A few weeks ago, one of my best friends was featured in the Global and Mail. She was talking about how she has created a budget and has made concessions to invest online with her own money. I didn’t realize that this was something that needed national attention, but apparently it does.
Women, everywhere, are more hesitant than our male counterparts to jump into the online investing pool. I understand this. Women tend to be slightly more cautious with their finances, and the women that I know don’t trust their judgement enough to make retirement decisions by themselves. Obviously I am not speaking about every woman out there. Bloggers such as LaTisha and YoungandThirfty are examples of financially intelligent female investors, unfortunately, they are the exception, not the norm.
According to a summer survey by TD Waterhouse 66% of its women investors have signed up in the last 5 years and about half plan to increase their portfolio soon. Thats the good news. The bad news is that the percentage of men is still significantly higher. Age is also a key indicator. Women in their 2o’s just don’t pay attention to it -unless they are Personal Finance bloggers.
So it breaks down like this- I am a woman in my 20′s with tons of student debt. I figure out that I should start investing, but I had no idea in what or where to even start. The beauty of the internet is that you can find a lot of great information that allows you to be informed before you start making your financial decisions. There are simulated classes, websites, tutorials, forums, personal finance blogs- literally tens of thousands of sites where you can get information.
A few months ago, after much research into TD Asset Management services, and visiting my local branch, I started an e-series account and transfered most of the funds into Index funds. The experience was great, even though the market is not doing that well. I chose to invest in E-Series and Index Funds over actively managed mutual funds, mainly because of the lower MERs and the fact that it made my life a bit easier. I also opened up a Questrade account and started buying stocks individually. Not a huge sum of money, but enough to allow me to get my feet wet. You know what? It wasn’t as hard or as complicated as I expected it to be. And, because I am research nerd, I have Google Finance open on my computer all the time. As you might know, there is a debate going on about investing in Mutual funds or ETFs or Index funds etc.I don’t know if one particular type is right for you as typically, the choice between ETFs and index funds will come down to the most important issues: management fees, shareholder transaction costs, taxation, shareholder involvement, and other qualitative differences.But everyone owes it to themselves to be fully informed about where your money is going and who is handling it.
I feel like women and investing is a natural fit as it involves patience, and research. As such that I have started promoting online investing to most of my friends. I believe that investing is a conquerable goal and should be treated as such, but be sure you know where you stand before jumping in head first.