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Young, female, and fighting back against inflation

Investor Serena Eddy

Serena Eddy is too young to remember the last time inflation spiked at 6.2% in the early 1990s.

Like many young professionals, she is looking for ways to protect herself amid the current cost of living crisis, and has turned to investing in crypto and tech to build a war chest for the future.

The 33-year-old solicitor, from Worcestershire, said: “It’s frankly scary right now. Bills, bills, bills are all anyone seems to be talking about.

“Friends I speak to are worried we might see the same inflation and crazy interest rates our parents had in the 1990s.

“I’m currently remortgaging and have watched rates jump three times since December. That’s worrying when your wages are only increasing annually, if you’re lucky.

“People are having to watch their finances more closely than ever.”

Serena spoke as a poll of 1,000 ISA holders conducted by Freetrade and InvestingReviews.co.uk found most believe inflation will erode stock market returns for years to come.

The average stocks & shares investor expected to make returns of 5.8% pa over the next three years. Currently, inflation is running at 6.2% with the Bank of England warning this will climb to 8% by June.

This raises the prospect that ISA holders may find it harder to make real gains in the short-term. However, leaving money in cash savings potentially leaves someone even more exposed, as they are effectively locking in a loss in real terms with the best rates at just 0.95%.

Serena was inspired to begin investing during the pandemic. She now invests 5-7% of her net income into a Freetrade stocks & shares ISA each month.

The young solicitor likes trying to spot future stars across different sectors and is even taking an interest in aviation companies offering commercial space travel, believing they may have greater potential.

“I have a considerable working life ahead of me which enables me to take certain measured risks when it comes to investing given that my retirement is some way off.

“I have no desire to own bonds currently as I personally think the rewards don’t stack up.

“Instead, I prefer funds which back Web 3.0, cryptocurrency, and the future of the motoring and aviation industries. Flights to space anyone?!

“I bought airline stocks at the height of the pandemic in April 2020 and they have since risen as restrictions have eased globally. I also bought Pfizer in 2020 before the vaccination roll-out.

“Industries like these are fast-paced, innovative and create excitement in the market, meaning they are perhaps more aggressive and accelerating in terms of growth over more stable options such as bonds and real estate.

“There are so many opportunities and it’s far better to be a part of it than watch it from the sidelines as these sectors continue to evolve at a rapid-pace.

Talking about the origins of her investment journey, she added: “The FIRE (Financial Independence Retire Early) movement has been around for years but really took off during the pandemic and has intrigued me ever since. With median returns of between 6-10% per annum, it’s clear investing beats inflation much of the time.

“I’d like my investments to allow for financial freedom in retirement, provide for my family, reduce my working hours and my total number of working years.

“I’d like to travel more and not have to depend on one source of income.”

Serena invests in the stock market through the Freetrade platform. Her investments include Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) which typically track a stock market index, or sector, and can be bought or sold throughout the trading day. Her portfolio spans the S&P 500, FTSE 250, FTSE All World, and Emerging Markets ETFs alongside individual stocks.

Serena is unfazed by the recent market volatility caused by geopolitical events.

She said: “Investing is for the long term and the peaks and troughs of the market caused or impacted by world events can lead to panic selling and loss, so it’s best to stick to regular monthly investing.

“Ignore the noise and hype that often surges via social media but quickly subsides.”

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