GIG Secrets

growup careersJust read a blog on the MoneySoft site that made me go ‘yeah, that’s me too!’ Have you hit that age or stage where dreams of marrying a prince are slipping away and you’re finding yourself thinking about money?? 

Here’s Amy’s story… ‘Before I was a mum, I was a woman who enjoyed shopping for myself, being out with friends and family, paying for Foxtel to make sure I was update with every show and movie available on this planet. I enjoyed manicures, pedicures, facials, dinner parties, brunches, shopping online, spending summer days at the beach and having a quick drink before heading home. I drove everywhere, not really stressing about the cost of parking meters, or parking stations. Late nights splurging on food and drinks was not an issue as I could most probably sleep in the next day and if not have a quick nap before meeting up with friends for dinner. Everything seemed simple. Life was simple. What I wanted I did with no care in the world.

Something happened between my twenty’s and my thirties. I would always put it down to “well that’s what happens when you start having kids”…but in actual fact it’s just that my priorities shifted. I woke up one day thinking hang on (and that’s a PG version of what I was really thinking) why has everything changed? At what point did I become so money conscious and when did I start loosing sleep over this matter?

I can’t tell you exactly when or why but it happened. I found myself regretting a lot of my decisions from my younger days. What if I didn’t live paycheck to pay check, what if I saved a bit here and there, maybe just maybe I wouldn’t be in the predicament that I’m in now. When friends were all putting deposits on their investment properties I was that hippy saying “Enjoy life, life is short, we have plenty of time to work our a$$’ off and worry about money” then I would laugh and go home and think how I have got it so down packed this thing called life…. Just quietly I think those friends are now laughing.

Something had to be done it was getting ridiculous, having twins, a husband and all the pressures of life I no longer craved the ‘what I wanted I did with no care in the world’ kind of approach. My husband who is equally if not more a little ‘whatever’ with our finances came up with a great idea, pretend like we don’t have money. The first few months was great, we set up separate accounts to which our income was assigned to and another account for all our bills to come out of. We did the whole take food from home for lunch, put our left over coins in a jar at the end of the day, started selling a few bits and pieces online for some extra income, but slowly slowly our spending demons started resurfacing and scratching through the few months of hard work we had put in. In the end we looked at each other and..’ READ FULL ARTICLE >>

 

The fun bookclub-like GIG (Girl Investment Group) program supports you and girlfriends, workmates or new 10thousandgirl friends to complete the 10thousandgirl Personal Finance Program. The aim is to learn the principles behind personal finance and investing in an engaging, supportive and light-hearted environment.

GIGs are all about learning the life and finance skills we need to know but often didn’t learn at home or at school. Supported by interactive webinars, videos and beautiful workbook materials, 10thousandgirl supplies the Personal Finance Program with an agenda and learning materials for each meeting, and you let your group know what time and who’s bringing tea, treats or wine.

Financially empower yourself while 10% of your program fees go toward providing a microloan for a woman to start a new business and lift herself and her family out of poverty. Pretty inspiring!

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 Want to find out more?

Here’s an overview of GIGs (Girl Investment Groups) and the NEW 10thousandgirl Personal Finance Program.

Interested and want to find other like-minds in your area? Register your interest.

Already decided this is for you? Here’s the Steps to Getting Your GIG Started.

Currently a financial services professional looking for opportunities to financially empower women in your local area? Interested in a Mentor opportunity? Read on…

Via the blog of our Microfinance Partner Opportunity International Australia

Imagine if you didn’t have access to basic healthcare or couldn’t afford a minor treatment to save the life of a loved one…

For many of Opportunity International Australia’s clients, this is a reality.

Often families are faced with the sudden and unexpected illness of a family member that could easily be treated with basic healthcare. However, for many people living in rural regions with limited money, even minor illnesses that they are forced to leave untreated can be devastating.

In India, Opportunity is partnering with a strategic and technical partner in healthcare to address this issue – The Healing Fields Foundation. Opportunity plans to educate 70 women in basic healthcare procedures and disease prevention methods, empowering them to become Community Healthcare Facilitators (CHFs).

These CHFs will each educate approximately 250 households in their community about personal healthcare and imparting crucial information about the state-provided facilities which many families are unaware they have access to.

Microfinance is effective in giving people a chance to increase their income by growing a small business but in some cases, a small shock such as ill health can push a family back into poverty. The sustainability of income improvements as a result of microfinance is therefore challenged and its long term positive impacts can become unstable.

To combat this, the CHFs will also encourage collectives of families to establish health savings groups which can be accessed should a group member become ill and be faced with healthcare costs.

The program has the potential to reach over 87,500 people (70 CHFs reaching 250 households of five people) and educate them on the importance of healthcare and saving for these incidents. The program aims to reduce mortality rates, lower the incidence of disease, increase income security and bring communities together in collectives.

Programs like this offer Opportunity’s clients a more holistic approach to reducing poverty.

When you join a GIG and financially educate yourself further, part of the proceeds of your course get donated via Opportunity International to provide microloans and contribute to a dignified way of reducing poverty.

Rebecca Parkinson, a member of a Sydney-based GIG (Girl Investment Group), wrote the following email to her fellow GIG members to explain her experiences on a recent trip. She shares with us how she was struck by a vision while in a bamboo hut in the Philippines. Go Bec and thank you for your insight and inspiration!

Hi girls,
I just wanted to tell you about this – couldn’t keep it to myself.

Last Thursday I found myself crowded into a bamboo hut, surrounded by 30 Filipino women and their children perched on benches & plastic chairs. Some were standing just outside the door holding umbrellas to protect them from the intermittent tropical rain. An array of popular local snacks were laid out in the middle of the room.*

The formal part of the meeting was completed, and we’d just finished hearing from each women in turn introducing themselves, describing their families, the industry they (and for some, their husbands) were involved in, and the size of each of their business loans. Many had recently received their very first 6 month loan, having borrowed 6,000 pesos – $125. One or two women were on their 13th loan cycle, one had even graduated to an individual loan. Questions posed to these women about their businesses were answered by a number from the group – the pride in these who were further down the path and had grown their businesses was vocal and supportive.

It was evident that they appreciated this gathering together of like minded neighbours – all of whom were taking a chance in financial matters, stepping out into an endeavour that was new to them, a little unsure, maybe daunted, but motivated to ‘have a crack’. And all so supportive of each other, and the realities, the challenges, responsibilities and opportunities their financial service – in this case a loan – was representing to each one.

And suddenly I was struck by a vision of us some day in the future, describing our initial hesitant steps to create our GIG group, our own support network, trying out different strategies, making time to gather regularly & learn together, and in time, proudly telling others about each others’ achievements.

If these women can do it, and gain so much, so can we. What an inspiration they were to me right at that moment!

I just had to tell you about this experience, the correlation was so evident.

Looking forward to seeing you in a few weeks,
Bec

*sticky coconut rice & moscavado sugar – yum!

Rebecca visited the Philippines as part of her job with Opportunity International Australia who exist to provide opportunities for people living in poverty to transform their lives.

Get your finances on girls and see how you can help empower yourselves and start a ripple effect to help women globally. To find out more about the Personal Finance Program and how to form or join a GIG please go here. To find out more about microfinance go here or about our microfinance partner Opportunity International go here

One of our favourite 10thousandgirls, Marie Delaitre generously shares her journey, tips and lessons from playing her way into the sharemarket.

Would you like to have fifty thousand dollars to invest in the sharemarket?

The ASX sharemarket game allows you to play with fifty thousand ‘pretend’ dollars (risk free), and learn about the sharemarket for three months.  It sounded like a good deal to me, so I signed up!

Three months later, I made a nice little profit of $3,694 … ok, a ‘pretend’ profit of $3,694.  In the game, 21% of the 10,000 players made a profit.  I came 92nd in NSW (out of 3,300 players), which is not bad for a first time player and novice.

Here is what I can share with you.

General lessons from the Sharemarket Game and our GIG (Girl Investment Group)

  • Buy what you can afford. If your investments are going to keep you up at night and have you constantly fretting on share price movements, it could end up driving you batty.  Keep it simple and fun.
  • Do your own research. Don’t just follow what someone else has to say.  People can seem very knowledgeable about ‘a good company to invest in’, but it’s your money, your risk.
  • Good companies come good in the long term.  Hang in there through price dips; remember that shares are long term investments.  During the game, when a market rumour about one of my companies made the price fall – I panicked and quickly sold out at a loss (even though I had bought because I knew it to be a solid company).  The price eventually came back up, but I had already sold.  It was a good learning experience.
  • Have a plan. Know whether you are making a gain or loss along the way (know your rate of return – is it better than putting money in the bank?), and know when you will step out.
  • Diversify. Don’t put all your money in the one company/industry  (the ASX game makes you do this by default,  you can’t have more that a certain percentage of your portfolio in one company).  This means that if one company/ industry does badly,  you don’t lose all your money.
  • If you are investing and researching yourself, it can be time consuming,  know how much time you wish to invest too.
  • Don’t just ‘guess’ – build a strategy based on facts, not hunches. I created a watchlist of ASX companies who have 2 or more women on their Board of Directors – and started to track their performance over 4 month.  So far, the results are not as magical as I had expected.  What sounds good in theory, may not work out in the market.  The watchlist functionality on the ASX website is a good way of seeing how a share performs, without actually investing.
  • Keep your records straight!  When buying real shares, ensure some of the routine stuff is completed from the outset – eg: have you given the company instructions to pay your dividends directly to your bank account, are you able to participate in a dividend re-investment plan, do they have your tax file number?

Lessons from playing

  • During the game, having a ranking helped me feel ‘confident’ that I was doing fine.  If my shares went down, but so did the leader, then I wasn’t worried.  When this was not the case, I spent more time looking at whether the shares from one company were being significantly affected.  Outside the game, I will try to follow an index which resembles my portfolio to keep my confidence up – and calm my nerves.
  • I checked on my portfolio once or twice a week during the game.  The newsletters from the game were a good prompt to check on my portfolio.  I did not make too many changes – once I chose a company to buy into, I held on to it.
  • Buying small packets of shares (less than $1,000) can make it hard to make a good return in the short term due to brokerage fees.

My friends have asked me whether I would do the same things if it was my own money – and to be honest, whilst I really liked the profit I made in the game – if I had $50,00 I would be afraid to just invest it in the way I did. So my goal is to start with small investment bundles – use the principles and habits I have been learning to build a portfolio over time.

I suspect that when I read this in a few years time, I will have leant new things and methods, but this is one of the first steps – and I wanted to share it with others who are thinking of buying shares on the sharemarket directly.

Possible actions to get you started:

  • Your first investment in the sharemarket could be an investment in learning about the market, while you save up to buy some of your own shares.  The ASX runs the game twice a year, and you need to pre-register.  Check online at www.asx.com.au for the next registration date.
    • Choose one or two companies to follow (put them on your ASX watchlist)– and when you have enough saved up and are ready to try investing,  buy some shares using an online trading account.  Small investments build up, and over time,  you will be glad you took a step in!

Marie is actively involved in a GIG (Girl Investment Group) in Sydney. The group of 8 meet in one of the girl’s homes each month and learn about the basic financial principles; how and when to invest in shares and property, what the options are when it comes to choosing a managed fund, how to be proactive when it comes to super and insurance and what new investment opportunities are becoming available in the fields of ethical or responsible investing. Most importantly, the girls are clear on their plans and goals and keep each other accountable to staying on track. Oh and they manage to have a vino, laugh hysterically and make sure everyone’s love lives are tracking along well too… To start a GIG in your area, check the website or contact 10thousandgirl to see if there are others looking for like minds to form a group near you.

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