March is Women’s History Month, so through the end of the month we’ll be releasing stories highlighting women who are educating other women about investing.
Most of us are familiar with the gender pay gap, but another equally important issue facing women and their money is the investing gap. Which is to say that women are, on average, saving less for retirement and investing less money (and earning lower returns) than their male counterparts. One solution to the gender investing gap is education – money is a traditionally taboo topic, but the women we’re highlighting in this series are breaking down that barrier to get more money into their fellow women’s hands.
First up, Amanda Holden.
Amanda Holden runs Invested Development where she teaches women to invest through workshops, online courses, social media, and her blog.
After working in investment management for six years, Amanda quit her job in order to focus on educating certain demographics, especially young women, who weren’t receiving proper education.
It didn’t take her long to realize that her calling surpassed simply helping rich old men become richer. However, the investing “secrets” she acquired at this old job, passed between these old men and a few pairs of heavy doors, did help her on her journey to igniting conversation about money with other women.
To Amanda, the issue was as bright as a neon sign. Women needed a voice— and they needed that voice in order to be part of conversations about building wealth.
While most might not be able to recall the exact moment when their business idea was born, Amanda can. It involved a bachelorette party in Nevada and maybe a few tequila shots— “isn’t that how all brilliant business ideas are born?” she states.
She was attending a bachelorette party filled with bright, intelligent ladies from Stanford University. One evening, they decided to ask Amanda and her colleague about some investing terms, which they happily answered. After the conversation, that’s when it clicked.
None of them had any clue what 401k accounts, mutual funds, or stocks were— not even these highly educated women from Stanford. That was the ah-ha moment Amanda needed. It was the spark to start the business she now owns and operates full-time.
Amanda decided to start her business on her terms, choosing to educate women the best way she knew how— “I use humor and unbuttoned language to teach, and I work hard to create community and to bury deep into the cold, hard ground the pervasive notion that women should be ashamed about money,” she states.
Amanda believes that financial autonomy is the ultimate key to gender equity. In order to be successful, feminism must be as virtuous and fiery as it is smart.
“I want to live in a world that’s just absolutely littered with financially confident women,” she says. “I want to live in a world where women are able to protect themselves, not only from swindlers within the financial services industry, but from abusive or undesirable situations at home or at work. And I really cannot envision this happening without women having a deep understanding of the financial tools at our disposal—and the confidence to use them.”.
Even on a smaller, more individual level, Amanda understands that investing is the golden gate to retirement. The two go hand-in-hand. And it’s up to us to make that happen.
Amanda acknowledges that this doesn’t come without hard work, but avoiding the topic altogether isn’t the answer, either. She wants those around her to be able to follow their passions while also securing a safe future for themselves.
She encourages others that with the correct teacher and the right information, investing doesn’t have to be limited to a certain demographic. Even if investing itself is a long way off, education can start today.
The most important thing,” Amanda says, “is to believe that investing is absolutely within your capacity.”