Women And Wealth
Don’t Listen To Me, But Please, Hear Me Out: # 33
Shaheeda Abdul Kader, Mar 24 2021
Women And Wealth
“It frees you from doing things you dislike. Since I dislike doing nearly everything, money is handy.”Groucho Marx
Last week, I was delighted to be on a podcast produced by KEF Holdings and KEF Connect . The topic was “Women and Wealth.” Could they have chosen a better topic for me? I had the most fun doing it because the host was Aida Al Busaidy, a dynamic Emirati, who is also the Director, C2C Campaigns, Marketing Management at Dubai Tourism. We can learn a lot from Aida about time management, public speaking and how to make 4 strangers talk with ease and openness as if we had known each other all our lives.
My fellow guests were the eloquent, contrarian thinker, Preeti Mundhra, Head of Marketing and Partnerships @ Liv, ENBD and Joy Ajlouny, the founder of Fetchr, who helped cement UAE as a viable hub for tech startups.
The questions Aida put together were so relevant that I think it is a good exercise for all of us to think about and maybe even write down.
Additional places you can listen or watch:
- How was money/wealth introduced to you growing up?
- What is wealth to you now and what were the factors that contributed to your attitude or relationship towards it?
- Research indicates that women lack confidence when it comes to money and investing in particular, do you agree with this?
- If you are successful and happy with your wealth management, what advise can you give other women about improving their knowledge and understanding of managing their own wealth?
Do share your thoughts with me. The following are my thoughts, beliefs and experiences. I sincerely hope it will help many of you.
How was Money/Wealth introduced to you growing up?
My parents are generous and taught that wealth is to be shared. Some of my fondest memories id sitting with my grandpa at 5:00 am in the morning during Ramadan and Eid Ul Fitr while he gave away money and food to the many who visited us. It is so important to teach children the joy go giving and sharing. These are blessed and humbling experiences.
I grew up in a traditional, conservative Muslim family where women did not have much financial freedom. What I learned early on is that men had the freedom to do what they want and go where they want because they had money. Women did not get much of an education as most were married off as young teenagers. Without education, there is no prospect of jobs and careers. Without a career, there is no money and without money there is No Freedom.
So, I focused on getting an education, building a successful career and being financially independent. The relentless drive to seek my autonomy and independence has shaped my life; it is a significant part of who I am today.
What is Wealth to you now and what were the factors that contributed to your attitude or relationship towards it?
Once I got the career bit sorted out, I quickly realized there is literally a wealth of difference between earning an income and multiplying your wealth. Freedom and autonomy is what drives me. Like most employees, I too experienced tough circumstances at work, demanding schedules and no time for a private life. Lot of personal sacrifices to climb the ladder. So, in my late 20’s I learned I needed to invest for my retirement, and I had to think about how much money I’d need every year once I retired and then realize OMG, I need to multiply my savings.
In my 30’s I realized, renting my time will not give me the sort of freedom and autonomy I desired. What is wealth? To me it is what will give me enough freedom to live a simple, unencumbered life while helping as many people as I can. So, I started building businesses. To this day even through business failures, what I cherish most is the knowledge that my ex-employees are doing really well. They are vey kind to me even. today.
Then in my 40’s I realized that sometimes it’s better to bet on a winning horse than to build an entire stable. So, I got into investing in start-ups and infrastructure projects. I love this part of my journey. If you are among the lucky few to have built a safe and increasing nest egg, consider paying it forward and investing in small businesses or start-ups. If not money, then invest your experience in them. The reward is disproportionately high compared to the time you would invest.
Research indicates that women lack confidence when it comes to money and investing in particular, do you agree with this?
It’s a fallacy. Investing intimidates a lot of men too. Financial advisors or people in the investing world use a lot of jargon and acronyms that are intimidating. I dislike acronyms. I believe they are used purely to create a barrier, to make an exclusive club of “elites”. As the pandemic unravelled last year, I was anxious reading stories about people unable to pay rent or food. While, I am grateful that I was able to support various food drives in UAE, I thought, I needed to do more.
So, I started this blog site where I publish about 3 times every month in very basic and simple terms. I try to not use any acronyms or jargon without first explaining everything in basic terms.
What surprised me most is how many men reached out to me for help saying they don’t know how to start. They said, “I have 2 kids and all my money is in a savings account at my bank.” Yes, more men reached out than women, which is concerning.
What advise can you give our female listeners when it comes to expanding their knowledge and understanding of managing their own wealth?
Don’t be sacred to ask for help. There are no wrong questions. Start googling. Investopedia is a great resource to just understand basic terms. If you start reading my blogs from the oldest to newest, you can get a simple and quick idea of the stock markets. I am available on twitter and always respond.
- Save in your 20’s : I wrote about how I saved 32% of my income AFTER taxes in my 20’s. Check it out.
- Build in your 30’s
- Give back in your 40’s
If you are consistent, then InshaAllah, all the while you save, you will be multiplying your wealth and joy.
Final ThoughtsWhat are facilities available for women in this region when it comes to wealth management?
Resources for your wealth building
If you wish to start on your financial freedom and build wealth, there are lots of resources and most are for both men and women.
- Check out this calculator on my site to figure out how much you need to save every year to reach your financial goals.
- Have you been mulling over a business idea or a side hustle? Do you need a little nudge? Then, please check this short video and blog I put together.
- My friend, Lydia Andrews, launched her program, “LoveYourselfFinanacially” specifically aimed at empowering women who want to learn about investing and multiplying their wealth. She and I have done several in-person sessions as well as webinars introducing basics of investing in the market, budgeting, saving etc.
- As a new investor, you can consider brokerage firms that provide robo-advisory services. These tend to be cheaper than full-time advisors. For UAE residents, Sarwa could be a good place to start. Once you are happy with your performance for 1 or 2 years, I recommend you start investing a little bit on your own using IBKR or Schwab or any of the well-established brokerage apps. I wrote 2 blogs about selecting brokerage firms here and here.
While I do not want to diminish the plight of millions of women who do not have basic freedoms, if you are able to read this blog, please know that you are probably more privileged than most. You can take control of your autonomy. Invest in yourself. Ask for help, people in general love to help. It makes us feel good. So make someone feel good; ask for help.
- Save in your 20’s
- Build in your 30’s
- Give back in your 40’s
Most important, invest in your relationships. Supportive, loving spouse, parents and/or children or good friends are critical to your physical, mental and financial well being.
May you always have enough wealth to give away.
Check the Resource Page to find other resources I usually use for my blogs and investing.
I usually blog about investing in the stock market. If you would like help on how to budget, save or invest more, please feel free to reach me, on Twitter @saq3 or LinkedIn @Shaheeda Abdul Kader, or leave a message at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d be happy to offer you my services. Please do check my other blogs here.
I am NOT a certified broker or financial advisor. Please DO NOT make investment decisions based solely on my blogs. My intention is to show you how to research stocks or funds for yourself . I hope you will be empowered and knowledgeable to do your own investigations and invest with confidence. It is best to consult with your broker or advisor if you have questions. You can also reach me, and I’ll do my best to help you with your queries.