For twenty years I managed billions of dollars of other people’s money. I became an expert, providing interviews to financial newspapers and magazines and serving as a regular guest host on CNBC’s Squawk Box. I wrote two investment books, was featured in Barrron’s and named by Money Magazine as one of the Best Women Investors. My work took me around the globe meeting with clients and making presentations. Corporate boards and wealthy families, government agencies, mutual funds, unions and foundations comprised my client list. Yet, when I discuss my career with women I meet I am often confronted with their decided lack of curiosity. They frequently change the subject or vaguely murmur: “Oh, well the stock market scares me. Isn’t buying stocks like gambling?” More often I hear, “I let my husband take care of our investments. It’s all so confusing.” This from women with advanced degrees, who engage in professional careers, complete marathons and triathlons, have raised an SUV-full of active children, who manage their family budgets and run the PTA like a Fortune 500 corporation. These women are smart. And competent and clever. But somewhere along the way someone told them, or they told themselves, that investing wasn’t for them. That it required special skills unavailable to them. That investing was a kind of magic trick requiring not only sleight of hand but sleight of mind. And because I’ve heard these comments from an overwhelming chorus of women I have to conclude that if they weren’t steered away from the world of finance then, at least, they were never properly introduced.
Consequently, the majority of women I know leave the investing to their husband or father or, worse, their broker. And they keep their fingers crossed that their assets will grow though they have no idea how that miracle will occur. The fact is women can develop the knowledge and skills required to build a rational and reasonable stock portfolio for the long term.
This book is for those who may just be embarking on a career and have the luxury of a long time horizon to build and nourish an investment portfolio; for those with young families and big dreams; for women who are on their own and intend to keep it that way or are simply farther down the road with fewer years to save and invest for children and grandchildren. This book is for all who are consumed by the pace of very busy lives (and who isn’t?) yet know deep down that saving and investing is something they should be doing though the task seems so massively imposing that the idea is dismissed as soon as it appears. Like Scarlett O’Hara we can worry about that tomorrow. Except suddenly it is tomorrow and the kids are going off to college with a backpack full of loans and we are puzzling over how we will manage to retire, if at all.
Consider these pages as an antidote to the financial market mystique propagated by experts and pundits. Think of this tome as an investing de-coder ring. The strong cup of hot tea that clears the fog of an overcast and chilly morning. My commitment is this: by reading this book women investors will gain the knowledge necessary to navigate the noise of the market and select the stocks of high quality companies for long-term appreciation.
Together, through the analysis of case studies, the implementation of my Intelligent Investing Rules, discipline and courage we will build a portfolio of high-quality growth companies that can be held for a lifetime, if not generations.