Wednesday, July 1, 2015

On Finance and Money


If I was the Minister of Education, the first thing I'd do would be to add basic finance and money education to the curriculum, starting from Year One.  Apparently children as young as four know the difference between a $5 and a $20 note if they are offered both and told to choose one, so it’s never too early to start gaining financial knowledge.

I’ve always had a real passion for this topic and for most of my twenties worked in the offices of financial planners, which, while the secretarial work was deathly boring, I loved learning more about financial products and also seeing the different levels of money skills that clients had. 

From the recently widowed older woman who couldn’t understand why she got into financial trouble with cheques bouncing – she believed there must still be money in her account because her cheque book still had cheques left, to the young single woman only a few years older than me who had a well set up portfolio and a house deposit ready to go.  She was very inspiring and gave me a kick in the pants (although she didn’t know it).

Money is very much shrouded in mystery.  We are told that it’s not polite to talk about it, we’d die if anyone found out what our salary was and we often carry a lot of shame, guilt and fear around it.

I did at one point look at training to become a financial planner but at the end of the day they are not really a ‘financial planning’ role as such, but rather a commission salesperson where you had to constantly drum up business and sell rather than educate which did not appeal at all.

Interspersed with my fiction and other non-fiction reading is often a money book. I’ve listed a few in previous posts such as TheMillionaire Next Door and Stop Acting Rich.  I also love wealth and abundance mindset books because I notice I feel better when I think expansively rather than focus on penny-pinching.  I’m still all for thrift and not being wasteful, however in the past I have bordered on being stingy with myself.

Two really fascinating books I’ve read lately are Denise Duffield-Thomas’ titles:

Lucky Bitch (how she and her husband won a six month travel competition)
Get Rich Lucky Bitch (all about your money mindset)

Denise is an Australian money mindset coach who helps women overcome their money blocks.  She has such different ideas than I’ve heard, which are really quite fascinating.  Yes, she swears a little bit but take that with a pinch of salt.  I’ve listened to some of her videos on YouTube and apart from being laugh-out-loud funny sometimes, she also comes across as a down-to-earth and caring person who really wants you to be more abundant.  I signed up to her newsletter list and love the new topic that is sent out each week plus I have just joined her Money Bootcamp.

Denise has great free resources on her website including ‘7Ways to Remove Your Money Blocks’ and ‘How to Make Money in 24 Hours’ (and doesn’t that sounds like an appealing offer).  What I like about her stuff is that she’s really practical and offers simple steps to take.  I’ve already used some of them in my own life and they’ve made a difference.

I’ve only written about money a few times in the past, and given the level interest I have in being financially clued up, it should well be a higher number.  The topic pertains to this blog too, because to me, part of living a chic life is being in control of our finances.  But, like many other people, I somehow think it’s ‘unseemly’ to talk about money.  So I’m guilty of it too!  Ahh, I’ve got a lot to work on.

It’s certainly a very sensitive subject for many (most?) of us, but I firmly believe that we’d all have a less charged relationship with money if we were more open about it. I don’t know if that’s going to happen soon, but I’m happy to be part of the growing conversation. Money is just paper and metal and numbers, but we make it about so much more (including our self-worth and how we feel about ourselves).  

What about you?  How does the topic of money, finance, abundance and wealth make you feel?  Or, what cabinet position would you choose in Government and what would you change as part of your role?  Now is your chance to shine!

Disclaimer:  This post contains affiliate links.


  1. Dear Fiona, Personal finance is one of my favorite topics (along with style). I've missed your posts on frugality. I think being financially savvy goes hand in hand in curating a stylish life. After all, I think the basis of living with quality is to know how to get value out of something, right?

    Thank you for posting about finance again. It sounds like you are interested in writing more about it ... I am hoping for more! :)

  2. Fiona, I forgot to mention a blog called Reading through all the posts there has really kept me focused on my finances. As with the Denise Duffield-Thomas, watch out for the swearing there too. But it can easily be ignored because of the passion he has for the topic. It's just the thing I need (like you said, "a kick in the pants") when I fall into the "I want this and that" mindset.

  3. Anonymous, I agree - 'the basis of living with quality is to know how to get value out of something' - nicely put!

    Thanks for the link too, I've not heard of this dude, and he sounds like fun. Yay!

  4. I think basic finance & life skills should be added to curriculum in America too. We’re taught so much about Shakespeare and the square root circumference of a poly-whatever triangle, but people don’t know how to write a resume, appropriate behavior during a job search, balance a check book, etc.

  5. So true, Pret a Porter P, yes, it's great to be well-read and improve your brain with maths, but the things you'll need more for daily life are not covered at all. Job resumes and interview skills are a prime example.

    I'm pretty sure I remember in the later part of high school that there was actually a class called Life Skills which covered some basics like this, but it was not offered as a normal class. Instead it was given to the kids that virtually had no hope of doing anything with their life. They're probably doing better than anyone now with those skills (except they probably weren't motivated to listen to the teacher or even turn up to the class...)!

  6. Hi Fiona,

    I think sorting out your finances & being realistic about what sort of lifestyle you can afford directly influences your happiness. I divide my time between France & the UK, & find my French friends so un- materialistic compared to their British counterparts. They admit they're saving to do some work on their houses...or have waited to see if their favourite item of clothing is in the wouldn't happen in the UK. I find it so honest & refreshing. Another reason to admire the French 'allure'?


  7. This topic is very interesting to me! Having learnt the hard way of leaving finances to your partner and then going through a divorce and wondering where all the money went was life shattering. I was so ignorant thinking i would be cared for my someone else and just concentrating on bringing up our children. now everywhere i read is the phrase, a man is not a financial plan. My friends my age group are all in that boat, they gave up work many many years ago when the children arrived and have no skills they could fall back on to go back to work without retraining, but the thing is they are happy being dependant on someone for the rest of their life. I cant convince them as they think my situation will never happen to them. I work part time now and love having my own discretionary spending money but feel i am now more productive than i have ever been. Like Suzi mentioned being materialistic is not a saving plan either but my friends are very materialistic. But are they happy? No!

  8. Suzi, saving up or making do might not seem very sexy to some but it is to me, and the French which is nice to hear!

    Catherine Lynn, sadly your situation is not uncommon. Just because someone is male, doesn't mean they'll be great at handling money. You sound like you are doing well now, best wishes to you!

  9. thanks so much for this post Fiona. It is a timely one for me. I had not heard of lucky bitch or MMM - it has led me down a pleasurable internet rabbit hole :)

  10. A, happy to help. I'm not sure what you mean by 'MMM' though? Am I being dense?

  11. Mr money mustache - reading back, I realise it was mentioned in the comments above rather than in your post.

  12. Ah, of course, I've been enjoying his blog too since Anonymous above mentioned it. Lately I've been wishing we had a second car. After reading MMM, I don't anymore!


Merci for your comment. Wishing you a chic day!

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