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INSIDE MONEY: FAMILY FINANCESFINANCIAL CALCULATORSSALARY SURVEYLEGAL ADVICE

Group Investing is Fun and Can be Profitable

By Clara Lipson of AllWomenInvest.com

Whether you are a mother of a newborn or a teenager you owe it to yourself to think about your personal finances. I can't tell you how many times I have been approached by women who tell me they want to learn about investing and the stock market but don't know where to begin. Or they confide in me that they have just inherited some money but have no idea what to do with it.

For women, the investing world is both a psychological and cultural hurdle. Research has shown that women tend to be frightened of making mistakes in choosing the 'wrong' stocks, they lack self-confidence as investors and tend to get more intimidated by numbers than men do.


So, what's a woman to do? Start your education today. I know, you'll say "I have no time because my family needs me" or "I am already involved in the fund-raiser for my favorite charity" or simply "this is overwhelming I don't know where to start." All of these are valid reasons (or shall we say excuses?).

With our ever-busier lives, we need to figure out the best way to tackle and manage our time and resources to achieve the financial well-being that we deserve. More than 500,000 women have already figured it out. According to the National Association of Investors Corporation (NAIC), that is the number of women who are members of investment clubs and the number is growing each year.

Why are so many women jumping on the investment club bandwagon? Because women often fear taking personal risks when it comes to investing and finance. Investment clubs offer a great way to learn about investing, start building an investment portfolio and have fun with a group of women with shared interests. It is also a fantastic way to interact with friends and co-workers and even make new friends. Imagine the challenge of your club creating its own 'mutual fund' of stocks that the members have selected. Women-only investment clubs generally perform better than male-only clubs, which is also generally true for women investors as a whole.

Investment Club Basics
An investment club consists of a group of people, say 10-15 women, who pool their money to invest in the stock market. They get together about once a month for the purpose of learning about investing and making group decisions about what to invest in. The club gets organized legally, usually by setting up a partnership. Each member commits to making a monthly contribution of $25 to $50 (or more) into the investment club brokerage (or bank) account. Typically, members vote for club officers to organize the meetings, take care of the accounting and record the club's minutes. Members are assigned research and education projects which they report on to the rest of the club membership, and they contribute their knowledge from their own area of expertise. Many women have found investment clubs are a great way to learn about the stock market and have the support of others for research and accounting.

Another possibility for you to consider is to make an investment club a family affair. Why not get your children and other family members involved in an investment club that you form? It's never too early or too late to start learning and doing investing.

Finally, did you know that statistics on the savings patterns of Americans indicate that women save about one-half of the average of men? Take this opportunity to start getting into the habit of saving money regularly. Membership in an investment club forces you to make regular contributions, just like you do in a 401(k) plan. Regular contributions can grow into nice nest eggs. For example, if you or your club invests say $100 a month, in 10 years that can grow to $15,528 assuming an annual return of 5% or to $20,484 assuming an annual rate of return of 10%.

Also see:
Financial calculators
Open an online checking account
Recommended financial books
Estate planning checklist

Clara Lipson is the CEO of AllWomenInvest Network, LLC. During her 18 years in financial services, Clara has learned many things, one of which is that women need to take more control of their personal finances. You can learn more about investment clubs and the step-by-step on how to start a club at http://www.allwomeninvest.com or by writing to clara@allwomeninvest.com.



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