Need a confidence boost in making investment decisions? You got this! In this article, Rachel Chen, Head of Digital Wealth, dollarDEX (Aviva), shares tips to help fellow ladies take charge of their financial independence with greater confidence.
Some women may perceive themselves as being less capable than men when it comes to investment knowledge. However, having organised numerous investor education workshops for both male and female customers, I can say that this certainly isn’t true.
Women can be just as vocal, engaged and savvy when it comes to investing, and shouldn’t be putting themselves down with such age-old stereotypes. This is why empowering female investors with the skills to manage their finances is one of our key priorities at dollarDEX.
Whichever stage of life you may be in – whether you’re flying solo, with a partner or married with kids – it is just as vital for every woman to be financially independent. And this stems from having the confidence and savviness to take charge of your finances.
Here are some key considerations to help you work your money with greater confidence from here on:
There are three things to bear in mind before investing – your investment objective, investment duration, and risk appetite. Together, these guide your investment strategy.
People invest for various reasons. It could be to fund your child’s education, to build up a nest egg so that you can retire comfortably someday, or to achieve shorter-term goals like taking a sabbatical. Set a clear investment objective, and do your research to understand what amount you need for that goal.
Investment duration refers to the period of time that you intend to be invested for. This has significant implications as it helps identify suitable investment instruments for you – for instance, an investor who’s willing to stay invested for 10 – 20 years would likely hold a very different portfolio from someone who’s seeking short-term investment opportunities.
Last but not least, know your risk appetite – are you a bold risk-taker? Or are you conservative with a preference for safe, predictable returns? All investment products come with varying levels and types of risk. Figure out how much risk you’re willing to stomach before jumping into something.
There will never be a “right time” to start investing. The point is to do your homework, plan for it, and get started. And it’s always best to start early! This allows you to play on the benefits of long-term returns, provides more time to recover from risks, and has the added effect of helping you to develop more disciplined financial habits.
Another common barrier to investing is the misconception that you need a large sum of money to start – not true! You can start even with just $100 (which may be less damage than a regular girls’ night out).
There are many low-cost products in the market that allow investors to “test waters”, practice and learn till they are ready (in terms of both confidence and finances) to start investing more, and in a savvier manner.
Investing can help grow your wealth, but also has its risks – sometimes even your capital could be at risk, depending on what you’re investing in, so always go into investments with your eyes wide open.
It is also key to set realistic expectations. I’ve heard people say that they don’t think it’s worth investing if there isn’t a 10% – 20% return. To me, any product promising such returns is an immediate red flag!
On average, investment returns can fall within the range of 4 – 5% (which is already good in the long-term!), or even 8 – 10% when the market is doing really well. Of course, you may suffer a loss too when the market isn’t in your favour.
Some investors prefer funds as these help to diversify risk, and provide the advantage of having professionals manage their investments – funds pool money from investors and invest the sum in a range of products, leveraging insights gleaned from advanced technology and extensive research to guide investment decisions.
Other investors may prefer a do-it-yourself approach, which gives them more say over their investment choices and doesn’t incur management fees.
Familiarise yourself with the types of investment products available, and assess what suits your current needs and preferences best.
Investing is important but so are other aspects such as insurance and savings. Do you have life and medical insurance that sufficiently protects both you and your loved ones in the event of health shocks or even death? Liquid savings for rainy days? What about other financial obligations such as study loans, home mortgages or your daily expenditure?
Make sure you look at financial planning holistically and assess your various financial commitments. Also make it a habit to review your financial portfolio regularly, to ensure it stays relevant even as your lifestyle changes over time.
There isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to investing, which can seem complicated given the growing multitude of products available. But – unless you invest for a living – it doesn’t have to be.
Keeping these considerations in mind can serve as a useful guide as you start on / continue along your investment journey. And when in doubt, don’t hesitate to seek more information from credible sources and seminars (dollarDEX often holds workshops for investors, find out more on www.dollardex.com) or speak to a professional financial advisor!