Can't Afford to Invest Yet? Here's What to Do
As the famous saying goes, "the best time to invest was yesterday"
With 34% of women not investing compared to 24% of men, there's still some work to be done to ensure that economic and financial equality with men is met. Investing can seem expensive and complicated but thankfully, it doesn't have to be. In fact, you don't need a lot of money to get started investing and there are a variety of ways even those with limited funds can join in on the investing game. Investing is no longer something you should simply leave to the wealthy professionals. With the right dedication and resources, you’re just as capable at investing yourself sooner than you think,
That being said, you need to have a few things in order first before embarking on your investment journey. Let’s take a look at what you need to fix now, to be able to invest in the future.
Start with the basics first
If you feel you can’t afford to invest yet, a smart first step is to get organized by assessing your income and expenses. That way, you know exactly what money comes in and what goes out, leaving you with an understanding of how much you have left for investing.
If you're worried you don't have enough money to invest, just the act of knowing this information gives you more control over your finances from the start and can give you an understanding of where investing could be most beneficial for you.
If you have looked at your income and expenses and don't have any spare cash, is there any way you could reduce your expenses? Here are a few ideas:
- Reevaluate your subscriptions
- Consider consolidating your debt for a lower interest rate
- Compare and potentially switch your gas and electric
- Enquire about a better phone deal
Start saving now
If you're concerned you don't have enough money to invest, try saving just a few dollars, euros or pounds each month. It may not sound like you're even scratching the surface, but when that builds up, it will give you the starting capital you need to make investing decisions with confidence. Don't let limited funds stand in the way of investing in your future. Be proactive by setting aside a little of your cash each month and see how your savings grow. You'll be glad you did.
Pay off high-interest debt
Before investing with little money, it can be beneficial to consider paying off any existing high-interest debt. Interest rates higher than 10% can really hurt returns on investments as well as take away from other financial goals like contributing to savings and investing.
When investing money, individuals should look at their income against their expenses and weigh what makes the most sense for them both short-term and long-term. Paying off these debts will help put more money back into your pocket where investing becomes an option or allows for a larger investing input when returns may be higher.
Investing with high-interest debt lurking makes it redundant. Consider paying it off.
It's important to note that with a well diversified portfolio, the stock market has historically increased 7 to 10% every single year. If you have high-interest debt lurking in the corner, it will eat at your returns and undermine your investment efforts.
Build up your F*** You Fund
You may not be investing yet because you're focussing on building your emergency fund. Or as we like to call it, the F*** You Fund. Good shout. It's so important to have an emergency fund in place in order to do the things you want to do. Whether it's taking a trip abroad, leaving the relationship that no longer fulfils you or quitting the job that has run its course. But a F*** You Fund is also crucial for those financial emergencies - whether it be your washing machine breaking or being invoiced a hefty bill for some car repairs.
However, you can build it gradually. We recommend eventually having three to six months’ salary stored, depending on your situation and work contract. For example, if you are a freelancer, a six months emergency fund would be sensible. Whereas if you have a permanent work contract, a three month emergency fund would suffice.
Create a plan to build up your emergency fund. Look at your income and outgoings and work out how much you can put towards your emergency fund every month. Then work out, by saving this monthly amount, at what point will you reach your emergency fund goal, but more importantly, when you can start investing.
Invest in your education
If you're concerned you can't afford to invest yet, an easy win is to invest time into your education. Whether it's taking online courses, attending online webinars, or reading more articles around investing, the more you know about investing, the better off you'll be when you're ready to start. In fact, we've built an entire universe that sets you on your investing journey, and provides the step-by-step guide to purchasing your first stock.
You don’t need buckets of cash to get started in investing, and the evidence shows that women are more likely than men to believe you can start investing with less money. So with the right dedication and resources, you too can become an investor sooner than you think.
And the truth is, more women should invest because they are good at it and outperform mens' returns when they do. And yet, only a fraction of women invest compared to men. This is likely because most women don't know where or how to start investing, which is why the above steps are crucial in getting you started.
Just remember to do your research before taking the plunge and always consult with a financial advisor if you have any questions or concerns. So, what are you waiting for? It's time to put the wheels in motion so you can start investing.