Don’t Be Afraid to Jump into Investing, Women: It Can be Fun

Besides the sheer excitement involved, successful trading can lead to financial freedom and economic empowerment.

Two women happily scream with excitement on a roller coaster.
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Trading can be exhilarating. It’s like holding your breath on a roller coaster, getting ready to let out a scream of excitement or pure terror. It’s filled with a wide range of emotions, from utter happiness to sheer disappointment. It strengthens us, and most important, it equips us with freedom, ownership and optionality. Every day offers a new challenge and adrenaline rush. Trading is a high-energy environment with high-energy players; the field is waiting for more women to step into the game.

Getting off the bench

Women in finance are a growing force. Many women are still spectators, eager to get into the match, but are unsure where to start. Ultimately, it starts with learning the rules of the game.

All games have goals, but the game of trading is not necessarily to win. There’s enough room for everyone, men and women, to be winners as long as they play smart. Understanding the market and how wealth is created is vital. Like any other game, through practice, perfecting one’s technique, acquiring knowledge about the market and understanding how to manage risk through trial and error, women can become profitable players. It is a step toward economic empowerment and financial freedom for women globally.

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As women, overcoming the fear of entering the game starts with awareness. We all have learned skills and acquired knowledge in new areas. We learn a new skill, practice it and, eventually, figure it out. Learning the markets works the same way. Familiarizing yourself with the vocabulary, market factors, equities, interest rates, currencies and patterns will help you become well adjusted. Women can do this by taking affordable beginner investing courses on sites such as Coursera (opens in new tab) or Udemy (opens in new tab), or joining local investing groups and associations geared toward teaching women how to invest.

Breaking through the boundaries

Women have a clear advantage in the game. We’re natural-born multitaskers with the ability to plan for the long term, and the stock market is a long-term game. Some stocks will rise and fall quickly, but you ultimately will not lose if you plan ahead and stick it out, knowing that patterns say the curve will go back up eventually. Even through bear markets, the stock market has continued to trend higher.

The stock market can be risky for anyone involved. Research shows that women are not risk-averse, but risk-aware (opens in new tab). They tend to conduct more research into investment decisions and, once satisfied with their preparation, are more than keen to take calculated risks. Being risk-aware, cautious and intuitive are all factors that are essential to succeeding in the game of trading.

Drawing up a game plan

You need to have a plan in mind before stepping onto the field. The best way to go about this is by first picking the market that works for you. To help you understand markets, there are countless content creators with platforms where they serve as leaders and influencers for the finance industry, guiding more women on how to be financially savvy and tech-oriented.

I particularly love the work Nicole Casperson, who started the community WTFintech? (opens in new tab), is doing in the space to promote women in the industry. YouTube, Instagram and TikTok are great resources that can help you learn the basics of the stock market before diving in headfirst. Many of these content creators simplify the market into digestible terms for anyone to understand.

The next part of your game plan will be to invest! Investing is a very individualized process, and no one can tell you what to invest in or exactly how much money to put in the market. Learning about the companies and stocks you are interested in, following the patterns of who is doing well and taking a solid look at your finances is the best place to start.

Many apps allow you to invest right from your phone, are readily accessible and offer user-friendly interfaces for beginner traders, allowing users to get involved and start investing immediately. You can also enlist the help of a financial adviser to guide you in your desired direction.

Benefits of getting involved

For personal, professional or familial reasons, financial independence is crucial. Historically, women have been purposefully left out of financial decisions. Women could not even have their own credit card until the Equal Credit Opportunity Act of 1974. These historical nuances have consequently set women back from learning about money.

Most people take part in the stock market for the monetary income it can provide if done correctly. Being able to have an extra stream of income is valuable and freeing for women, especially since women infamously make about 77 cents for every dollar a man makes (opens in new tab) in comparable employment positions. In the United States, Black women are paid far less, making on average 58 cents for every dollar earned by men, according to data published by the American Association of University Women (opens in new tab), a nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering women and girls.

Women learning to generate and manage their own wealth furthermore offsets the debilitating status quo of patriarchal norms that leave women sitting in lower positions of power in their careers and elsewhere compared to their male counterparts.

The benefits of learning to invest are endless and include having extra income to put aside for things that mean the most to you, like travel, family, friends, experiences, saving for retirement or even reinvesting the money back into the market.

The first step to moving into a more female-populated trading market is to acknowledge there’s a societal perception that women do not fit into trading and then focus on changing it.

What makes me so passionate about trading and why I think it is so critical for women to join this game, is that it greatly expands women’s access to wealth and to economic empowerment, without any limitations or barriers. Trading provides women with optionality, allowing us to institute myriad options for ourselves, thrive and craft the life we’ve always desired.

Ladies, it’s time to take a seat at the table. Let’s play the game.

This article was written by and presents the views of our contributing adviser, not the Kiplinger editorial staff. You can check adviser records with the SEC (opens in new tab) or with FINRA (opens in new tab).

Iyandra Smith, Esq., TEP
Chief Operating Officer, Quantfury Trading Limited

Dr. Iyandra Smith is the Chief Operating Officer of Quantfury Trading Limited (Nassau, The Bahamas), a dynamic fintech disruptive brokerage whose mission is to promote honesty, integrity, and transparency in trading. In her role, amongst other things, she serves as a key strategic partner to the Board of Directors to drive forward business strategy, ensure proper governance, and facilitate the modernization, optimization, and efficiency of the company’s operations. She is admitted to practice law in the State of Florida and the Commonwealth of The Bahamas. Iyandra has been featured on CNBC and in a host of global magazines and news publications. She is a sought-after speaker on trending issues within the financial services sector.