She Makes Money Moves is a new podcast from Glamour and iHeartRadio. Hosted by Glamour editor in chief Samantha Barry, the podcast shares intimate, unscripted stories from women across the country along with advice from financial experts to help guide those women—and women everywhere—forward. Download a new episode every Tuesday, then visit glamour.com/money for an article like this, with more insights from that week’s expert.
As we’ve previously reported, women invest 40% less money than men. There are a myriad of reasons why this might be the case. But for this week’s guest on She Makes Money Moves—who’s gun-shy about starting to invest—one of her primary (and very relatable!) concerns is that there could be another financial crisis. As she puts it, “What happens if the market crashes again, and all of my money is gone? I don’t want to put all my eggs in one basket, and then lose everything.”
It’s a normal fear, but the fact is if you’re not investing, you’re leaving money on the table, plain and simple. To help first-time investors everywhere begin their journey, Barry welcomed Becoming Super Woman author Nicole Lapin onto the podcast. Here she outlines how to get started.
Make sure you have your financial ducks in a row.
Start off by asking yourself these questions:
- Do you have an emergency fund of three to six months of living expenses in the bank?
- Are all of your credit cards paid off, in full?
- Are you working off any other debt (like student debt, car loans, or a mortgage) on time and don’t anticipate struggling to keep up those payments?
- Do you have a retirement system in place and are on track to max out your contributions?
- Do you have money saved to start investing? (Typically the minimum is $500 to $2,500.)
If you can answer “yes” to all five of the above, then awesome! You’re ready to join the investors club.
Consider different options for getting into the game.
The first is going to a discount brokerage, like E*Trade, TD Ameritrade, or Fidelity. These are typically do-it-yourself operations (although some have offices in large cities where you can sit down, talk to a representative, and get help opening the account). They cost around $4 to 5 per trade. I also like PortfolioBuilder for getting started. It’s an asset allocation tool that lets you create diversified portfolios of 6 to 8 ETFs (that’s financial lingo for “exchange traded funds”) for just $18.95 (with a $200 account minimum). It’s a good way for investors seeking a low-cost, self-directed approach to investing to get in the door.
You can also head to a full-service brokerage, like Morgan Stanley, Merrill Lynch, or Wells Fargo Advisors, where an actual professional manages your account. This option is more expensive, so you hope your adviser will add enough value to make up for the extra cost, and thus not eat into your profits—but this is not guaranteed. You’re looking at more like $150 per trade here.
Begin with automatic deposits.
If you don’t see it coming out of your paycheck, it’s easier to stick to it. And if you have a lower risk appetite, then start with Treasury bonds or a certificate of deposit (also known as a CD), which is a special savings account that prohibits you from accessing your funds until a specific maturity date—but also offers you a higher interest rate. They are safe and steady way to invest, without having to play the market.
According to a survey by Fidelity, the sponsor of She Makes Money Moves, 80% of women aren’t talking about money with the people closest to them. Today Glamour invites you to the conversation: Subscribe on Apple Podcasts, in the iHeartRadio app, or wherever you listen to podcasts, and join us as we help women raise their voices and make money moves.