You might have noticed that nowadays, people seem a lot more comfortable talking about topics that were previously considered taboo. Things like religion, politics and money are now regular topics at dates and dinner parties alike and people are starting to throw investing into the mix. But how do you join in on the conversations and start your investment journey if you’re new to the space?
We can all probably agree that finance has become more of a concern for many people of late, so it would make sense that we are talking about it more often. As such, it’s important that we young people help lead the charge to break down stigmas about money and take ownership of our own finances.
But where’s a good place to begin?
To understand further, Lifehacker Australia spoke with Brooke Roberts, CEO and Co-Founder of investing platform Sharesies, about the importance of investing throughout different phases of your life and the significance of money conversations in romantic relationships, too.
Talking about money on a first date
We’ve talked before about the right time to talk about money in a relationship, but Roberts believes that the best time to talk about money and investing is right at the beginning.
Yep, even from the first date.
If you’ve been in the early stages of a budding romance before, you’ll probably know that talking about money and investments can feel kind of weird. In fact, conversations about investing and money aren’t just awkward on first dates but in most aspects of society. Even if you’re already in a relationship, it can be an uncomfortable topic to bring up.
Roberts believes that this discomfort stems from the fact that money has traditionally been seen as a taboo topic in many communities, and it’s something that carries a lot of emotional weight due to structural inequalities.
“When we think about money, there’s been a lot of inequality around money, which means that there hasn’t been equal opportunities,” she said.
“And in the past, if you were an investor, it pretty much meant that you’re rich and have heaps of access to money beccause you needed quite a bit to become an investor.”
Things are starting to change though, which Roberts credits to platforms like Sharesies or Raiz where you can invest however much you want when you want to.
“We really wanted to empower everyone to feel like they could be an investor and so we’re hoping that we’re starting to help create the shift around money.”
Shifts like these are also helping people talk about money or investing on a first date because it’s no longer just a sign of gloating about how much money people have. Instead, information is more accessible and more available than they were before so more people can freely talk about investing.
Even if you don’t explicitly bring up money or investing on a first date, money still plays an important factor. In fact, the most notable point where money comes into play is when deciding who pays for the bill.
From that point, you’re able to see money personalities – as Roberts described it – come into play, which helps you figure out what type of person you might be dating and how they deal with their finances.
Know your money personality type
Forget love languages, I want to know what your money personality type is.
Knowing what money personality type both you and your partner have can help you not only understand each other better but also help you reach financial goals as a couple.
There has been research that shows there are as many as five different types of money personalities, but Roberts sums it up at a high level with just three. The spender, the saver and the investor.
To figure out which one you’re more likely to be is to ask yourself this question: “If you were given $50 right now, what would your natural thing be to do? Spend it, save it or invest it?”
From these three different money personality types, you’re able to see what people value. If people really value experiences and want to have nice dinners with fancy wine they are probably more of a spender, but if that person has different values, they may want to save that money and put it towards future opportunities. Then, of course, there are those who want to invest and build on top of that money.
Now, it’s worth pointing out that you aren’t limited to fitting just one of these personalities. One day you might decide to splurge a little and save somewhere else, or you could decide to occasionally invest your cash somewhere instead of spending it.
How to start investing when you’re single
Having your own investment portfolio gives you freedom and personal liberty that you can take with you into a relationship.
It’s worth noting that part of the structural shifts Roberts mentioned earlier also means that you no longer have to be ‘rich’ or ‘well off’ to start investing.
It’s particularly important for young people to start learning more about how investing can help set up their futures, especially given the financial difficulties this generation is contesting with. Roberts says financial literacy in the investing space is a great way to reduce the feeling of being left behind because it’s much easier to see other ordinary people invest and learn about its benefits these days.
Tips on how to start investing as a single person
Here are some tips that Roberts shared with us for people wanting to get into investing but don’t know where to start:
- Check out established online platforms like Sharesies which will not only help you get started with investing but also give you educational tools to make you more confident
- Look at trusted content online (normally from regulated companies) and see what advice they have on how to invest and the different ways you can invest
- Learn about what compounding returns are and how you can use them to your advantage (Einstein once said it was the most powerful force in the universe)
- Set up your individual portfolio with companies you trust and have researched. You can also choose causes that you care about
Brooke also has some tips for those of us who need to build our confidence in talking about money and investing:
- Don’t tell yourself that you aren’t an investor or that you don’t know enough, every expert started as a beginner
- Don’t enter it with a perspective of money first, start with your goals first. Ask yourself, “What do I like? What do I want to achieve? How do I do that? What do I see other people doing that have done that?’”That way, deciding how much you want to put away is secondary and you are more goal orientated
- Ask people how they got started and what they did to build an investment portfolio
How to start investing in a relationship
It’s all well and good to start investing when you’re single but what about when you’re already in a relationship or just starting a new one?
Although money can be an awkward thing to bring up in a relationship, particularly if it’s new, it’s incredibly important to discuss as it involves planning for your future together.
Similar to setting individual goals for yourself, Roberts recommended talking to your partner about the kind of future you both want to have. That future, more often than not, will involve money of some sort.
Whether it’s wanting to go on a trip, wanting to own a home, or perhaps getting a pet together, all of those things cost money and will require you to save up.
It’s in these discussions that you’ll be able to iron out any financial differences may have with your partner. These differences don’t have to be deal-breakers either; it just means you can start negotiations to work towards a common goal.
Money personalities come into play here because it can sometimes be difficult to manage two opposing personalities if you’re trying to work towards a shared goal.
In saying that, it’s important to not shame your partner for their spending habits if it conflicts with yours. You can find ways to support your partner’s money personality while still saving and investing enough to achieve your goals together.
Tips on how to start investing as a couple
Roberts gave us some advice on how to manage conflicting money personalities when investing funds towards a shared goal.
- Set up a joint budget that you both work towards. Hold each other accountable for your goal
- If your personality is a spender, set up an impulse account with a weekly/monthly spend amount. This way, you’re able to still spend money on what you want, but you and your partner know the bulk of it is being saved or invested. It also helps promote individual freedom in spending your money but still working towards a shared goal
- Decide how much of your paycheque you want to invest every payday and set up an investment portfolio each. One partner can take one half and the other can take the other half and invest it how you like
- You can start a joint investment portfolio if that works for you, too. Make sure you both have a say in where you want to invest the money
- You can use your individual investment portfolio to invest in sustainable companies and ethical causes you care about, even if your partner doesn’t. As long as your investments are working for your half and your partners is for them, that’s all that matters
While it can seem like a daunting world to get involved in, once you are able to understand yourself, your money and your goals a little better, investing can become second nature.
By accessing and interacting with the information you have at your fingertips, and asking a few questions here and there, you can learn a whole lot about money and how investing can work for you.
Remember, it’s not a competition, either. Whether you’re in a relationship or just living your best single life, investing is an important part of your future, so make sure you’re taking your time to research thoroughly and chat with financial experts if you’re feeling unsure. And when you’re feeling confident enough, start more conversations in this space – it can offer a great opportunity to learn.
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