A Woman’s Guide to Investing–Part II

Part two of this three-part series on women and money focuses on investing. You’ll read the stories of five women and see how they’ve approached investing in their respective stages of life. You’ll meet Felicia Miller and learn how she got on the same page with her husband to develop a sound investment portfolio. Mary Darlene Edwards shares how she learned about investing basics and the management of household finances after the loss of her spouse. In addition, you’ll get expert advice from financial advisers such as Charlotte Stallings, Barbara Stanny, and Kathleen Williams.

Many women shy away from investing because of a fear of losing money or a lack of knowledge about how to get started. Consequently, they hand over the reins to their husbands or significant others. We’ll show you how to overcome your fear and make your hard-earned money grow. Reading this piece and carefully following our advice is the first step.

Even though the nation’s economic outlook remains unstable, this special series outlines strategies to help you make smart choices with your money and come out on top. Whether you’re single, married, divorced, or widowed, it’s vital for you to develop a sound financial plan. In the following pages we’ll show you how to manage your money—in good times and bad.

Single Without children

As 30 approached, Yolanda F. Johnson began to reflect on all the things she hadn’t done yet: traveling, putting on a debut singing recital, conquering her fear of heights, and saving for retirement. A classically trained singer, Johnson has supported herself over the years with jobs in event planning at nonprofit organizations such as her current post at the Princess Grace Foundation-USA in New York City.

“At 30, you stand at a fork in the road,” says the now 31-year-old Johnson. “I decided that I don’t want to have a baby right now, and I don’t need to get married. But I have a lot more disposable income than I’ve ever had in my life, so I need to do something with it.”

Johnson hadn’t participated in a retirement savings program before. But when she turned 30, retirement suddenly didn’t seem that far away. Since the New York resident wasn’t confident in her ability to pick the right funds in her 403(b) plan, she sought the advice of a financial analyst friend. Last July, she began contributing 1% of her pay to an all-equity portfolio consisting of large-, mid-, and small-cap stocks as well as international funds, and she plans to increase her savings in about six months. Johnson also opened a high-interest savings account and is actively paying off debt. Her goal in saving is to open her own business, a singing studio.

Invest small amounts
If investing large chunks of money seems out of reach, try Johnson’s approach by starting small and increasing the amount over time. “To save $100 a month, all you need to do is save a little bit more than $3 a day,” says Candace Bahr, co-founder of Bahr Investment Group

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