The biggest buzz phrase in women’s health right now is “financial fitness.” “Your financial health impacts everything,” says Damianou, “we look at our mental, physical, and spiritual health, but the missing pillar is often our financial health.” Financial well-being consists of facing our finances, prioritizing them, controlling them and planning for the future. As Holli Rubin, head of multidisciplinary therapies at The Soke mental health clinic in London, says: “The impact of finances on mental health is significant and is a major stressor in marital relationships. However, for many people the subject of money is a taboo”.
Fortunately, the female financial paradigm is really beginning to change. From the rise of financial bloggers, or “Fin-fluencers,” to money podcasts and wealth management companies run by women, more and more women are encouraging us to be financially fit. Whether you’re newly divorced, planning to retire, or feeling the need to educate your daughter or granddaughter, there are a host of experts now offering advice at our fingertips. They also speak our language because, as Damianou puts it: “There is more jargon in the financial industry than in any other.”
One woman putting money-making options firmly in women’s hands is Emilie Bellet, CEO of vestpod.com, an online community that helps women of all ages achieve financial independence.
Bellet runs courses like the six-week Money Bootcamp, which helps women get their finances in shape, and has a women’s finance podcast called The Wallet (170,000 downloads and counting). The author of You’re Not Broke You’re Pre-Rich, she’s also launching a finance festival this September called Money Matters at the Ned in London. Bellet quit her job in 2016 after realizing she didn’t have her own finances in order and couldn’t find anyone to help her do it. She says: “Women in the UK are paid 90 pence for every pound sterling from a man, and we are likely to take on caring roles and invest less. This has a huge impact on our pensions and the average woman retires with half as much money in her pension fund as a man”.
So, I ask you, how do we regain control? “It’s about education and about changing the conversation,” she says. “Financial wellness is about managing our finances and paying down debt. We often read about women raising money and selling their businesses, but most of us just need practical advice on a daily basis.”
Zanna van Dijk is best known as a wellness influencer with 386,000 followers on Instagram. She recently partnered with financial management company First Wealth to create the educational platform Thrive Money, after the company helped her get her own finances in order. She says, “There’s no point in drinking green juice, doing squats and cardio three times a week when you’re staying up all night stressing about money.” By targeting a younger audience through social media, webinars and courses, Van Dijk hopes Thrive Money prevents women from making the same mistakes she did. Van Dijk realized there was a huge gap in money education, not just for women, “but women need it more,” she says.
With the divorce rate in the UK estimated at 42 per cent and the number of people choosing to marry declining, it is more important than ever for women to be financially savvy enough to fend for themselves. Once we are on top of our finances, we can then, says Bellet, think about investing and growing our money.
Fortunately, the typical view of the investor, a Wolf of Wall Street character, is also slowly beginning to change, and thanks to companies like Ellevest in the US, an investment platform that aims to “put more money in the hands of Women’s”. It’s getting easier than ever. Sadly it’s not yet available in the UK, but Bellet would say we don’t need an app to invest for us, it’s about doing it and learning for ourselves. As Damianou says: “It’s not sexy, but it’s not supposed to be.”