Authors of Financial Books for Women
Author of Savvy Investing for Women
- What led you to write this book?
Unfortunately, Wall Street is not a friendly place towards women. After many years of being an insider, I was able to see how poorly women were treated professionally. I witnessed many brokers treat women as if they were second-class citizens and ignore their needs as well as churn their account. I wanted to put my hard-earned experience to use and assist others through the Wall Street maze. I saw brokers mystify the process, only because their needs didn’t fit the needs of the clients, or because some of them were not capable of discerning a Microsoft from a company ready to go into bankruptcy. I believe that no one should struggle financially, and there are steps any one can make on their own to guarantee financial freedom in retirement.
- What do you feel to be the biggest challenge facing women today when handling their finances?
I believe women face at least seven challenges.
- Socialization: It hasn’t been a feminine to talk about money.
- Prince Charming Syndrome: The ingrained belief that a man is going to rescue a woman.
A great deal of women live in a vacuum regarding finances and believe that their husband or some (to be husband) will provide for them for ever after. Seven out of ten women will be alone at some point, either by divorce or death. There are many men that die penniless and leave their widows in financial distress.
- Naivete: Since women have traditionally been in the helping professions (teachers, nurses, and social Workers, etc.), they believe that many people have the same good intentions as they do towards their clients. There are many greedy and corrupt people in the financial industry, who will do anything for money, and they look at women as prey. Granted, there are many wonderful financial advisers and brokers in the industry, it is necessary to work at finding the appropriate person.
- Lack of knowledge
- Fear or risk – this is something women must address not only for their finances but their careers. Risk taking is a necessary step for getting ahead professionally as well as financially.
- Fear of math – I have seen many women become flustered the minute numbers are involved. Finance uses elementary math skills, don’t let it fluster you.
- Self-esteem – I have seen men that are complete morons have more self-esteem than women do with Doctorate degrees in physics. To invest properly, there is a great deal of believing in you rather than every Tom, Dick or Harry.
- How has the atmosphere changed for women investors in the last 10 years?
Information for all investors has become more accessible thanks to the Internet as well as financial news shows. Also, the proliferation of women investment clubs has made the process fun and social. It helps to build confidence when you’re working as a team.
- How will the atmosphere change for women investors in the next 10 years?
I think things are only going to get better in the next ten years. Women are interested in building their own wealth and are taking active interest in their financial options starting with their first job. As we see more role models, women will realize that they too can become a “Meg Whitman – EBAY, or Candace Carpenter — I village, or Muriel Siebert – Siebert. Also role models like Abby Cohen at Goldman show the world that women can be leaders on Wall Street. Women of my generation are also teaching their daughters to be financially astute and independent.
- Where did you start your career and how did it lead you to where you are today?
After I graduated from Cornell in 1978, I thought I wanted to be a physician. I majored in nutritional biochemistry hoping to be a doctor specializing in preventative medicine or a researcher. However, the real world of medicine made me realize that I was too fragile to the emotional pain of the patients. During an internship, I would come home and be very upset about each patient that was dying. I found it very difficult to distance myself from their pain. I left and on a whim, I decided to go to Wall Street. Before I left Cornell, I had a date with a guy in the business school who told me that options were the way to make a lot of money with a little bit of money. This appealed to me because I had (slim-to-none) of the greenback. I got a job as a secretary at Paine Webber in the Options Division, and I thought I struck gold. After a year and a half, I got my license and worked at Donaldson, Lufkin and Jenrette as a trading assistant in options. I spent sixteen years and left in 1996 as a Senior Vice President in the Equity Derivative Division. Presently, I am a Managing Director at Balis, Lewittes and Coleman, a Registered Investment Advisory firm managing in excess of one billion dollars, primarily for individual clients.
- How much money do you need to start investing?
Most mutual funds have a minimum of $1,000. I think mutual funds are the place for the novice investor to start participating in the market.
- How should a woman get started investing with no investment experience?
- Educate yourself – read a book or two on investing – (not feel good books, but written by individuals who have had years of experience)
- Start off small – I would start with mutual funds. Stop in at a Charles Schwas or a Fidelity. Schwas has a publication called “One Source” for mutual funds. It is a good way to shop for mutual funds.
- Join an investment club. Learn to pick stocks and do your own research. Learn to read financial statements.
- Read the Wall Street Journal. It is my bible.
- If you can listen to the conference call regarding the earnings of a company. Most companies conference calls can be listened to on the Internet via Broadcast.com.
- If a woman has debt, at what point should she become an investor?
Excluding the mortgage and the car loan, get out of debt. Clean up your debt before you start to invest. Most credit card companies are charging 18% per annul – that historically beats the stock market’s average return over a 70-year period. The odds of beating your interest payments are slim. Pay it off and don’t get caught paying such rates for credit. It’s a sucker’s game.
- Have you published any other books before this one? If so, what are they?
- What are your future book writing plans?
Yes, but I am in the process and would prefer not to speak about it before it’s ready to be released.