The following is the second part of a series, and is authored by Allie Keith of Groove's Spring Intern Team. Witnessing the challenges faced by many women who desire to invest in startups, but who are also either intentionally kept out or passively ignored by many fund managers, Allie, Brianna, and Kiley have set out to better understand and resolve the barriers faced by women investors.
As a part of this series, the team will cover the many facets that ultimately lead to one's interest in and ability to invest, including a career, general financial well-being, and exposure to venture investing. Please enjoy as we learn alongside these incredible women.
From the perspective of a twenty-something college student, the barriers to entry into investing seem high—I don’t know where to begin, I have little money to spare, and the risk can be discouraging.
But a recent interview with Rachael Scherer—a veteran in the realm of finance—brought clarity to the domain of investing, and helped me break down these barriers. Rachael shared her experiences as a woman in the heavily marginalized finance industry, and offered advice for people who want to begin investing.
Here's what we discussed:
Q: What improvements have you seen in this industry when you started in comparison to my generation?
A: In the 80s it was an extremely toxic environment riddled with affairs, alcohol, and plenty of misogyny. Rachael recalled a meeting where someone asked a female coworker if she was wearing underwear that morning. Today, women aren't forced to put up with blatantly misogynistic behavior anymore. We're more empowered to make choices. Additionally, men were expected to work and never had the option to stay home, however, that dynamic is shifting too; these days there are stay-at-home dads while women work.
Q: Are there any resources you recommend for staying on top of financial markets/trends?
- Weekend Exchange section of the Wall Street Journal - covers trends and markets
- The Economist - the best general publication on global markets
- Fast Company - focuses on younger entrepreneurs and this generations technology
Q: What should I be doing now with regard to my financials to prepare for my future?
- Take money out of your paycheck to save, and make sure you can afford it
- Maximize the match in your 401K
- Invest your money in the market - mutual funds are a great place to start, research the fund’s managers
Q: What are common mistakes you see people do with their money?
- Worry as you get older
- Sell too early
- Forget that you have to pay taxes on your gains
Q: What investing advice would you give your younger self?
- Be disciplined - my biggest mistakes have occurred when I didn't follow my gut or investing philosophy
- Invest where you believe in the people - look at the leadership of the company you want to invest in. Are their women on their board or in executive positions? Is there much diversity?
- Be careful about borrowing money - don't buy on margin to buy the stock, don't invest money you don't have
Q: What other resources would you recommend that I review to become a better investor?
How I Built This by Guy Raz (recommended episode: Angie's BOOMCHICKAPOP: Angie & Dan Bastian)
Secrets of Wealthy Women by WSJ
One Up on Wall Street by Peter Lynch and John Rothchild
Finding the Next Starbucks: How to Identify and Invest in the Hot Stocks of Tomorrow by Michael Moe
Managing Oneself by Peter Drucker
The New New Thing by Michael Lewis
Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead by Sheryl Sandberg and Nell Scovell
Hearing another woman's experience in the industry was refreshingly optimistic. Women have come a long way in Corporate America, and though we still have a ways to go, having these open and honest conversations with each other builds a sense of community. Hopefully, these introductions help demystify investing and encourage others to dive in. What I am learning is that you don't have to have all the answers to start, the first step is to ask the right questions.