Investing 101 by Kathy Kristof

This article was inspired by Kathy Kristof's Investing 101 . If you enjoy this article then consider purchasing or borrowing the book.


How to Invest Safely and Successfully

“If you take a little risk, you just might gain a lot.”

What is the secret to investing wisely? Getting over your own psychological hindrances is the best answer. Men and women have different personal hurdles to overcome when investing. Women may have one or more of the following difficulties to deal with:

  1. Available money – While it is an unfortunate reality that women earn less than men, that doesn’t mean that can’t invest with what they have. If you don’t think you have enough to invest, just remember, you can save up $60 a month to invest if you just spend two dollars less every day.
  2. Shopaholics – Rather than investing money you don’t need, cut money out of luxury expenses. Save money and invest. You will find in the long run that this is a better long term plan and will bring you more happiness than the temporary “high” of shopping.
  3. Family considerations – While it is easy to put your family’s concerns before your own financial future, putting money aside for retirement will benefit the whole family in the long run. Consider your company’s 401(k) plan as one of the best long term forms of saving.
  4. Current forms of support – While you may have a husband or father currently providing for you, death and divorce can suddenly change your priorities. Since 90% of women will support themselves at one time or another, invest for your future’s sake.

Though men usually have larger disposable incomes, they can make mistakes women might not:

  1. Get rich quick – Men are more competitive than women and more likely to make mistakes because of their desire to “win.” If a fellow investor brags about tripling his money overnight, just remember that he can lose that money just as quickly. Less money made safely is better than lost money.
  2. Unwillingness to sell – Look at your portfolio at least once annually and see if there is a stock with poor future prospects. If a stock has such a poor outlook that you wouldn’t buy it, sell it!
  3. Experimentation – A stock held for less than a year will require the holder to pay tax, based on personal income tax rates, on the profits. Stocks held for over a year will taxed based on capital gains rates (with a maximum of 20%), so you must earn over a 20% return on a purchase to make up for the taxes on your previous sale.
  4. “Story stocks” – Even if a company has a good backstory, check their numbers. You must know everything relevant to your investment before risking money.
  5. Scrooges – Determine how much money you need for personal goals and relax. Money should never be an obsession.

Remember that risks and rewards are directly related to each other. The riskier an investment, the greater your returns will be, if you don’t take a loss.

To manage market shocks, diversify your portfolio by buying different types of stocks.

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