‘How I made £5,000 in three years’ – and other successful female investor stories

Authored on
26 Aug 2022



For many people, starting to invest can feel like a daunting thing. Where do you start, and how do you pick what to invest in? And for those who’ve already begun, how do you know what next steps to take?

We’ve covered some top tips for people who are starting out with investing, and if you’re a complete newcomer be sure to check out our first-time investor guide.

But it’s also useful to hear how other people are investing. So to that end, here are real stories from investors – including one woman who’s built up a £100,000 investment pot, and another who’s turned £12,000 into £20,000 in just three years.

“My Lifetime ISA has been the single most important investment decision I have made in my 37 years on the planet”

Camilla Colley, 37, was encouraged by her father to start investing early in life. He started an investment account for her when she was younger, and his smart decisions meant that she was able to get on the property ladder in her 20s.

But rather than leaving it there, Camilla says she learned a valuable lesson in the importance of investing. So she continued his good work and carried on investing after she’d bought her home. After a few years of just saving in cash to do up her property and then move to a larger place, three years ago she decided to open a Lifetime ISA (LISA), after a work colleague told her about them. “The government top up of 25% … sounded too good to be true,” she says.

In the three years since she opened her Lifetime ISA, she’s put in £12,000 – or the maximum allowance of £4,000 a year. But that £12,000 has grown to an impressive £20,000. Her £4,000 annual investment was topped up with another £1,000 a year from the Government, with the rest down to investment growth.

Camilla decided to invest directly in shares, picking three companies: packaging outfit DS Smith, investment firm Rathbone Brothers and intellectual property company IP Group. On top of this, she invested in a tracker fund, that follows the performance of the FTSE All Share index.

“It might not seem like much, but I think it’s pretty amazing. I really do think more people should be aware of, and gently encouraged, to open a LISA. I really don’t think their importance can be underestimated, and certainly I was not aware of their significance until relatively recently,” she says.

“Just take the action to start – you don’t have to put too much money in”

Katriina Ramamurthy, 32, started investing after speaking to her fiancée and his brother, who had been investing for a long time. She decided that she wanted better returns than those she was getting on cash, and is after better financial security when she’s older.

Her first investment was in a tracker fund that follows the performance of the US market, from low-cost provider iShares. She picked it as her fiancée was also invested in it, and explained how it worked. Since then she’s invested in the UK version of the fund, as well as the Japan version, getting broad exposure to different markets across the globe.

However, at the start of the pandemic, Katriina decided to invest in company stocks for the first time, buying up some shares in airlines that had been hit hard by the global travel bans. She said she researched the ones that she thought would survive the pandemic and made her first move into directly holding shares.

Katriina has now built up £4,500 in her investment account, and is planning to keep adding small amounts to it. “Everyone can do it, even with smaller amounts of money. It’s easy and you don’t have to understand much about investing. Just take the action to start – you don’t have to put too much money in, only what you are comfortable with,” she says.

“I’ve built a £100,000 portfolio, starting from one investment trust”

An Tran, 30, works in the fintech sector, so has a head start on some other investors as she was trained in accounting and finance. But she said despite learning the basics when she was studying, she didn’t have the spare cash to start investing until later in life. Once she started working and earning more money, she opened her first investment account.

Despite only being 30, she has now built up an impressive £100,000 in her accounts, split between an investment ISA and a general Dealing account (which works like an ISA but without the tax benefits).

Her first investment was a real estate investment trust, which is a type of fund that invests in commercial property – like offices, shops or warehouses – and is listed on the stock market. She liked the idea that the investment was backed by bricks and mortar, and it seemed simpler to understand. “Before buying my first , I went to free investing seminars organised by the brokers and read a book about REIT investment … to understand better about the asset class,” she says.

She has since expanded her portfolio and has even dabbled in cryptocurrency. But An admits that she spends her free time watching videos about business and investing (as well as cooking, her hobby) so that she can learn more and invest in new areas.

And her tips for those thinking about investing? “Start small, start simple. Start with not a lot of money, the kind of money that you would not lose your sleep over even if you lose it. Start with the asset class that you have the most understanding about,” she says.

But her biggest tip is to keep reading about investing: “Spend time learning and understanding about the investing world as much as possible. The more one understands about it, the more confident they will be in their investment journey.”

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The value of your investments can go down as well as up and you may get back less than you originally invested. These articles are for information purposes only and are not a personal recommendation or advice. AJ Bell doesn't offer advice, so its important you understand the risks. If you're not sure, please speak to a financial adviser.