Getting started and common mistakes that should be avoided SINGLE MOM

I am on a personal mission to make women save and invest more.

Studies Find That Women Are Real better to invest as men, but they save and invest too little, too seldom, which puts us at a tremendous disadvantage.

The Wealth gap It's a terrible problem because women have invested and saved far less than men, and we need those long-term assets even more than types.

While everyone needs to save and invest on the stock market, women need to invest more than men because:

  1. Women will live longer on average.
  2. Women are disproportionately more responsible for children and older relatives.
  3. Women earn less during our career (damn, wage difference!) And therefore receive less from social security.

Besides, we can invest better so we should invest and expand our money only for the economy, gender equality and national security, right?

Ellevest is a robo-adviser designed specifically for women to take into account that we often take time off to get babies, suffer from pay gaps and like pretty websites! Ellevest was founded by Sallie Krawcheck, a pioneer on Wall Street. She shares my mission to close the wealth gap and assist women in their quest for financial independence.

Even if you are unwilling to invest your money, Ellevest will help you plan your financial goals, including planning children, buying a home, paying off debts, starting a business, or of course retiring. No minimum. Use this link to get your free Ellevest financing plan

Unlike just about any other post where you'll learn how to invest for beginners, I will not bore you with details on diversification, rebalancing or other crap.

This is boring and confusing for me and I have been working as a personal finance journalist for more than a decade. All this jargon is important, but if you are not enthusiastic about learning it, then do not do it.

Just as you leave the heart surgery to the surgeon and teach the geometry of your children to their math teacher, you find a source of financial advice that you trust, and do not miserable your own life by trying to pick stocks (which are proven to be time consuming and expensive) time consuming) is NOT SMART again!) and makes money management easy.

Also, remember that all this financial jargon is created by men and you should feel stupid to pay you a lot of money to manage your money for you.

This is a fact, not an opinion, and it should really drive you crazy.

You are not stupid or stupid. They are brilliant and have what it takes to invest their money in the future and not pay anyone a lot of stupid fees.

Let us do this:

  1. Where to start investing money
  2. Easy ways to invest money
  3. Employer sponsored plans
  4. Investment accounts for self-employed
  5. Retirement or college savings? Advice for single mothers about investing
  6. Guest Post by Shannon McLay, The Financial Gym
  7. Step by step investing in retirement

Where to start investing money

Employer-supported 401k or IRAs are a great option for a number of reasons:

  1. Contributions to these investments are usually matched by your employer. If you ignore that, money stays on the table.
  2. These pension contributions are generally tax-deferred or tax-exempt.
  3. If you are struggling with the discipline of regular investing, your HR department will automatically deduct contributions from your paycheck, contribute to your retirement, and allocate funds. That's a very good reason – no shame to seek help!

If you have a 401 (k), Roth IRA or other investment plans with a match, maximize this. You probably have a handful of investment options to choose from, and one is probably one Target date funds. Select the target date funds.

Fund = group of shares, bonds and investments

An equity fund, commonly referred to as a "mutual fund," is far better than a single stock, because the mix means that you are better protected in the event of a stock market crash and are more likely to make money as it rises.

There are more than 30,000 mutual funds in the market. Mutual funds can provide a good balance of investments to help you achieve your goals and minimize risk. The downside is that fees apply to all funds. Increasingly, mutual funds are disappearing in favor of index funds.

Target Date = The fund is managed to maximize the time you own it.

For retirement accounts, select a target date fund that ends on the date you expect to retire.

For example, I am 43 years old and expect to retire around the year 2040. So I have a lot of my retirement investment in Vanguard Target Retirement 2040 (VFORX).

Vanguard is famous because it's cheap, and in return for this low fee, a few nerds are paid huge salaries to grow my money.

I'm not a fund manager so I would never pretend to do a better job than these nerds. They caught you. A destination fund is fantastic. Do that.

If you want to check if your 401 (k) works as well as it could, I recommend that Robo consultant Blooom, an online tool that automatically maximizes your 401 (k) investments without you having to move your account.

If you do not have a pension program, you can create your own!

Index funds = free funds that track the market

An index fund is an investment fund that is also an "exchange traded fund" or ETF. This means that the entire portfolio traces or copies a particular market index. There are ETFs for the Dow Jones Industrial Average. Part of this fund tracks the 30 stocks that make up the DJIA. As the DJIA goes up and down, your stock goes up and down by the same percentages.

With more than 100 years of stock market data, experts are pretty sure that over time all stock and bond markets will rise.

There are index funds / ETFs for all kinds of things: international equities, US domestic stocks, certain markets like biotechnology, green electricity, cannabis, big companies, small businesses, green power companies, fossil fuel producers – you name it.

There are also target date index funds.

One of the great advantages of ETFs and index funds is that fees are extremely low – as the fund is so actively managed, making investment funds so expensive.

Your employer retirement pension may offer an ETF as an option.

Easy ways to invest money

If you do not have an employer-sponsored retirement plan, are self-employed, or want to invest, you have a few options.

Open your own brokerage account and buy funds on the deadline. Brokerage = Company where you can buy and sell investment products such as target funds! In the past you had to pay at least $ 10 per purchase, but now many brokers like E * Trade, Charles Schwab and TD made Ameritrade trades for free.

The other option is to go with a Robo Advisor.

Go with a Robo Advisor. Robo-Advisor is a truly intelligent computer system that manages your money for you at very low fees. Robo consultants are a great option because:

  1. Low fees. Fewer people managing your money mean fewer expenses – which are passed on to you.
  2. Proven success for growing your money and achieving your goals (computers are smarter than flawed people, it turns out!), R
  3. Robo-Advisor are very easy to use, including the setup, which takes a few minutes, and the set up of automatic deposits.


Ellevest – This robo-adviser was designed specifically for women to take into account that we often take the time to have babies, suffer from the pay gap, and we like pretty websites! Ellevest was founded by Sallie Krawcheck, a pioneer on Wall Street. She shares my mission to close the wealth gap and assist women in their quest for financial independence.

Read my review by Ellevest Here,

Even if you are unwilling to invest your money, Ellevest will help you plan your financial goals, including planning children, buying a home, paying off debts, starting a business, or of course retiring. Get a free one Financial plan of Ellevest now >>

No minimum investment!

Use this link to get your free financing plan from Ellevest + $ 50 to start the investment >>

My interview with Sallie Krawcheck:

Worthy bonds

Traditional savings accounts have offered very low interest rates for 20 years – often below 1%.

Worthy bonds are an excellent alternative to savings accounts, since all deposits end with an a Fixed 5% interest!

  • Start with just $ 10
  • Pick up your money anytime
  • $ 0 fees
  • Automatic deposits
  • Super easy to set up in 3 minutes. Just go to WorthyBonds.comClick on "Let's go", enter your personal details and your bank account and you can already earn 5%!
  • Function for rounding up savings. If you're familiar with Acorns or Digit, you know the power of a savings tool that tracks your daily expenses and rounds up to the next dollar every time you make a purchase. How to save the difference.
  • Feel good that Worthy earns this interest through secured loans to US companies

Worthy Bonds are a great place to park your emergency fund or other savings as part of your investment strategy. Start now with Worthy Bonds >>

Employer sponsored plans

While this option is dwindling, many employers still offer investment benefits to their employees.

Some of the key plans for employer investment include:

Traditional and Roth 401 (k)

If you work for someone else, you may have access to a 401 (k) plan. With this type of plan, employees contribute a percentage of their salary and may even receive a "return" on some of that money from their employer.

The money that contributes to a traditional 401 (k) income is credited to your account up to an annual pre-tax threshold, which reduces your taxable income for the year.

From there, your money grows tax-free and you only pay income taxes when you make withdrawals in retirement.

For 2019, employees can deposit up to $ 19,000 in these accounts. However, you can spend up to $ 25,000 ($ 6,000 more) a year from the age of 50.

Like a traditional IRA, you have to pay fines if you have to withdraw money from your 401 (k) before you are 59 ½ years old.

When it comes to Roth 401 (k), these investment accounts work in a similar way to Roth's IRAs, contributing to after-tax dollars.

However, for a Roth 401 (k), the required minimum distributions start at 70 ½ years and there are no income restrictions.

It is important to note that employers offering a Roth 401 (k) also need to offer a conventional 401 (k).

Simple IRA

A simple IRA plan (Savings Incentive Match Plan for employees) is another type of employer-supported plan that is even rarer than the Roth 401 (k). This type of plan is often offered by small employers, but also by self-employed people.

For a simple IRA, employers must either make matching or non-selective contributions to the plan.

When reconciling contributions, the employer can adjust the employee contribution up to 3% of the salary of the employee.

In the case of non-selective deferrals, the employer contributes to the plan, regardless of whether the employee contributes or not.

Like other plans, contributions to a basic IRA are tax-deductible to a certain extent.

The money then grows tax-free and is taxed as soon as you start retirement in retirement.

As with other plans, you must pay a fine if you need to withdraw money from your Simple IRA before your 59 ½ year.

Traditional IRA

With a traditional IRA, you can save money that is deferred until retirement age. This means that depending on the income level, you can now deposit money and possibly deduct the amount you contribute to a traditional IRA (up to annual limits) to reduce your taxable income this year.

People younger than 70 ½ years can contribute to a traditional IRA. For 2019, you can deposit up to $ 6,000 on all IRA accounts together if you're younger than 50, or $ 7,000 if you're 50 years or older.

Since this type of retirement account is foreseen, you can only withdraw money without penalty from the age of 59½.

Required minimum distributions for these accounts are also required by April 1st of the year following the year in which you turn 70 ½.

If you or your spouse do not participate in a retirement plan at work, your traditional IRA contribution will be fully deductible up to your contribution limit, which is based on your income.

You can contribute to a traditional IRA if you earn less than these limits in 2019:

  • $ 73,000 for individuals
  • $ 121,000 married, returns
  • 189,000 US dollars married, registration separately

Roth IRA

A Roth IRA works differently than a traditional IRA as you deposit after-tax dollars into this account.

The same $ 6,000 limit applies to anyone under the age of 50 (or $ 7,000 if you're 50 or older) for all your IRA accounts.

Since the amounts you pay in US dollars after taxes, the money also grows tax-free and can be withdrawn tax-free after reaching retirement age.

As an added bonus, you can always deposit your contributions into a Roth IRA account without penalty (though you would have to pay taxes on all winnings).

Keep in mind that income requirements apply and many high-income individuals and couples can not use Roth IRAs.

In 2019, the phasing out dates for Roth IRA contributions start at:

  • $ 122,000 for singles
  • $ 193,000 for married couples filing together
  • For married couples, increase to $ 203,000 and singles to $ 137,000

Investment accounts for self-employed

If you are not employed by a traditional employer or have a business, you should consider creating self-employment accounts.

While other retirement accounts can be used by the self-employed (eg traditional and Roth IRAs), the high limits of self-contained investment accounts make them a wise option when it comes to saving money for retirement.

connected: 11 steps to a rich life as a single mother

The main investment accounts for the self-employed include:


A SEP IRA (Simplified Employee Pension) enables self-employed, freelancers and small business owners to retire tax-effectively.

The contributions you make to this account may not exceed a) 25% of the compensation or b) $ 55,000 in 2019. However, employees of a small business owner can not contribute to this account. only the employer can contribute up to 25% of his salary up to the annual limit.

These accounts are often considered the best for the self-employed and because there are minimal initial or operational costs and the contribution rates are so high.

However, as with other investment accounts, you must pay a fine if you raise ½ money from your SEP IRA before the age of 59. Required minimum dividends also start at 70 ½ years.

Solo 401 (k)

A solo 401 (k) plan, also known as the only participant 401 (k), is another requirement plan that is perfect for freelancers and sole traders.

This type of plan can cover a business owner without employees or the business owner and his spouse.

There are two ways in which individuals can contribute to these plans – first as an employer and secondly as an employee.

On the employee side, individuals can contribute up to a maximum annual amount ($ 19,000 in 2019). On the employer side, you can also contribute up to 25 percent of the plan's compensation, provided the total contribution does not exceed $ 56,000 per year.

So, if you're like me and the owner and sole employee of a business, you can bring in the full $ 56,000, provided your company's income allows it.

It's best to ask your accountant.

Again, you should plan a penalty if you have to withdraw money from your Solo 401 (k) before the age of 59½ years.

Required minimum distributions are also required from the age of 70 ½.

Taxable brokerage accounts

While the investment accounts described above are primarily for retirement assets, there is another type of account in which money may be invested for retirement or other purposes: taxable brokerage accounts.

You can open a single taxable account or a joint account with a spouse or partner.

Taxable brokerage accounts offer the opportunity to continue to invest even if you have "exhausted" traditional retirement accounts that may offer tax benefits.

The best thing about taxable brokerage accounts is the fact that there is no limit to the amount of your contribution and no income limit.

Taxable brokerage accounts are suitable for anyone who wants to increase their wealth beyond what they can achieve in a traditional retirement account.

Also note that taxable investment accounts may offer more opportunities to invest your money than a traditional 401 (k) account.

If your employer restricts the selection of funds or options, you can invest your money in a taxable investment account as you wish.

This may involve trading stocks, investing in bonds or buying index funds, but the choice is yours.

Since taxable investment accounts are offered regardless of your employment, you must create your own account.

Fortunately, you can open a taxable broker account online through a variety of companies such as Vanguard, Scottrade, Fidelity, or Use a Robo consultant like Ellevest,

What is a Robo Consultant?

A Robo-Advisor is by definition an online platform that manages your money without much (or any) human interaction. The fact that this process is done by computers rather than humans has led to higher revenues and much lower fees.

How do Robo consultants work?

Robo Advisors automatically select investments based on your goals, age, risk tolerance, and other factors to build a diversified portfolio for you. The software will then automatically make changes to your investments to adjust your portfolio to a target allocation, as the stocks and bonds in your portfolio fluctuate – and help you achieve your goals. Some Robo consultants automatically trade trades to reduce their tax burden through tax losses.

Again, the entire administration of your hard earned money is done automatically via software. Decades of research have shown that computers invest better than people – the less dirty hands on your money, the better!

What are Robo Advisor fees?

One of the best features Robo consultants have is that they are usually much cheaper than a traditional financial advisor.

A financial advisor will charge 1% to 2% of the assets under management (ie your investments).

Robo Consultants may charge a monthly flat fee of $ 15 to $ 200 per month, depending on the size of your assets. Other Robo consultants will charge between .15% and .50%, depending on the size of your portfolio (with a larger fee for larger funds).

For example: An investment of $ 100,000 with a 50% fee for the Robo Advisor would cost you $ 500 a year. The same $ 100,000 invested with a traditional human adviser at 2% per annum costs $ 2,000!

What are robo-advisor returns?

BackEnd Benchmarking's Robo report notes that all of the key Robo consultants, including those listed in this post, earned between 8% and 11% over the past two years.

Is a Robo-Consultant worth it?

Low fees, ease of use and accessibility for all investors make Robo-Advisors a great option for the majority of investors (very wealthy individuals may have special needs). one Report about NerdWallet found that 1% fees can cost an investor $ 409,000 over 40 years if he invests in both fees and performance! Writes NerdWallet:

Fees affect you in two ways: An investor pays an ever-increasing amount of fees as the balance increases because fees are based on a percentage of the assets. The fees also affect the return on the portfolio. That's because every dollar spent to cover administrative costs costs one dollar less to invest and grow in the portfolio. Our research has shown that not only does an investor potentially pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in avoidable fees, but over time, he also gives away many times that amount of lost portfolio returns.

Who should use a Robo-Advisor?

Anyone can use a Robo advisor, even people who do not have much money. In fact my Favorite robo-consultant is Ellevestwhich requires $ 0 to invest.

Use this link to get your free financing plan from Ellevest + $ 50 to start the investment >>

Many traditional financial advisers require a high minimum investment of $ 200,000 or more.

Robo advisors are usually fond of this tool because they do not think they have enough fortune to hire a financial adviser or someone who benefits from machine learning or artificial intelligence that comes with robotic advice. to buy and sell stocks, bonds and funds to capitalize on the ups and downs of the markets, take advantage of tax benefits and achieve your short- and long-term goals.

Q: Are robo-consultants only for retirement investments?

On a! Most financial advisors allow you to create investment goals for much of your spending (home, car, emergency fund, baby, vacation, remodeling, divorce, if you save!), Education, retirement or general investment.

How assets are divided into divorce

Ellevest Robo Advisor

Ellevest's Financial Planner is a great, free tool that helps you figure out how to achieve any number of goals – such as: For example, starting school, starting a business, buying a home, saving for the holidays, renovating your home, or adopting a child. Try Ellevest's free financial planner now and receive $ 50 to start the investment >>

Invest in bonds

Bonds are an important component of an investment portfolio. Bonds are a very safe asset class that allows you to invest money in a government or business for a fixed period of time, usually with a guaranteed return.

Because they are so confident, bonds are usually very popular in volatile stock markets. Bonds can also be a great place to park your emergency credit or cash as they usually pay for more than just a savings account.

Worthy bonds

Worthy bonds Make it easy to invest in bonds and offer a fixed interest rate of 5% (compared to 1% to 2% for a savings or money market account)!


  • Start with just $ 10
  • Pick up your money anytime
  • $ 0 fees
  • Automatic deposits
  • Set in 3 minutes at,
  • The savings rounding feature, similar to Acorns or Digit, tracks your daily expenses and rounds up to the next dollar every time you buy – saving you the difference.
  • Feel good that Worthy earns this interest through secured loans to US companies

Start now with Worthy Bonds >>

College 529 savings accounts

Many parents, grandparents, and others choose to invest in a 529 plan to fund a child's education in their lifetime. 529er have advantages and disadvantages. One of the biggest mistakes that parents make is actually investing too much Neglecting one's own retirement and other long-term financial plans for the future education of their children.

Remember, there are countless ways in which young people can finance and pay for their higher education (including the payment itself!). However, there are no loans or Pell grants for retirement.

If you can manage your investments, spend at least 3 months in cash on a savings account that will maximize your employer's 401,000 or other retirement assets, manage your personal debts easily and feel confident that you can retire comfortably, and then one Consider investing in the future of your child. You must know the following:

What is a 529 plan?

A 529 plan is a federal program that provides tax-advantaged savings and investment in education. All profits from a 529 plan are tax-deductible, and you do not pay federal taxes on dividends if you use them for qualified university spending, which now includes accredited colleges and universities, computers, and up to $ 10,000 for K-. 12 private education.

How does a 529 plan work?

Almost every state has its own plan. You can invest in a nation's 529 plan and invest in one of more than 6,000 US colleges and universities and 400 schools in other countries that are eligible.

In many states, you can deduct your investment of $ 529 from your state taxes. In any case, all profits from your investment are tax-free as long as you use the money for tuition.

If, for whatever reason, your child named on the account does not use the money, your investment may be transferred to another family member without penalty, or saved for a graduate school, provided the funds are used for qualified educational purposes. Unused funds may be deducted for non-educational purposes. This is subject to federal tax and a penalty of 10%.

To successfully use a 529 plan:

  1. Open a 529 college savings plan. You can start a 529 plan with CollegeBacker, a platform that gives families the tools and resources they need to fund higher education.
  2. You decide which investment fund to manage your money and have control of the investment. CollegeBacker keeps an updated list of the best 529 college savings plans.
  3. Whenever and how you want to contribute, add occasionally if you have extra money with automatic monthly deposits and / or in gifts from loved ones on birthdays and holidays.
  4. When it is time to withdraw the money (in a lump sum or as needed), fill in the withdrawal forms of your program and distribute them to the beneficiary (the child) – not the account holder.

Save now for your child's college education >>

Of course, college planning should be part of your children's education. Read our guide on how to teach your children at any age.

Retirement or college savings? Advice for single mothers about investing

Prioritize your retirement investments far beyond your children's college education.

Eine Umfrage der Allianz ergab, dass Amerikaner im Vergleich zum Ruhestand zu viel für den College-Fonds ihrer Kinder sparen und allein erziehende schuldbewusste Mütter besonders anfällig für diesen Fehler sind.

Stattdessen: Denken Sie an die Sauerstoff-im-Flugzeug-Regel: Passen Sie auf sich auf, bevor Sie versuchen, andere zu retten.

Wenn Sie Ihre Finanzen in Ordnung haben, Geld auf der Bank haben, Ihre Investitionen im Griff haben, sind Sie heute eine weniger gestresste, sicherere Mutter und entlasten Ihre Kinder von der Sorge und dem Groll, in späteren Jahren für Sie gesorgt zu haben. Es gibt unzählige Möglichkeiten, das College zu finanzieren, aber keine Pell-Zuschüsse oder Darlehen für den Ruhestand!

Glauben Sie, dass Sie es wert sind.

Sie verdienen es, einen dicken Haufen in der Bank zu haben, beruhigt zu sein und das Vertrauen zu haben, dass Sie ein angenehmes, freudiges Leben und eine finanzielle Zukunft haben können!

Sie sind nicht dumm oder faul, weil Sie nicht investiert haben – oder nicht genug gespart haben.

Das System ist gegen Sie gestapelt. Sie sind schlau und können dies tun.

Wenn Sie in Ihren Finanzen erfolgreich sind, haben alle Frauen Erfolg.

Wir erheben uns gegenseitig, setzen uns gegenseitig große Vorbilder und werden gemeinsam diese Wohlstandslücke schließen!

Denken Sie daran: Das beste Geschenk, das Sie Ihren Kindern machen können, ist Ihre eigene finanzielle Gesundheit.

Lesen Sie mehr von Shannon McLay, The Financial Gym

Von einer alleinerziehenden Mutter, Finanzberaterin und CEO und Gründerin von Das finanzielle Fitnessstudio, Shannon McLay:

Frauen investieren sehr schlecht. Statistisch gesehen ist es weniger wahrscheinlich, dass wir investieren, und es ist wahrscheinlicher, dass wir weniger investieren, als wir sollten.

Obwohl es einige großartige Studien gibt, die zeigen, dass Frauen tatsächlich BESSER investieren als Männer, haben wir noch einen langen Weg vor uns.

In dieser Like a Mother-Episode erklärt meine alleinerziehende Unternehmerin Shannon McLay, Gründerin und CEO von The Financial Gym, Schritt für Schritt, wie Frauen ihre Investitionen und Einsparungen überwinden und einen Finanzplan für ihre Zukunft aufstellen können .

Nachfolgend finden Sie eine Aufschlüsselung, wie Sie genau das tun können, entweder im Rahmen eines Arbeitgeberplans oder auf eigene Faust.

Klicken Sie hier, um zum Transkript dieses wirklich hilfreichen, einfachen und lustigen Interviews mit Shannon zu scrollen.

Andere Möglichkeiten zuzuhören: iTunesStitcherEinschaltenSoundCloudGoogle Play

Ein allgemeines Thema, das wir in der Finanzhalle sehen, ist der Mangel an Investitionen von Frauen. Die meisten Frauen sagen:

"Ich investiere nicht, weil ich mein Geld nicht verlieren möchte."

Das sind Worte, von denen ich Ihnen versichern kann, dass sie ein Mann niemals sagt. und wenn du sie sagst, sagst du wirklich: "Ich möchte kein Geld verdienen."

Die Realität ist, dass Sie es sich erlauben, Geld zu verlieren, wenn Sie Ihr Geld auf einem Giro- oder Sparkonto lassen und nicht investieren.

Im Durchschnitt verdienen Sie weniger als 1% auf einem Bankkonto, während die Inflation 2-3% beträgt, was bedeutet, dass Ihr Geld 1-2% des Wertes der Bank verliert.

Ich werde nicht lügen, investieren ist beängstigend. Wenn Sie Angst davor haben, ist die Angst real, aber wie bei jeder Angst können Sie sie überwinden, wenn Sie ein besseres Wissen haben.

Sie arbeiten hart für jeden Dollar, den Sie verdienen, und wenn Sie Ihr Geld investieren, lassen Sie Ihr Geld im Gegenzug hart für Sie arbeiten.

Lassen Sie nicht zu, dass das Investieren der Club des Jungen bleibt, der schon seit Jahrzehnten besteht.

Hier sind einige schnelle Schritte, um zu investieren und Ihr Leben heute und in Zukunft zu sichern.

Lassen Sie sich nicht von Fachjargon in die Quere kommen

Neulich hat mich eine Frau gefragt

"Ich höre von Investitionen in die Märkte, weiß aber nicht einmal, was die Märkte sind, wo und wie ich sie finde."

Sie glaubte, eine blöde Frage zu stellen, bis die meisten anderen Leute im Raum (einschließlich Männer) es ebenfalls wissen wollten.

Es gibt eine Menge Finanzjargon um Investitionen, die absichtlich so angelegt sind, dass sie für Sie verwirrend sind, sodass Sie einen Mann bezahlen müssen, der es Ihnen erklärt.

Hier sind die einfachen Fakten: Wenn Sie einen Investmentfonds mit Stichtag kaufen oder mit einem Robo-Berater wie Ellevest oder Betterment zusammenarbeiten, sind Sie ausgewogen genug, um den Abschwung der Wirtschaft zu überstehen und die Vorteile des Aufschwungs zu nutzen.

Das bedeutet nicht, dass Sie nicht die gesamte Investitionsterminologie der Welt verstehen sollten (googeln Sie einfach, was Sie wissen möchten!) Oder sich wohl fühlen, wenn Sie Ihrem Finanzplaner oder Berater Fragen stellen.

In den folgenden Abschnitten erkläre ich, wie Sie mit den Investitionen beginnen.

Erkenne die Angst vor Geld an

Wenn Sie Ihr Geld anlegen, nehmen Sie es buchstäblich der Sicherheit der Bank und setzen es auf die Achterbahn der Märkte.

Einmal investiert, können Sie davon ausgehen, dass Ihr Geld wie eine Achterbahn auf und ab geht. Das soll passieren. und wie bei einer achterbahn verlierst du nur, wenn du zur falschen zeit aussteigst.

Jeden Tag wird der Wert Ihrer Anlagen steigen und fallen. Was Sie jedoch sehen, sind nicht realisierte Gewinne und Verluste. Es handelt sich lediglich um eine Momentaufnahme des Werts Ihres Kontos zu diesem Zeitpunkt.

Diese Werte werden realisiert, wenn Sie Ihre Anlagen tatsächlich verkaufen. In der Vergangenheit sind die Investitionen mit der Zeit gestiegen.

Der beste Weg, um zu verhindern, dass Sie zu einem niedrigen Preis verkaufen und Geld verlieren, besteht darin, Ihre Ziele zu planen.

Was uns zum nächsten Schritt führt.

Erfahren Sie, warum Sie investieren

Ich sehe viele Frauen, die auf zu viel Geld sitzen, weil sie nicht sicher sind, was sie mit ihrem Geld machen.

Ich denke, das Setzen von Zielen ist für manche Menschen schwieriger als das Investieren, aber Sie sollten sich die Zeit nehmen und überlegen, wofür Sie Ihr Geld brauchen und wollen.

If you have a goal that is beyond a year away, that is when you should invest.

Setting time horizons for your money is the single greatest thing you can do for your investments because it will dictate exactly how you invest.

I spent years getting educated on investing and helping clients invest, yet most research shows that 90% of your investment returns are based on your asset allocation (how much stock and bonds or other assets you own) and only 10% on your specific assets (owning ETFs, mutual funds or individual stocks).

If you won’t need your money for 1 to 3 years, your asset allocation is conservative, 3-10 years is moderate, and longer than 10 years is aggressive.

You can easily Google mutual funds or exchange-traded funds with these descriptions to find the right choice for you. For example: “conservative short-term ETF,” or “aggressive mutual fund.”

A robo-advisor is a great option

A Robo-advisor is an Internet based portfolio management service that manages your money with minimal human intervention and low fees. Ellevest and Betterment are two good examples.

A robo-adviser will align your time goals with asset allocation automatically.

Having a timeframe for when you need your money helps keep the roller-coaster effect to a minimum, and increases your chances of profits

, Investing is a roller coaster but there are all types of rides from kiddy coasters (conservative asset allocation) to extreme coasters (aggressive asset allocation) and knowing when you’ll need your money dictates which coaster you put it on.

The best part of investing with a robo-advisor, like Ellevest or Betterment, is that the process is so easy to get started.

Once you set up an account, you answer a series of short questions to determine your risk tolerance and then deposit money.  The platform takes care of all the investing, adjusting, and strategy for you.

Just do it

The best way I tell clients to learn about investing is to just do it.

You don’t have to start with a large amount of money, sites like Betterment, Stash Invest, Acorns and Drive Wealth allow you to invest with little to no minimum amounts.

Start with an amount that makes you feel comfortable and get your feet wet while you watch how your money moves.

If you work for an employer who provides a 401k or 403b you can start there; however, you want to make sure you’ve prepared for shorter term goals like buying a home or moving before you over fund a long-term goal like retirement.

Ask friends what they’re doing and don’t be afraid to ask for help.

If you have a financial advisor or want to work with one, just make sure that you know exactly what your buying and that you feel comfortable asking as many questions as you need.

It’s your money and you’re entitled to feel confident about how it’s being invested.

How to start investing for retirement, step-by-step

1. If you work for a company with a 401k or 403b, ask your HR person for the website to get started. You will choose the amount you want to contribute and select your investment options. You should choose 100% of your money to be invested and you don’t have to get complicated, almost every employer gives you the option to invest in a Target Date fund. The date on these funds (2045, 2050, 2055, etc) indicates when you’ll retire so select the one that sounds good for you and your money will automatically get invested there every month.

2. If you’re invested in a retirement account outside of your work plan, you should open an account with an investment firm like Vanguard, Fidelity or Betterment. You will choose either an IRA or Roth IRA as your account type, you need to link this account to your bank account so you can move money into it regularly and then you’ll select your investment options. Similar to the 401k, you don’t have to make it complicated, you can find Target Date funds at every investment firm or if you choose a robo-adviser like Betterment, they will set your investments for you without you having to think about it.A target-date fund is a mutual fund that is specifically designed to follow your retirement planning. For example, if you chose a fund that is target-date 2045, it will make more aggressive, or high-risk, investments now, while you are younger and more conservative, or lower-risk, as you get close to your 2045 retirement target date. There are hundreds of target-date funds, and they care a great, low-stress and low-fee way to plan for the future.

3. If you’re investing outside of a retirement account, you will open an account with an investment firm like Vanguard, Fidelity or Betterment and select a brokerage account or general investing account type. You need to connect your bank account so you can move money easily, and then you’ll select your investment options. If you’re investing for a goal that is closer than retirement, then you can pick a shorter dated Target Date fund or a moderate or conservative investment mix with a robo-adviser.

4. If all of this still sounds difficult 0r stressful, then pick up the phone and call the 800 number for one of these investment firms, tell them you want to open an investment account, tell them what you’re investing for i.e. retirement, medium term goals, etc and have them walk you through the entire process on the phone. If you’re going to give them you’re money, make them work for it.

Transcript about women and investing with Shannon McLay:

Emma: I’m here with a friend, a fellow single mom, money expert, Shannon McLay. She is the founder of an awesome startup called The Financial Gym, which is a really innovative way of approaching money and retirement investing. I’ll let her explain in a minute about that. Really, the most important thing is that she’s a single mom in New York, like me, and when we hang out, we don’t really talk about business. We talk about business, but not about money, mostly about dating.

Shannon: Because who wants to talk about business? Who wants to talk about kids? Let’s talk about our lives. Law?

Emma: Well, I like to talk about business and men.

Shannon: Same. I love when people are like, “Oh, I didn’t even know you had a kid.” I keep things in order of priority.

Emma: This is super embarrassing, and I’m not going to say her name, but I have a medium-good professional friend. Somebody I know professionally, but I really like and I work with her a lot. We go out for lunch, we talk about business, I know she’s married, I literally do not know whether or not she has a child. I was looking on Facebook because I’m going to see her soon, and some people get weird and don’t put their kids on Facebook at all, and it’s 50/50, I have no idea whether she has a child or not.

Shannon: Now you can’t ask.

Emma: And I know I can’t. Nope.

Shannon: I tell people all the time, don’t assume, even if you know people have kids, don’t assume they want to talk about them. Listen to what people want to talk about. If they want to talk about their business, then that’s really important to them. If they want to talk about golfing, or shopping, that’s really important. Listen to what they want to talk about, not assuming just because they have kids that they want to talk about kids all the time.

Emma: I would say that rule applies if you want to get something out of the other person. If it’s just a friendship and someone wants to talk to me about golf all the time, they need to reconsider that because I don’t know shit about golf and I don’t care either.

Shannon: I’m totally speaking from my sales experience.

Emma: Exactly. I want you to talk about investing for women.

We’ll have you on to talk about dating. Well, let’s talk about dating for a second more. Are you dating anybody?

Shannon: I am dating, we talked about this on my show. I am dating. I’m like you. I’m definitely having my sexual awakening post-divorce, which is fantastic. It only took me until, what? I’m 39 now. It took me a little while to get there, but better late than never. It was funny. A few weeks back I was like, “I’m going to try out Bumble.” I’ve never tried out the online dating thing, I just kind of meet people. I was in between a relationship and I was like, “Yeah. Let me do that.” So, literally I sign up and my iTunes account is still linked to my ex-husband’s, so he gets a notification. He’s like, “What the hell is this, $8.99 for Bumble?” I was like, “Oh yeah. I’ll pay you back.”

It was a Friday night, it was my weekend with my son and I’m drinking wine and swiping, and I’m matching with people and I’m like, “I don’t even know what the hell to say.” I don’t feel like I have interesting one-liners. Then I was so overwhelmed by it. Then I realized that I had the next four weeks, between travel and having my kid, I don’t even have time to date somebody, what the hell am I doing? It started Friday night, my Bumble experience, and it ended on Monday morning. I’m done. Cancel the account, I don’t have time.

Emma: Well, that’s fine and that’s the beauty of online dating.

Shannon: How do you meet people, Emma?

Emma: I always met people online. I’ve had a boyfriend all year, since January, and we’re in October.

Shannon: You’ve had a really stable relationship. Did you meet him online though?

Emma: I met most people online. A few outliers through business. I went on some blind dates.

Shannon: I meet people at bars.

Emma: Yeah, I mean, whatever. There’s dudes around. It’s not hard to meet people, but we also live in New York City, so the pickin’s are generous.

Shannon: They are. And I said too, I really love old guys and I’m 39 and blonde, so I match a lot with them. I like them old.

Emma: I don’t think that being blonde is a prerequisite. Old men like young women, period.

Shannon: Young, period, definitely. I used to be that I didn’t get the whole May-December thing. But as the May person, I totally get it. I think they’re more, I don’t know if more secure, but they’re more even-keeled, and I like the whole mentor thing. I’m sure I have daddy issues. I don’t know. I just like old guys.

Emma: I tried dating younger men. I’m still friends with a couple of them. They weren’t just pool boys, they were totally guys I would go for. Really successful, super bright and charming, great men who happened to be younger. A lot of it for me was my ego. I was like, “What are you doing with this shit-show? Mom bod. This doesn’t even add up. You’re so cute and so successful, go over with 24-year-old, Brittney. That would make sense. This doesn’t make sense.” So, it was a lot of ego for me. It was very interesting and kind of fun, but I don’t know, it just wasn’t a huge romantic thing. I was never going to fall in love with any of these men. Also, I feel like connecting, I can connect intellectually with somebody, I can connect sexually with them, but they’re not going to connect to my life. They don’t get it. They haven’t had as many life experiences or similar life experiences, especially if they’ve never been married or had kids. It’s all good. Whatever floats your boat, but that wasn’t for me.

Shannon: I agree with you. I think it is the life experience thing too. I don’t want to have to explain what it’s like, the kid thing, or for them to be like, “Oh, yeah I totally get it.” and they don’t get it. Dafür habe ich keine Zeit.

Emma: Old dudes can be clueless. There’s a whole discussion in my mom’s group, I think you’re in there, Millionaire Single Moms, and they were talking about all these women refuse to date men who had stay-at-home wives for their first relationships. They felt like one, they were spoiled and couldn’t take care of themselves, and two, they didn’t get that these new women that they’re dating how intense their lives were and what it required to be involved with them, because they had women serving them at their beck and call all the time.

Shannon: That’s a really interesting point. The guys I’ve dated, even my ex-husband, they all have had working moms, and value a working woman. I feel like for me, that’s number one, before anything else. I love to work. Everybody’s got their own thing, live your life, be happy with yourself. Personally I love working and obviously, my business is my passion. If you don’t get that, then it’s a non-starter.

Emma: It really is. Your passion really is women and making money and investing their money. What is that? If you could say the number one reason why women are investing and saving so much at such lower rates than men, what is that one reason?

Shannon: Mindfulness.

Emma: What does that even mean? What does that word mean?

Shannon: It’s being mindful of where your money is going. We have people come to The Financial Gym all the time, they’re like, “I don’t know where my money goes. I have suspicions of where it’s going.” I get so angry, because most of marketing, most of products are aimed at women. It’s aimed at making us bad at money. You go to Duane Reade in New York and it’s like, the whole front of the store is the makeup department. It’s all for women to spend money. Where are the dudes going to spend money?

Emma: Wait a minute, timeout. Why? Why are women not mindful? Is it because we are expected to be taken care of by a husband or a father? Go a level deeper.

Shannon: I think there is this assumption or this misnomer that women are not good with money, or that the money experience is not as enjoyable for women as it is for guys. Guys come in and they want to invest, they want to do with their money, they assume they’re doing well with their money. Guys really connect with money and women just seem to have this disconnect and it’s false.

There’s a lot of emotion with money too with women. At the Gym, the two words we hear all the time are fear and shame. “I’m afraid of not paying off my student loan debt.” Or, “I’m ashamed that I make $300,000 and I $80,000 in credit card debt.” Or, “I have nothing saved.”

Emma: What?

Shannon: We see all stories. The stories from the Gym are hysterical and not hysterical. We see it all. Our first location right now is in Flatiron, New York; we are across from the Museum of Sex. We said we’re more taboo at the Gym talking about money than they are. They have dildos in the window at the Museum of Sex, and we’re the taboo people on the block. Money is just still taboo. For women, there’s so much emotion tied to money and money choices. Guys are black and white about it.

Emma: Their role is to be the breadwinner, that is a very assumed role. For women, we’re constantly torn. It’s the work/life guilt, the mommy guilt, but it’s all connected to money. One thing I ask women that come on the show to say out loud is, “I like making money. I love making money.” Because we’re told that that’s shameful. We’re greedy, or we’re golddiggers, or we care about material things more. No. Money is security. Money is a mark of success and accomplishment. It’s our ability to care for ourselves, our independence. Money is our political power. If women are not prioritizing earning and achieving professionally, we do not have power in Washington. Planned Parenthood goes away, and Hillary loses. Money is fucking, everything.

Shannon: It’s everything. Think about this, for your listeners, think about how many times you sit in a group with your friends, and the group of you talks about money together.

Emma: Never.

Shannon: Law? Exactly, and that’s a problem. Guys will sit around and talk about bitcoin or what they’re doing with their investments. They will talk about money as a group when they are out with their dudes. When we get together, we don’t talk about money. Why? Or we talk about how much we’re spending, or we talk about the new thing we bought, but we’re not prioritizing getting excited about your investment portfolio. What I love is, we’re changing that at the Gym. Our clients come in and they’re like, “Look at my Betterment account.” I had one client who literally shows her phone with her app with Betterment, how much her portfolio is up. I’m like, “I love that shit.”

We want women to talk about that and feel confident about it. I think there’s that fear and shame. Women don’t feel as confident talking about money. Well, guys don’t know what they’re talking about either. Okay? They’re just talking about it. That’s the thing I want to say too, they’re like, “Oh, yeah, my boyfriend sits around talking about bitcoin.” They don’t have a fucking clue. They don’t have a clue either, they’re just talking about it and they’re comfortable. I think women are not comfortable talking about things we’re not comfortable talking about, so we just won’t.

Emma: That’s interesting. Quickly though, explain in a nutshell, what is The Financial Gym?

Shannon: The Financial Gym is a physical place where you can go to help with your money. You could have zero dollars in the bank or $5million in the bank. We have clients who have started like that and it’s a fun, cool place, instead of working with a fuddy-duddy financial advisor, you get paired with a financial trainer. My whole team right now is all female. I freaking love it. I have people who have been raising money in the venture capital space and guys, of course, are like, “Are you concerned that you're going to drive men away with your all-female team?”

Emma: Oh my God.

Shannon: I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve been asked that question. It’s ridiculous. I was like, “A: I don’t fucking care.” is my first response. But “B: First of all, women are half the population. 95 percent of our inbound traffic to the Gym is female. And C: I’d love to hire the dude who wants to sit there in a financial plan meeting with a client when she’s crying, or he’s crying, we’ve had both male and female criers, about their money situation. I can’t wait to meet the dude who’s cool with that.”

Emma: The hugger. The guy who is the hugger is always super skeevy. “I’m a hugger.” I’m like, “Well, what if I’m not a hugger? Don’t I get a fucking say in that? I don’t want your body pressed up against mine, and that’s my right.”

Shannon: Yeah, I can’t wait to meet that dude. He hasn’t presented himself to me yet.

Emma: If you were pimping tampons, “Aren’t you worried you’re going to drive men away with your bazillion dollar tampon company?” I’m so sorry you have to sit through that. I’m sorry.

Shannon: I’m not, it’s funny. It’s funny for me. It breaks up the day, their ridiculousness.

Emma: Wait, so have you gotten funding?

Shannon: Yes, we’ve raised a $1.9 million. I think it’s only like one percent of women business have raised over a million dollars.

Emma: Good girl, I’m so happy for you. I am so happy for you. Congratulations.

Shannon: Many thanks. So, we’re going to build more Gyms, and it works like a regular gym. You pay a monthly membership fee. $85 a month and you get a person. That person is like your life coach, your money coach, your best friend, your trainer. It’s an awesome thing. My trainers are amazing, amazing women. People ask me what is a financial trainer? What are you looking for? I tell them I’m looking for somebody who’s compassionate, empathetic, and wants to help people with their money and has a personal finance passion as well. My trainers are the freaking best people on the planet. They care so much for their clients.

It’s like an old-school thing that I’ve heard other financial planners or advisors say, “No one’s going to care more about your money than you.”

Putting the onus on the person, not the advisor, that takes away the advisor's decisions for them. That’s bullshit. First of all, the person helping you with your money should care as much about your money. That’s what I love. My trainers care probably more about a client’s money because they can see the potential of what they can do.

Speaking of mindfulness. I have a woman who started, she makes $300,000 and she’s one of these we call the optimizer client. She thinks she’s doing everything great, maybe she didn’t even know she needed to work on her money. She just had her first quarter review, she’s up $13,000 in three months. She said it was just being aware of the choices she’s making.

We do watch our clients spending. We have a system like, so once you get on board they know we’re going to see what’s going on. I always say, “I don’t really care what you’re spending on.” All of our clients are like, “I don’t want to go on a budget. Don’t tell me what to do.” I’m like, “I don’t really give a shit where you spend your money. I just want you spending money on what’s important to you. What you value. I don’t really care what you buy at the end of the day. I just want to make sure that you’re spending it on what you want to spend it on and you’re not wasting it at Duane Reade when you really want to travel the world, but you have no money in your travel account because you’re spending it at Duane Reade.”

Emma: Right, right, right. Here is one thing that you’ve told me, and I’ve seen this firsthand is, very accomplished women with high incomes, very educated astute people, who have no idea about money.

Shannon: I was one of those too, by the way.

Emma: I really want you to break this down. If you are like, “I know I need to start investing and saving for retirement.” Really, I want you to speak at a very, very basic, step-by-step level. What are they doing? What do they do? Assuming they’re not working with a planner. Well, we can talk about whether or not to work with a planner, but what is the first thing they do, and the second thing, and the third thing they do?

Shannon: The first thing they do, and I don’t always say just save for retirement because there’s a lot of life between here and retirement. So, I think the first thing that I think about is, what are you saving for? What do you want in life? I think this is probably the biggest thing we do for our clients at the gym is goal setting. I see this a lot with women. We don’t put big badass goals out there because we just don’t. Guys will be like, “I want to be a millionaire.” They’ll have really big goals, and women are like, “I want to pay off my student loan debt.” Or they don’t even know because they don’t know what they’re capable of.

First thing first, put your goals and your intentions out there. Do you want to own a home? Awesome. Put it out there. You want to have a kid? I always tell people, if you want to have a kid, that is expensive, especially the older you get. Either, you’re going to have fertility issues as a possibility, and every time you do an IVF treatment it’s $10,000 out the door. Or the older you get, you want to have kids, you’re going to freeze eggs. We have a lot of women freezing eggs. That’s a $10,000 per procedure thing. It costs money. So, what are you saving for between here and retirement, and if you’ve got big goals between here and retirement, then you want to save in what we call your medium-term bucket. Then you have retirement, which is long-term. So, that’s first thing’s first, what are you saving for?

Then the biggest problem we have with clients is they’ve got money in their bank account, they’re building up cash, then maybe they have their retirement account, a 401k and meanwhile, they don’t have this medium-term bucket because they’re scared to invest. Meanwhile, if it’s sitting in a bank account you’re actually losing money, because your bank account is probably paying you less than one percent, and inflation is two to three percent. So, if you’ve got money sitting in that bank account, it’s literally losing one to two percent every day.

Emma: What is an average expectation, even if you invest very conservatively? How much can people expect to earn?

Shannon: Six to eight percent, over time. Six to eight percent. And at least you’re going to outperform inflation, because when you invest, especially in the stock market, the stock market’s supposed to beat inflation. That’s why you would invest in the stock market.

Es ist gruselig. The other thing is, people are like, “I don’t want to lose money.” Women say that a lot. “I don’t want to lose money.” And I say, “You don’t want to make money either because the only way you’re going to really make money is investing it. So, put your big girl panties on and do it.”

Then the next steps in what to do is figure out how much you need and then set up the accounts accordingly. Have one account for your medium-term goals, we call that a brokerage account. Then have one for your long-term goals, like retirement. There’s so many sites that make it super easy. I said Betterment, we send a lot of clients to Betterment. It’s a robo-advisor.

Emma: Alright, let’s slow this way down. Medium-term is going to be, maybe it’s just an emergency fund like your roof blows out, or, you want to travel, you want to start a business, that’s going to go in a brokerage account. That’s something you have to take ownership of and manage for sure. You mentioned Betterment, that’s a great company. Fidelity, I’m a client of Fidelity. Whatever.

We need to talk about this, you’re a financial professional and I’m a financial professional, and we’ve talked about this, most of these places, their websites are horrible.

Shannon: They’re horrific.

Emma: They are horrible. They’re so confusing.

Shannon: I called Fidelity, too. Their site sucks.

Emma: Their site so, fucking sucks. It’s important for you and I to say this because we are in this space, supposedly we know what we’re doing, if you are at home listening and you’ve been on Fidelity, or their peers like T. Rowe Price, all of those companies, and you’ve been like, “I’m overwhelmed.” It’s not because you’re dumb, and it’s not because you’re unsophisticated, it’s because they suck.

Shannon: They do suck. It’s so funny you said that about Fidelity too, I say that all the time. I want to send people to Fidelity because I love their mission, I know they support women. I’m a professional and half of what we do with our clients is open accounts, because they’re like, “I don’t know where to go.” Clients come in for follow-up meetings and all we do is open up accounts and walk them through the process. Going to Fidelity, I know what I’m looking for and I can’t find it sometimes. Even just the open an account tab is not noticeable.

Emma: It’s ridiculous.

Shannon: That’s why I send people to Betterment though because it really is kind of dummy proof. Or some of the robo-advisors, they really do make it easy. That’s why I say, you don’t even have to think about it because they’re going to pick your investments for you. If you really get overwhelmed, go there. Take the overwhelming part out of it. Don’t let that get in the way of making money.

Emma: So, Betterment and robo-advisors mean that it’s a computer that is doing what a few years ago a human being would do, which would be managing your portfolio.

You pay a fee, but that fee should be low enough where it makes sense because here’s the big mistake that people make. They’re like, “I’m just going to pick some stocks. Apple’s really hot.” No. It’s so much more complicated. Do not stock pick. That’s like a hobby like day trading is a hobby. That’s fine if you’ve got all the money in the world and you’re interested in that, that’s great. Do it with your kids. Teach them about the markets. But we’re talking, hire a professional. There are so many studies out there that show that is the way to go. Don’t try to do it yourself. So, that is the brokerage account.

If you have an employer and you have a 401k or another retirement plan, take it from there. Then you have limited choices. Half a dozen usually? Talk about that.

Shannon: The brokerage account you’re doing it on your own. The biggest thing I would say is make sure you’re prepared for your medium-term goals before you fixate about retirement. I can’t tell you how many people I have who are like, “I’m maxing out my 401k.” And I’m like, “But you have $20,000 of credit card debt at 24 percent. It doesn’t fucking matter that you’re maxing out your 401k. You are not going to get ahead.” Or, you want to buy a house and it’s like, you’re not going to be able to use the money from your 401k to pay for the house. Prioritize your medium-term goals first and if you can plan for both, great.

The 401k or the 403b if you work for a non-profit are amazing options. The money comes right out of your paycheck and gets invested for you.

With a 401k or a 403b, your company picks your investment options. You don’t have to get cutesy or overthink the process. I think almost all companies now have what’s called target date funds as options, or life goal funds you might see. They’re the funds that you see have dates on them. You might not know it’s a date if you see 2050 or 2055, that’s actually the year 2055. What that’s saying is that you will likely retire in 2050 or 2055. So, pick those target date funds and that’s it. You can have 100 percent of your 401k in that and you could feel good about it. And why? Before I started the Gym, I was a financial advisor at Merrill Lynch, so I know that side of it. I tell people that I worked for a big bad bank, and yeah they really were that big and bad. They are. There are some pretty horrific people working there.

The biggest thing I learned when I was working there is that 90 percent of your investment returns is based on what is called your asset allocation. Your mix of stocks and bonds. Ninety percent is your investment returns. Ten percent is what you actually picked. Did you pick Apple stock? Do you pick an ETF? Do you pick a mutual fund? Who the fuck cares what you pick? People overthink what they pick. Am I investing in the right things? The biggest thing is asset allocation and that’s what a target date fund is going to do. It’s picking the mix of stocks and bonds that you need based on your goal which is retiring at 2055.

“Leave investing to the professionals”

Emma: Wait, we have to break this down even further. Asset allocation means, what? There’s all these classes, domestic versus foreign stock, versus small companies versus large companies, then diversification across different industries. So, oil and gas, and technology, all of these things. The metrics are, there are quantum math guys who are on the spectrum heavily and they make multiple millions of dollars a year, and sit in a windowless room on Wall Street to work on this for you. So, don’t try to overthink it. Diversification because sometimes oil and gas is going to be up and sometimes it’s going to be down, but then hopefully technology will buffer that. Then the market and foreign events and domestic events, the weather, all of these things and a bazillion different points. It’s about diversification so you’re protected. I don’t know about this. What I just said is the extent of what I know about that. Leave it to the professional.

(Here is how to invest in blue-chip art (for people who are not rich))

Shannon: You were really impressive sounding, Emma.

Emma: I know. That’s how I make all the big money because I can talk a little bit of shit about a lot of stuff.

Shannon: I like it.

Emma: That’s exactly how I’ve invested. Target date funds with low fees. I have set it to 2045, I’m 40 years old. Some nerd in a room is figuring this out on my behalf for just a little bit of money that I pay him every year.

Shannon: Yeah, and actually, to get even more complicated, you’re actually not really paying it. It’s not coming out of your pocket, it’s just coming out of your returns with the target date funds. It’s fees, but you don’t pay the fees.

Emma: It’s not like I write them a check.

Shannon: Yeah, you don’t write a check, there’s fees involved. It’s worth the fees is what I’m saying because of the asset allocation component. So I do want to get into asset allocation for a quick second, but before that, I want to get into another good reason why women aren’t great in investing or don’t do it enough, is there’s so much fucking jargon out there. It’s jargon that was created decades ago, by dudes, and all it is is a script that dudes learn and they just stick to the script. They don’t even really know what they’re talking about. Okay? If you don’t understand what terms like asset allocation, or small-cap stocks, mid-cap stocks, that’s fine. You don’t even need to know it. They do make it confusing for you and I tell people, it’s like Greek. We don’t understand Greek, as women. Most people don’t understand it and they don’t want to understand it. The thing is, the whole industry makes it so convoluted just so they can feel better about you not knowing.

Emma: On purpose, so then you feel intimidated and then you’re gonna go pay somebody some exorbitant amount of fees that you don’t need to be paying.

Shannon: Because they use the jargon. I can’t tell you how many women I met when I was building my practice at Merrill Lynch, and even to date, they have financial advisors and they’re like, “I sit there and the guy goes over the whole presentation. I don’t understand a word he’s saying and then at the end of it he’s like, ‘Do you have any questions?’ And I just say no, but I just say no because I had no idea what he said.”

Emma: You couldn’t even ask a question if she wanted to.

Shannon: Yeah, she wouldn’t. Like, what the fuck would I ask? I don’t even know what he just said. I was like, “This is your money. This is your future. Make that guy explain it to you until you get it.”

Emma: No, she needs to just go to you and find a better advisor, because that guy’s not serving her. He’s not interested in serving her because he’s talking over his head so he feels like a big shot. There’s so many women in this space, and men, I never want to bag on men. The people that really care, and if you really care you’re going to speak at people’s level and connect with them.

Shannon: That’s what I’m saying. If you like your person, I think that’s great, but make sure that they are earning the fee that you’re paying them. Just make sure that you feel comfortable because you don’t want it to be confusing. It doesn’t have to be confusing.

Anyway, all the jargon stuff, we had this event at the Gym a few weeks back, every Wednesday night we do Wine and Learn Wednesday’s where we talk about different topics. Investing 101 is a common one that we do. We had this woman raise her hand, and it’s mostly women who come to the events, this woman raised her hand and she’s like, “I get told all the time I should be investing in the markets. Invest in the markets. What are these markets? Where are they?”

Emma: She thinks it’s like a bazaar, like a flea market.

Shannon: “Where are they? How do I get there?” She felt like she was asking the stupidest question. The whole group, everyone was like, “Yeah, can you answer her question?” That was a really good question. This is the degree of which it’s not connecting with women. I told her, “That’s the greatest question ever.” And I love that so much, so if anyone who is listening to this feels this way, what are the markets? There are actually a number of markets. There’s the stock markets, which is Apple or where you own a company. Sometimes you hear equities, that’s a market. Bond market is like loaning money to companies. There is the commodities markets.

Emma: But what are they? It’s not a physical market. Explain what a market is.

Shannon: They’re pretty much online.

Emma: It’s a virtual marketplace of stocks.

Shannon: Yes. Cryptocurrencies, if you’ve got a dude who is investing in bitcoin or some kind of cryptocurrency, that’s a market. It is a marketplace. They’re online marketplaces where you make money. There are a lot of markets and each of the markets represents different assets. Going back to asset allocation, you want to have a few different assets in your mix in what you’re investing in like Emma was going into about diversification, because that just gives you enough representation so you can sleep well at night.

Emma: Basically, you don’t need to know about the market. I’m here to tell you, if you’re a beginning investor, that’s wonderful and thank you, Shannon, for being here to hold her hand, don’t worry about the markets. If you’re investing in a fund, or you’re working with a broker, they’re working on the markets for you.

Shannon: Yeah, they’re there to pick the markets you need to be in. Exactly. They’re going to pick the markets you need to be in based on our assets. The other thing, going back to overthinking what you’re doing or picking individual stocks, the other imagery that we tell our clients or we give our clients is, when you think about investing, think about your main portfolio as creating this tree. You want to create the tree trunk with your basic investing portfolio. So, the target date funds, or a robo-advisor, ETFs, really basic, basic investing. That’s what Warren Buffet does. You want to create this tree trunk of really kind of “boring” investing. Everybody’s doing it and that’s the way you create this foundation for your wealth. Then after that, if you want to do cryptocurrency like bitcoin, or you want to invest in oil and gas yourself, or real estate, all these things, think about those as your tree branches. Don’t build your whole investment portfolio on a branch. Create this really stable tree trunk and then if you want to buy Apple stock, or you really do like this one company, or Lululemon, or whatever the hell you want to buy. Think about that with the smaller tree branch money.

Emma: And that’s going to be more disposable because again, that’s going to be one stock or one asset, versus a diversified portfolio will have, what? Hundreds and hundreds of different assets.

Shannon: One ETF that I like, and it’s easy to remember, it’s ITOT. Actually, it’s a BlackRock ETF. It’s a total market ETF, so you buy that one that’s like $30 for one share of it, you buy one share of it and you will own 2,000 stocks. You will own Apple, you’ll own Amazon, you’ll own Johnson & Johnson, it’s like with one stock. Just buy one of those and you have everything. You don’t even have to think about it. Go into that. There’s a Vanguard total market index II, or there’s the S&P index, you could just buy one and be done and not even have to think about it.

Emma: So, the takeaway is, I would say, and I want to know what your takeaway here is, one: If you’re intimidated by the market, it’s no wonder why. You’re so normal. Most women are, most people are. Do not ever feel ashamed about that. Two: there are ways to make this easier than you think. It pays to pay. It doesn’t mean you should pay just anybody, but do your research and find somebody that is affordable and is going to speak your language and start doing it.

Shannon: Can I say when it makes sense to have an advisor?

Emma: Please, yes.

Shannon: We don’t manage our client’s money, we either empower them to do it on their own or we work with clients who have advisors. Where I think it makes sense to have an advisor or a financial planner is if they are going to look at their whole life for you and kind of help you manage it all and put it all together. We have clients who come in and I say it’s like they throw puzzle pieces at us. They’ve got all these different pieces of their puzzle that they can’t put together themselves. Everybody is busy. We all have a lot of shit going on in our lives and they throw the pieces out, then what we do is, when we do a financial plan it’s like we’re putting it all together.

We’re making it make sense. Work with somebody who is going to help it make sense. If you just have somebody and you’re paying somebody just to invest your money, you’re probably overpaying and you could move all your money to a robo-advisor and save a lot of money, and they’re going to invest it for you a lot cheaper. If you are paying for someone to invest your money and you’re comfortable paying that fee to them, make sure that you feel good and you feel really confident about what they’re doing and never be afraid to ask questions. Everything they say, say, “I’m sorry, what did that mean?” Who cares what they think about you? Who cares if they think you’re an idiot?

Emma: You’re the client. It’s your money.

“You’re the client. You are not an idiot.”

Shannon: You’re the client. You are not an idiot. I became a financial advisor at Merrill Lynch six years ago. I didn’t know what the fuck an ETF was. I worked in trading floors for 13 years, and I would work with guys they’d say, “Oh, just put all your money in an ETF.” I’m like, “Oh yeah, I’m going to put it in an ETF.” I didn’t know what an ETF was, and I was in the industry. It is okay to not know what these things are.

Emma: Shannon McLay, The Financial Gym. How can people find you?

Shannon: Yes, they can find us online at or if you’re in New York, come stop in for some wine and hang out with us. We’re also on Twitter @FinancialGym, we’re on Instagram @TheFinancialGym and we’re just breaking down the jargon and having fun along the way and empowering, especially women, with money. I feel like I have the greatest job ever.

Emma: Well, it’s important. It’s part of the work we’re all doing and I’m grateful to you, so thank you.

Shannon: Many thanks.

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