Entering the world of stocks and investing can be a daunting task for many women out there, but it was precisely this fact that inspired this week’s muse Simran Kaur to found her own highly successful podcast, Girls That Invest. Aimed at helping women and minorities develop financial literacy and grow their own generational wealth, Kaur started the podcast alongside her best friend Sonya Gupthan in 2020, at the height of the pandemic. Fast forward to the end of 2022, and the pair have gained a dedicated audience reaching the top 1% of Spotify’s most shared shows globally. Having published Girls That Invest: Your Guide to Financial Independence through Shares and Stocks last year and, more recently, securing a place on Forbes ‘30 Under 30’ Asia 2023 list, it’s clear this trailblazing duo is only just getting warmed up.
FQ caught up with Kaur to learn more about the Girls That Invest journey. Below, she recounts the story of how it all began, how she first became interested in the financial world, and shares her tips and insight for those looking to try their hand at investing.
Tell us a bit about yourselves, your backgrounds, where you’re currently based and your careers to date.
We’re Sim and Sonya! As the founder of Girls That Invest (GTI), I’m currently still living the dream in beautiful New Zealand and Sonya is doing her OE in Canada! I started my journey as an optometrist, but my passion for financial literacy led me to create a platform to empower women in the world of investing. It’s been a rollercoaster but I’m loving every bit of it!
When did the two of you meet?
Sonya and I met when we were just five years old at primary school. We were the only two brown girls in sight and we very quickly became best friends. I still remember the first time I met her – she had some stickers I wanted, she didn’t give them to me so I snuck into her bag and stole them! How embarrassing? I obviously got caught, had to apologise and the rest is history.
When and how did you get interested in investing?
My journey into investing started with a spark of curiosity and a desire to understand the financial world better. I took a deep dive into financial markets during university and then, while I was working, I took some certification at Yale. It was like opening Pandora’s box, I was hooked!
What prompted you to put Girls That Invest in motion?
I founded Girls That Invest because I saw a gap – a need to make investing fun and accessible for all the amazing women out there. It’s all about breaking barriers and building financial confidence.
Who are your key audiences and how are you serving them through your platform?
Our “investie besties” are [a group] of incredible women and minorities who didn’t feel like finances was for them. They’re eager to learn about investing and financial literacy. We’re here serving up knowledge, tips, and a whole lot of empowerment through our platform.
Congratulations on securing a spot in this year’s Forbes ‘30 under 30’ Asia 2023 list. Such a major achievement! What did it mean to the both of you to be included in this?
I know as a Kiwi woman we’re not meant to say anything other than “we never saw it coming” but I think there is something to be said about believing that you’re creating something bigger than yourself. I always had an inkling deep down as GTI grew that we were onto something. When we got the award it was a high-five moment for us – a recognition of our passion and hard work. It fuelled our fire to keep making a difference and to get honoured alongside my best friend of over 20 years was just the icing on the cake.
You published your first book last year. How did this opportunity come about and what was the process of making it like?
Publishing GTI’s first book was like birthing a baby. The opportunity just knocked on our door – initially – I wasn’t so sure if we’d take it. At the time, I was still working full time in my 9-5, as was Sonya. I decided it was a now or never moment. I put in my resignation, booked a retreat to Queenstown and the rest was history. The process itself was a whirlwind of creativity, late nights, and endless cups of chai!
What are some of the biggest spending/saving myths or mindsets or misconceptions you want to address?
A common misconception is that saving alone is the gateway to wealth; however, with the lurking shadow of inflation, investing is essential to genuinely gain wealth. Another widespread mindset is the notion that investing is a luxury reserved for those who drive black Range Rovers to their holiday homes. Contrary to this belief, investing is accessible, and can be started with a very small amount – as little as a dollar! Investing is not an exclusive club but an inclusive journey for all willing to embark on it. I always say: investing is not something you do once you’re wealthy, it’s something you do to get wealthy!
It must be difficult to switch off between your work and find balance. How do you keep life (and thus your spending) in perspective?
Given that I’m running on a few hours of sleep because I was up all night working on a Girls That Invest project, I would be lying if I said anything other than: It’s hard to switch off. It’s a juggling act between work and play. I find myself asking what the trade offs are for every purchase. If I have $5,000, I could go on holiday. I could also put it towards my next big financial goal. Neither option is right or wrong. You can’t save forever to just live life after 65. You also can’t splurge it all now and not be able to retire at 65 – balance is everything and we’re constantly learning that.
For FQ readers who are new to investing, what are three suggestions you have for them?
For those dipping their toes in investing, start with baby steps. Have a listen to the podcast or read the Girls That Invest book, and don’t be afraid to ask questions. There are no silly questions. Even the world’s richest investors of today once had to ask someone else “what on earth is an investment fund”. The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.
What’s next for the two of you? Where do you see yourselves five years from now?
We see ourselves continuing to empower and educate, reaching more women and minorities globally, and who knows – maybe there will be more books, more fun projects, and endless adventures in the world of investing. As long as we keep to the mission of getting more money into the hands of women, we know we’re on the right track. As for the next 5 years? I’ve learnt to stop planning – anything can happen!
A book that changed my life is… Your Money or Your Life.
The three beauty products I can’t live without… Drunk Elephant retinol, Dr Lipp Lip tint and Nars BB cream.
Next destination on my travel wishlist… New York, we’re have a GTI reunion there next week!
Last TV show I binged… Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, it’s my favourite show, sometimes you just want to put your feet up and watch some good old trashy TV.
Hometown’s best-kept secret… Fact-tree cafe in Sunnynook. No one does brunch as good as them.
Favourite recipe at the moment… Not quite a food but rather a drink, I’ve been obsessed with making matcha lattes at home!