Laura De Cnop: “starting early is already successful”

Laura started investing at 25, and is already seeing the benefits two years later, at 27. This Belgian investor explains the advantages of investing, even with small sums, and shares with us the resources she recommends to women who want to take their first steps. 

Hi Laura! Can you tell us a bit about yourself and what led you to invest at first?

My name is Laura, I’m a 27-year-old Belgian working for a biotech company, mostly around data analysis. I started investing 2 years ago to make my money work harder for me. 

After benchmarking investing platforms, I chose BUX because of the fractional share feature. When you don’t have much money to start, this is super interesting! I started with €50, and increased the amount over time. Besides wanting to have a bit of fun, I was aware that having all my money in the bank would lower its value, so I wanted to make it work.

What is your investment strategy? Has it evolved? 

Then, I started focusing on ETFs, investing the same amount regularly with investment plans that adjust depending on my expenses of the month. After educating myself by reading books or listening to podcasts, I mostly invest in ETFs that tracks the S&P 500. I have a smaller share in worldwide companies, in various sectors like pharma and IT, and another one in dividends. And sometimes, if I see a news popping up, I take on some opportunities. 

Also, I like to invest in things I understand. For example, I was using Nvidia products at work, so when their stock prices dropped, I figured it could be a good investment. Turns out, it was! Their stocks bounced back up, proving me right.

Finally, a big shift that I’m noticing now, is that I’m less focused on my investments. I check them less frequently. I just wait!

How long are you planning to invest?

For the rest of my life. When you’re young, in your mid-20s, and you invest €100 every month, you could potentially become a millionaire by the time you’re 60. However, if you start at 40 and invest double the amount, you’ll end up with less money. So, it’s all about compound interest, not about the amount. 

Do you see yourself as a successful investor?

It’s going well, I make profits out of it. Also, as I started at 25 – encouraged by my mom who is also investing – so I think I have so much time ahead. Starting early is already successful.

Why do you think there are fewer women investing yet?

For me, the reason is the same as seeing there are fewer women in tech careers: women have less confidence, especially around numbers. However, numbers don’t really matter: you can start with a small amount as long as you invest regularly. 

It is also based on the cliché that men are investors. As women, we lack role models in finance, which means that women think they aren’t skilled enough. I also see it in my environment. In my circle, a lot of women are not investing, and almost all the men do!

What do you think could help women to start investing?

There is a feminist book called ‘’Girls that invest” that covers everything about investing. For me, that was a game-changer, and I believe more women should immerse themselves in this type of literature. Whether it’s the same book or any other about investing, reading and learning boosts confidence. Especially as a woman, I feel more empowered when I’m knowledgeable about what I’m discussing or doing. So, I believe it could bring about a positive change. And maybe have more young female communities interested in investing: this is lacking in Belgium.

I would also just tell my female friends: do it, stop hesitating , be confident. Just start with it and you’ll see it go well.