Women in crypto: Luno’s Carin Bowman shares her journey to financial independence
By sharing the stories of #WomenInBlockchain we want to help first-time investors on their journey to financial freedom, and do our part to #EmbraceEquity. Luno’s mission is to upgrade the world to a better financial system and we want to ensure that everybody is included.
Luno does not offer financial advice, investment profits, manage assets or provide set returns.
Meet Carin Bowman, a Senior Product Manager at Luno who gave herself the gift of financial freedom at 25. She advocates for women and first-time investors to prioritise their financial futures and get started on their journey to financial independence.
“I started my financial adulthood at 25, I’ve finished playing, I’ve finished my university days, now it’s time to start my future.”– Carin Bowman
Prioritising her financial future
Growing up in South Africa after hyperinflation, Carin witnessed so many people’s “nest eggs completely dry up by the time they were in their 70s”. This made her determined to make sure she was financially independent and she began planning for her retirement early.
She gave herself the gift of financial security by going to see a financial advisor on her 25th birthday.
“I knew I had to save and get money for my retirement somehow. I was obviously not equipped to do so by myself. So I decided that for my 25th birthday, I was going to gift myself an investment of some description and a financial advisor to try and tell me how to do that because I had absolutely no clue.”
Like many new investors, Bowman devised an investment plan that was tailored to her needs. She began by setting her financial goals. Secondly, she identified what kind of risk level she was comfortable with. And most importantly, she decided what she needed from her financial advisor. For instance, this was “a lot of financial education, and we started from there”.
Slow and steady wins the race
With the help of her financial advisor, Carin gradually set up a retirement fund, an investment fund, and an emergency fund. “Having that safety net is a huge relief for me” she explained.
“Knowing that I’ve got this person keeping an eye on that part of my life, the part that I am not well-versed in and couldn’t really tell if it’s going really well or really badly. I have this expert who’s helping me, that helps”.– Carin Bowman
Diversifying with cryptocurrency
When Bowman was ready, her financial advisor suggested that she start to diversify her portfolio. She started small and first invested R50 worth of Bitcoin in 2017. The Senior Product Manager admits that she wasn’t particularly interested in crypto at first but saw its value straight away. “I looked at it and said, “Oh yeah, this is the next financial system.” It’s just the way it’s going to be.”
Carin and her financial advisor agreed that due to crypto’s volatility, they would only put money into crypto that she could afford to lose. She did her own research and started to invest a small amount into cryptocurrency every month. To clarify these extra savings would have gone toward hobbies and she used a similar approach to dollar-cost averaging.
In addition, Carin explains that she had quite a “utilitarian approach” to cryptocurrency. She realised that she was the most computer-literate person in her family. Therefore she took it upon herself to learn how the decentralised financial system worked.
This long-term mindset was about leaving a legacy and helping her family in the future, “for my nieces and nephews, this is going to be their financial system,” she explained.
Do your own research:
Carin explains that research is key to investing in cryptocurrency, and when finding a financial advisor.
“In my research as a product manager, we found almost unilaterally across the world, almost every investor makes their investment choices based on advice from friends, family, and coworkers.”
This however has its limitations, and “for my part, I was mostly surrounded by people who were at the same financial literacy level as me, which wasn’t very helpful,” she explains.
“It really is worth it to go outside of your pool and put in the extra effort to do some research to find other people to help you. Read about different trends because you might be sitting in a fishbowl… And you’re only going to be as successful as the people that you’re speaking to.”– Carin Bowman
Luno’s education resources are designed to help first-time investors do their own research and play the long game with crypto.
3 things she wishes she knew before starting out:
Carin shared 3 pearls of wisdom for first-time investors and women alike:
1. Start small:
Like many people, she thought that she had to “save up and amass enough money for her financial advisor to well, advise on.”
But “my financial advisor explained that I could have started a lot earlier with a lot less”. And “it’s always best to start as small and as soon as possible because money grows over time”.
2. Add spoiling yourself to your monthly budget:
“We’re working so hard to be fiercely independent that we can try a bit too hard and end up punishing ourselves and not allowing ourselves to spend money.” As a result, we overspend when we finally do spoil ourselves.
“So moderation is key… and you should always reserve some of your paychecks each month, just to spend on yourself and your own happiness, whatever that happiness may be.”
3. Be intentional about investing in your future
Many women generously invest their time and energy into their communities, families, and work.
Many women and first-time investors wish they’d started earlier. But as Carin reminds us “the time to start is always right away.”
“I think it’s one of the things that women struggle with particularly is we are expected to take on a lot of things that have very long-term financial implications automatically. We don’t realise we have a choice.”
Carin’s story is one that many first-time investors can relate to. Carin inspires us to prioritise our financial futures, educate ourselves, and get started on our financial journeys.
And there’s hope for us all, she jokes, “If my financial ineptitude can still make it, then I’m sure everyone else can as well.”