This post is a part of Women’s Money Week 2012. For even more posts about savings and investing, visit womensmoneyweek.com.
It’s been a long time since I’ve made a confession. I feel that you’re due. So here goes: I don’t know anything about investing.
For a personal finance blogger, that’s a pretty sad fact. But in my case, it’s true. There’s no good reason for it, either, except for the fact that it bores me to tears. I don’t care about the stock market. I don’t care about figuring out returns. I don’t care to know about bulls and bears unless it’s knowing how to avoid contact with them. And the tickers that run at the bottom of some news networks? Are more confusing than trying to figure out where the
Believe me, I know how awful that sounds. I know how important it is to understand all of that information. It affects my retirement fund, my interest rates (does it?), and so many other aspects of my finances that it actually does me a disservice not to understand it. But I just can’t bring myself to understand it. It’s a problem I’ve had since high school when my economics teacher attempted to teach us about stocks. It was so complicated and so boring to me, I tuned it out. It’s a pattern that’s just stuck.
That doesn’t mean I don’t invest. I do have a retirement account (or two) that are dependent on investing and stocks and all of that. Sadly, I have no clue which companies I’m invested in. I tried to care when I was picking the companies. My husband encouraged me to read portfolios and about long term rates of return and all of that. And I tried. I really did. But after 5 minutes, I stopped, picked the ones that had the most interesting names and went with that. And I haven’t made a single change since I first picked the stocks.
I want to understand investing. I try to read blogs and posts about investing. I follow news stories. I ask questions of people who know what they’re talking about. I’ve been making a concerted effort to learn but unfortunately, the harder I try, the worse it gets. For some reason, my brain will not allow me to absorb the information that’s available, no matter how well written or simplified (it is at the point I feel obligated to say that I believe if I knew less song lyrics and movie lines, there would be more room in my brain for this information). It’s as if I’ve been sprayed with investing repellant.
Sadly, I’m not alone. While I may be an anomaly in the personal finance world, I’m a statistic in the real world. In my real life, I don’t know a single woman who actually understands investing (or admits to understanding investing). Most of these women say that they leave it to their husbands to understand and take care of it; it’s just not something that they care to be bothered with or even care to comprehend. I think that’s where we differ. While they don’t care to learn or are more than happy to sit back and let their husbands take care of it, I genuinely want to learn. I just struggle more than I’d like.
I believe it’s extremely important for women to understand and learn about investing. It’s part of taking an active role in our finances. Relying on someone else to do it for us is no longer acceptable. And, if you’re willing to teach me about investing, and have an extreme amount of patience, please let me know. I really want to understand my retirement account.