Female property investors can achieve financial freedom by changing the conversation, having the courage to invest solo, and teaming up with experts.
This is according to Nicola McDougall and Kate Hill, who joined forces to write the award-winning The Female Investor – a book aimed to help women achieve better financial outcomes throughout their lives.
Kate is a qualified property investment adviser and buyer’s agent, while Nicola is a successful property investor, business owner, award winning journalist and current Chairperson of the Property Investment Professionals of Australia.
The co-authors joined KnowHow founder Bushy Martin on the Get Invested podcast to explain how to manage the hurdles women face with investing.
Shifting the conversation
A multi-generational change comes from shifting the conversation about money, especially at a young age.
“I was fortunate enough to have parents who openly discussed money around the dinner table. So we need to shift the conversation. It starts from these very early days where we change the manuscripts and how we talk around that with children,” Kate said.
“And the conversation needs to be the same for girls as it is for boys. Because again, there have been studies done around these money scripts and studies which show that parents talk to their girls differently about money than they do with their boys. And that inadvertently promotes that opinion and belief in all of us that boys are the providers and girls are the managers of the family.
“So that needs to change in terms of simply having the same conversation with girls that they need to do it. They can do it. There needs to be that same development and encouragement of an inner confidence to secure your finances, that you don’t wait to get partnered up so that your man can help you with your investing or whatever that kind of leads to.”
These honest conversations need to also continue into adulthood.
“Also encourage conversations with your female friends. Don’t let it be a taboo subject. Talk about what you’re doing, how you’re providing for your future, and have the conversation with your girlfriends around this subject. I think that’s really important,” Kate said.
Overcoming income-based concerns
One of the major differences between male and female investors is concerns over the change in income due to life events.
“I just think that the ability and the self-belief is perhaps different between the two genders, and it might be that women are more concerned about how they might be able to retain the properties over the long term, given the potential for their lives to change,” Nicola said.
“Women generally don’t have a linear career. I mean, many of us do if we don’t have children or biological children of our own. But they are stop start. There are times out of the workforce because of child rearing, and there are times out of the workforce because they might be caring for elderly parents as well. So it’s not a linear trajectory for women. And that creates all of these sort of issues that happen in regards to their financial outcomes in life because they don’t have the same straight and narrow income-earning years that men generally do.”
Although a female’s pathway in life can cause disturbances in investing, Kate and Nicola still encouraged women to invest solo and invest as soon as possible.
“I find anecdotally women tend not to invest solo. It’s quite rare and they can be quite tentative. And women as investors are great in a couple when they’ve got that support, but they’re not typically solo investors (these are huge generalisations, of course). On the other hand, men really go for it regardless. It doesn’t matter whether they’re in a couple or not. There’s no inhibition there,” Kate said.
“So it’s a rallying cry for women to just get started. Don’t wait until you’re in a couple. Don’t be afraid and don’t wait, because you can do this and you just should do it. And remember it’s never too late. Start as soon as you can be brave. Get going. If you think it’s too late, I assure you it’s not.”
Working with experts
Considering these major life events and changes in income, it’s even more important for female investors to seek professional help and advice.
“I think that a lot of women probably might worry about, ‘ok but if I buy a house and if I buy a property now and I’m in my twenties or my thirties even, how is that going to work if I am out of the workforce and raising children?’ Well by working with experts and understanding that you can retain the property over the long term, as long as you are selecting the best one for you and the best location at the right time for you personally,” Nicola said.
“Some people don’t do the necessary research that is required. So if they choose to work with experts, certainly a buying expert, then that person is qualified and experienced enough to provide that service to you. So I always advocate for working with qualified property investment advisors, because these people are the ones who not only have the requisite licences in the locations that they operate in, but they’ve actually gone out there and completed additional training than what is required under the law to ensure that they are educated and can provide tailored and bespoke advice to their clients.
“So you need to always make sure that if you’re going to be investing hundreds of thousands of dollars on a potential asset, which you are hoping is going to improve your financial future, and if you are prepared to pay for the professional advice to help you achieve that, then make sure the person that is helping you is qualified to give you that advice.”