I went to an all-girls high school and was the first in the history of my school to be accepted to the United States Military Academy at West Point. This acceptance would lead to four years of military school and five years of service in the Army following graduation.
Many of my classmates, teachers, and especially my guidance counselor, were shocked at my decision. People told me that I was throwing my life away. Other people told me that I was wasting my time.
It didn’t bother me, because it was a path I truly wanted to take. I knew that it was different, but I was okay with that.
This is me when I was serving in the Army.
I knew that I would be the minority. I knew that there were less than 20 percent women at the United States Military Academy. And I knew that in the Army, I would probably find myself the minority in most, if not all, situations.
I expected all of these things, and my experience was right in line with my expectations.
When I got into real estate, though, my experience did not quite line up with my expectations.
1. I did not expect to be the minority as a real estate investor.
I was certainly uninformed and didn’t really know what I was getting into when I first became an investor. I had no idea that there were so few women investors. But what I really don’t understand is: why?
Women tend to live longer than men. Women typically make less money than men. And women usually spend less time in the workforce. For all of these reasons, women need to turn less into more.
So, why are there not more women investors?
2. I did not expect to be rooted against.
I have found that the sensationalized idea and headline that you see on blogs, articles, and news campaigns is that women are not good investors. Everywhere you look, it seems that the odds are stacked against us: Women seemingly lack confidence and knowledge, and they’re afraid to take risks.
It can feel like we are expected to fail—or even encouraged to.
When you dig further, though, the stats show that women are actually better investors. While many say that we’re softer and that our investing strategies are weaker because we tend to be more cautious, the fact is that our decisions and willingness to ride out investment cycles have made us better investors.
Our willingness to take less risk has had greater results when compared to the more aggressive approach typically taken by men.
3. I did not expect to have to work so hard to build my network.
This just goes back to the sheer number of women in the field. I have always flocked to strong women. Building a network of powerful women who can support each other in a field with a limited number of women can take time. But it is absolutely available in the real estate world; you just have to look a little bit harder.
4. I did not expect to be treated differently than the men.
I’ve found that when I deal with contractors or negotiate deals, many of the men expect me to be softer. They expect me to be easier to deal with.
Well, I can tell you right now, that is not me. I am direct. I am demanding. I have very high standards. And I hold people accountable.
Some men have a really hard time dealing with this, but that is who I am. And that is why I’ve been a successful real estate investor so far.
5. I did not expect to find my place in the world.
I thought the Army was my calling, and I did not think I’d be lucky enough to find a fulfilling second career. But I was wrong! This is where I was meant to be.
My experience as a woman real estate investor has been different than I expected, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Real estate investing has changed my life.
It has given me so much time freedom. It has given me control of my finances and my future. It has allowed me to build something that I can be proud of and that I can hand down to my daughters.
I’m proud to be a woman investor and am eager to encourage other women to invest, as well!
Women investors: Don’t be afraid to buck the status quo! We need to invest our money wisely to prepare for our future! And we need to stake our claim on this industry!
Are you a woman interested in investing but have yet to start? How can I help?