For International Women’s Day, here is a sneak peek of my fourth global study in the Rich Thinking series, to be released on Saturday, March 8th. I asked accomplished women around the world “How did you get started investing?” I then distilled and condensed their wisdom into four major themes and 50 inspiring quotes. Most got started by following practical money advice that had been passed along from a friend or relative. Here are two fine excerpts:
Louise de Grandpré, Senior Vice-President, Merit Travel Group in Toronto, Canada
“On my 16th birthday I received a small portfolio of paper stock certificates: Bell Canada, TransCanada Pipelines, and a few others. I remember feeling ‘rich.’ My mother ran the household finances and my father did the investing. I learned a lot by watching my Dad, and I also read the stock pages in the Montreal Gazette. It seemed natural for me to study Business at university and I took the Canadian Securities Course when I started working for a bank. My main takeaway about investing is that all markets are cyclical. It is the same with the travel industry. After September 11th, many people thought that the travel business would die. Our largest client banned all corporate travel between September and January! This was a huge hit to the bottom line of our company. But other clients were back at work and travelling on September 12th – that was just their way of life.
I have never worried about my own investment portfolio: it isn’t there for spending so it doesn’t really matter to me if or when it declines in value. I take a long term view. My father always said “never invest in equities with money that you can’t afford to lose.” I feel fortunate to have made wise investment choices and I think it is important for women to be financially independent. I have learned that not all couples turn out like my parents: they were still holding hands after 60 years of marriage.”
Stephanie Hospital One Ragtime Founder and CEO lives in Paris, France
“My mother told me to get an education and to work at something that was interesting to me, not for the money. There is an old French expression ‘il ne faut pas perd sa vie en la gagner,’ something like ‘don’t lose your life earning it.’ I work hard and I earn enough money to have the freedom to spend time on the things that matter to me. If I had extra money, I would invest in early stage global technology start ups … and buy real estate in Chamonix, not in traditional equity markets! Due to digitalization, everything has been disrupted. People no longer go to shops, they buy online. It is the software companies that attract the best people. You need to have a good position in technology stocks in your portfolio because it is the new economy that has the best value.
My advice to younger women is to go abroad. You need to get an understanding of international markets. Work with entrepreneurs because the model of big corporations or government is over. Don’t ever work just for money: money is simply the valuation of what you are doing. Start a business as soon as possible because you need enough money to afford your dreams.”
The key message from my conversations is that investing isn’t as complicated as you might think, and the sooner you get started the better. Learn from your role models. Watch your spending, control your credit card debt, and have a financial plan. Read the news. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Be aware of trends and patterns: think of investing as a window on the world. Use technology, and all the tools it offers.
And be sure to visit www.barbarastewart.ca at 8am on Saturday, March 8th to read the full report.
Happy International Women’s Day to all!