N26 chats with trading expert Nazila Jafari
We sat down with the CEO of Jafari Consulting GmbH to learn about her investing expertise, career path, and the future for women investors.
11 min read
For many women, the first step to financial independence is figuring out how to build their wealth. But how do you actually begin—and what should women know before they start investing? To answer all this and more, we sat down with trading expert Nazila Jafari, the CEO of Jafari Consulting GmbH. In this conversation, she offers tons of helpful tips for investing beginners, as well as an insightful look into her own career as an investor and investing coach. Our interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.
You have over 25 years of success in this industry. How long did it take you to get your feet wet in the stock market?
Over the course of my career, I’ve had the privilege of working as a consultant for a wide range of banks, institutions, and private investors with substantial capital. In the system I developed, I’ve found success by recognizing the crisis periods in 2000, 2008, 2020, and 2022 and making the most of the opportunities they offer. Now, as the CEO of Jafari Consulting GmbH, I coach private and institutional investors on how to make profitable trades on the stock market—and how to get consistent returns on their investments.
The way I see it, my success on the stock market is thanks to my two interests and passions. First: as a child, I loved playing with numbers, even though I found traditional math quite boring. I could easily remember combinations of numbers and made mnemonic devices from them. I also played outside in nature a lot and was fascinated by reproducible patterns. In the end it was my grandfather who took me by the hand and showed me where the numbers worked best together. He was also the one who introduced me to the world of the stock market.
Two to three times per day, I was allowed to call and inquire about the price of gold or dollars. At the end of the day, I took these numbers and connected them with a line to make my own valuation chart. At the end of the week, I would build a chart out of the average of the daily rates, and at the end of the month, I’d create one out of both the daily and weekly rates. This is how I learned early how to read stock charts and to spot trends within them. The interesting thing was that I kept noticing how certain patterns were often repeated. Some of these looked quite different in the middle, but they ended up with the same result.
This method of writing down the numbers wasn’t just important for your success as an investor—it’s also brought you quite far as a founder. What was the other passion that impacted your career path?
My other passion was—and still is—motorsports and rally driving. I often went to scout out driving routes with my father and would meticulously calculate—sometimes for hours—how fast and with what level of risk I could drive in order to get to the finish line first. Memorizing the routes in terms of numbers helped me act less emotionally. That’s how I learned to proceed systematically with investing—to build more trust and allow fewer emotions to get in the way.
Both of my passions and hobbies taught me that I will reach my goal more quickly—and, more importantly, more safely—if I can spot the trend and then stick to a strict set of rules and reproducible patterns. This is particularly important with stocks because trends aren’t only oriented upward. However, if you’re investing with the trend, you’ll see gains in the short and medium term. The important thing is to stick with them, provided the conditions haven’t changed.
Later on, when I got access to stock charting software, I spent well over ten thousand hours with stock charts. This is how I managed to build an easy-to-use system and set of rules out of complicated market behavior—which moves mathematically and visually—using a series of numbers and repeatable patterns. In this way, I can teach people to recognize trends early, invest, and accelerate with low risk. From the early to mid-90s, I did a lot of stock and option trading. After that, I discovered the DAX and was the first woman to trade in Futures.
Do you feel that it’s harder for women to start investing than men—perhaps because investing is coupled with other systemic issues?
In the German-speaking world, it’s been almost exclusively men in this sphere, and there were nearly no women experts. This meant that, in earlier days, it was very difficult to insert myself into the “male domain”—even if their methods weren’t particularly successful.
In order to avoid prejudice when publishing my analyses, I decided at the end of the ‘90s to use the nickname “Euroinvest” and publish anonymously on the internet. I had over 10,000 followers, but at first most of them didn’t know I was a woman. Luckily, the times have changed completely.
What are some mistakes that both men and women should avoid? Did some things happen to you in your early days that you’d like to share with readers?
Well, I didn’t make just a few mistakes—I made a lot. Among others, my greatest mistake is still to start trading without a plan. Not planning well is generally something to avoid in order to mitigate stress and losses—not only with investing and the stock market.
With a trading plan, you need to define whether you’re looking for a short-term trade or a middle- to long-term investment. The strategies here are very different, and you need to think about this and have a clear plan before you get started. Not after!
I often hear of people who invest based on a tip. That’s all well and good, but if things start going in the wrong direction, many feel compelled to buy more to make their investment cheaper. Overall, this strategy will fail if the initial analysis wasn’t clear. If you don’t have the basic knowledge nor a clear assessment of your expected risks and opportunities at the time of investment, or suitable money-management skills, your investment will fail.
Do you have any tips for women who want to get started trading?
Here’s an old example I often use: when you want to get from Frankfurt to Munich, you first need to know the way. It doesn’t make any sense to leave Frankfurt and head toward Hamburg, only to realise once you’ve arrived that you’ve gone the wrong way.
Sometimes it makes more sense to wait for the next train, rather than just boarding the next one right away and hoping it works out. This way, it costs more time, money, and energy to reach your destination.
In my opinion, it’s important to recognise the right path and to assess objectively how likely it is that the market will move in this direction. In addition, you need to be able to figure out where the maximum risk lies before you begin to trade.
The second most important point for me is documentation. That’s why a trading investment journal is important. In German, we say “Wer schreibt, der bleibt” (Those who write, stay). Here, it’s very important to write down your learnings and repeat them. Intuition is very helpful in many situations—and can even be helpful on the stock market. But, you also need to be able to make rational decisions when trading. Systematic, step-by-step learning and documenting successes supports intuitive trading. That’s something that women do especially well. I always think of the motto: “Learn it right once, memorise it, and then go in and improvise!”
Lastly, it’s really important to have the right tools at your disposal. For example, for daily trading, you need different tools than for long-term investing. This is something that you should prepare for in advance.
Why do you think that, until now, more men have invested than women?
I think a lot of women are unfairly intimidated—sometimes by themselves! In my experience, men tend to be more courageous than when it comes to investing, even with little to no knowledge. For example, it would never be sufficient to read a book about medicine and then become a surgeon. But that’s how many men approach trading—they read a book or take a weekend webinar, a seminar, or go to a conference, and start to test out what they’ve “learned.” Often, however, it doesn’t go well, and they either give up or keep doing what they were doing before. But in the end, leading with your ego will really bring nothing but losses.
Conversely, successful women investors don’t leave their success and their money to chance. They take what they’ve learned and practice it before beginning to trade. They don’t need to show off, and spend their time on practical things. I know so many women from my courses who had previously taken other programs, but when the results weren’t convincing, they chose to not continue. But they never gave up, and kept on learning. This is much more courageous than simply quitting, though it can take more time. Women tend to avoid “trial and error” moments—both with their money and in general.
From the outside, it may look like women aren’t super engaged simply because you don’t see them investing as often. Furthermore, women might believe that men are more competent when it comes to investing, and therefore leave all the investment decisions up to them. l think this is a big mistake.
We strongly believe that more women should take their finances into their own hands. What do you think needs to change for this to happen?
I think that many women don’t realise how much fun this can be—especially when they start having some success. I know that many women are put off by the idea of investing, or find it to be too complicated to get started. I mean, of course, the finance industry is complicated, just like any other industry, but with clear focus you can easily take steps to learn more about it.
For example, to develop and put together an iPhone that works well certainly wasn’t easy. But for a user, it’s easy to operate. From my experience, it’s really about learning the fundamentals and then taking baby steps to train and apply them with success. That’s how you build trust in yourself and start wanting to do more!
No matter the industry, the most successful women—in my opinion—are so strong because they follow their own path. They’re not blinded by obstacles, nor are they deterred by the success of others. They continuously work on themselves to acquire more knowledge, and they work patiently until they achieve the desired result.
The fact is: women are better investors. When they know the fundamentals, they’re unstoppable. As I see it, they have more patience, tend not to panic, and make trades based on their learnings and their own concept of success. When women invest a bit of time in educating themselves, they can become exceptionally strong investors.
If you could give women one finance tip, what would it be?
The profit is in the purchase. A successful trader always needs to buy as cheaply as possible in order to get the most stress-free profit. To do this, you need to focus on a specific fund (in the stock market, it’s best to choose an index or a stock) and get acquainted with its price fluctuations. My first and most important finance tip is: learn to read charts and, in this way, build trust. If you do this, you’ll be able to spot the best entry and exit opportunities for maximal profit. We always regret the things we don’t do—so learn how the stock market functions and fluctuates.
What do you think (challenger) banks can do to better support women in becoming financially independent?
These days, there’s a lot of content online to explore, but it’s not always easy to decipher which advice will be successful. What I find more helpful is systematically structured, evidence-based content that conveys basic knowledge. Women should get the chance to participate in finance programs that are integrated in their day-to-day work or parental responsibilities. The finance industry tends to regulate in a way I view as incorrect. Instead of encouraging fundamental know-how, it restricts trading altogether. Given my vast experience, I see it as my responsibility to spread well-founded and, above all, correct information.
Shares, ETFs and funds referred to in the article are always subject to risks. Information provided in the article does not constitute any form of investment advice or recommendation to buy or sell securities or other financial instruments. All information provided is for educational and illustrative purposes only and represents exclusively the opinion of the author. None of this information constitutes a recommendation for a particular investment strategy. Should the readers adopt the offered contents as their own, make use of any information or follow any opinion referred to in the article, they act at their own risk.
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