No two paths to investing and retirement are the same, and that’s especially true for women. While many women choose to get married and have children, others choose to chart their own course, independent of a traditional family structure.
Examine your life as it is now and compare it to what you want for the future. This will help you prioritize what’s important to you, and how you envision your eventual retirement. Do you see yourself relaxing with friends and family? Or are you starting a small business and traveling the world? A conversation between you and a trusted financial professional can help you examine the challenges ahead and form your strategy.
Regardless of your vision, there are a few concepts that may help your investment strategy.
Strategy #1: Develop a Strategy
Developing a financial strategy can seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. Think about how you envision your ideal future. Do you have debt you want to pay off, a home you’d like to buy, or higher education you want to fund for yourself or a loved one? Prioritize your goals, and start building your savings strategy from there.
Strategy #2: Get Started
Regardless of your financial situation, one of the best things you can do for your future self is to start moving toward your goals today. Get in the habit of paying yourself first, and make investing part of each paycheck a consistent habit (automatic withdrawals are great for this). Even if you start small, you can always increase your contributions as your financial situation changes. Every little bit helps. Thanks to the magic of compound interest, time is one of the best assets you have when investing. Being conservative with your accounts may seem less risky, but it can do more damage in the long run.
Strategy #3: Invest like a Woman
It’s a common misconception that women prefer a “hands-off” approach to their financial lives, even though the numbers don’t support this stereotype. Rather than being timid with money, today’s women investors are taking appropriate levels of risk. Women may trade less than men, but research shows that when it comes to investing, men tend to be overconfident in their abilities. Specifically, men trade 45% more than women, and this tends to reduce their overall net returns (an effect that is compounded by the higher taxes, commissions, and fees that may result from trading).1 What does it mean to invest like a woman? It means taking healthy, age-based risks and investing regularly for the long term. Work closely with your financial professional before diving into something that may look enticing but may ultimately detract from your goals.
Investing involves risks, and investment decisions should be based on your own goals, time horizon, and risk tolerance. The return and principal value of investments will fluctuate as market conditions change. When sold, investments may be worth more or less than their original cost. Past performance does not guarantee future results.
Strategy #4: Build a Team
Confident investors are only as strong as the support team around them. Wise advice from a trusted professional can save you time and keep you on track to achieve your investment and retirement goals. Regular check-ins can help you adjust your strategy, especially if there’s been a change to your goals, dreams, and/or life situation. By extension, a wider support team comprised of estate, tax, and legal professionals can work in conjunction with your financial professional to help you pursue the financial future you have in mind, no matter what life throws your way.
Strategy #5: Never Stop Learning
It’s never too late to become an empowered and engaged investor. Adopt the mindset of a learner. Stay curious, and keep having conversations whenever you can about wealth management, financial strategies, and investing. Take advantage of the resources available to you to learn everything you can. And most importantly, don’t be afraid to ask questions of the experts in your life. Your financial professional’s goal is to help you build the financial life you envision and the future you deserve.