The Curve: The online platform empowering and educating women on investing

Online education platform The Curve is a community of women sharing information about money.
Online education platform The Curve is a community of women sharing information about money. Photo credit: Getty Images.

For many women, investing is a scary black box, with lack of confidence and knowledge among the biggest barriers to making a start.

That's according to Victoria Harris, who created The Curve last year, an online education platform where a community of women share knowledge and educate themselves about investing.

Running the platform as a side-hustle alongside a full-time job as a fund manager, Harris says the finance industry has traditionally been male-dominated. But that's changing, and as more women contribute equally to household incomes, they want to equip themselves with financial knowledge.

"For a lot of women I speak to, investing seems like a big scary black box so they don't even want to start," Harris said.

But that's the worst mentality, she says, as each day people do nothing costs them money. Making a start in investing is about taking small steps which build on each other. It might be reading something or starting a conversation.

"We've tried to create a place where you can come if you know absolutely zero, and you can come if you know quite a bit about investing," Harris added.

Talking to women across a range of backgrounds and age-groups, the reasons women give for not investing are varied.  

One said her father would always talk to her brothers about investing and not her, which put her on the back foot. Upon selling her business, another was tempted to put money into Bitcoin after talking to a friend, but knew nothing about it.

Comments from women at financial roadshows were often along the lines of 'I don't know this stuff, I just come along with my husband' - something Harris says made her realise women needed their own voice and community.

"It's creating conversations about investing... giving women the tools to ask the right questions so they know what to look for and make better decisions," Harris said.

The platform receives interest from women of all walks of life, including mothers wanting to pass on financial knowledge to their children. 

Millennial women typically find it harder to think about investing for the future. Many older women assume they've left it too late, something Harris says might require them to make adjustments rather than not invest at all.

"We say, as long as you've got five years, that's the average in terms of an investing time horizon."

One of the key topics of the platform is investing in shares, which some use to help them start saving a deposit for a first home.

"If you put the effort in, you can be rewarded... small changes can make a huge difference."

Survey findings from the Commission for Financial Capability (CFFC) show that on average, women are better at managing money in the short-term than men, including budgeting and saving. But they're less confident about investing, more risk-averse and less likely to make long-term financial plans.

The Curve is an educational platform that doesn't give financial advice. It's free to join but events are charged. As an alternative, the Sorted website provides free, impartial information and tools to help Kiwis manage money, including budgeting, saving and investing.