By Kim Kiyosaki
Learn how to map out your path to financial freedom
Over the years, I have been pleased to see the progress women have made to become more financially independent. Yet despite our forward momentum, we continue to trail men when it comes to planning for retirement.
I recently came across some startling statistics from the TransAmerica Center for Retirement Studies that further solidify my stance:
- 31% of women are or have been caregivers during their careers and nearly all of them made at least one work-related adjustment as a result.
- Only 12% of women are “very confident” they’ll be able to retire with a comfortable lifestyle.
- 55% of women expect to retire after age 65 or don’t plan to retire at all.
- Among the women who plan to work past age 65, most cite doing so for financial reasons.
- 32% of women expect Social Security to be their primary source of retirement income.
- Only 14% of women frequently discuss saving, investing or planning for retirement with family and close friends.
Women are still facing a crisis when it comes to their finances, and their retirement outlook is dreary. We need to change that in 2021.
Invest in your future
In order to prosper financially, it is imperative that women learn how to invest. The good news is it’s not that hard — and it can be fun!
The following are three simple steps to creating a winning investment plan that can change your financial future.
Find out which asset class excites you most, and then drill down on the type of investments in that class that you want to learn the most about and put your time, money, and energy into.
For me, it was real estate.
1. Determine how much you can invest
A lot of people make the excuse that they don’t have any money to start investing. For most people this is simply not true. Rather, they spend their money on any number of things that they don’t really need.
When my husband, Robert, and I were younger, we treated our investing as an expense in our budget. We determined how much we wanted to spend each month in investments, and we made sure that we paid that “expense” each and every month.
This, of course, meant we had to take a look at other expenses in our budget and cut some of them in order to pay the “expense” of investing. Make it a priority for 2021, and it will become habit tomorrow.
- Find out what you want to invest in
Another reason many people are intimated by investing is because they don’t understand the variety of things available to invest in. For most people, investing means a 401(k) or the stock market. But the reality is there are so many other areas where you can invest your hard-earned money — you just have to find the asset class for you. There are four main asset classes:
- Paper assets include stocks, bonds, mutual funds, and retirement accounts where you can invest in stock options, stock futures and foreign exchange.
- Real estate.Real estate investments either provide cash-flow from rental properties or capital gains (a one-time profit from buying and selling a property).
- Commodities and Crypto.This includes gold, silver, copper, food grains, corn, coffee, and sugar (oil, gas, cotton, and Crypto currencies like Bitcoin.
- Within this class, there are two routes to take: 1) invest in your own business or 2) invest in someone else’s private business or company.
3. Often Make long-term goals
Once you know how much you can invest and where you want to invest, establish your long-term goals. Write them down and revisit them.
For instance, if you invest in residential real estate like I did, maybe you make a goal of buying one rental house in your first year. Then maybe you make a goal of buying two in the second year.
3 steps to taking action
Ok, now that you have winning investment plan in place, it’s time to take some action. You can’t just daydream about your plan forever — the first step is always the hardest, I promise.
But that’s the irony of the advice to “start small” when it comes to investing: When you’re first starting out, nothing feels small.
But what exactly does that mean? Let’s see what starting small looks like in reality:
1. Take a deep breath
Do your best to put aside how you’re feeling and instead look at the facts and figures. What is the real risk if the investment fails? Maybe you’ll lose a little money and come out with some hard-earned lessons. Now, examine the risk from not moving forward. You’ll never grow, learn, or get closer to financial freedom.
- Build your confidence through education
A big contributor to investing anxiety is not feeling confident in what you’re doing due to lack of knowledge. That is why it is imperative you take the time to study and understand your chosen asset category. This includes reading as much as possible and attending and online webinars.
- Think big even when investing small
When getting started in real estate, I often tell people to start small with their first investment. However, let me be clear: This doesn’t mean you should think small. Quite the opposite, actually. You should think big when it comes to where you want to go and what you plan to achieve.
Final thoughts on a winning investment plan
When I was buying the house in Portland, I knew that it was a first step in a much larger journey. I had grand dreams, but they started with a mere 800 square feet. So, my advice is always to start with a small investment and think big!
If you follow these tips, they will pay off. Today, I own thousands of apartment units in multiple states. I planned to do this, but I started with just one little house. You can too, no matter the type of investment you focus on and 2021 will be your best year ever!
Kim Kiyosaki is the co-founder and CEO of The Rich Dad Company, a professional investor and a spirited advocate and educator of financial education. Kim is an entrepreneur, real estate investor, internationally renowned speaker and author of Rich Woman and It’s Rising Time! Learn more at RichDad.com