Invest Like a Girl

Jump into the Stock Market, Reach Your Money Goals, and Build Wealth

Hardcover

March 26, 2024 | ISBN 9780593581728

Ebook

March 26, 2024 | ISBN 9780593581735

About the Book

“If you’re looking for advice that will help you start investing right away, Invest Like a Girl delivers this and more. Jessica’s engaging guide will help women close the wealth gap, start important conversations, and finance their biggest dreams.”—Tiffany “the Budgetnista” Aliche, New York Times bestselling author of Get Good with Money
 
In a world where many women need to contend with the gender pay gap, take career breaks to raise families, and account for their longer lifespans when saving for retirement, investing is a surefire way to put yourself on firm financial footing. And when women do start investing, they often land higher returns than men. However, as Dr. Jessica Spangler discovered when she shared her financial know-how online, understanding that investing is crucial is just the beginning. Many of her followers, as well as her real-life friends, coworkers, and even patients, wanted to know exactly how and where they could start.

With Invest Like a Girl, Jessica shares the essential information and offers the game plans that women need to begin investing right away and according to their unique financial profiles. Filled with easy-to-implement tools, practical strategies, and real-life examples, this go-to guide to investing will provide the blueprint for you to take the next step with your money, teaching you how to
 
Prep your finances: Get a clear picture of your net worth and know exactly how much you can allocate for investing—no matter your income.
Pick up the lingo of investing: Understand the differences between ETFs, index funds, mutual funds, bonds, and options—and weigh the pros and cons of each.
Manage risk without breaking a sweat: Determine your risk tolerance with a short quiz, learn to use the ups and downs of the market to your benefit, and discover how investing helps you beat inflation.
Craft a customized strategy: Outline your most important financial goals, figure out your personal investing style, and decide how to allocate your assets with the help of worksheets, checklists, and sample portfolios along the way.
 
Whether you’re looking to achieve financial independence, make strides toward important life goals, or set aside enough for retirement, Invest Like a Girl will get you up to speed and empower you to start investing and make sound decisions about your money.
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Praise for Invest Like a Girl

“If you're looking for advice that will help you start investing right away, Invest Like a Girl delivers this and more. Jessica's engaging guide will help women close the wealth gap, start important conversations, and finance their biggest dreams.”—Tiffany Aliche, New York Times bestselling author of Get Good with Money

“Jess's core message—how learning to invest can help you build a life you love and take pride in your resourcefulness—is an incredibly valuable directive for women. What's even more valuable: She tells you exactly how to get there. If you've ever said the words, ‘I want to get better with money, but I just don't know where to start,’ this book is for you.”—Katie Gatti Tassin, founder of Money with Katie

“A pragmatic guide aimed at helping women make money on the stock market . . . Stock market neophytes would do well to start here.”—Publishers Weekly
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Excerpt

Invest Like a Girl

Introduction

I’ll admit, it took me a little while to understand that women aren’t treated like men when it comes to money. I attribute this to the fact that I grew up surrounded by powerhouse women. For the better part of my adult life, and certainly by the time my brain’s critical thinking center was fully formed, the primary breadwinners in my family were all women. But it didn’t start out that way.

I was seven years old when I first began to learn the immeasurable value of financial independence and the powers of choice, opportunity, and flexibility that come with it. At the time, I thought the most exciting part of my day would be my childhood friend’s birthday party at Santini’s, the pizza place down the road. And it was, until my nextdoor neighbor instead of my mom arrived to pick me up. Everyone was hush-hush, as if this were perfectly normal, but I knew it wasn’t. Kids aren’t stupid. Where were my parents?

The gnawing feeling that something was gravely wrong sat in the pit of my stomach as if it lived there—heavy as the weight of all the basketballs I had just spent the last several hours shooting and missing (mind you, I’ve never been a star athlete). I made small talk on the car ride home, for reasons I didn’t understand. Confusion turned into tension, and the tension grew for what seemed like days. No one was telling me anything. Just when I felt that I might explode, I finally learned the news: My dad had suffered a massive heart attack at work. The doctors think he died before he even reached the hospital. They did everything they could. He didn’t make it.

My world was flipped upside down, second only to my mother’s. In an instant, she had been thrust into the role of single mother and all that came with it. At the time, she didn’t have a “job” per se, though her stay-at-home-parent duties could have earned her a six-figure salary if she had been paid for them. She had no college degree. She had no income. What she did have was me and my little brother, sheer willpower, and a measure of determination that I’ve spent my entire life learning to replicate.

Newly widowed with two kids in tow, my mom had many jobs to do, but most pressing was to find one that paid her. She started as a real estate appraiser. As it turned out, that first required 2,500 hours of unpaid (or barely paid) apprenticeship. Ultimately, the apprenticeship paycheck didn’t quite cut it, so my mom turned to real estate sales as a financial cushion while she continued working on her appraiser license.

As for me, I learned by osmosis, and I learned all kinds of things. Aside from learning to cook fish sticks in the toaster oven and convince my brother they were chicken nuggets on her workdays, I went on listing appointments, tagged along to open houses, and watched (and watched, and watched) my mom draft contracts. By thirteen, I could spot a house with bad energy from a mile away. By sixteen, I knew what foreclosures were and how they happened. By the skin of our teeth, we survived the housing bubble of 2007 and the housing crash of 2008 that followed, and I watched it all from the passenger seat.

But I also learned about the perceptions people have about women and money, and the very real sexism and gender bias that take place surrounding it. Real estate appraisal was a male-dominated field back then and still is now. I remember how many of the more experienced men talked down to my mom, though I didn’t (and couldn’t) fully understand why at the time. I was too young to interpret such chauvinistic behavior, which I would see over and over again. My mom used to half-joke that if she were just a few inches taller, perhaps they would take her more seriously. She felt more powerful on the phone than she did in person, when the guy on the other end would need to “man up” and face the music: that she was, in fact, a woman, and that he would need to deal with it. I picked up on these patriarchal signals even as a child (and I still remember them more than twenty years later), but I didn’t recognize them as blatant discrimination until I was much, much older.

After everything I’ve told you, you might describe my mother as courageous. Resilient. Powerful. And yet, my mom describes herself during this time in her life, the period after my dad’s passing, as “feeling like an egg.” She felt so fragile. At any moment, she worried that something might happen to her, and her kids would be left with nothing. For both of us (and for a long time), the prevailing thought process of our shared experience became fear: It was a day like any other, until it wasn’t. At any given moment, I could be minutes away from having no source of reliable income. Minutes away from having no way to pay the bills, or to buy groceries. A blessing and a curse, my dad’s death forced us to see the world through the lens of three guiding principles: that I cannot rely on another person for income, that I will not rely on another person for income, and that one source of income is only one step away from no source of income.

You might be thinking my three tenets sound more like evidence of textbook scarcity mindset, and you’d be right. It took time and many more life and money lessons to shake the feeling, and I’m not certain I’ll ever shake it completely. But, for all of its shortcomings, this simple framework (and more challenging shift in mindset) did lead me on a lifelong quest to achieve complete financial independence—and, eventually, though I didn’t know it at the time, to compile the most important bits I’ve learned and share them here with you.

From where I sat then and from where I sit now, it would be impossible for me to ever describe my mother as an egg. Through every financial pitfall, I learned courage. Through every struggle, I learned resilience. What might have at first pass instilled scarcity in time evolved into empowerment—for both of us. In retrospect and in due time, I built my own custom-crafted library of financial know-how. I soon realized that I knew enough about money to never need to rely on another person for income (if I don’t want to). If I ever lost my source(s) of income, I knew I could always find another one. And, most important, my financial knowledge afforded me the enormous privilege of choice—and no one could ever take that away from me.

But, alas, for everything my life experiences taught me about money, it wasn’t enough to build real wealth. I knew that if I wanted to do something substantial with my money knowledge, to really change my future, I needed to put it to good use. I needed to learn how to invest.

You see, I knew that knowing more about the life-changing tool called investing could open endless financial doors, but it hasn’t been easy for women to gain access to the key. Until a short while ago, women couldn’t even open the most basic of bank accounts. Credit cards for unmarried women didn’t come into the picture until much later, in 1974 (as if marital status should dictate your ability to repay debt). And even with the new laws, Black women still struggle to be approved for the standard financial products, like loans and mortgages, that the legislation had promised them.

To make matters worse, financial education can be hard to come by. In 2022, less than 25 percent of high schools offered formal personal finance education to their students. Without a clear structure in place to transfer financial knowledge, many women often wind up internalizing the bad messaging they receive about money from society at large. The media we consume, the world we live in, and the stereotypes we take as given become our textbook.

Instead of being encouraged to take calculated risks, women are told to play it safe. (Why invest when you could save?) Instead of being shown the tools we need to grow our money, we’re advised to make our meals at home and clip coupons. (You’ll never buy a house if you don’t buy things on sale.) Instead of being taught how to spend our money according to our values, we’re asked if we really need that mascara or why we’re going to Starbucks again. (You spent how much on a purse?) Instead of being trusted to make the best financial decisions for ourselves, the unsolicited questions, comments, and concerns about our choices somehow manage to squeeze through. Feeling bad about spending money is like a rite of passage into womanhood.

But it doesn’t stop there. We’re supposed to feel bad about making money, too. A woman who pursues career over family is materialistic (but a man is driven). A woman who seeks a partner with strong financial footing is a gold digger (but a man is wise). Women who strive to make more money are greedy (but men are ambitious), and women who negotiate their salary are aggressive and pushy (but men are assertive and confident). I saw it firsthand: the road to becoming a powerhouse woman earns you a lot of dirty looks before it ever earns you praise.

About the Author

Jessica Spangler
Dr. Jessica Spangler is an award-winning money educator, emergency medicine clinical pharmacist and online business owner. With more than a million followers across social media platforms, Jessica aims to make personal finance easy to understand and accessible to all. Her work has been featured on CNBC and Yahoo! and in Finance and Insider, among other publications and websites. More by Jessica Spangler
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