We talk about family, work, relationships. Why don't we confide in our friends about money? Earning wealth is still a taboo topic for many women. We speak to You're In Good Company about getting comfortable with the money conversation.
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I was raised by a single mother, and a very prudent Pop. Money has always been incurred through hard work, sacrifice and late hours. There were Christmasses spent apart as Mum scooped up hospital shifts, and a lot of my earliest memories of money were conservative ones. Pop gave me a 50 cent piece every time I left his home on the weekends, and I stashed them away diligently into a literal pink piggy bank.
I never ever went without, but seeing how tirelessly mum worked to give us the best has instilled such an unwavering ethos of determination in me. It’s no surprise that nowadays, I deeply admire women who work hard, stand for something and support themselves.
As I grew up, and remained steadfastly hellbent on a career in the written word, it’s fair to say I originally chose joy over remuneration. Yet I’ve surprised myself. My mother now likes to tell me I have “a license to print money” as a copywriter. I’ve honed my craft and casted a wide net over freelance clients and editorial commitments, but it was preceded by zillions of unpaid hours in internships and undersold work.
Strangely, I’ve fostered some spending habits in my 20’s that rebel against those of my mother’s. I’m frivolous, extravagant and impulsive. When I had the autonomy to earn and spend my own income, the floodgates opened.
My confidence in asking for money and acknowledging my worth has grown significantly in the last year, but it’s something I’ve felt inexplicably awkward about since setting rates and writing invoices. Now, I look up to women who are financially literate and empowered.
I’ve so often pinned my financial woes and tax mishaps on a lack of a leading male figure in my life, deeming it a ‘man’s area of expertise’ and picturing a blue collar bloke being the pinnacle of monetary literacy.
But it seems a tectonic shift is happening in the distribution of financial knowledge, with a bevy of female-led Australian podcasts and authors leading the charge in open, honest and unfiltered conversations about the bottom line.
There’s the rise of cryptocurrency and talk about shares and after work drinks catchups being punctuated by the occasional, “ooh! My (insert currency name) coin has gone up!”.
Some girlfriends are candid about money chats, whereas others are more private.
It’s something I’m secretly desperate to talk more about — how do you sort your income streams, how many accounts do you have set up, and what do you allocate for spending and saving each week? What did you earn in the last financial year? How much HECS debt do you have to pay off and how are you chipping away at it?
They’re the burning questions we’re all wondering but feel exorbitantly nosy to ask.
Discussing money has always been deemed ‘rude’, but what if it’s the answer to grappling with greater financial literacy for women?
While we so often discuss the granular details of our personal sex and work lives, our money matters stay tightly sealed behind mental paywalls of uncertainty and stigmatisation.
Two women unabashedly broadcasting dollar discourse are Maddy and Sophie, the duo behind You’re in Good Company podcast. They exist to tear down the proverbial wall that has so long been put up between women and dialogue around money.
Pondering the thought of knowledge imbalance between men and women when it comes to the stuff that makes the world go ‘round, I caught up with the twosome to raise the issue.
“Believe us when we say, women have a savings problem. But not in the way you may think. The way that the majority of us are building financial security and wellbeing is all wrong. How many times have you been told that if you want more money, you need to cut back, budget, blah, blah? Just say no to the night out or the smashed avocado.
"Sound familiar? Well, the research says so. The thing is, women are taught that the road to financial empowerment is learning to budget, while men are taught to invest. And the stats say that the main way in which women set aside money for the future is through a savings account”.
“Finance has traditionally been a male-dominated industry, and it still is today. The thing is, if you reflect on the conversations that you have around the dinner table or at the pub with your mates, a lot of these can be influenced by your work and your experience. So, if we have generations where women are under-represented in the finance industry, then it’s only natural that a lot of us are going to feel less than comfortable having conversations about money.
"Unfortunately, investing is often presented in the media in a way that seems confusing and intimidating. There are numbers and graphs in the newspaper or on your morning TV, as well as endless jargon. It can seem like a whole new language, and this creates a vicious cycle that perpetuates wealth inequality”.
“For females in particular, solely storing cash in your bank just isn't going to cut it. That's because we face greater disparities throughout our lifetime that put us behind the eight ball in terms of money and wealth accumulation. There's the gender pay gap and time out of the workforce to have kids and care for family members. And if that wasn't enough, all of these things mean that women are retiring with 47% less super on average”.
+ Just like you apply your skincare every night, add investing to your routine. Put away a portion of your paycheck into a well-diversified portfolio (honestly, even if you just start with $100 a month).
+ Start with a small amount, and slowly get familiar with how to use your trading platform and become comfortable with market movements.
+ Do your research – this doesn’t need to be huge amounts or overly time consuming!! A google search a day will get you on your way.
+ Join or start a group with friends where you dedicate a morning coffee or an evening wine to chat about investing – make it as normal as a book club.
+ And whilst we’re talking about books, read a book about investing! Choose any book that takes your fancy. There are so many good ones out there and reading through it will really help you understand the why.
+ Listen to You’re in Good Company and join our community, where we break down the big topics in a digestible way and are here to help guide you on your journey.
We would really want to emphasise however that your choice of broker comes down to personal preferences. Some things to consider can include:
+ User experience
+ Brokerage fees
+ Access to different markets
+ If you're still unsure, you should consult a financial advisor.
“When it comes to splitting up your money, the greatest thing about investing today is that you don't need a lot of money to start. Gone are the days of having to pay hefty fees with high minimum trading amounts.
"Now you can dip your toe in the water and get started with as little as $100, so unfortunately no magic ratio, more just trial and error until you work out what's best for you and your routine”.
Advice is one thing, but hemorrhaging real-deal numbers, figures and savings practices is another.
I’ve asked four anonymous creatives in the Australian media and design industry to share their money confessions with youtime for a broader glimpse at what speaking openly about money can look like.
The sort of questions below are rarely asked, but the answers are astounding.
These four profiles cast completely different women, with diverse backgrounds and varied approaches to saving and spending.
Everyone has something they’d like to improve on, and all of them give great insight to what the modern creative is capable of.
Imagine if we spoke about this more and more often, openly sharing and lending advice to our friends and networks on how to feel more confident with money?
Perhaps proactively educating ourselves is the greatest investment we can make...
Approximately four; my full-time writing job, plus freelance work as a writer and a content creator, and then income from my podcast
A massive saver, a stingy spender. Growing up in a deficient mindset, while also being responsible for the financial security of others in my life, has made money something that I feel the need to hoard.
My monthly income varies a lot because of different freelance jobs, but it’s typically around $8-15k.
Bills are necessities that get paid straight away. I use automated transfer systems so I don’t need to really touch it. I like to have about $500 (I love round numbers!) in my everyday spending account, so anything above that goes straight to savings.
Definitely investing. I started small and experimented with high interest accounts and now I feel ready to learn more about stocks and investments (I’ve recently downloaded Commsec which I put off for about three years).
As mentioned, it’s been something I’ve been wanting to do for ages but it’s also super intimidating. It’s essentially gambling to some extent, and for someone without much financial literacy in the matter, I’m very hesitant to jump right in, especially because I prefer a more hands-off approach.
I’m teaching myself mostly, but information is trickling through from conversations with friends, and the occasional dabble in finance podcasts and articles.
One, but sometimes two. I’m employed full-time and occasionally take on freelance projects in my spare time. This year I’ve put freelancing on hold to complete my Masters.
Erratic. I have good intentions, but find myself falling victim to frequent “spending moods”.
I’m organised, but discipline is not my strongest asset. Money is often bounced between my spending and savings account without a second thought.
$4200 monthly, after tax.
I’m a visual person. I need to see my money split into categories so I know how much I can (or can’t) splurge each week. So, as soon as I’m paid, I’ll put my rent into a dedicated account, pop away my weekly savings, and the rest floats in my everyday spending account - for everyday life. I’ve recently created another account for “treats” which is where I send any leftover money at the end of the week… it often sits at $0
Budgeting! I want to get a little more serious with my savings and budgeting is the only way I’ll be able to achieve my long-term financial goals.
Shares scare me - I don’t understand them. But I did give my partner $50 to put into crypto for the THRILL.
I actually don’t think I’ve ever been taught about money, not properly. When it comes to tax, loans, or budgeting...I’m lost. Please send help.
Just the one, my full time job as a wedding photographer
Healthy. I'm half way between spender and saver. I don't live beyond my means but I treat myself every now and then. Most of the money I make I save.
My last financial year income was $135K
Once I've paid my rent/bills I allow myself $500 a week. Everything else goes into my savings account which I hardly need to touch.
Learning about investments (other than property). I'd really love to begin putting a small portion of my savings each month into shares.
Crypto: no, and I’m not really interested in the idea. I feel like it's got a weird reputation and hasn't been around long enough for me personally. Shares: not yet, but I'm very open to the idea. I just need a proper introduction and a bit more education on how to get started.
My mum, she raised my sisters and I on her own and money was always tight. We learnt the value of money from a very young age. Also podcasts! My Millennial Money & She's on the Money.
Around 5 — Consulting, influencer work, writing, social media management, affiliates
I’m a pretty impulsive person so if I want something, I get it. Since my income has increased I’m certainly getting good at saving, too. I love looking at the money sitting there. I think we get sold this lie that anyone can save but honestly the best thing for me, to get me saving, is making a lot of money.
Before tax at the moment, it’s 25-30k per month.
When an invoice is paid, I put the GST away and then I put 50% of the remainder away for tax. From there, I pay my rent and bills, I put $1500 in the house savings per month, then I do what I want. A lot of my money is invested back into my business, for research and equipment. I also have an automated direct debit for investment, it’s not much money but I barely notice it coming out and I’m really proud of it because I’ve never seen myself as “good with money”.
Keeping receipts, I think I miss out on a lot at tax time because I find it so hard to get organised with receipts and what I can claim.
Yeah, so I have this thing called Spaceship which invests in shares for me, and that’s my direct debit. I like it because I don’t have to think about it and I’ve made more in returns this year on $1k investment than I’ve made in interest on the $40k I have saved in a regular bank for the house.
My fiancé! We’ve been together 8 years and he set up the investment and savings accounts for me. It’s given me a lot more confidence to run my own finances and my business.