Best pals become financial wizards using problem solving skills learned as friends for 20 years and gross £110K in four days teaching women to invest

·7-min read

Best pals who have been resolving their own disagreements for 20 years have focussed their problem solving skills on the world of finance – grossing a staggering £110k in four days teaching women how to find freedom by investing.

Fiercely independent, Simran Kaur aka Sim and Sonya Gupthan, both 25, met at school in Auckland, New Zealand, aged five, and have always strived for success – becoming passionate about stocks, shares and personal finance in their teens.

Launching Girls That Invest in March 2020 with just a Facebook and Instagram account, providing young women with financial tips, the Millennial duo became an overnight success – grossing six figures as course creators, with a business podcast and an online learning platform, Thinkific.

Sim Kaur and Sonya Gupthan hard at work on a laptop (PA Real Life/Collect)
Sim Kaur and Sonya Gupthan hard at work on a laptop (PA Real Life/Collect)

Now helping hundreds of thousands of women and minority groups worldwide, giving a free and paid for service, Sim, of Hamilton, New Zealand, said: “We are two women of colour who want to make investing seem less daunting to women and minorities around the world.

“We don’t tell women what to invest in, we just simplify what the stock market is and teach them how to tell fact from myth and how to understand the jargon which can be intimidating and off-putting.”

Sim, who bought her first home after saving and making money from investing, now works full time for the venture, while Sonya – who joins her on the podcast – has kept her day job in insurance.

Sim and Sonya on the steps to Parliament House in Wellington (PA Real Life/Collect)
Sim and Sonya on the steps to Parliament House in Wellington (PA Real Life/Collect)

While neither comes from a wealthy family, they credit Sonya’s big brother Ari, with inspiring their success, as he impressed on them the importance of saving a portion of their salary each month and taking their personal finances seriously.

According to Sim, witnessing how financially dependent many older women in their culture were on their husbands made Ari’s message all the more poignant.

She said: “We have to remember that women have only relatively recently been allowed to do anything more than the basics with money and I’ve seen for myself the inequality and financial difficulties they can face when the culture is still so patriarchal.”

Sonya (short curly hair) and Sim aged 10 (PA Real Life/Collect)
Sonya (short curly hair) and Sim aged 10 (PA Real Life/Collect)

She added: “I knew from a young age that was not for me.

“Money is still such a taboo topic for so many women, but for me money means freedom.

“It’s not about having a nicer house or a nicer car. It’s about having the freedom to make your own choices and that includes the freedom to say ‘no’.”

But Sim says her success has not been overnight – insisting she has followed a steep learning curve.

She realised the virtue of patience early on when she panicked and pulled out of a £150 investment in Amazon stock, selling all her shares because the price had dropped by £1, only to see it go back up again.

She said: “I learned the importance of buy and hold with that investment, because I had to buy my shares back again and that cost me £12 in brokerage fees.”

Sim Kaur (in white t-shirt) and Sonya Gupthan together (PA Real Life/Collect)
Sim Kaur (in white t-shirt) and Sonya Gupthan together (PA Real Life/Collect)

Quickly bitten by the savings bug after leaving university, where she trained for five years as an optometrist, she rented a room and within two years of graduating saved and invested enough to put a £28,500 deposit on her first home – a £282,100 detached two-bedroom house in Hamilton.

While £18,723 came from her personal savings, £9,641 came from her investment in shares. She had invested £7,280 and enjoyed a return of £2,181 over a year.

Still not content to put her feet up, she further boosted her savings with side-hustles including selling customised T-shirts online.

Despite their own success, with 50 per cent of global wealth remaining in the hands of men, according to the charity Oxfam, showing women how to invest has not always been easy for the friends.

Sim said: “Learning the content and how to invest wasn’t hard, but we were not learning in a space that felt welcoming.

“I did feel like an outsider and often felt as if I was being talked down to.”

Sim Kaur outside her first house that she bought in Hamilton, NZ. (PA Real Life/Collect)
Sim Kaur outside her first house that she bought in Hamilton, NZ. (PA Real Life/Collect)

She added: “If you look at the movies about investment, they are always about men in suits and when researchers do study women and money, they look at how women will use coupons to save on their shopping – not how they can become successful investors.

“In our generation, learning how to invest is dominated by what we call the ‘Finance bros’ on TikTok, who can often come across as very shouty and aggressive.

“People just don’t associate being a young woman with wealth and there were many times when I felt like maybe I shouldn’t be doing this.”

But Sim says the barrier stopping most women from investing is self-built.

She said: “Women tell themselves they’re not good with money and that investing is not for them, but nobody is born with a manual on how to invest. The main barrier as we see it is knowledge.

“You need to understand the myths, educate yourself about the jargon and then understand your own risk tolerance, so you can decide where and how much you want to invest.”

Sim Kaur and Sonya Gupthan (in black jumper) in New Zealand. (PA Real Life/Collect)
Sim Kaur and Sonya Gupthan (in black jumper) in New Zealand. (PA Real Life/Collect)

Investing in bonds is a good option for women who want to “play it safe,” according to Sim.

Those who, like her, adopt a more aggressive investment philosophy, can increase their risk and invest in stock that can go up and down – often bringing better returns, but demanding nerves of steel when the market falls.

“It’s important to do your own research and only to invest what you can afford to potentially lose,” said Sim.

She added: “Make a plan., accept there are risks involved and be patient. Don’t let the ‘ups and downs’ of the market scare you and try and avoid watching or checking your stocks every day.”

When it comes to their joint business, after 20 years in each other’s lives the best friends – who are both single – complement each other, says Sim.

She tends to be the “big picture, big ideas” partner and Sonya brings organisation, focus and flexibility to the mix.

Sim Kaur and Sonya Gupthan together. (PA Real Life/Collect)
Sim Kaur and Sonya Gupthan together. (PA Real Life/Collect)

“Sonya is a real go-getter and I learn a lot from her, especially because she is so open to learning and new ideas,” said Sim, who both women accept is the more confident one when it comes to TV appearances and public speaking.

“She’s also very interested in self-development and self-growth.

“We’ve been friends since we were five and we’ve had many disagreements in that time, so if there’s something we don’t agree on, we know how to resolve it.”

She added: “The most important thing is that we don’t do it by text or messages. We speak face to face and communicate properly with each other.”

As well as their weekly podcast, Sim and Sonya now run an online investment masterclass course for women who want to invest but don’t know where to start. Made up of six modules, it costs £149.

And Sonya insists that she and Sim have defied the old adage that you should not mix business and friendship.

Sim Kaur with sold sign at her house in Hamilton, NZ. (PA Real Life/Collect)
Sim Kaur with sold sign at her house in Hamilton, NZ. (PA Real Life/Collect)

She said: “I think it’s a privilege working alongside Sim.

“It’s been a journey figuring each other out. We’ve always been good friends, but working together is a different dynamic.

“What’s worked for us is effective communication and being clear on roles and responsibilities.”

She added: “Overall, it’s a dream. I wake up and think, ‘Wow! This is something I’m doing with my best friend.’

“I often wonder what five-year-old Sim and Sonya would think and I reckon we’d be like, ‘Woah! That’s so cool.’”

For more information visit: www.girlsthatinvest.com. To listen to the Girls That Invest free podcast go to: https://girlsthatinvest.com/pages/podcast

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