Hi, I’ve been stalking the forum for a while now. May I ask if there are any women investors on this forum? Especially someone living in Canton Zurich – or better, yet near Winterthur?
My husband and I are not as frugal as true Mustachians but we are starting to be more conscious of our expenses, trying to increase our savings for retirement, kids’ future education and to feed our yearly travel expenses. We’ve recently started investing via Viac, Clevercircles (testing it out) and IB. I took an online course with Corinne Brecher and trying out her 3-portfolio strategy (short, medium and long term portfolios, using mostly ETFs and a few stocks)…
Any english-speaking ladies interested in exchanging ideas and investing experiences, do PM me or respond here. Thanks!
I thought I would share my story here, to encourage other women on the forum who’ve reached out, to share their stories too. I’m still open to those who want to meet in real life or to start a WhatsApp chat evtl. since it’s more convenient for quick exchanges - but please explicitly PM me with your number, so I know that you are open to that kind of thing.
For the curious, here’s the financial journey of a woman, foreigner (now Swiss) & housewife in a middle-class family. This probably belongs to the ‘Share your Story’ category, but it’s also like a coffee-chat, no…?:
Mrs Totoro maintained a lively professional career until 30. Mr & Mrs Totoro were expats, who met in HK. We both didn’t have much savings to speak of due to being young, high expat & dating costs (!) and our love for traveling…
Mrs Totoro moved to CH at 28, with Mr Totoro who is Swiss.
Moving costs were covered by Mrs Totoro and we soon got married.
Mrs Totoro learned German while working remotely until getting pregnant at 30.
Luckily Mr Totoro earned enough to support us.
Mr Totoro makes 3a contributions regularly, minimal savings on the side, but we have no financial plans/goals.
Mrs Totoro takes time for child-rearing, making a nice home, maintaining a happy couple life, planning family holidays – and we are still married today (yay!).
Mr Totoro who has been working all this time, reaches management level and joins a friendly men’s club to form local roots (he really misses the expat life!).
After 8 years (how time flies!), Mrs Totoro notices that we are always chasing the next pay raise, and living a non-frugal life to match it… Typical topics of discussion when meeting friends and family is that the rich keep getting richer, and the working man always has to scrape by. But when/how do we know when enough money is enough for our lifestyle and eventual retirement? Money gifts (small inheritance advances) and bonuses seem to disappear into thin air.
Mrs Totoro has a candid discussion with a well-off good friend who’d recently inherited money. He shares that “only money makes money”, and the returns from his company (due to salary, expenses and running costs), cannot compete with returns from his family’s investments (stocks and real estate).
1 year passes. Mrs Totoro who now listens to Janet Lansbury’s parenting podcasts and Elizabeth Gilbert’s Magic Lessons while doing housework, starts following entrepreneur Marie Forleo on YouTube… she eventually comes across Suze Orman’s Women & Money financial podcast. Suze speaks to the layman about creating financial security by dollar-cost-averaging into index funds (the start of many more fin-podcasts she discovers).
Mrs Totoro searches for a Swiss community who talks about this topic. She discovers The Poor Swiss and this Mustachian blog which talks about the FIRE movement. She has trouble communicating what she learns to her husband and family, because they follow newspapers and not blogs/podcasts. Execution is impossible, as Mrs Totoro is not earning herself and she would need Mr Totoro to open accounts and think about investing our retirement and savings.
1 more year passes. Mrs Totoro was by chance, forwarded a SRF documentary about women and retirement, where working after early-motherhood and investing the 3a was discussed. She finds one of the financial advisors featured likable and discovers that she offers an online course! The door is opened! Every Swiss person highly regards people who’ve been on the SRF, and maybe she would be allowed to join this course so we can ‘officially’ get ‘properly educated’ by someone who is Swiss, was in the banking industry AND was on SRF!
Mrs Totoro saves up her ‘fun money’ so she can contribute her share towards the course. She joins the course and within 1.5 months, it is completed. The group was very nice, she learned a lot about analyzing stocks and ETFs, she learned how one can build a 3-portfolio strategy to fill both short and long term goals (whether this works, time will tell)…but she notices the strong swiss/european-investment-bias in her course’s community.
Mrs Totoro also had many unanswered questions still and became more critical of articles and opinion-pieces published by ‘financial advisors’ and ‘fin-journalists’ online and in newspapers. They often don’t stand up to the sniff test if one bothers to do a bit of research, a bit of thinking and some simple calculations oneself. She’d even contacted a financial journalist who wrote for Swissquote, Motley Fool, The Observer, etc. about a piece he’d written demonising US-ETFs for European Investors, and his answer was that:
“it was one of the more fun ones…” and that “I’m a journalist rather than a financial advisor, which means I was an expert for as long as it took me to write the article, and now I’m an expert on other stuff.”
Mrs Totoro thought…( !!!). But she did appreciate his candidness.
HOWEVER there were a lot of clever finfluencers out there with tested experience, supplemented with new ideas and opinion angles that opened up her mind a bit more. She now starts to expand her financial knowledge by consuming more podcasts, reading books on the topic and digging through this Mustachian forum here with with new eyes (but it takes a lot of time in this format!).
Mrs Totoro realizes that everyone is just doing their best. In the end, she (with Mr Totoro by her side) has to decide, how her family’s investment strategy looks like, based on all the tips and research out there. It’s about knowing herself and her partner, what their combined strengths and weaknesses are, their biases, what they value most… and to fashion a strategy and investment habit that suits them as a family (cue epic music here).
Mrs Totoro searches for a kind, similar-minded community, or women who’ve had similar life-experiences as her, to exchange stories and to help keep her on-track.
Her next goal is to invest in an online course (maybe Marie Forleo’s B-School?) to learn new skills that could help her build a low-cost digital entrepreneurship to supplement the family’s income. A side babysitting gig is helping her fund that goal a tiny bit faster…
Would be interested but am in Bern/Lausanne area. I totally get the interest to meet (female) likeminded people. Hard to explain why, but I’ve been actively seeking out more women oriented groups myself as well. Not on this forum but more professionally.