Your Brilliant Career Podcast
The go-to resource for getting the most out of your career
This podcast provides an injection of energy and practical insights to women who are committed to their career. I share tactics, tools and stories that inspire capable women to think bigger and unapologetically achieve the success they deserve.
One of my early realisations was that there are many unwritten rules about career success that no one tells you. Smart women are tired of generic career tips. They want accessible, relevant and practical tips. Each episode includes content that inspires women to step up in their career and experience the energy and reward of being more.
Your Brilliant Career is a podcast that aims to help more women rise and reach new heights in their career.
I love women talking about money, wealth creation, finances – it all delights me because we don't talk about money enough!
On average, as a gender, we retire with half the super balance of men. Now that is not great if you have the misfortune of being divorced later in life. Now compound this, with the fact that statistically we are likely to live longer than men and we earn less.
My guest on this podcast is the beautiful and talented, Molly Benjamin. Molly is helping women in the most extraordinary way. She is educating them and changing lives – and there’s no judgement with her approach – you can have the most limited knowledge and Molly helps you make sense of it all. She is an author – we will talk about her book, Girls Just Wanna Have Funds and also a business owner of Ladies Finance Club. Let's dive in!
Links we talked about on the podcast include:
RISE Accelerate program: https://www.yourbrilliantcareer.com.au/rise-accelerate
RISE Elite program: https://www.yourbrilliantcareer.com.au/rise-elite
Ladies Finance Club: https://www.ladiesfinanceclub.com/
My free guide - How to say 'no' without compromising your reputation: https://www.yourbrilliantcareer.com.au/how-to-say-no
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Welcome to today’s podcast. I am so happy to have you here because today we are talking about money.
And I love women talking about money, wealth creation, finances – it all delights me.
I am a huge, huge fan of women understanding money and having financial independence. And let me tell you why.
On average, as a gender, we retire with half the super balance of men. Now that is not great if you have the misfortune of being divorced later in life. Now compound this, with the fact that statistically we are likely to live longer than men and we earn less.
But this is the part that really disrupts me - 41% of women find money decisions overwhelming and stressful. We know that when we are overwhelmed and stressed about anything in life – you’re less likely to take ownership. You tend to step away.
Now I imagine many women feel this way and don’t want to have ownership of money at the level they should – not because they’re not smart or earning good money – but because no one has explained it to them.
Women don’t talk about money enough. And I get this. My own personal experience was that I was terrible with money in my earlier career.
No-one explained it to me and I was detached for many years. I actually saw my husband as the numerical one and it was his gig to take care of the bills, our savings, investments. I wasn’t interested.
It took me until my thirties to realise that what I was doing was madness.
So, with all of that said – you can see why I am truly delighted to have the beautiful and talented Molly Benjamin on the show today.
Molly is helping women in the most extraordinary way. She is educating them and changing lives – and there’s no judgement with her approach – you can have the most limited knowledge and Molly helps you make sense of it all. She is also an author – we will talk about her book Girls Just Wanna Have Funds, and she runs a business called Ladies Finance Club.
It is probably also worth mentioning that she comes from a pretty special family.
Molly is the sister to Briony Benjamin who joined us on the podcast last season. Briony wrote the book, Life is Tough But So Are You, and she shared her very personal story about being diagnosed with cancer. It is a wonderful episode and I’m delighted to say that Briony has just celebrated her fifth year in remission. How good is that?
I often see them together, and they are the most gorgeous sisters. The way they support each other and lift each other up. It is a joy to observe.
So let’s dive, meet Molly and talk money.
This episode is brought to you by my signature programs – RISE Accelerate and RISE Elite.
RISE Elite is a coaching intensive program with a small cohort of senior women seeking 1:1 career support.
RISE Accelerate is a value-packed 90-day program with live group sessions every fortnight. It’s high impact at a very affordable price.
The doors are about to open… so if you’re interested, go to Go to yourbrilliantcareer.com.au and get on the waiting list. I would love to see you there.
Gillian Fox: Molly, welcome to the podcast. It is such a pleasure to have you here today.
Molly: Oh, it is great to be here with you, Gillian.
Gillian Fox: And congratulations on your book, Girls Just Want to Have Funds. It is such a super read. As I mentioned to you earlier, I've read it from front to back. I think it's full of fantastic tips to help women build their fundamental knowledge, and skills, that are essential for life, Molly.
Molly: Yes. They're very important skills we never really get taught, so hopefully this is a good starting point for women, and they can do it with their gal pals.
Molly: When it came to actually starting the business, a big statistic that really motivated me was that one, which is like when I found out the highest growing demographic of women going into homelessness, and experiencing homelessness, was single women over the age of 55 years old. That for me was a real like, WTF? What the hell?
And also seeing those stats not change fast enough, where women live longer, we earn less. There's still a healthy pay gap in this country. Even though I do get messages from many middle-aged white men going, "Please provide evidence". It is still very much a thing. And the fact that financial literacy in this country, especially among women, is actually going backwards.
So, a study just recently came out last month, and that kind of broke my heart a little bit. So, I think just that this is so needed, and women, we have to own our money. We are not socialised to talk about money. It is still such a taboo topic, even in this day and age, where we are earning more than we have ever earned. Our careers are as big as they've ever been. Yet, for some reason, we still seem to be either keeping our heads in the sand, of course, not everyone, but a lot of women I speak to, or still handing it over to the partner, because it seemed like, "Oh, well this is a blue job, the guy's got this".
Gillian Fox: Yeah, I think it's so true. It took me a long time to come to grips with really owning, and wanting to understand money, because my husband did look after the bills, and all of that, even though I was the main breadwinner. It was so funny, such a detached view. But boy, I went to a party, a fabulous party, about 15 years ago now, and it was just one of those parties that you'll probably remember forever. It was at a great venue. It was lots of dancing. It was fantastic.
Early in the evening, I met this woman called Ellie. And Ellie was quite a bit older than me, and she was telling me that she was planning on opening a women's shelter in Manly. And she explained to me at that time, that the divorce rate for women in Australia is very high later in life, like in the fifties, particularly when the kids leave school, and so many of those women don't have any understanding of their finances, and are left very vulnerable.
And she shared this statistic with me. She said, "Women who go through a separation, their quality of life drops 73% in the first 12 months". So many of them came from quite affluent, or middle class, provided for backgrounds, and they still end up in poverty. And so, she was opening this beautiful shelter, and she did. And yeah, amazing, but I remember that just being such a catalyst to me going, "Wow".
Molly: Yeah, isn't that absolutely shocking? And then you think of how many women don't leave, because they don't want to be kind of in that new poverty lifestyle. It's just absolutely shocking. And sometimes these are women who've worked their whole careers as well, but they don't have that money, and it is... That breaks my heart.
Gillian Fox: Yeah, it's a great incentive. Do you think there are different issues that women face when it comes to money, and investing?
Molly: Yeah, I think again, because when we're just not taught about it, we don't talk about it, it's very much seen as like, "Oh, can I even do that? Is that even an option?" So we face lots of different barriers, but I think just a big one is especially around investing, is like, "Well, how do I do this thing? I don't know anything about it".
And it's not seen as... It's seen for white men in towers in capital cities. It's not seen for the stay-at-home mum, or the mum who's kind of working full time, or any... We just don't have those role models. We don't see it, and it's hard to be what you can't see.
But yeah, I think in the book that's where we really break down that, you can actually get started with a dollar. We bust a lot of myths, and I'm very upfront with that. Like, "I'm too old, I've left it too late". I'm sorry. No, that's literally never the case. You're never too old to start investing or start taking control of your finances.
And if, I guess, you're someone who has always taken the back step on the finances, and let your partner do it, well, I say you can use this book as an excuse to go, "Oh, I'm reading this book and I want to start getting more engaged in the money". But yeah, there's so many myths that need to be bust around women and money.
Gillian Fox: So tell us how you want people to experience the book.
Molly: So, my ideal thing is, I guess, some girlfriends, they come over, and this is how Ladies Finance Club started, this is our origin story. Literally, girlfriends coming together, wine, pizza, or whatever, cheese boards, whatever, and opening up the first chapter, and doing the activities together, and going... And I know for the first chapter it's money mindset, and it's like, "Okay, how was money talked about when we were growing up? Am I still holding onto any of these beliefs around money?"
Okay, cool. The next time they catch up, they talk about their budget, and they keep each other accountable, because I know, because I used to do it, I'd be like, "Oh yeah, I've got to do a budget". Six months later, "I've got to do a budget". A year later, "I still haven't done that budget". And you just have no clue.
And it's so empowering, and so exciting, when you have full control over your money, you know how much you're spending, you know how much is coming into your life, you know that you've got savings there, you know that you're investing for your future. So really, my ideal is that women come together, they do this book, they sit down, they make their own kind of book club out of it, or their Ladies Finance Club out of it, and it continues after the book as well.
They can, instead of talking about these different areas, they can focus on investing. And my dad always had an investment club, and I'm like, "Mum, why don't you have one? You should start one". And hopefully that's maybe what it can turn into for women.
Gillian Fox: Tell everyone about the different funds, because I really love the way you broke it down. You spoke about the fun account.
Gillian Fox: And what was it? Was it the, Oh My God, account?
Molly: Yeah, so, Oh My God fund is an emergency fund. So this is always step one. And no matter who you speak to in the finance world, they will always say, "You've got to have money there for a rainy day. You've got to have money there for when you need new tyres, or an emergency has happened, or might lose your job, or something. A family member gets sick, and you have to take time off work".
You've got to have cash sitting there for a rainy day, rule number one. And so, we break that down, and we call it the OMG fund, because it's like, if you need to use this money, you're normally like, "Oh my God, something really big has happened." When I needed to use my OMG fund, it's because my sister had been diagnosed with cancer, and I needed to fly across the world, and I needed to be there with her.
I can't stress how important having this account is, but also how difficult it can be to set up this account. Because if you are someone who's a spender, and you've never saved money, you're not just setting up a bank account, and putting money in it, you're changing your behavior.
You're actually going, "I'm not going to spend this money, this money is here for an emergency". So we always say, open up a separate account, call it whatever you want. My can't touch this, my rainy day fund, my F off fund, my OMG fund, and you want to put a thousand dollars, and three to six months’ worth of expenses in it.
I always say, personal finance is personal. What works for me probably won't work for you. Or, we might think differently about money. So, again, when it comes to setting up your bank accounts, or managing your money, there's different rules you can stick to, but you've got to find out what works well for you.
So some people love a zero base budgeting method, others like a 50, 30, 20 rule, but they like to change the percentages around. But the idea being that you have separate accounts for separate money. So, you have your fun money in a separate account, you have your future money in a separate account, you have your bills and expenses in a separate account.
But yeah, giving that money a job, and also keeping it separated. Because when I get women coming to us at Ladies Finance Club, and they're trying to save, invest, go on holidays, buy their groceries, all from the one account, I'm like, "Oh, that is messy, and that is hard". But no one's ever taught you that you can actually have multiple accounts. You might just not know, and you might not have set that up. You can make it a lot easier for yourself.
Gillian Fox: Well, I think most people wouldn't know, Molly, and I think most people don't do it.
Molly: Yeah, it literally takes five minutes on your mobile phone, and then you can set up direct transfers, so money hits your account, and then it goes out into the other accounts. You don't even have to touch it. Which is great for people like me.
Gillian Fox: And I think you're just such a great role model for all of this, Molly, because I think people think, "Budget, I can't go shopping. I'm meant to have fun at this time of my life," but you always look absolutely gorgeous. You obviously love fashion, and you go out, and you have a life. You are doing all those things, but you are also managing your money.
Molly: That's the thing. And this was the biggest surprise. I always thought like, "Okay, I'm going to get on top of my money. I'm going to have to take my own sandwiches to work. I'm going to never be able to order a coffee out". I have a coffee out pretty much every day, because it is really important to me. I work from home; it gets me out of the house. I've normally gone for a walk, and it's just a part of my morning routine.
And although it's costing $5 a day, and I am kind of probably cutting back a tiny bit more, but I'm happy to budget other places in my life, so I can still have that $5 coffee every day, because that's important to me. And it might sound silly and people are like, "Oh, that's this much each year". But I want to enjoy my life, as well.
Molly: And so I think sometimes we can be really strict with ourselves, but actually, when you've got your budget in place, it's the opposite of restrictive, it actually lets you feel like, "Oh, I actually feel guilt-free about this. I feel stress free because I know that this money is there, and I can spend it. Whereas this money here, and that's for my future, and that's already invested."
I've got a notification from Vanguard today saying, we're about to take a direct debit out of your account to invest. Great, happy days. Don't even have to do a thing. So, yeah. Yeah. I think, when it comes to those budgets, budgets got a dirty name, or you can call it your spending plan, or whatever you want to call it. But it's just unfortunately something you have to do as part of adulting, and it's not something you can... And if you don't choose to do it, then you're going to have to face up to it at one point, and it's not going to be good.
Gillian Fox: It's going to come for you.
Molly: It's going to come for you.
Gillian Fox: You may as well go to it. Superannuation's a fascinating one, right?
Gillian Fox: Because if you're working, you're getting super. But the statistic that you quoted was unbelievable, about, I think it was like $14 billion missing in lost superannuation in Australia.
Molly: Super is really interesting, and I was literally speaking to a lady, we're doing a corporate workshop with... It's actually on a massive global consulting firm, and she came along to one of my online events, and was like, "I thought I was good with money. Then I heard your bit on super and realised I had no idea, I hadn't even looked at my super”.
And it's something that I think, a lot of the times, when we start a job, we're thinking about so many things when we start our job, we're thinking about where's the bathroom? What am I actually doing? Wow, the job I thought I was doing isn't the job I thought I was doing. Like, "Ah, I hope they don't realise..." All that kind of imposter syndrome, and everything.
We're not thinking about, "Okay, where have you put my super, and what's it invested in? And have I chosen the right funds?" So I think it's something that we just kind of switch off on. We're also like, "Oh God, that's so far away. I don't even have to worry about it now".
But there's so many little things around salary sacrificing, and just making sure you know what fees, and what your performance is. Sometimes, especially, I know, working for a bank, I came across this lady, and she just assumed that they'd be in a really good super fund, and it was performing horrendously, and people don't even know they can choose what super fund they're invested in a lot of the time, as well.
So there's a huge education piece, and we've had, yeah, again, so many women come to our roadshow event, because we did a big section on super, and they literally will message me and be like, "Molly, I just found five supers. "Like, "Oh my God, I just found five of them".
And sometimes people are like, "Oh, there won't be that much money in them." But I'm like, "If it had a thousand dollars in it, and you were walking down the street, and you saw a thousand dollars on the street with your name on it, and was like, 'This belongs to Molly Benjamin,' would you pick it up?" Hells yeah, you'd pick it up. You'd be like, "That's my money." So I'm like, "That's what's happening when you don't pick up your money, and what are you telling the universe? What are you telling the world?"
Gillian Fox: Yeah.
Molly: That you've got money, you don't want it? They're not going to give you more. So yeah, very big one on find any lost super. And it's really easy to do. You just head over to the ATO, myGov ATO, and you put in your tax file number, and it will find any lost super you have. And as you said, there's $14 billion worth of lost super in Australia, so it's worth checking out if any of that money is yours.
Gillian Fox: 100%. 100%. And to your earlier point, women live longer. You need to get the super part right.
Molly: Oh my gosh. We live longer, and we earn less, so we need to make sure our money is lasting as long as we do, because that's when you kind of lose control over your life, when you have no money and you have to rely on government, friends and family.
Gillian Fox: Yeah, yeah. One of the things that stands out to me, it's always kind of stood out to me, is that the industry needs to move away from this one size fits all model for superannuation, and start to redesign products that are for women that have very different career journeys. Because our career journeys, just because of having kids, and those sort of things, can be very different. But it is a very one size fits all, but we have to work with what we've got for now.
Molly: I feel like it's unfair. And even with girlfriends these days, I'm like, "Cool, so while you are not working, are you getting spousal contributions from your partner? Are you getting the government co-contribution? Because why should you have to suffer?" And this is what's happening. Why should your super have to suffer because you are having children? Literally. It blows my mind. And I think the system needs, yeah, big changes, and it is very unfair still, but we've got to work with what we've got. And so, there are little things that we can do until it changes to actually make sure that it's not just being eaten away by fees.
Gillian Fox: Are there any other tips that would be helpful to share with our listeners, that you think are essential for women in taking more responsibility for their finances?
Molly: I think a good starting point with that is just getting really clear on where you're starting from. What is your current network? So, listing out your liabilities, that's things you owe money on. Things that are taking money out of your pocket. Listing out your assets, where you are at, what things put money back into your pocket, or your investments, cash in the bank, how much your house is worth, if you have a house. Liabilities would be the mortgage.
So listing out your assets, liabilities, and kind of working out, "Okay, I know my net worth is not my self-worth, but what am I currently worth on paper? And where do I want to take that?" And then doing that check-in, kind of like once a year, or even once every six months. And then getting really clear on the goals you want to set with your money.
And we're really good at setting goals in all areas of our lives, but sometimes I find money goals, we just don't. Again, because it's sometimes that overwhelm, not sure where to start. It just feels a little bit stressful. So, kind of going, "Okay, I want to save $5,000 in my emergency fund, and I'm going to put a date on that. And then I'm going to work backwards, and work out that every day I get paid, every month I get paid, I'm going to automatically transfer $250 into that account, and I'm not going to touch that. And then I want to learn to invest. So, I'm going to do a course, or I'm going to listen to fab podcast on investing".
Because I think we think we're going to have to make these huge dramatic changes in our lives, but we don't. We just need to make small changes. Listen, start educating ourselves, podcast at a time, book at a time. It really does not take a huge amount of time. You never have to make, "I'm going to move to the country and find a place that is a hundred dollars a week in rent". You don't have to make huge, crazy, dramatic changes. You can just kind of increase a little bit over time.
Gillian Fox: Yeah, yeah. No, I think so too. And that's how... I know that's been my experience as well, Molly. It's just been, "I'll just read that book, and then I'll just read that book".
Molly: But you were open to it, and you were like, "I want to do this". And that mindset piece is so important, because unless you want to do it, you just won't. No one can force you to do it. You can do a budget, but you won't stick to it, because it's just, you've got to get that mindset piece into-
Gillian Fox: You've got to have that appetite for it. But to your point earlier, I think people have a lot of limiting beliefs, based on the way that they grew up. Maybe they didn't see their parents manage money in a very sophisticated way. Maybe they've come from that mindset that making money is just too hard. "It's not my background, it's not accessible for me".
Molly: Yeah, big time. We're so influenced by how our parents behaved, talked, didn't talk, didn't behave with money, and I think we almost forget that. Even, I was talking to a lady last year, and she was like, "Yeah, I did this thing when I get home and I bought something new, I hide it from my husband, and then I'll be like, I won't bring it up for another month and be like, 'Oh, this? This is old. I've had this for ages'."
And I said, "Oh, interesting. Did your mom do that?" She's like, "Yes". And I'm like, "Okay, and is it your money?" She's like, "Yes". And I'm like, "So... And do you not..." So, she had all these beliefs and guilts around spending, and she shouldn't be doing it because she'd watched her mother kind of hide things from her dad. And it is just like, it's fascinating how we do sometimes copy those behaviours, or we take a complete extreme opposite version to it.
If we grew up with not a lot of money, we might want to keep as much in our life as possible. So, we might be not having fun with our money, we might be avoiding investing it because we don't want to lose it, because we had an experience. Yeah. So, there's so much to unpack in that mindset piece and our money beliefs.
Gillian Fox: Yeah. I love it. I love it. Molly, it has been such a pleasure. Thank you for educating us all. Thank you for inspiring us to get stuck into this a little bit more, too. And I hope everyone goes and buys the book. Where can people find you?
Molly: So, we're at ladiesfinanceclub.com, we're on Instagram, we share lots of fun financial education. It's very pink... @ladiesfinanceclub, and then you can buy the book on Booktopia, or any good book seller.
Gillian Fox: Excellent. Well thank you. It's been wonderful.
Molly: Thank you so much.
Thank you for joining me today. I would love to give you something for free to help you with your career.
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