Although the number of female investors is steadily increasing, the UK still has a long way to go when it comes to closing the gender wealth gap. Reports from the Office of National Statistics show that women are more likely to keep their money in cash than other investment vehicles. In 2019, women opened 5.2 million cash ISA accounts, while only 23% held investment products. Experts argue that attitudes of risk-aversion hold many women back from taking more daring investment strategies.
Cash is a safe investment, but it isn’t an effective means of growing wealth long-term. Women that want to protect themselves financially need to look into more ambitious approaches to investment. To help, we’ve listed a few of the things women need to know about investing.
Why Should I Invest?
Saving protects your wealth, but investing grows it. Though most bank accounts will have interest rates that can boost your savings, they can’t quite match the potential returns offered by investments like stocks or bonds. The gains you earn from investing can help you accumulate wealth for financial goals, such as saving for retirement, buying a house or car, or building a fund for your children’s education.
When you don’t invest, you also risk losing your money to inflation. As The Guardian’s report on UK inflation explains, inflation increases prices and thus decreases the buying power of money. Because of inflation, the cash you set aside may have less value in 10 years compared to today.
What Can I Invest In?
Popular investment options include stocks, which represent part-ownership of public companies, and bonds, which represent debts owed by entities like governments or corporations. Some of the most flexible investment options are international currencies, which are traded under the foreign exchange (forex) market. According to a look at the forex market by FXCM, it is the most liquid market in the world and offers an abundance of potential opportunities for veteran traders, as well as those new to the market. Low operating fees and leverage options also make forex a good starting point for investors that don’t have a lot of capital. Our article entitled ‘A Few Ideas for the First-Time Investor’ also suggests using Forex contracts for difference, which allow you to bet on whether a currency will rise or fall in comparison to its counterpart over a set period of time. Since CFDs don’t require investors to be as active on the market, they make great investment options for beginners. Other investment options include mutual funds, commodities, REITs, and cryptocurrencies.
Tips for Investment
Before choosing what type of investment to purchase, you need to know your investment time horizon. As defined by Market Business News, your investment time horizon refers to how long you plan on letting your investment grow before cashing it out. A short-term investment horizon would span from a few months to three years, while a long-term investment horizon could surpass ten years. Those with shorter investment periods should stick to safer investments with guaranteed returns, such as bonds or certificates of deposit. Those long-term investment horizons can afford to put their money in riskier investments, such as stocks.
Additionally, you should make sure to diversify your investment portfolio. If you only place your capital under one type of investment, you risk losing your money in the event of a market crash. For example, if you only buy stock from a single company, you will lose everything should that company experience problems. Protect yourself from losses by buying stocks from different industries or investments from other markets. It also helps to place capital in investments that have guaranteed returns, like bonds.
Anyone, no matter their gender, can benefit from building a strong investment portfolio. Women, who have been historically conservative with their savings, can work toward closing the gender wealth gap by adopting more efficient investment strategies.
Article written by Roanne Jeffreys exclusively for womenontopp.com