, built his property portfolio with my mother until he died. The inheritance he left us was invested in more properties. All my savings have always been geared towards property investment. I never thought otherwise. It worked for my family, so why bother experimenting?
To me, investing in the stock market was for the gamblers. We have a visceral aversion towards gambling in my family and I carried that over in my adult life.
Why didn’t I think about this earlier
My husband used to work in finance. When I first met him, he showed me how to play a computer game called “wall street trader”. Until then I thought traders were ruthless, angry men in white shirts, screaming at the stock exchange with white pieces of paper in their hands. Playing the game blew my mind but finance equals numbers, I’ve always hated numbers so my relationship with the stock market stopped there for a while.
He had spoken to me about stock and shares before. Numerous times. Told me about portfolios. Didn’t hear it. It sounded too complicated, too alien, to foreign, too abstract. And if I’m being honest, too male.
Earlier in my professional life, I invested in properties and small businesses because of the promise of regular cash and tangible, palpable returns. My husband knew I’d eventually come around and on the day I did, I saw his face illuminate.
Do I know more about investment than makeup now?
I don’t. But I damn well made sure I found out more than I did 18 months ago. First thing I did was look at Fintech. It looked easy enough and anything accessible from my phone wins my vote. Move away complicated investment platforms with graphs, put it in a pretty app with leaves and funny illustrations.
I downloaded as many investment apps as I could. I started investing that way. Then finally asked my husband to explain without all the financial jargon really meant to dissuade those who don’t have the financial literacy to take part in the game. That my own belief, don’t quote me on it.
The reality is I know a whole damn lot about make up. Took me years. I learned from watching my mum doing her makeup every day since I was a child. So I have a lot to catch up on. But I took some shortcuts.
I went to workshops. Started following less makeup IG accounts and more people like @ladiesgetpaid or @vestpod. I bought Emilie Bellet’s book “You’re not broke you’re pre-rich”. I started looking at share values, reading the financial sheets in the newspaper a bit more and stopped getting annoyed at my babe for consistently having Bloomberg radio in the background every hour of the day. Actually, still annoys me but I’m getting there. I’ve also started looking at equity crowdfunding.
I’m not where I want to be but I‘m getting there and progress is what matters to me.
Why more women should invest
When I first started my investment journey beyond properties, I was baffled by the Gender investment gap. A study from market research firm Kantar TNS has pointed to a £15bn gender investment gap in the UK after it found men were holding double the amount of investments held by women.
Somehow it seems money is a taboo for women. Does that make them worse off? I think so. It seems women that do invest are also much more risk-averse. Repeated studies have shown that among those that invest, women consistently outperform men. So when they do know how to invest, they do well.
The old financial adage that women save and men invest needs to be left in the middle ages. We are equally as smart and the fact we generally get paid less – especially if you’re a black woman – means we MUST invest more.
I’m not urging women to stop being the ant in the Lafontaine fables. I’m just saying, educate yourself in the art of investment. I’m on that journey and I’m trying to find what works for me.
Us women constantly get marketed to so we buy bags, clothes, face creams, makeup and ultimately youth and sexiness. But what if the punchline was that our investments were what we bought all the above with if that’s what we really wanted?
Equity and dividends are now what rock my boat. And although I’ve not decreased my level of purchase of Fenty Beauty products, I make sure my savings work harder for me.
I invested in a few small businesses and all the dividends from those get invested, my returns then pay for my lifestyle. Everyone will have their own recipe but personally, what I’m now looking at beyond stones and walls are stocks and share fluctuations and I feel prouder for it.
On that note, not only do I work for but I’m also the proud shareholder of Quin and we’re equity crowdfunding.
You can own a tiny piece of it from £10 – that’s 3 lattes or one drugstore mascara – so if you’re a woman, and you’re reading this wondering where to start, click here and own something you can be proud of beyond what magazines tell you you should.
PS: super mad at women’s magazines for keeping us hooked on buying overpriced items and not challenging us to invest, but I’ll keep that rant for another blog post.