In 2020, Simran Kaur launched her podcast, Girls that Invest and since then, she’s built a strong global community that helps women navigate the investing world. After creating the mega-successful podcast for women, in 2021 Kaur followed up with a book, Girls That Invest: Your guide to financial independence through shares and stocks. In a world full of mostly male voices, Kaur is creating a space that elevates women’s money issues, helps debunk myths and provides a path to close the gender gap in investing.
Earlier this year, Kaur joined TD Direct Investing to talk about common investing fears and insecurities that exist among women. During her talk, she highlighted the importance of crushing your biases, focusing on just a few investment goals and learning from other financially successful women.
She covered a lot of ground in one hour, but here are three ideas that definitely resonated with us:
1. Crush those self-defeating biases
Kaur feels that many women wait far too long to begin investing and shared a personal example: While watching the news as a nine-year-old, she asked her dad what the stock tickers with the red and green triangles meant.
He tried to explain it, but nothing made sense to her. For 15 years, Kaur assumed she just wasn’t good with numbers. It wasn’t until she took a certificate course in investing that she realized it wasn’t that hard.
One way to overcome this type of self-doubt is to find ways of learning that match your style. “Instead of thinking, maybe my dad doesn’t understand this, let me go find another teacher, let me go find a book. I instead thought, ‘I’m just bad with money,'” says Kaur.
A lot of the comments Kaur gets from women she meets have to do with this type of self-doubt. “[They’ll say] I feel like there’s more I need to know about investing — this seems too simple,” says Kaur. Movies show us that we need five different screens displaying graphs and candlestick charts to understand the financial world. But in reality, starting off can be simple. “What our male counterparts do really well is they’ll get a general sense [of the stock market] and they’ll just jump in with $10.” Women are often more cautious, she says. That’s why Kaur encourages women who feel self-conscious about their financial acumen to give themselves more credit for the knowledge they do have. Like men, who may have started off feeling the same way, women can start small and learn from trial and error.
2. Choose your investment priorities
It can be important to manage your expectations when investing, says Kaur. Scrolling through social media and seeing everyone’s European holidays or beautifully renovated homes can be aspirational, but it can also be overwhelming. Moreover, she says, it can make us feel like we should be working toward all our financial goals simultaneously. So how do we manage our investing expectations?
Kaur has a two-step process:
Step 1: Take account of all your high-interest loans. These can include credit card debts or car payments. Pay those down first.
Step 2: Write down all the financial goals you want to achieve in life — whether it’s travelling, buying a home, retiring, throwing a big wedding or saving for your kids’ education. Circle two or three of these goals and focus on those. If you know you’d like to travel, you might not be able to buy a home right away. And, conversely, if purchasing a home is your priority, you might choose to cut down on the travel.
Realistically, we may not be able to achieve all our investment goals, given the limited time and resources we have, says Kaur. “It is better for us to be honest about that.”
3. Learn from financially successful women
Well-known women on Wall Street are still a rare commodity, among the Warren Buffets and Benjamin Grahams of the world. But the women who are present often exhibit a handful of common money habits that we can all learn from. According to Kaur, there are four traits that many financially successful women embody:
They are self-confident. Kaur says that successful women don’t doubt their abilities. “Even when unsure, they’re more likely to tell themselves, ‘I might not have figured it out yet. I might not know everything, but I trust my brain to get me there.'”
They automate their savings and investing. Instead of relying on memory, many successful women automate the investing process. Kaur herself times her investment contributions to her payday. That way, before she even sees the money come into her account, it’s ready to be invested. Apps like TD Easy Trade have features that allow you to similarly automate your contributions.
They track every dollar. Successful women keep a close eye on their earnings, expenses and spending habits every month.
They pivot. When it comes to their careers, Kaur says that many successful women avoid staying in the same role for too long and may change roles roughly every two years. When they’re in their role, these women typically make sure to have those hard conversations some of us would prefer to avoid. Namely, asking their managers for a raise or support for upskilling.
Want to learn more? You can watch the entire conversation with Kaur right here.