Authors of Financial Books for Women
Author of Invest with Confidence
Kathy Buys is a Registered Investment Adviser and is president of her own business, Buys and Company, Inc. of Denver, Colorado. She was formerly Vice President of Investments at Chase Manhattan Bank and worked for a Wall Street brokerage firm. She holds three masters degrees, including both social work and business, a perfect blend for understanding how women relate emotionally to money management. Her investment-related articles have been widely published and she is the author of the highly successful Investment Basics for Women (Macmillan, 1997).
Well-known for her ability to make complex issues easily understood, Kathy has given hundreds of seminars, speeches and classes on investments and money management. She has appeared on CNN and is featured regularly on KMGH-TV, the ABC affiliate in Denver. She has been featured in Working Woman magazine and several of her articles have been published by the Denver Post. She was chosen by the Post to present investment workshops which they sponsored, and served on a panel of experts supervising a bimonthly financial advice series for Post readers.
- What led you to write this book?
Invest with Confidence is actually my second book. Investment Basics for Women was published in 1996. The authoring of these books was a natural transition. I had been teaching classes and seminars designed exclusively for women since early in my career. I was motivated to focus on women by virtue of having seen so much tragedy in women’s lives because of their lack of understanding or intimidation by the financial world. In my first book I speak specifically of an elderly woman coming to my office in a very vulnerable state with no understanding of her assets at all (see Introduction in Investment Basics for Women). It was probably this visit that was the final straw and got me specializing in the woman’s market.
- What do you feel to be the biggest challenge facing women today when handling their finances?
I believe the two biggest blocks for women dealing with their finances are emotional issues and lack of knowledge. I believe the emotional issues relate to our conditioning and cultural expectations that we will essentially go from fathers to husbands and be provided for along the way. Unfortunately many women still wait for prince charming to come along even though he may ride off with the wrong maiden. We as women need to understand these barriers and begin to deal with the next problem, lack of knowledge. Sadly women still believe that men are born with an investing gene that they simply don’t possess and therefore they can never fully participate in the financial markets. What a bunch of happy horse “stuff” that is!
- How has the atmosphere changed for women investors in the last 10 years?
One of the ways that the atmosphere has changed is that women have been “discovered” by mutual fund companies and brokerage firms. Women now control incredible assets in this country and the statistics are compelling that at some point in her life a woman is highly likely to control financial assets. Because of this, financial institutions, mutual fund companies, etc., are developing materials targeting women as well as offering training classes to their financial advisers in dealing effectively with women. Let’s face it, historically the financial world has treated women abysmally often in a patronizing, condescending manner. Whatever the motivation of the firms, this change in attitude should be positive for women generally.
- How will the atmosphere change for women investors in the next 10 years?
The trend discussed above should reasonably be expected to continue and intensify. Hopefully women will demand quality service and take advantage of the educational opportunities available to move forward with their financial life.
- Where did you start your career and how did it lead you to where you are today?
I started my career at a major wire house (Shear-son Lehman Hutton). It was clear early on that setting was not a great fit. For example, I was strongly committed to doing seminars and specifically gearing them towards women. I was told it would be much more effective to cold call (smile and dial) and not to target women since they didn’t have any money. I prevailed in my wishes but it was clearly time to move on. I then became affiliated with a large money center bank (Chase Manhattan). I was continuing to work with the woman’s market and began the process of authoring a book. Eventually there was no doubt that to achieve my personal and professional goals, I had to become independent. I am now president of Buys and Company, Inc., A Registered Investment Adviser. This has allowed me to complete two books, write numerous articles, appear regularly on television and conduct business in the manner I deem appropriate.
Now, in addition to dealing with clients, I specialize in speeches, seminars and classes which I customize to meet the needs of corporations, groups and media presentations. This allows me to deliver the message of empowerment to a wide variety of audiences.
- How much money do you need to start investing?
The obvious answer to this is – it depends. A common misconception among women is that they need a fortune to begin the investment process. This is simply not the case. Most of us don’t start with a pot full of money. I believe you can begin with very little money. You simply need to invest regularly and stick to you guns. We have a client who invests $40.00 a month in a mutual fund and started from ground zero. Many mutual funds are moving to higher minimums but you are still able to find those who will start with small sums on a systematic investment program.
- How should a woman get started investing with no investment experience?
How should a woman get started investing with no investment experience? First and foremost she must get educated. That doesn’t mean formal education or a high level class but it does mean she must learn the basics of investment options and their risks and rewards before leaping into the fray. This can be done by reading books, magazines, articles, attending class, joining an investment club, dealing with an adviser, etc. She should not begin investing until she’s clear about what she’s buying and why she’s buying it.
- If a woman has debt, at what point should she become an investor?
That question is impossible to answer without knowing how much debt, the type of debt and the cost to her of the debt. Obviously if she is paying 18% on a credit card that should be her priority before she begins investing. She would need to make 18% from her investments just to break even with the cost of her debt.
- Have you published any other books before this one? If so, what are they?
- What are your future book writing plans?
Since my second book is recently published, the pain of the process is still too fresh in my memory to tackle the next book. Give me another year!