real life

Women aren't being brave enough and it's making us lose every single day.

In July 2010, you could buy a Bitcoin for AU$1.05.

As of the 15th of December 2017, you could sell a Bitcoin for over AUS$24,850.

The clever people who took a gamble on the cryptocurrency – which, in the simplest of terms, looks to cut through foreign currencies and banks to provide a global money system without transaction fees or exchange rates – won big. The people who invested in Bitcoin in its infancy and early years are now sitting on a goldmine. A very confusing, tech-jargon-y, penis-y goldmine.

Yes. Penis-y.

Apologies for that term, but it’s true. It’s reported around 95 per cent of the people who invested in Bitcoin at the most lucrative times were men.

In 2013, Zero Hedge reported: “The ‘average Bitcoin user’ is male (96%), 32.7 years old, libertarian/anarcho-capitalist (37%), non-religious (61%), with a full time job (43%), and is in a relationship (56%).”

See? Very penis-y.

This shouldn’t exactly shock us – women’s resistance to invest money compared to men is well documented – but when you see it laid out so brutally, it stings. It feels like we’re failing. Probably because we are.

On the whole, as women, we are being meek and scared with our money. We’re not being brave enough to take the gambles – educated gambles – our male counterparts make, and in the end we are losing.

In January, money expert Sallie Krawcheck wrote for Bumble:

We women default to keeping some 68 percent of our savings in checking and savings accounts instead of in diversified investment portfolios that historically have higher yields over time. Why does that matter? Consider these numbers: Let’s say you are making $85,000 a year and setting aside 20 percent (good on you!), but putting it into a savings account rather than investing.

Any guess what that costs you over a decade? It’s $100 a day!

This isn’t our fault. It would be foolish and narrow-minded to think that women don’t invest money because we are born risk averse, or financially illiterate. But over centuries, we have been conditioned to falsely believe that money, maths, and investing aren’t our business. We’ve been relegated to a place where talk of money is muted; inappropriate and crass, even.

The reasons behind this are multi-faceted and insidious, says financial expert Canna Campbell.

“Investing is not rocket science, but I think the reason so many women haven’t invested is that a lot of the marketing and language is directed towards men,” Campbell tells Mamamia. 

“Even down to the notes, a lot of the people printed on them are males. Colours used in advertising are tilted towards men, there are lots of blacks and greys and blues. Everything to do with money and finance has a very masculine energy about it.”

We don’t invest because it feels overwhelming. And because it’s overwhelming we feel helpless. So we just… leave our money in our bank accounts.

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As women, we’re not even scraping the surface of what our financial potential is. Given that women over 55 are experiencing a “homelessness epidemic“, finding answers and solutions has never been more important.

“I think the biggest issue behind why women haven’t invested is education,” Campbell explains. “We aren’t taught about financial independence in high school, and the problems we are creating for future generations is huge.

“We teach kids about the importance of a balanced diet and exercise, but we don’t teach them about financial literacy and financial stress. But the truth is when we are under financial pressure it impacts upon our relationships, our ability to live the way we want – like holidays or education – it impacts upon our health both physically mentally.

“And yet it’s one area where we have so much more control than we realise.”

So if the golden ticket to financial security is education and empowerment, it begs the question: Where and how do I do that?

In Campbell’s own words: “Learn to walk before you run.”

The first step she recommends to women who want to improve their financial situation is to clear their credit card debt (Campbell can tell herself you how to do that in her YouTube video right here). Next? Grab yourself a copy of money expert Peter Thornhill’s book, Motivated Money (you can buy that here).

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“I recommend Peter Thornhill’s book all the time, and I’ve never ever had someone say to me that it’s a waste of money,” Campbell tells Mamamia.

“It’s a book you can read in a weekend, and it is by far my pick for recommended reading.”

Listen: Another of Australia’s most trusted financial experts sat down with Mia Freedman to talk about women, money and investing. (Post continues…)

Once you gain a little more confidence, Campbell suggests every woman comes up with a plan.

“I’d suggest women stop and have a think about their financial goals. So many people drift through and don’t think about their finances, but questions like ‘How much do I need in super?’ are so important. Start thinking abut what you would like to create and there will be a huge shift and breakthrough into taking responsibility for your finances.

“Put the actions in place – look at salary sacrifices for your super, a regular investment plan or investment portfolio, or investment property. Make a commitment to continuously educate yourself.”

While the amount to learn is overwhelming, the information you need is already out there. Campbell has over 100 snackable videos on her YouTube channel, all committed to educating women and men about money and investing.

The other bright side to all of this?

“I think women are better investors than men,” Campbell says.

“Women tend to be more intuitive and rational with their investments and take time to think everything through. In my experience, women think of investments not just in terms of themselves but also their families and their future, which is so important to be a good investor.

“Women are sensible investors, it really does not need to be this way, so hopefully over time we break down this barrier.

“I’m so passionate about breaking this gap – women need to know they can make such a powerful shift in empowering themselves.”

The only people who are going to buck this trend is us.

If you click out of this article thinking and feeling anything, let it be this: You can control your finances. Money is your business. You can learn how to invest. You just need to start somewhere, and that somewhere is as simple as picking up a book, or watching a video.

For more from Canna Campbell, follow her on her blog SugarMamma.TV, or on YouTube, Facebook and Instagram.

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