Let’s be real: when some of us hear the word “investing,” our eyes glaze over and we start daydreaming of the penne alla vodka we’ll be scarfing down later for dinner. The thought of jumping into the stock market can be more daunting than trying to pick up Game of Thrones from Season Eight. It can also be straight-up scary; you work hard for your moolah, and putting it where you can’t see it can stir up some serious separation anxiety. It’s chill—we totally get it, and these feelings are completely normal. In fact, a survey by S&P Global in March of 2019 found that only 26 percent of American women invest in the stock market, despite 41 percent of these same women viewing the market positively. Let’s fix that B.S.
Whether you’re looking to take the training wheels off your investing bike or you’re already poppin’ wheelies all the way to the stock exchange, we’ve got the most bangin’ tips for what to do with your dough. You can look elsewhere for the rules and regs; we just want to help you put some extra oomph into your investments, courtesy of opinions and real-life experiences from finance pros. Crank up the Soulja Boy, because we be gettin’ money.
1. Keep that cash flowing, baby.
First and foremost, you want to make sure that while you’re investing like a boss, you don’t end up without a single George Washington in your Kate Spade wallet because all your money is tied up in investments. “You can have 10 million invested and be strapped for cash,” warns Kristina Roth, SuperShe’s badass founder and CEO, who used to run her own successful tech consulting company before selling it and becoming a self-made millionaire. #Goals. Ideally, you should have an emergency fund of six to 12 months, according to Amanda Abella, online business coach and millennial money expert. You should also have resolved all serious debts, and, not to mention, it’s clutch to have enough money in the bank for that vacay in Bora Bora that you’re planning.
2. Consider working with a pro.
Listen, it can be hard to ask for help. We would rather sweat buckets trying to put our heavy luggage in the overhead bin on an airplane than ask that guy next to us to lend a hand. But when it comes to your investments, there’s no shame in the assistance game. If you’ve got the funds for it, try bringing in a financial planner or adviser (for the D.L. on these peeps, check out our advice on enlisting their help here). But if you don’t have the hundos to pay for help, try awesome websites, like this one, that let you calculate things like your 401k investment plan for free.
3. Figure out who TF is behind the company you’re thinking of putting your money into.
“Do your research and get to know the team involved with a potential investment,” says Roth. “I wouldn’t blindly just invest. The scams start, again, with the people behind it. So meeting with these people can help tip you off.” As a boss lady, you don’t want some finance dude thinking he can take you for a ride because you’re a woman. Plus, the people at the company play a huge role in whether the venture will be a success, so getting some face-time can help you figure out if the investment’s baller or just B.S. Be wary of technological jargon that’s super hard to understand, advises Roth, and steer more toward folks who already have a proven track record in the business.
4. Play it safe with real estate.
“If you’re nervous about putting your money in an investment for the first time or branching out with your money, invest in a real estate fund,” recommends Roth. “There’s a real physical facility behind it, so it’s a less risky place to put your money. Physical locations—specifically multi-family residential housing —are, for me, the lowest risk with higher returns.” Let the ol’ brick and mortar get your wallet bursting, ladies.
5. Don’t let your feelings f@*k with your funds.
“Avoid investing on emotion,” says certified financial education instructor Bola Sokunbi, New York-based CEO and founder of Clever Girl Finance. Putting your money into companies run by friends or family just because you guys are tight can leave your bank account empty and your relationships more damaged than your split ends after a blowout.
6. Invest in the apps you’re already addicted to.
Roth admits one of her biggest regrets is not investing in all of the app-based companies she liked before they made it big. “Look at the apps that have your eyes glued to your phone,” suggests Roth, making note of apps like Facebook and Amazon—before they became household names. “Ask, ‘What problem is this company solving? What is it making easier?” Invest in something that has a real purpose and that no one else is already doing.
7. When you uncover a diamond, act on it.
A savvy investor with a background in computer science, Roth had a feeling a few years back that blockchain was going to take the world by storm. Blockchain is essentially the technology that keeps a record of cryptocurrency transactions (cryptocurrency is digital currency, like Bitcoin). Roth was more than ready to invest a pretty penny in Ethereum—which functions as both a blockchain platform itself and a cryptocurrency formally known as Ether—but unforeseen personal issues arose and she postponed her investment. “I knew that I wanted to do it, but I didn’t do it in time,” says Roth. “And then six months later, the investment I was planning to make would have been worth $100 million.” Go with your gut and don’t wait on those things you want to invest in, Roth tells us. And, holy shit, we’re listening.
8. Once you invest, leave your loot alone.
“Boring is better,” says Jean Chatzky, author, financial editor, and host of the podcast “HerMoney.” “What I mean is that most of us aren’t stock pickers, and you don’t have to be. Women outperform men when it comes to their investments because we don’t meddle.” Read: our egos don’t have us constantly looking for the next best thing. Stay true to your investment and don’t touch your shit once you’ve put it somewhere you’re confident about. Let it grow in the long-term.
9. Don’t sleep on taxes.
“Budget for taxes based on the gains of your investment,” says Sokunbi. It can be easy to shell out money for shiny, glittering investments, but you don’t want to be slapped in the face with exorbitant taxes you can’t pay. Hit up your accountant to help you figure out the exact number you’ll be looking at, advises Abella. You’ve got to have a plan and know what your taxes sitch will look like after you invest. But, fear not: you can use your gains from your investments to pay those pesky taxes. “Let’s say you cash out your gains, and you owe $100 in taxes,” says Abella. “Your gains would be sent to your checking account as cash — depending on what platform you are using—so you’d have the cash to pay the taxes.” But again, always double-check with your accountant to make sure you’re on top of your stuff.
10. Automate that shit.
“Human beings, including women, are wired for instant gratification,” says Chatzky. “We want it, and we want it now. That makes it really hard to continually put money into things, like retirement and college savings accounts, for the future.” The solution: Set up automatic deposits so the money from your paycheck goes directly into those investments before you have the chance to spend it on those Sephora face masks you always grab while waiting in line.