Our annual get-your-finances-into-order event with our two brilliant and knowledgeable speakers Claer Barratt
, the FT’s award-winning personal finance editor, and Emilie Bellet, founder of Vestpod
, an exciting start-up designed to help women get smart about money.
They covered everything we needed advice on – mortgages, savings, work pensions, Brexit fears… how to financially empower ourselves for 2019.
We were also delighted to be hosted by Wealthsimple, an online investment manager
Disclaimer: the following is for your information only and is not formal financial advice; we can not accept any liability for any loss or damage incurred from you acting or not acting as a result of this information.
Why financial planning is so important
- Women have 35% less saved for retirement – the wealth gap is even starker than the wage gap. But when we do save and invest we are better at it.
- It’s not about money, it’s about the life you want to have. The global economic slowdown means that we have three options – work for longer, expect a less comfortable retirement or start saving!
What to prioritise
- Pay off credit card or any expensive debt first
- Then ensure you have short term savings – an emergency fund of 3-6 months savings in case you need it. Nationwide, TSB and Tesco all have current accounts at 5%.
- Then invest in your future:
- Pensions are a great way of saving because you pay no tax on the money going in and you can pay in up to £40K a year. Plus your company will often match the money you pay in so this is essentially ‘free money’. Find out what your pension terms are and pay in the maximum possible. Also look to combine pensions (if you have more than one) in to one place.
- ISAs are another tax-free way of saving. You can pay up to £20K a year into an ISA. There are a range of ISA products: cash ISAs (not great in the current climate); stocks and shares ISAs (there are now plenty of DIY platforms to be found online), a lifetime ISA (you can pay up to £4K in a year and you’ll earn 25% back, but be careful of the conditions), or a junior ISA (one for the parents among you to consider). If your partner earns less than you, you can pay into their ISA to make use of their full allowance.
- Overpay your mortgage to reduce debt and so get your monthly payments down. Be careful of fees on this and of other conditions on mortgages; do your research carefully.
Rules for smart investing
- Start early – remember the 8th wonder of the world, compound interest! Get into the habit of dripping even just a small amount into your savings each week.
- Keep costs low – high fees make a big difference over time.
- Don’t pick stocks – single stocks are bumpy, versus the market as a whole
- Diversify – don’t put all your eggs in one basket, buy into a balanced fund and consider foreign markets
- Drown out the noise (and avoid downloading apps to check all the time!) – markets will go up and down, but its the long term that matters
And finally, some general points to consider
- Pay yourself first – setup direct debits at the start of the month
- Check out www.moneysavingexpert.com for helpful advice on all of the above
- Sign up to the Vestpod newsletter and the FT Money Show podcast to keep yourself informed
- Wealthsimple is offering BroadMinded members no fees on the first £10,000 they invest with Wealthsimple, for up to one year, if you are interested in kick-starting your savings in 2019 (sign up here). If you’re not ready to get started just yet you can also book a call with one of their advisers who can answer any questions you may have on investing.
- Maybe consider moving abroad for a bit to avoid all the Brexit mess!
We hosted our inaugural BroadMinded Paris event this month. We enjoyed hearing the various stories for our new Parisian members. For all the different sectors and industries in the room there were certain common themes that emerged. Yes, it’s an extraordinary time to be a woman in 2018, but nonetheless everyone is grappling with trying to balance their job, friendships, family and personal life, with not quite enough time to go around.
Our speaker for the evening was the fantastic Françoise Holder, who led the discussion and told her inspiring story with honesty and humour. From her refusal to stay at home like a Jewish Princess after getting married, to her own 1968 revolution she spent “pregnant, working in a bakery,” Françoise has always had the tenacity to go against expectations and follow her own path.
Here are some of the things we learned from her speech:
Momentum is important: get on the train that presents itself. For Françoise and her husband, it was the arrival of shopping centres in France, which allowed Paul to widen its distribution
It’s fine and necessary to fail; just make sure you don’t make the same mistake twice
It’s very important to have happiness at work; there is nothing than worse than waking up in the morning dreading going to work
Balance doesn’t exist: the life of a woman is a mille-feuille where love, family, friendships and work are intertwined
In a family-run business, try to bring in people from outside
Role-models are important but anti-role models also play a part; often your decisions are a reaction to what others around you have done
There is no unique model for doing things: find your equilibrium. For example entrepreneurship is not a panacea, and isn’t for everyone
If you have a good idea, money is not a problem because banks will lend to you. However they don’t want to lend to an idea that has no future
Find your target/mission and focus on it: for Force Femmes it was helping to get women over 45 years old back into work
And finally: rien ne résiste à la ténacité
We were thrilled to host an evening with Alexandra Shulman at Allbright this week. We’ve heard from some great women in our time, but can’t think of a more frank and enlightening interview. It is so refreshing to hear such straight up and sensible advice from someone who broke so many boundaries, all delivered with a good dollop of British humour and self-deprecation.
Here are the key takeaways. Too much to cover so we have focused on Alexandra’s main insights and tips we can all carry forward with us. Get on with it, don’t overthink it and enjoy life – we think that’s a pretty good mantra for all of us!
… on Ambition
- Try not to spend time dwelling on things like imposter syndrome. It doesn’t help. 25 years ago it was paid much less attention to; it wasn’t even a term
- If you’re given a big job, don’t doubt yourself. If you’ve been given the job, you must be qualified for the job.
- If you’re the boss, you can’t always see your colleagues as friends. You have to remove yourself from that office comradery.
- Nobody’s immune from the concerns about ambition vs. happiness at home! There will be peaks and troughs, but if Alexandra’s example is something to go by, it worked out pretty well…
… on 24 hour work culture
- Find workplaces, or create workplaces if you can, that don’t encourage a 24 hour work culture. Often there is less value in an immediate late night response to an email than one that’s been thought about and prepared properly.
- Alexandra thinks 4 day weeks are totally viable. During her Vogue tenure she negotiated half-day Fridays in the summer months.
…. On Women
- Women today are much more go-getting and professional than 25 years ago. Generally they have more confidence, are better prepared and know what they want. Although interviewing women who ask ‘what can you do for me?’ is still taking it a little far!
- Women have / had a tendency to get more frazzled than men, probably because they were juggling so much more. Try not to micro-analyse everything
- Delegate. It doesn’t come a naturally to women; sometimes you delegate and worry ‘am I delegating just because I’m lazy?’. Realise that probably at times, that is the case. But that’s ok!
…. on Career & Motherhood
- Compartmentalise if you can.
- Different models work for different people at different stages. 25 years ago 16 weeks maternity leave was considered a long time!
- There’s no good reason that any woman should return to maternity leave and find herself demoted. But of course, it’s a very hard situation to manage as a boss. A lot can change over a year.
- Don’t berate yourself if going back to work feels like heaven.
- Make the most of having two separate lives – immerse yourself in work and then immerse yourself in your home life once you leave the office.
…. on Planning for the future
- The best things that happened in Alexandra’s career were by accident. The Vogue opportunity came up because 3 other people turned it down. Of course she was very skilled and capable, but being in the right place at the right time is a big factor. Don’t panic if you think your career path isn’t on a straight upwards trajectory.
- Pay attention to your juniors. One day they won’t be so junior anymore!
…And a few recommendations
- A beautiful book on what clothes means to women is Women in Clothes by Sheila Heti: http://www.sheilaheti.com/women-in-clothes
- Check out John Lewis’ new instore collection. Some great new brands and finds (we already have… it’s great!)
25th May, The Family
The demand for this event was incredible; we hear you that negotiation is an area we all need to improve on. We’re in no doubt it was the strength of Sue William’s experience that was the real pull for the evening: Sue Williams has been a Hostage Negotiator since 1991, working with both Scotland Yard and the FBI. In 2003, she became the first female to lead Scotland Yard’s Hostage Negotiation Unit. In the same year, she was awarded the Queen’s Police Medal for her contribution to the fields of kidnap negotiation and the saving of lives.
Sue skilfully translated her experience into practical advice for negotiating in our own lives, and here are the 15 key takeaways:
- Change what you can control and influence what you can’t.
- Don’t go into negotiation like it’s a battle. There is no right or wrong. Arrive as blank slate, put your preconceptions to one side and leave your ego at the door.
- The more clearly you understand the other party, the more options you will have. Ask open questions and learn as much as you can.
- Understand your opposition’s motivation. Your reality is not their reality. Put yourself in their shoes and understand their reality.
- Above all, listen. More specifically, actively listen. Look up Active Listening Skills online to learn more.
- The person listening is in control, as they are absorbing knowledge, analysing and planning what to say/do next.
- Empathise, don’t sympathise. Never say the words ‘I understand’ unless you have been through it yourself.
- Develop a rapport. It is important to be liked, and people tend to do more for people if they like them.
- Watch out for your body language. It gives you away, and you need to present yourself as physically open.
- Always try to drop in someone’s first name. People have been called it since birth and are programmed to respond to it.
- You cannot get to yes without how. Always treat negotiation as a process not a one-off event.
- Be prepared. Predict the dialogue, have responses prepared and be ready for the questions you know they will ask.
- Anticipate compromise. Have your second level offer ready to bring out if needed.
- A team approach can be good. If so, one person can be developing the relationship whilst the other is active listening.
- Sometime using an intermediary is useful. Do you know someone who make the relationship more easily and can support?
As Sue said, negotiation is about going into someone’s mind without leaving an entrance wound. It’s advice that will definitely stay with us, along with her recommendation to get another (non British) passport if you can.
Advice for negotiation and tips on how not to get kidnapped – we aim for diversity of thought and topics at BroadMinded, and we think we got just that on with this event!
How to make the step from ‘doer’ to leader – positioning yourself for success
1. Build your confidence. This has been shown to have a profound impact on achievement so we need to work on it. Build personal and professional support around you, make sure you take care of your physical and mental health, and keep reminding yourself how great you are!
2. Recognize and value your capabilities. Know your strengths and skills and build on these; if there are gaps in your knowledge go out and teach yourself what you need (there’s a YouTube video for pretty much everything).
3. Invest time in your contacts
. Take building your network seriously; this is an essential business tool:
– Get a sponsor
(read the Sponsorship Effect report
if you need proof of how important this is).
Identify who your sponsor will be, then spend three months becoming known to everyone around them, then approach them. This will become an invaluable relationship in your life.
– Networking is not about who you know, but who knows you. At every event you attend, decide the three people you want to connect with and make them your target for the evening. It’s about quality of connection rather than quantity.
– Always listen to hear – not to respond.
– And follow up the next day.
4. You are the catalyst for change in your own life; take responsibility and ownership of your career and your career choices and never feel guilty for the choices you’ve made.
5. Finally, remember to lift as you climb. Accept you are a role model and share responsibility for helping those around you. If you don’t stand up for yourself and ask for that pay rise, for example, then the women two rungs below you won’t have a hope. You are responsible for changing corporate culture for yourself and for the women that follow you.
WeWork Paddington, London. January 10th 2017
We realised this year that we’re not the only ones scrambling to work out what we’re supposed to have done with our ISA allowance and our upcoming tax filing, and for the 10th year in a row declaring ‘managing my finances better!’ as our new years resolution. So we re-hosted our fantastic speakers from last year for round 2, Claer Barrett from the FT and Emilie Bellet the founder of Vestpod, an exciting start up designed to help women get smart about money, to help us think about our finances for 2018.
Our top 10 lessons:
- Women are statistically not as good at managing their finances as men, but changing this bias will be increasingly important – by 2028 women will inherit two thirds of the world’s wealth
- “Expenditure rises to meet income” – be warned! Commit to putting time aside to manage this on a regular basis, looking at this once a year isn’t sufficient.
- A good rule of thumb is to spend 50% of your salary on fixed expenses, invest 20% of it, and leave 30% for additional spending (the fun stuff). Look at new challenger banks such as Monzo who provide a brilliant interface to show you how you’re spending your money
- Save! Even if it’s small, the benefits of compound investment will start to benefit you. Look at investment or Lifetime ISAs. Women are over invested in cash ISAs which offer very low returns
- Additional income can be put to overpaying your mortgage to reduce future mortgage repayments (although in this interest environment that may not be the best use of cash), or go and talk to your HR teams about over investing in your pension – a highly tax efficient way of saving for your future.
- Ask for pay rises – while women ask just as much, we don’t have as much confidence we’ll get it. Don’t expect to be recognised and paid more by osmosis, you need to regularly communicate the value you add to your company. Don’t just wait until your pay review to do this.
- Passive investment funds are more often a better investment than active investment funds.
- If you want to invest in individual shares, make sure it’s money you can afford to lose. It is a gamble.
- If you need to manage down credit card debt, move the debt to a zero interest credit card. Divide the balance by the number of zero-interest months offered, and set up a direct debit to pay this much each month. Then cut up the credit card until you’ve paid it off.
- Pension or mortgage – ideally both. You shouldn’t look to sacrifice one for another
And don’t worry. We’ll be back again next year if you don’t manage to meet all your goals!
South Kensington Club, London. November 15th, 2017
We’d seen Herminia Ibarra speak before, so knew she was going to be an inspiration for the BroadMinded audience. Herminia’s presentation and discussion were very thought-provoking for ourselves as we look at our own careers. Making the transition to leadership is a challenge for everyone, but with the many added headwinds of being a woman at work, we sometimes need help in thinking how to get to positions of leadership, and how to be successful in both the process and on arrival. Plenty of food for thought from the evening, but as always we’ve pulled together our main takeaways for you all
- ‘What got you here, won’t get you there’ – the conversation stops being just about whether you have the technical skills, but about whether you can use your skills and experience to enact change
- Content is important, but equally so is the way you deliver it. Some of the most successful leaders and speakers are those that can make an audience laugh and engage with the content, not just deliver the facts
- Do the thing that makes you feel uncomfortable. Don’t keep staying up all night, learning every detail, hoping that by working hard your colleagues or bosses will notice. By doing the same thing, you’ll continue to get the same response
- The often-taught self-reflection model of ‘think, then do’ isn’t always right. Sometimes start with the do – test new things, try something different, and learn from the response and success of each. Occasionally feeling deeply uncomfortable in the process is not necessarily a bad thing
- Leadership almost always requires taking risks in yourself, as well as in your role
- Signal an interest in leadership in your company, don’t just assume your bosses know that’s where you want to go
Notes from Herminia’s recently published book ‘How to Act like a Leader, Think like a Leader’
- Redefine your job
- The biggest tool to reinvent yourself, to exploit what you do well and explore new things
- Avoid competency traps (concentrating on tasks and work that you’ve become highly experienced and skilled in, that won’t get you to the job you want). To avoid this, position your job in a way that connects your team and work with other teams in and/or out of your organization. Become an ‘importer / exporter’
- Extend your network
- A good network is critical for effectiveness
- Fight against your tribal tendency to network with people like you. You need diversity in your network. And fight the feeling that networking is a ‘dirty’ activity!
- Network up, network down, network across. The value of a network can come from various places and levels.
- Be more playful with your sense of self
- It’s who you are as a person and character that inspires others
- Being ‘authentic’ can trap you into never getting out of your comfort zone. There may be a conflict between ‘being myself’ and doing what I need to do to get ahead
- Learn to be inconsistent at times in order to learn. Who and what you’ve been in your career to date may be different from who you’ll be in the future, and as a leader.
- Act your way into a new way of thinking, rather than think your way into a new way of acting