I have often talked about the mission and vision of PaceUP Invest and how my grandmother inspired me (link). She taught me the basics of empowering women via money to build wealth in addition to the power of communities, as I watched her do this seamlessly when I was growing up in Nigeria. Real wealth to her was about freedom. However, working in the financial industry for over 14 years showed that the industry was not built for women. MOST WOMEN LARGELY BELIEVE FINANCIAL ADVICE AND PRODUCTS ARE GEARED ONLY TOWARDS THE WEALTHY AND THEY FEEL ALIENATED.
The first awakening moment for me was when I went into my bank some years back to see a financial advisor and discuss my financial goals. I was full of enthusiasm as I narrated to him what I would like to have and what my plans were. He listened to me ranting on, and in the end, he asked “so where is your husband?” He did not believe I was capable of having that amount of savings. I left the meeting feeling dejected. I had two options, either to leave my savings in the bank or to learn more about investing on my own (even though I was working in an investment bank). I decided on the latter.
I made it a point to educate myself further as I understood if I did not, I had roadblocks that will not enable me to achieve my goals: women live longer and earn less on average than men. My financial independence was crucial to me. I spoke with my circle of friends and their circles and on and on it went- I was not alone in feeling like this. Women are very good at savings but not investing! I was determined to be a catalyst for change. I began coaching fellow women and men too. This was before financial coaching became mainstream! I helped my friends and their friends create their investment portfolios, and we were accountable to one another to follow through.
I made a lot of mistakes just like many people do. I invested in riskier stocks by ignoring my risk tolerances. I fell into the beliefs of people saying: “do you want to be the richest person in the cemetery?” I checked my trading account every day and panicked sold when I saw stocks going down and rebought when they were coming up: this contributed to higher trading costs and taxes- not very wise! I had to remind myself that my approach was on a long-term basis.
I started investing early, and I made mistakes along the way. Starting early is better than not starting at all. Leaving your savings in an account that is close to a 0% interest rate is contradictory to building a nest for your future. Inflation also seeps into your savings! I took advantage of the pension contribution scheme by my employers. They topped up my contribution to a certain percentage. This was technically free money. Therefore, do not let this pass by you if your employer offers this! I diversified my investments not only in financial assets but also in non-financial assets.
Will you be fearful of investing? Yes, we may all go through it at some point. It may be via media, our family and friends, or colleagues that project these fears. I would advise you to take a seat back and think about your ‘why’ and your financial goals because no one cares about your financial well-being more than you. It is also very important to go back to your goals when other noises try to crowd you out.
PaceUP Invest was created for you to empower you to act on these goals: be it savings and investing, affording the things you need and want, and achieving long-term goals like saving for college and retirement. Let us help you with this journey. We empower women and also men who care about financial empowerment.
We hope you set and achieve your financial goals for 2021 and beyond!
Stay tuned to our launch party early next year. Be sure to be on the lookout for more details.