How to invest for a better future

When women invest, the world wins

24 September 2021

Do you ever feel like investing isn’t an option for you? You’re not alone.

‘Investing’ feels like a bit of a mystery to lots of us. It’s not something that most of us are taught about in school, and feels like something that’s reserved for the super-rich, or for financial experts. Lots of women feel like it isn’t for them either – according to YouGov, over half of women have never owned an investment, compared to 37% of men. And yet various research also shows that when women do invest, they’re more likely to choose sustainable and ethical options.

Ahead of Good Money Week, we’re teaming up with our friends at Legal & General, sponsors of the Saver badge for Guides, to bust some of the biggest myths around investing, and show how you can do it ethically.

'I don’t know enough about money to invest!'

Investing doesn’t have to be all about stocks and shares! If you have a workplace pension, that’s investing. All investing means is to put money into a product or a resource that will help you profit later. In the case of pensions, the pension provider or bank you’re with usually makes the decisions about where your money is invested.

You might not know much about the details, but ultimately you’re still the one in charge. If at any point you change your mind, you can change providers or stop making regular payments altogether.

'But can investing really be ethical?'

Yes! By choosing ethical banks, pensions and personal investments, we can help to make sure that our money is being spent in ways that make the world a better place, from stopping climate change to reducing income inequality.

'So what does ethical investing actually look like?'

There are lots of options out there!

One big thing that lots of people do is to invest with a ‘green’ pension provider. In the case of most workplace pensions, your employer is responsible for choosing who the pension provider is. As the one paying into the pension, you have every right to ask your employer or your pension provider for more information about how your money is being invested. You can also ask your employer to consider switching to a more ethical provider! Good Money Week has handy email templates that you can use to get the conversation started.

Ethical investing might also mean making investments on your own. You can sign up for private pensions or invest in local causes. This doesn’t have to involve spending huge amounts of money, either – when you’re investing locally, even small amounts can make a big difference. A financial adviser can help you understand what your options are and give advice on how you can get started.

Whatever you choose to do, it’s important to remember that there is risk involved with any investment opportunity. You can’t guarantee that you will make money every time. However, by focusing on ethical investing on a small scale, you can get a feel for how it works and build your confidence, while also making a difference in your local community.

'Investing just isn’t a priority for me right now – shouldn’t I be saving my money?'

 Saving and investing doesn’t have to be an either/or option! A healthy financial plan will make room for both. If you’re paying into a pension right now, you’re doing it already! By saving, you can make sure that you have a safety net ready in case of emergencies. By investing, you can make sure that you and your family are well taken care of in the future.

Now is also a great time to take a look at your finances. Lots of us are re-evaluating our finances in the aftermath of the pandemic. It’s had a big impact on communities and businesses, and we know that girls are really worried about that. Girlguiding’s latest research said that girls and young women are worried about the impact the pandemic has had on their job opportunities and financial situations.

By looking into sustainable investing options, especially on a small, local scale, you’re helping to build a better community for them, with fewer inequalities. You’re also showing them that investing is for women as well as men! This Good Money Week, let’s remind girls that they can do anything.

 Guides can learn all about money matters with the Saver badge! With this badge, girls can learn how to manage their schedules, set a budget, and save energy. Have you done it yet?