I recently went on a trip to Las Vegas for the very first time with a few friends!
Apparently, not all things that happen in Vegas should stay there because I came away with some important insights to share with the masses. So, let’s take it from the top.
As soon as I get to my gate at the airport, I scan the crowd. No, not due to terror-noia. I’m just a naturally observant person.
That is, a naturally observant person who likes to create stories about the strangers she’s about to spend 6 hours with at 30,000 feet. Totally normal, right? RIGHT?!
I spot cute couples that I hope will elope at the chapel. I eye a birthday bunch and hope the bday boy wins big at the craps table to fund a properly wild weekend.
And what’s Vegas without a bachelor/bachelorette party? As I wish them a Hangover-level good time, I can’t help but notice a few characters that I can only describe as Vegas Vets.
The Vegas Vets are retirement-aged men who have been to Sin City many, many times. You can tell who they are by their lack of checked baggage, minuscule carry-on, I-wear-my-sunglasses-at-night mean mug, and perpetual eau de cigarette odor lingering on their Members Only jacket.
Their vibe is clear — they don’t go to Vegas for sin — they go to win. Big. Or at least win back what they lost last weekend.
That cigarette scent never left my side the entire weekend. Not as I passed the slot machines in the airport, or as I passed the slot machines on the casino floor.
Same goes for the sense of desperation.
You smell it on the smoky breaths of gamblers and card dealers alike. You hear it with every slot machine ding, ring, and cha-ching.
You taste it when you sip on expensive-ass champagne in Marquee. You definitely feel it when you’re sitting in the VIP section, brushing shoulders with cocky ballers and the baddies vying for their attention.
And you see it on somebody’s grandma’s face as she puts in another $100 for the hundredth time to try and win the jackpot. You can sense the desperate need for money EVERYWHERE.
Am I judging? Maybe. Am I a hypocrite? A little bit. Because not only was I up in the club, I definitely hit the slot machines, lost $200, and won $250 back.
I was a happy participant in all the Vegas-ness, so I can’t deny that I see the appeal. But what got through to me was my bestie, as always.
At the end of my trip, I asked her what she thinks about gambling and she turned to me and said,
“I bet and lost $40. I could’ve used that $40 for something else, but instead, I just…gave it away. I don’t like that I just gave it to the machine and never got it back.”
Or I think she said something like that.
I was still lit off the tequila shots from the night before. But the point is, she made an impression on me and I couldn’t stop thinking about it all the way back to the east coast.
Is gambling really worth it? And, more importantly, are there better ways to win big? The short answer? Yes. You can win big for your future. It’s called investing.
When you think about it, investing is very similar to gambling. Instead of chips and cards, it’s stocks and bonds.
And instead of losing $40 in the slots and that’s it, you can own a piece of a company as the stock market fluctuates each day. Gambling is fun, but investing seems like a more stable way to play with your money.
After gaining this perspective, I started digging around for investment tips and came across astonishing statistics.
According to a Harris poll commissioned by the investing app Stash, a whopping 80 percent of millennials are not invested in the stock market, citing 2 major reasons why. One, they feel like they don’t earn enough money to invest. And two, they don’t know how to invest.
Ignorance seems to be a major barrier, especially amongst women. Of the youngsters aged 18-34 in the Harris poll, 75 percent of the women found investing to be confusing vs. just 60 percent of the men.
There’s a clear lack of investment awareness and education amongst young women and I admit that I’m one of them.
My name is Christina and I am investment ignorant. If you, like me, wish that investing in your future was a little easier, try using some of the following tools.
KEEP YOUR FINANCES IN MINT CONDITION
Because investing starts with good money management, it might be helpful to start by watching your spending. Keep track of your purchase patterns with an app like Mint. That way you can budget properly and make way to play with a little investing.
Find out more about Mint here.
ELLEVEST TO MEET YOUR GOALS
Ellevest gets it. They understand that investing as a woman can be a bit daunting. But they’re dedicated to helping you reach your goals in a simple way. Just tell them what you’re trying to achieve and they’ll manage your portfolio to make it happen.
Find out more about Ellevest here.
STASH YOUR CASH
Stash makes investing simple for everyone. With just $5 and a dream, you can start investing as soon as possible! Almost. The app works more like an advisor, recommending investments to you. Then, the more-informed version of yourself will be ready to buy and sell stocks like a boss.
Find out more about Stash here.
INVEST YOUR ACORNS
If you want to be more of a hands-off investor, the Acorns app might be just what you’re looking for.
All you have to do is link the app to your bank accounts and credit cards and Acorns automatically rounds up each of your purchases to the nearest dollar, takes the difference, and invests that into the portfolio of your choice. So essentially, you’re investing spare change with every purchase.
Find out more about Acorns here.
And if you can’t decide between Stash and Acorns, maybe this will help.
KNOWLEDGE IS POWER
Still a little overwhelmed? Try reading up on investing the classic way by cracking open a book like this, this, or this. Or even try taking a class. Lots of banks and investment companies offer classes (some of them for free!) both online and in-person. Contact your bank or investment company for more information.
OK ladies. I dealt the cards, now you make the bets on your financial future. Don’t be a statistic. Women can trade stocks and bonds just as well as men do! I hope you start investing in your future as soon as you finish reading, liking, and sharing this article with all of your girlfriends.
Because there’s no reason why you and your squad can’t start investing today, so you can ball out better than a Vegas Vet tomorrow. See you at the slot machines in 2057!