Welcome to the second profile in my ‘Investing : a woman’s perspective’ series designed to get ordinary women interested in investing. This week features a relatively new investor of the past few months – social entrepreneur and working mother of two young boys, Jennifer Kempson. You can find Jennifer over at Mamafurfur.
Firstly, tell us about yourself?
I’m 36 years old right now, and a full time working Mum in the IT Industry with two boys under the age of 5, a husband and 2 cats thrown in for good measure. We currently are paying off the mortgage in our 3 bedroom semi-detached home in Glasgow, Scotland.
My knowledge in the past for planning for our future was minimal, as I didn’t have a clue what I needed to know.
That all changed one day when I picked a copy of “I Will Teach You To Be Rich” and now my goal is financial freedom and security for my family through paying off our home, all debts, and investing for passive incomes.
What investments do you have? What are your goals for your investments?
My goal is very specific, I know exactly how much money we need to have in an investment account to live off the interest each year and be financially free from having to work for a living.
We also max out our employer’s matched contributions for pensions, so that we benefit from the free money for our future. Currently we save around a total of 20-25% of our gross salaries and we have our pensions, overpayments on our mortgage and also an Investment ISA.
How long have you been investing for? What made you start when you did?
We have only been investing actively in the stock market with our ISA for the past 6 months, but now that is our main savings account.
We have an emergency account too, but that is really only if we truly need it. We started when I realised I wanted to achieve the goal of financial freedom and realised by running the numbers that absolutely anyone can have that lifestyle if they save and invest a portion of their salary each month consistently and invest in their future.
My only stumble block was doing it the first month worrying that we would lose money. But after reading a huge amount of books on financial money management you realise that stocks will go up and down every year, but the long run is where it counts.
It’s a marathon not a sprint with investing and if you use Low-cost Index funds or Lifestyle funds, these don’t put all your eggs in one company basket.
How did you decide what to invest in/research your investment(s)?
We invest the highest percentage we can based on our monthly budget, and right now that works out as about 20-25% per month depending on if we have any unplanned bills to take care of. The secret is to budget your household money and plan ahead but putting money into investments on autopilot if you can, straight at the start of the month.
I follow the principle you pay your future self first, then spend the rest. When we know we have invested at the start of the month, the rest of the money is free for us to do what we like with it.
I took time to read lots of great books, study various investment options online and through my bank and decided an Investment ISA (to make sure of the tax free gains) was the way to go to start for us.
Has your attitude to investing always been the same or changed through your life?
In the past year, my view on money is radically different.
My husband came into our relationship with £22k worth of credit card debt, and for me having never had any debt this was a shock to the system. However, I strongly felt we didn’t want any debt in our lives and to be as free as possible – so over 3 years we over paid and got rid of it completely.
Now our only debt is our home mortgage which we will own hopefully within the next 10-15 years maximum.
If you have children, do you invest for them and if so, in what?
This year my goal is to set up a Junior ISA for both my boys, as I know the wonder of compound interest will make it very easy for them to have a lump sum from us when they reach 18 years old or add to it throughout their life.
My goal is to teach them everything I have learnt, so that they can start investing and saving as early as possible, and not leave it too late.
What advice would you give to someone who says ‘I don’t know where to start’….
Research. Read lots of good books. Start with £10 a month even, but please if you do one thing only – start a pension and give up as close to 10%+ of your gross salary before you even see the money in your pay check.
Even better find out how much the maximum contribution is your employer will give – and max it out for free money for your future. If you only do one thing, that is the place to start with your investments and you set up your life for the best way possible.
Last week’s profile featured award winning journalist and money blogger Faith Archer. Do check it out if you haven’t already.