Investing Rules for Women: Get Over Your Fear

There are countless resources available to help you learn the fundamentals of investing. This week, Black Enterprise shares the top five investing rules for women. Today’s tip: Get Over Your Fear.

Colleen J. Payne-Nabors, 46

(Photo courtesy of Colleen Payne-Nabors)

Investing is seemingly second nature to Colleen J. Payne-Nabors. When she began working at her first professional job after college, she joined her employer’s 401(k) without hesitation. At age 25, Payne-Nabors began purchasing Treasury EE savings bonds. Every two weeks, her bank automatically deducted $50 from her paycheck to purchase the bonds. When she was ready to buy her first home at the age of 32, she cashed in her bonds to make a $12,000 down payment.

Now 46, Payne-Nabors is still reaping benefits from investing. In 1998, she founded MCI Diagnostic Center, a diagnostic imaging company in Tulsa, Oklahoma, that she owns with her husband, Donnie. Today, the business is valued at $8 million. Six years ago, the couple started investing in commercial real estate; their holdings now total $6.2 million. Other investments include Payne-Nabors’ 401(k), which totals $113,000 and an IRA account that holds $70,000.

Finally, Payne-Nabors invests in EE savings bonds for the couple’s 13-year-old son, Isam. Payne-Nabors may have been afraid not to invest. “I can’t really say there was any fear, because I knew it would be a vehicle for leaving behind a legacy of wealth,” she says. “The benefits outweighed the risk of me not investing.”

Unfortunately, according to a survey commissioned by the investment firm Scottrade, the majority of women investors are less confident about their financial skills. Nearly 60% of women describe themselves as being at a beginner level of investing, compared with 35% of men; 56% of men consider themselves to be “intermediate” investors. “There’s still a lot of fear because of what’s happened with the economy and the stock market, and women are shying away somewhat because they aren’t knowledgeable enough about what to do,” says Broussard. Women may feel less savvy about investing, but according to the survey their portfolios perform exactly the same as those of men.

One way to get over your fear is to become familiar with the culture of investing. Another part of overcoming fear is dispelling misconceptions about investing, mainly that you need a lot of money to do it. Jacquette M. Timmons, president and CEO of Sterling Investment Management Inc., an investment education and financial coaching firm, reveals that you can accumulate $20,000 by setting aside $2.74 every day for 20 years. “We need to change our language around what we constitute as little or small,” she says. “What we think of as not being enough is actually a lot when you let time and effective compounding take their course.”

–Brittany Hutson


–Determine your risk tolerance. Figure out how comfortable you are with a high-, moderate-, or low-risk collection of investments.

–Set financial goals. This will help you determine which investment options are right for you. You should have short- and long-term financial goals.

–Join or start an investment club. You can begin building a portfolio while receiving support from club members.

Further Reading

Investing Rules for Women: Start Early
Investing Rules for Women: Educate Yourself
A Woman’s Guide to Money Management

This article originally appeared in the March 2010 issue of Black Enterprise magazine.