According to research from Close Brothers “Women fare worse than men across all areas of financial wellbeing.” [Source: The ft]
So, why is there such a disparity and how can we work towards creating a healthier financial future for ourselves?
On Tuesday 8th December, we brought together three brilliant women to discuss all things money. These women have dedicated their careers to educating people on topics of money, finance and how we can all strive for a healthier financial future.
- Clare Seal – Speaker, founder and author of My Frugal Year and The Money Planner
- Davinia Tomlinson – Founder of Rain Chq
- Emilie Bellet – Founder of Vestpod and the author of You’re Not Broke, You’re Pre-rich
We had a candid discussion including:
- Money and mental health
- Gender equality
- Credit rating and how to improve yours
- Financial planning and future proofing
- Buidling wealth and investing
- Money mindset
- Top money tips and resources
We sent out a survey to all attendees before the event and shared the results throughout the conversation. Survey results revealed that almost 60% of the women were in saving mode, followed by 30% paying off debt and 20% were looking to invest.
When we asked what their main challenges were around money 60% of the women said knowing your worth, followed by earning and then saving.
When we asked about your money aspirations over 60% said achieve financial wellbeing, 50% said they wanted to have a better relationship with money followed by wanting to invest, save, buy a house, be debt free and set up a pension.
Here’s a snapshot of the conversation including some key takeaways from our panelists.
Clare – How do you feel our relationship with money impacts our mental health and wellbeing? (or perhaps it’s the other way round?)
Having plans and rituals and factoring finance into our selfcare has a positive effect on our wellbeing, ask yourself why do I reach for spending when something is wrong? What is it about buying things for other people that is to do with my feelings of self worth? When you understand why you have certain money habits you can then take conscious steps to changing them.
Emilie – What do you think are the main challenges we (as women) face when it comes to money?
There’s a huge gender pay gap, policies affect women more than men, we take on more of the caring responsibilities and we take career breaks. Women are also paid less and so need to negotiate, we must assert ourselves. When we do, we’re called “greedy” or “bossy”. We need to protect ourselves and our financial future so it’s really important we have things like a pension and investments that will grow over time. Also, having clear financial goals and knowing where you want to go.
Davinia – Why do you think gender inequality is found in all areas of money?
There are structural and institutional challenges when it comes to the gender pay gap, it’s not just embedded in salary but in bonuses too. As women we can sometimes hold ourselves back, not wanting to be seen to be money grabbing so lots of those old fashioned stereotypes still exists when it comes to us having a seat at the table.
There is of course the motherhood penalty when taking time out to start a family, the reality is it leaves a hole in pension provision. It’s not just the money you save yourself but the compound interest you make from your pension contributions.
And then when you look at the ethnicity pay gap it shows that there is a gap-chasm between white women and black women and there’s almost a sliding scale when you look at different ethnicities. The average white NHS female doctor earn 7% more than the average female black doctor, and there’s no reason why this should be the case.
The most important thing is that we control what we can control and so having conversations like this and making sure we have things like a pension set up means we are able to benefit from things like compound interest and the extra support we all have access to from HMRC.
Clare – When it comes to debt, what advice would you give to those who are struggling to get out of it? And how can they improve their credit rating?
It’s so important to be realistic about your goals and to separate your debt from your feelings of self worth. I don’t say ‘I’m in debt’ anymore, I say ‘I have debt’. You don’t say ‘I’m in a mortgage’ you say ‘I have a mortgage’. There are great charities such as stepchange who can support you if you’re trying to get out of debt.
- Ask your bank if they can drop your interest rate if it’s high
- Talk to your card provider/bank, explain your situation to them
- Reduce the amount of time it will take to pay it off
- Try to pay off when you can so your debt so it’s lower
- Make sure you’re on the electoral roll
Davinia – What does a financial advisor do and how do we know if we need one? How do women start planning?
It’s intimate and personal to discuss your money situation with someone, so you need to find someone who has that compassion and warmth you need, so that you can feel comfortable when you’re putting yourself in what can be a vulnerable situation. Financial advisors have the credentials and insurance to be able to advise you so that if you are advised wrongly and something goes wrong, you are protected. If you need practical advice on how to invest or are ready to make some big purchases then you may find you need some professional advice to support you making the correct decisions. Anything around trusts or how to invest tax efficiently could also be a good time to consider working with a financial advisor.
When it comes to financial planning there are number of ways you can do this but the way I usually suggest is to use the SMART framework.
Making sure you have goals that are….
Emilie – When it comes to mindset, how can we start to have a more positive relationship with money?
80% of money management is mindset so it’s really important you are talking about it, understanding how you feel about it, knowing what money beliefs you have from your family and upbringing through to the vocabulary you use and your attitude towards it. Also knowing how to forgive yourself for any money mistakes you have made in the past.
A great book is Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol S. Dweck
About your author
Lara Sheldrake is a business mentor, consultant and Founder at Found & Flourish. Lara writes and speaks on the topics of entrepreneurship, motherhood and social media for business. She also hosts the Bossing It podcast, aimed at empowering the next generation of womxn entrepreneurs in the UK. Send Lara an email. You can also find her on Instagram @Lara_Sheldrake or Twitter @Lara_Sheldrake.
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