Growing balls of money
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April 25, 2016 1:36 PM EDT

There is a lot of career advice for women these days. A lot. Ask for the raise. Negotiate from the moment you get your job offer. Get a mentor. Get a sponsor. Build a personal board of directors.

But there’s one important piece of career advice I rarely hear talked about—and that’s to invest the money you earn in a diversified investment portfolio. Some amount from every paycheck, like clockwork.

You might be thinking you’d rather get a tooth pulled—without Novocain. After all, doesn’t investing involve tons of work and learning lots of jargon?

No. And even if it requires some extra effort (though not nearly, nearly as much as what you are probably already doing, which is killing it every day at work), here’s what it can do: It can build your wealth….not by a little, but by enough to make a real difference in your life.

The numbers: If you’re earning $85,000 a year, saving 20% of it annually (as personal finance experts recommend) and putting that money in the bank, you would save $1.5 million over the course of 40 years. If you instead invest that same amount in a diversified investment portfolio, you would likely more than double your savings.*

That’s life-changing.

Read more: How to Manage Your Finances Like a Millionaire

If we’re not investing, we’re doing most of the hard work around money (you know, going to work every day, turning in that amazing design, landing the difficult-to-close client, beating our sales projections) and only getting about half the reward. And so we’re depriving ourselves of the ability to take on more risks in our career, to “play loose” to have more fun in what we do, to do more in our careers, if we don’t have a financial cushion built up.

Sallie Krawcheck is the cofounder and CEO of Ellevest, a digital-investment platform for women that’s launching in 2016.

* For savings, we assume a return of 1% annually. For investing, we ran a simulation for a low-cost U.S. portfolio of 60% stocks and 40% bonds, rebalanced to this allocation each year. The results reflect a 70% chance of $2.8 million or better and include inflation and taxes on interest but not unrealized capital gains or fees. The results presented are hypothetical and do not reflect actual investment results or the performance of any Ellevest product or client account.


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