Sallie Krawcheck ’92 on Her Investing Advice to Women: “Keep it Simple”

Sallie Krawcheck ’92, CEO and co-founder of Ellevest, shares her main tip for women on investing. Krawcheck’s new book, Own It: The Power of Women at Work, is out now.

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Sallie Krawcheck '92, CEO and co-founder of Ellevest


The conversations we tend to have around investing and what people should be doing different are around, ‘Gosh you’re over trading. Gosh, you’re panicking when markets get tough. You’re paying too much in fees. You’re falling in love with your winners. You’re selling your losers too soon.’ All this perceived wisdom around the mistakes people make with investing.

Well, those are actually the mistakes men make. The mistakes women make in investing is they don’t do it. Because the investing industry sort of held itself out as being pretty complicated. Lots of jargon, lots of different products. Lots of talk about alpha, beta, and standard deviation, and all that stuff.

What the research has shown, what the research I’ve done over the years has shown, is men ... actually invest through that complexity. They may not understand the jargon but they will invest through that jargon and that women will [say], ‘Wait a minute, I don’t get the jargon. I’m gonna go home. I’m gonna print out the prospectus. I’m gonna buy the investing book.’ And so they wait to invest, and it costs them.

So what I would say to women that’s different from men is: you’re never gonna know everything, ever. Keep it simple. A diversified, low-cost investment portfolio. Little riskier if you’re younger, less risky if you’re older. Invest steadily. Go, right? And if you’re waiting until you’ve got every last definition, you’re gonna be waiting for forever, and you’re gonna cost yourself a lot of money.

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