Meet the women now taking on the share market

By Teresa Ooi |

Investing it

“Many women are clueless about money matters. They live from one pay cheque to another and have no idea what is in their pension fund”, says Molly Benjamin.

So the Gold Coast girl decided to take things in hand. She formed a start-up company, Ladies Finance Club and held an info-night in her living room for several of her girlfriends to learn how to become financially literate – over a glass or two of Prosecco.

Today, her club has more than 3,500 young, working women on the data base. Ms Benjamin, has a portfolio of stocks and shares and hopes to become a millionaire over the next few years.

“Money is fun,” she told Together Australia. “It is empowering and it can really be fun if you know how to use it.”

Ms Benjamin is the new face of the stock market. For decades, it has been dominated by mainly older male investors.

But a new study from the Australian Securities Exchange found that women and young consumers are taking a punt to invest in the sharemarket.

Women made up 45 per cent of those who began investing in the past year – up from 31 per cent of those who began five to 10 years ago.

The sharp rise in the number of women investors in the ASX is expected to continue with 51 per cent of women saying they intend to become investors in the coming year.

Fresh-faced, young investors accounted for one in four investors who began investing in the past year, the study found.

Since forming her finance club a year ago, Ms Benjamin says members have learnt what are risk and returns, diversification and even investing in ETFs – exchange-traded funds.

“Diversification is not going on a date with just one guy but going on dates with lots of different guys,” she said.

When COVID pandemic hit in March, she switched her events to online sessions and webinars with listeners  sipping a glass or two of bubbles. She also began investing in different stocks including Marley Spoon, cyber-security, online learning and pharmaceutical companies.

“Returns on my portfolio are up – and if it returns around 10 per cent, I am very happy.”

Women typically hold smaller portfolios than men and hold fewer types of investment products, the ASX study found.

About 53 per cent of women hold Australian shares compared to 59 per cent of men.

Another 37 per cent of women have investments in residential investment property compared to 39 per cent of men and another 31 per cent of women have term deposits compared to 25 per cent of men.

More women have a bigger fear of under-performance and hidden fees than men when considering investments.

The study also found that women are generally less knowledgeable than men about the range of investment products available.

Women’s approach to investing is more cautious than men.

“Almost two-thirds of female investors prefer guaranteed or stable returns compared with only half of men,” the study said.

“Females investors tend to review their portfolios less regularly. While that may suggest female investors are less engaged with their investments than men, it is also consistent with a group that prefers to set a well-considered strategy and stick to it.”

Now that Ms Benjamin is a savvy investor, here are her three best investment tips:

  • Do not put all your eggs in one basket –always diversify.
  • It’s about time in the market, not timing the market – in other words invest for the longer term.
  • Invest in yourself and in knowledge – they pay the best dividends.

For more information on the ASX study, click here.

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