Why younger women are investing sooner to secure their financial future

When Qadreya Al Awadhi first bought shares in the United Arab Emirates, he was only 16 years old. The Emirati made her first foray into investment with the support of his father.

In the decade since then, his portfolio has grown to include US and global equities and has grown between 100% and 150%, depending on the stock, with the exception of one outlier.

“I was young enough to take risks, and I was lucky to have more experienced adults to guide me and tell me what to do,” says Ms. Al Awadhi, explaining how she made such significant gains.

Qadreya Al Awadi, a financial services professional and owner of the Bumblebee baby food brand, started investing in stocks at age 16.  Photo: Qadreya Al Awadi

Mrs. Al Awadhi used the money saved from her allowance and from Eid and birthday gifts for her first investment.

“I studied business in school and understood the kind of return you would get from a savings account. So I was looking for alternatives. Obviously I didn’t have enough to invest in real estate, but I had enough for the stock market,” says Ms. Al Awadhi.

She chose stocks because of the weekly movie-watching tradition with her father that started in high school. When she was in her last year of school, she says, they watched her favorite movie, financial world.

“That movie was one of the main reasons that motivated me to invest and start early,” recalls Ms. Al Awadhi.

Not only were the local stocks affordable, but he also knew a number of adults who were investing in them at the time and was able to learn from them, he says.

While his first investment has been a long-term success, it has had its ups and downs, particularly in the international markets.

Initially, Ms. Al Awadhi based her decisions on classic investment ratios, such as earnings per share and earnings price. Now, as a financial services professional and owner of the Bumblebee baby food brand, she has learned to dig deep, reading and analyzing the financials of a target company, its industry, its peers, and the market in general.

“Since then, I have seen very little loss in my portfolio; at worst, I just break even,” she says.

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In general, their guiding principle is to invest in companies that have a higher probability of existing in 20 years.

Ms. Al Awadhi represents a new class of women in the UAE and elsewhere who are investing sooner than ever.

On average, women ages 18 to 35 now say they started using a broker account at 21, compared to 30 for older women, according to a February report. poll by the financial services company Fidelity Investments.

The findings are drawn from its 2022 Money Movements Study, which surveyed 2,015 adults in the US who own an investment account other than a checking or savings account.

“We are in the midst of a major shift where more women are talking about money and investing; it’s becoming less and less taboo, especially among this younger generation,” says Lorna Kapusta, director of women investors and client engagement at Fidelity Investments.

“More women influencers are sharing their financial experiences and advice on social media; more circles of women are talking about money and goals with their friends”.

About 35 percent of women in the younger age group say they started their investment journey with a small amount of money, often as little as $1, to build their confidence and feel comfortable.

Instead of building wealth, more young women (43 percent) are investing to achieve a personal goal compared to 34 percent of women 36 and older. Such goals include paying for important family events, using money to make a difference, or leaving a legacy.

Meanwhile, Rachael Abraham’s ambition is to retire in another 15 years at the latest, when she is 40 years old. “I invest with an eye toward financial freedom,” he says.

Ms. Abraham, 28, is the co-founder and CEO of 1&O, a creative IT services agency based in India with clients in the United Arab Emirates.

He began investing at age 21 to secure his retirement income after his older brother explained concepts like time value of money and compound interest with the use of an online retirement calculator.

Rachael Abraham, co-founder and CEO of IT creative services agency 1&O, started investing at the age of 21 to secure her retirement income.  Photo: Rachael Abraham

“I saw the amount of money one must save to retire comfortably. That amount scared me and only increases with age, which shows the importance of starting early,” says the businessman and former Dubai resident.

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“Using the retirement calculator was an eye opener for me. My brother forced me to start saving money, but once I did, he wanted to keep investing. It’s amazing to see your money grow.”

Now, Ms. Abraham invests primarily in the stock market, directly and through mutual funds, with about 25 percent of her investments in fixed deposits, including automated bank deposits.

She bases her decisions on conversations with family, advice from investment professionals, videos and online educational material, as well as her own due diligence.

Increased awareness of financial issues and widespread access to Internet-based digital platforms have helped women educate themselves about finances and make their own investment decisions, experts say.

“We are seeing more young women start to think about financial planning and investing. Much of this can be attributed to a greater emphasis on financial education at a younger age, as well as specific targeting of women,” says Jessica Robinson, founder and CEO of women-focused investment firm Moxie Future. .

“There are now numerous investment clubs and financial education platforms that women can access, made much easier with the move to online delivery.”

Jessica Robinson, founder and CEO of women-focused investment company Moxie Future, says more and more young women are starting to think about financial planning and investing.  Photo: Jessica Robinson

“FinTech is also playing a role: with the rise of investment apps, it is becoming easier for young women to start investing. Without a doubt, technology is democratizing the investment landscape,” she says.

Do-it-yourself trading platform eToro recently found that 47 percent of the 9,500 female investors surveyed in February poll he only started his investment journey two years ago, after the start of the pandemic. The same platform reported a 366% increase in the number of new female investors using its services in 2020.

And last month, the roboadvisor platform StashAway said in a report that female users now make up 40 percent of its new customer base in the Middle East, up from 16 percent at the time of its launch in November 2020.

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In Singapore, it took five years for the platform to reach gender parity, with 17% female investors at its launch in 2017.

The platform runs StashAway Academy, which offers investment and personal finance courses across its network in the Middle East and Southeast Asia. Since its launch, more than 16,000 women from around the world have joined StashAway Academy and another 1,500 have followed its masterclass. she invests.

based in the United Arab Emirates crunchmomsthe first and only private network in the Middle East that supports women in all stages of their career and motherhood, organizes a variety of events and community activities focused on financial education and angel investment information.

Crunchmoms member Rebecca Moreira, 32, is head of investor relations at Glenwood Equity, a commercial real estate investment company focused on multi-family apartment complexes in the US.

The British-American made her first investment five years ago at the age of 27 because she had reached a financial milestone.

Rebecca Moreira, a member of Crunchmoms and head of investor relations for Glenwood Equity, made her first investment five years ago at age 27 because she had reached a financial milestone.  Photo: Rebeca Moreira

“At that point, I knew I had to roll it out or I’d probably spend it if it was liquid,” she says.

With her then-boyfriend (now her husband), she began investing in property and has since grown her portfolio through a series of strategic moves, including using US tax incentives to increase her income.

“I was lucky enough to start investing in 2017 while the uptrend continued. Of course, I could never have predicted that success, and so far things are green. My only regret is that I didn’t buy more,” she says, although she admits that she has learned a lot in the last five years.

“A good investment in a strong team is vitally important and during this journey we have made some mistakes by not acting on red flags sooner.

Ms. Moreira says that young women looking to take the first step up the investment ladder need to consider three things: “education, a mentor, and finding their tribe.”

A financial podcast could serve as a good starting point. A mentor can be a family member or someone from the wider community whose insight you admire.

Finally, look to meet with groups of other investors who have experience in what you want to do or online communities like Facebook groups. simplyFI either bogleheads.

“I think all three components contributed to my success in real estate,” says Ms. Moreira. “I know that women have the ability to be successful investors [but] they just need to start by educating themselves.”

Updated: July 06, 2022, 5:00 am