Welcome back to the Financial Therapy podcast, I’m Jane Monica-Jones. Your host and your personal Financial Therapist.
In recent years we have heard a lot about financial wellbeing or financial wellness. But what does it really mean?
When we think of financial wellbeing we might think we need more financial education on strategies such as how to invest, diversify and accumulate. And if you head over to our favourite bookstores, for years there has plenty of books, like that there.
But interestingly, research shows financial knowledge and experience only makes up about 9% of what make us better at managing and multiplying our money.
A lot of research is now saying that psychological and behavioural factors make up the majority of us being better with money at around 61%. Having self-control, feeling confidence in money management skills, good modelling when we were growing up and the like. So it’s not surprising we are seeing more Financial Psychotherapists or Financial Psychologists that can help.
I am inserting some flagrant self promotion here…that’s why I wrote my book The Billionaire Buddha, which repairs the psychological and behavioural issues we have with money. But enough about me, let’s talk about women. What does the research say about how women manage and relate to money in the context of having many structural barriers against them. Such as earning less, having less superannuation because of time out of the workforce for child rearing or caring for elderly parents. How is money integrated into their lives and are there any differences to the way men relate to money.
To give us a lot more clarity we are speaking with expert Financial Wellbeing & Financial Capability Researcher Professor Roslyn Russell from the School of Economics, Finance and Marketing at RMIT University.
DISCOVER FINANCIAL WELLBEING PROGRAMS , check out the Financial Wellbeing website ... financialwellbeing.co
HOST - Jane Monica-Jones, Financial Therapist & Author of The Billionaire Buddha
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Financial Wellbeing Courses - financialwellbeing.co
The Billionaire Buddha on Amazon - https://amzn.to/3kGlBv3
GUEST - Roslyn Russell is a Professor (Research) in the School of Economics, Finance and Marketing, RMIT University. Roslyn has been researching financial capabilities and financial wellbeing in Australia for more than 15 years. Roslyn works closely with the finance, government and community sectors and serves on several industry reference groups and advisory boards.
Smart Money - moneysmart.gov.au
Women Talk Money - womentalkmoney.org.au
Women NSW - women.nsw.gov.au/resources/womens-financial-toolkit
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Roslyn Russell 2:05
Thank you, Jane. It's a pleasure to be here and talk about money with you.
Jane Monica-Jones 2:10
Just before we get started, tell us a little bit about what you do.
Roslyn Russell 2:13
I'm a research only professor at RMIT University. And so, my role is really to work with industry work with real people and undertake research that matters. My particular area of research for the last 18, 15-18 years has been around financial wellbeing, financial capabilities, financial literacy, financial education, and looking at a lot of programs and issues that relate to those.
Jane Monica-Jones 2:42
It's interesting you say financial wellbeing that's something that we hear a lot of, say banks are using in their marketing material at the moment, or it's bit of a buzzword, we've heard maybe in the last five years, but you've been looking at and researching this area for over 15 years, can you just give us an idea of a definition of what financial wellbeing is?
Roslyn Russell 3:03
Yes, look it is a much better term, than I think what we were talking about before, which was more just financial literacy or, financial education. So financial wellbeing is broader and what it means is, is essentially being able to, make your commitments, your financial commitments, and meet them on a day to day basis, and in the future. Be able to pay bills, food, and housing. But also, it means to be financially comfortable as well. So, having enough money left over to allow you to do things that give some joy in life. So, it's not just the nitty gritty, pay your bills and get through, it’s a little bit of comfort there too. It also means having resilience, which, again, is a bit of a buzzword, but it's being able to bounce back when there's when there's a financial adversity that you come across, which we will all have that, rain falls on all people. And we're not ever going to be immune from having financial hiccups from time to time, no matter how well off. So, it's those three things, you know, day to day, the future and resilience, and being comfortable.
Jane Monica-Jones 4:14
I know that you have focused on women and money. I'm really interested in speaking to you about that, particularly, what did you find fascinating about researching about how money and women are linked and what we as women do differently, or interestingly, can you speak a little bit about that?
Roslyn Russell 4:33
The women and money came about through a lot of commissioned research earlier, you know, first up and I noticed through all that research that women were in this special situation where there was a lot of resilience, but a lot of barriers, that they were facing, and I could see you know that we're hampering their financial wellbeing. So, from that we put in an IRC grant, which is a government grant to, and we did have the freedom then to look exactly at what we wanted to about women's situation and them and money. Why did they make the financial decisions that they were making? What were the factors that surrounded their financial situation? So, it was really interesting. And we were able to spend, had the luxury of spending a few years talking to women in across Australia and doing quite a large quantitative survey as well. So, I guess the interesting thing about women is that so much of their financial lives were focused on the family and not just themselves. So we found that, that came into the picture all the time, and whenever we asked them about money, those were the stories that were brought up, their past, their history of money when they were children. And also, how that framed their current situation.
Jane Monica-Jones 5:49
That's interesting, you say the past with them and money, I think you refer to it as being socialization. The modelling when we were growing up? Or maybe the inspiring tales, or even the tales of warning. Do you think that really shapes our way of being with money? Or in some, in some sense?
Roslyn Russell 6:11
Oh definitely look it is, it forms our wiring from an early age and, and all educationists and psychologists will know that, and as a therapist, I'm sure that you can see what our past brings to our current situation and also our future. In many cases, it's good, but of course, it varies across everybody. And some women we found had such hardship growing up that they were scarred basically for life, and it shaped their attitudes to money and shaped their relationships. It's very hard to undo that, especially on your own. And so, I think that was the most fascinating part of our research was as soon as we would ask a question about money, it would immediately take them back to experiences and stories. Some were great stories, some funny, some are really, really sad. But that's what they bring to their current situations and what drives their decisions.
Jane Monica-Jones 7:19
Being a financial therapist, of course, I sit as a therapist, but I'm often speaking to people that are in the finance area, and one of the areas or a platitude that I often hear is, is that you can't be emotional around money. It's about survival. So of course, it's going to be locked up with lots of emotion. And it's interesting that you say that that's kind of a quality that I suppose women bring to their talking about money. What do you think about that expression?
Roslyn Russell 7:45
Look, this is why women don't go to financial advisors, [laughs] at the banks and anywhere else, we got that message straight up. And it was "We don't trust them, they wanted to just sell us products straightaway." "They didn't want to hear my story." "They didn't want to get to know me." "They didn't ask me about my family." And so, it was it was all of those comments, and they were very, very anti financial advisors. And I found that really concerning, because we all need some help with some making big financial decisions. And, you know, it's not something we are born with. Knowing this, and if people are really averse to going and seeking help, that is a problem. Imagine if we didn't want to go to the doctor when we had a serious health issue or a pain somewhere and we don't get to see the doctor, this is what it's like and they have nowhere else to go. So, it's a very concerning issue that remains today. Actually, there's actually no way really for everyday people and everyday women to go and seek financial advice that they're comfortable with. And I remember one focus group, we had one woman said, "Oh, look, I had the most amazing financial advice experience." So, it was a woman that she had, that she had sought advice with. "And, you know, she came over we had a wine together and for at least two sessions, she didn't even bring up money, hardly. She got to know she wanted to know what I wanted for myself and my daughter." And everyone of course was saying "What's her name? What's the name?" That's what women are after, they do need to have their family and emotions acknowledged, not to say that it doesn't matter or it's not to be involved. And until that's brought into the picture, they are not going to get the advice or the help that they need.
Jane Monica-Jones 9:38
Yeah, that's great. Really making it more holistic rather than this part that's kind of separate from any other part of their worldview or relating to the world. We've spoken that financial wellbeing is that buzzword often, I think a lot of people believe that in order to gain a sense of financial wellbeing they only or look first to financial literacy and financial education, which is understanding what financial products are out there or budgeting or how I pay down debt? Do you think that's all we need in financial wellbeing?
Roslyn Russell 10:16
No, it's not all we need. But it is a necessary part of it, how you get that know how or experience is, is one thing. And so if you're missing out, if you have missed out on having that experience, and or the opportunity to make decisions, or to learn about money, or to become familiar with it, then of course, there needs to be other avenues available to people, to women and men to actually get the education or the know how that's needed. So, and now it is in school, so there is some education in the curriculum in Australia, which is great, and in many parts of the world. And that's really important, because it's part of our lives, and kids need to be learning about it. But if you've missed all that, where do you go, and we don't want people to get caught up in those wealth seminars where people are flogging property rich quick schemes. So there needs to be some unbiased trustworthy means for financial advice. If we talk about financial education, it doesn't have to be classroom or it doesn't have to be sit down and take notes. And there are many different forms of financial education. And it can be just a teachable moment. So "I want to know about you know, buying my own home. So, let's learn about that". Doesn't mean you have to learn about every single product on the market, we call them teachable moments. So, there might be times in your life where you do need to know about a certain thing before making a certain decision. And that needs to be available somewhere. So, we can't say that financial education is not necessary, it is just like reading and writing. I think it has its place.
Jane Monica-Jones 11:55
As you've been speaking about it for many years, is there in government institutions or organisations that are starting to look at beyond just financial literacy?
Roslyn Russell 12:06
We do, and I do work with ASIC. And some of the banks and also community organizations, which are trying to serve all people and all different situations and circumstances. And the government is very much on the ball actually about financial wellbeing in a more holistic view. So, they are investing in things like mental health and young people, mindsets. Which I think mindset is one of the most critical aspects of financial wellbeing. And it's even deeper than just behaviours. So, it's about creating that right mindset and a mindset that's conducive to financial wellbeing. And often that's a bit overlooked. It's almost like, we think if we can just tell people, the technicalities and the right behaviours, but all of that we know with all of our behaviours, whether it's about health exercise, diet, it's about the mindset. If it doesn't start in the mindset, it's basically doomed to fail. So, the government has a portfolio, the financial capability portfolio, which is really, really good and it's done some really great work in investing in understanding financial wellbeing for Australians.
Jane Monica-Jones 13:13
I think what's really pertinent about our relationship with money is that it can certainly show up the vulnerabilities that we have, financial vulnerabilities that then can open into greater vulnerabilities around housing and security and safety nets. In your research looking at women and money, what do you see is some of the big vulnerabilities that women as a cohort have?
Roslyn Russell 13:37
The vulnerabilities all stem from inequality, and that's the macro picture. And that's an unfortunate such a big part of it, that whatever we do, it's almost like trying to beat the tide or trying to get around these huge barriers that are there through inequality and the structural issues provide the most vulnerabilities for women. So instead of having doors open for women, we face closed doors. And I think the vulnerabilities are around the choices and the constraints that women... the choices women have to make basically and "Do I go to work, or do I stay home with the family?" Childcare is so unbelievably expensive and hard to obtain in an affordable manner that women have to make this choice. So okay, can't afford childcare, right have to stay home, five years out of the work puts you behind the eight ball, no superannuation during that time. So again, the inequality of not having superannuation provided to stay at home, stay at home mums. Or even caring for parents, this is what most women have to face. You're either facing caring for your children or caring for elderly or ill family members, and it always mostly falls to the women. And there's no provision for that, for superannuation. So, you take time out and you're behind the eight ball and it's very difficult to catch up, you know, sole parents is another big factor on the rise. And it makes it very difficult for women to maintain working and also caring for the family and, paying for housing, affordable housing. It just seems to be one barrier after another.
Jane Monica-Jones 15:19
So, when you're speaking with women in your research, are they making political decisions to better that. A lot of that structural change can happen by political decisions?
Roslyn Russell 15:29
Yeah, that's true. Look, I actually don't know the political voting habits of women as a as a whole as a general, I don't think it is male or female. It's more than that. So yes, of course they wish for better childcare. And of course, they, they wish for better superannuation arrangements. And I actually, you know, remember one, one story, which shall stay in my mind forever, and it was a group of women, I think, in Brisbane, and it was after a big redundancy, a big cut in staff in the public service. And there was a woman who was like, 42, she was single, actually. And she just said she had a cancer scare. And she said, "I've just been through cancer scare, and she goes you know what, the first thing that I thought of was, uh, well, at least I don't have to worry about my future". And to her, that was the upside of having a cancer scare, I'll never forget it. And the room was just, you know, a hushed sort of a thing. And that's what it came down to. So, there are many vulnerabilities about women's future, I think that the age group 40 to 59, are the most vulnerable. That's where there's that big realization where they have so little because of no superannuation provision for it. Marriages are broken down, maybe in that age group, and they've spent their lives caring for their family, and now they have nothing. So, there is that, so of course, we read all those publicity about the growing number of homeless women in that age bracket. And this is the fruit that they bear after a lifetime of serving their family and it is going without basically. So, it's really horrendous. I mean, it's not every woman, of course, finds itself in that situation, but there is a growing number.
Jane Monica-Jones 17:24
Gosh, that piece that you just shared then, is just so impactful...wow!
Roslyn Russell 17:30
I'll never forget it.
Jane Monica-Jones 17:32
Death will give me kind of certainty in a way, that's quite shocking.
Roslyn Russell 17:36
Yeah, yeah, exactly. I mean, another women said, "I've got $8,000, so that'll maybe get me my hip replacement". This is a woman in her 50s or early 60s and that's much super she had. And that's what they have to look forward to. So, there is a lot of fear among women getting older when they sort of realized exactly what they have and what they haven't got. So, I think it's time that the government looks more closely at women's vulnerabilities and financial wellbeing.
Jane Monica-Jones 18:15
Oh, thank you, Roslyn. That's just so poignant on how much of a big problem this is, and it's going to get bigger, as more women age, essentially, in our society. It's not just centric to Australia, it's happening all around the world, these structural changes that need to happen. I think particularly in the fact that we're going through very high housing prices, as well as uncertainty in COVID, it just shows how tenuous employment can be. It's affecting a large portion of the population across every demographic really, but particularly, when you can't afford the major asset that will be converted into your superannuation, such as your house. That's another wave of a cohort that's going to have problems in the future.
Roslyn Russell 19:06
Yeah, it sure is, that's exactly right, Jane, there're the worries that we have to think about going forward. And we do have this whole set and it's also across all sectors. At one point in time, some sectors were immune from cuts, but my own sector is not immune. We're going through huge amounts of cuts and redundancies, which we've never seen before, in all of my whole career. So, I think there's less immunity for people, going through this situation at the moment.
Jane Monica-Jones 19:39
So, I'm just interested in the idea of debt and women. One of the big phenomena that's come out very recently, which is also very terrifying, is the after pay model that's not regulated. And you know, I certainly have a very strong opinion about working with my client's, and say stay away from that, particularly if you have any sort of vulnerabilities, mental health vulnerabilities, because the whole thing is just exacerbated. Women and debt tell us a little bit about what we do around debt.
Roslyn Russell 20:07
It's very interesting. I'm certainly glad you have that opinion and same thoughts about after pay that I have and I'm extremely worried about that, especially for younger women, and especially in this environment. Women can be quite debt averse, and that can be wrapped up, in their childhood. There were women who told of their parents who were small business owners losing everything, being swamped in debt. And they made their minds up at that would never ever be in debt. And so, they even avoid, they're so debt averse that they avoid having any debt. Or they may have racked up a lot of debt on credit cards and found themselves in a lot of trouble. Or they may have had a partner who racked up debt and left it to them. There are many experiences that affect women's thoughts about debt. We actually find that a decrease in credit card holding among younger people, especially, but then I do worry about this transfer of that mentality to the after pay scenario. So, look, it is interesting. The literature does say women are more risk averse. And I think that's probably true. But that's not necessarily a bad thing. And I think that they are more conservative and how they may think things through and they're not so impulsive about big debts and investment decisions. And that's a good thing. Let's try and work with women's qualities, rather than keep trying to beat them over the head and say, "Why are you so risk averse?" And "Why aren't you acting like a man". And I think that we just need to work with women's qualities and the strengths that they have. And they have enormous strengths and the resilience that women have, in their abilities to pay down debt that they were left with. And there were many women who were just left unfairly with some large amounts of debt. Of course, it's mixed feelings and differences across different populations. But I'd say on the whole, they don't particularly like to be in a lot of debt.
Jane Monica-Jones 22:06
A lot of financial strategists would say that we need to take a certain amount of risk in order to make that gain. Are women in any way, not that we have to be like men, we have to find our own way. But is there a possibility to be a little bit more less risk averse in order to get better financial gain?
Roslyn Russell 22:29
I think having access to financial advice that was suitable to them is what is the key to that. And I think that if there was someone they could talk to, that could work through with them with their concerns, [their] conservative approaches. Or their worries about it and help them to see the proper picture, rather than just the scary picture, which they may have in their heads based on their socialization experiences. Then I think there's a lot of that, that could be overcome. And it does need to be a place where they can do their own research and work through that. And it's one thing I hear a lot about in terms of the research sector that I'm in and with the finance sector is "Why don't women engage with their superannuation fund?" But what does that actually mean? And we don't know what that actually means. [Laugh] Does that mean just ringing them up on a daily basis and say, "Hey, I'm engaging with my super fund". But that's the biggest critique, that I hear so much of and in the research papers, is that "Women need to engage more with their superannuation fund". But we don't really know what that means. So that's the end of the story and unless we actually know what that means, it's very difficult for women to take that on board when we've got day to day costs to contend with. And if we go back to that definition of financial wellbeing, first and foremost is meeting day to day commitments. And as a nation, this is what we do best. So, most of us are meeting day to day, it's when we get to the future. And it's when we get to feeling comfortable, that the scores start to get a bit lower. But as a whole, we're very intent on meeting our day to day commitments. And women do that really well, put food on the table, alongside with engaging with my superfund [Both laugh] you know, what are we gonna do, ... where's the time for that? And that's that bracket of 40 to 59, you've got that bracket again, what are those women doing? They're juggling, trying to do a whole host of things, and I'm sure engaging with their investment strategies is probably quite low on the list in terms of time.
Jane Monica-Jones 24:39
That's a really interesting concept. I'm thinking what do I just ring the number for my superannuation? Who do I speak too? [Both laugh]
Roslyn Russell 24:47
And what do I say? [Both laugh]
Jane Monica-Jones 24:50
That's right. It could be that conversation about maybe women... I know that there's you know, there's been a bit of a there's a couple of superannuation that are run by women. Maybe that's part of it or that you make an ethical choice around what your superannuation is going to fund. But I'm unsure about ... do men do that either? You know, are they calling the same number? [Both laugh]
Roslyn Russell 25:12
I don't know. [Laughter] it is interesting, we haven't done a men only study. I do know through the literature says, men are more likely to be engaged with their fund. But yeah, look at it is interesting. And I think that there's many men, but it's not all, but they're not contending as much with the day to day and being consumed.
Jane Monica-Jones 25:39
Roslyn Russell 25:39
Yeah, but I think it just needs to be a little bit clearer about what women should exactly be doing with their engagement... [both laugh]
Jane Monica-Jones 25:49
It could be that thing ... I'm just pulling up potential ideas that men are probably more likely to do self-managed superannuation funds than maybe women, but women, because of their structural issues, that they're doing the day to day, don't have the space to be able to or the bandwidth to be able to manage a super self-managed superannuation. But I don't know the statistics.
Roslyn Russell 26:14
The other thing that comes into that with many of the women in my research, though, and when this came up, is like, "Why do I want to put myself through more pain", when they know they've got very little there? And so, it's almost like that avoidance "Well do I need to beat myself over the head again, to tell myself how stuffed my future is going to be?" So, if you've got a ton of money there, are you more likely to engage with it? Because it will make you feel better? But if you've got little to none there? How often do you want to look at that, really, to give yourself a pain and fear?
Jane Monica-Jones 26:54
Yes, that's something that I work with often is, a lot of people come into my practice, because they are freaking the hell out on, their financial situation and having to ...as we started this conversation, try and gear themselves with their mindset about improving that. That I can stay open, " Can I be less stressed and stay open to that, be empowered that I can ask for that raise or take that financial risk". Yes, it's such a holistic conversation.
Roslyn Russell 27:22
Yes, it's like an iterative cycle that once you've done a little bit, the confidence builds, and then you can do a little bit more, and then you can do a little bit more. And we saw that so much with the women. That at first they had no idea and either through death of a partner, or divorce, they were thrown, they would say literally, "I was thrown in the deep end". But you know, kind of going through it and working through it. And then their confidence and their self-esteem just went through the roof, because they did it. They would say "Look, I've paid off this huge debt. And now I've got savings account. And now I can take my children on holiday. And I'll tell you what, it was the most empowering experience, but it was little by little". And I think that's the key is start small, with some small behaviours and little goals and little changes, rather than engage with your super fund. [Both laugh] And there's a lot of work around tiny habits. And I think there's a lot that starts small, and from my experience, and my research is saving. So, a small bit of savings is something that can actually change people's lives. And just that act of it, the habit, the sense of security and the change, that can help change your mindset. So, from what I've seen over the last 15 to 20 years working with the bank and saving, it's really critical.
Jane Monica-Jones 28:48
Yeah, it's about building those kinds of muscles, really. And that takes repetition and small starts and small wins as well. Yes, you start seeing that you're trimmer around the waist ... for a fatter bank account [both laugh]. Something that I'm kind of passionate about, but it's often not talked about is money and shame. You just touched a little bit about how we really give ourselves a hard time about the financial situation that we can be. It goes back into that early upbringing and that we didn't get the tools or that we've had setbacks and then we beat ourselves up. What was the conversation about money and shame?
Roslyn Russell 29:31
Definitely there was ... and I remember again clearly, this group of older women and she brought up some stories. She said that she's never even told her children and she was a woman in her 70s and there was a shame about an abusive situations earlier on and about her partner, long time husband, how controlling it was. And she shielded her family from that all their lives and she spoke about it with me. And we felt so honoured that this woman spoke in this group for the first time ever. About the shame that she had endured all those years. And what I felt so sad was that she could never ... and that's part of upbringing, never could talk to anyone else about it. And here she is, at that point in her life finally feeling that she could talk about these experiences. So, with the shame, we need to be able to talk to people more about it and having those conversations. And what they realize [when we open up and speak with someone about our financial stories] "Is that other people have this as well, it's not just me". So, it surely it shouldn't come down to research focus groups, in order for that to happen. I think that's what another social thing that that needs to happen... that's a cultural thing as well. I was brought up the same way my parents say, didn't, you don't talk about money, you know, it's that polite thing... money, religion, how you vote
Jane Monica-Jones 30:55
I often say money is really the last taboo . It's the conversation we didn't have around sex 20,30 years ago. But it's important because we... as you're just saying, then, it's so amazing when you hear someone's true money story. Or reveal a little bit about what it was like for you or when you were young, or even when you were growing up, or what it is now, how that softens ourselves. And it gives ourselves a bit of a break and self-compassion come in. And, you know, I talk about my money story, often I write about it, I talk about it, I try and get others to speak about their money story, because it needs to come out, because there is so much darkness and so much hiddenness about it, and it's not serving anyone.
Roslyn Russell 31:43
No, it isn't. And if it's one thing that we can ... I'd like to see brought into schools with children, is to teach them how to have money conversations. And it is a bit of an art form, it isn't something that natural that we have. So why not have some sort of a guide around things and when it might be a difficult conversation. And this is between, you know, with partners and relationships as well. So, let's help people learn how to have you know, healthy money conversations before it gets to a point where it causes pain and hardship.
Jane Monica-Jones 32:17
And look, there's a certain amount of bravery that you got to take it. We've got to stop saying things like, "Don't be emotional about money". No, it's gonna have emotion to it, you know? It is very emotional for men and women. It's not just exclusively women ... men... there's a whole structural piece around, how they have to be a man and a provider. And what if you're struggling with that? And it's not serving anyone, when we can't say that that conversation can be open. How is money for you when you are growing up?
Roslyn Russell 32:46
Look, it was interesting and it's only now in this research area over the last 15 years that I've had to start to think about what it meant for me growing up. My parents were the generation that didn't talk about money. And my dad was an academic, and so money was like, it was not to be wasted. My mum didn't work, and so she had to ask for money. And I could see control now, I recognise it for what it is. I could see that there was control going on with money and my dad, so I recognized that now. And I thought at the time, I could remember thinking that I never want to be in that situation, where I have to ask for money. And I always want to have my own money and be financially independent. But it was almost like money was not to be enjoyed. It was a religious household, so it was to help others and to do God's work. But it wasn't enjoyed as such, it took me a long time to get over that. And to be able to be a little bit frivolous, you know, with money from time to time, to enjoy it. We sort of got pocket money every now and again. It wasn't a right; it was like had we been good. The money was tied up with many behaviours and attitudes that we had at home and I wish they had talked more about money. Because yeah, we're basically thrust out into the world without really knowing anything, only from what we saw. And actually, just on that note, the literature does say that modelling, how money is modelled in the home is far more powerful than how it's talked about. So be careful what you do rather than what you say. So, the home is a really important part of socialization. So, I think that it has to be part of all spheres and we should not stop learning about money. It shouldn't be contained in one part of our life or one time of our life, it goes on and on.
Jane Monica-Jones 34:46
Beautiful captured, so many things that I was so keen to ask you. That idea around money and pleasure. That's one of the big things that I work with, with people, is not being able to have pleasure with money or feeling that they can deserve it or allow it, but it comes up very often when I'm working with people, we get very ...
Roslyn Russell 35:06
That just gives me goosebumps Jane! It's a topic that I'm just starting to explore more in the literature. And do you know who suffer the most from that as a sole parents? Sole mothers, and they're even looked down on by society, if they are seen to be enjoying money, especially if they're receiving any type of sole parent benefit. It's like they will do anything to make out they're not enjoying life, and they feel they should deny themselves any cultural activities. it's so wrong and it's a real issue that I'm starting to recognize more and more. And I'm reading about more and more. It's a terrible thing, actually the way that we see money that shouldn't be enjoyed or give us any pleasure.
Jane Monica-Jones 35:53
Yeah, thank you. Thank you. Yeah, it's something that is massive theme that I'm constantly working with clients is just how do we soften that? How can we...
Roslyn Russell 36:02
And it's in that definition of financial wellbeing and I think that's why I like definition more so than how we used to think and talk about money, because it does have that element of being comfortable enough to allow us to make choices to enjoy life. And we tend to either stick to the... can we pay our bills, or can we provide for our retirement, and we forget about the middle part of life and about enjoying it. And so, it is part of that definition. And I think we need to really remember that and encourage that part as well.
Jane Monica-Jones 36:37
Yeah, lovely, thank you. The other thing, just to finish on is... because we didn't really get much guidance around money. I like to ask this question about what is, that maybe it wasn't just about financial literacy, but what is you individually? What ... as you've grown up? What is that thing, that you thought "I wish my parents taught me this about money" ... for you particularly?
Roslyn Russell 37:04
Well, it's about what we were just talking about, I wish that I could have felt that...you know...had the sense that we could enjoy it without feeling guilty. And guilt was part of, you know, church thing as well. So, it was always imbued in anything, that anything good in life was, it's about guilt. So, I think that was it because it was, we did always feel guilty. And I can always remember, if I did have something new, even as an adult with my daughter, it's like, say, that come from and I immediately feel guilty unless it was a washing machine, or books or something that was not wasteful. So, it was really, I really wish that I had allowed myself to enjoy, enjoy money a lot earlier, and not feel guilty about it. So, I think that's probably the main thing. But I mean, he [my father] was big on saving and the austerity type of thing, which, you know, again, is very, very wise. And I sort of knew that I needed to budget and pay the bills and had some savings set aside for emergencies. But I think that 'security' was overwhelmingly the most important thing to him. And that is good, but it also I think, put my life into a direction that maybe wasn't what I maybe... have chosen. I was like choose a secure job, choose the secure profession, and choose this, rather than what we wanted, or what the values what our own values were, were not taken into account. It was really more about sensible. And like we talked about a bit earlier. It's not to be taken into account, let's just do what's practical, and what's logical, and what makes good sense. Without sort of bringing your values and... I'm really big on first of all discovering what your values are before talking about money. So that has to be part of the any financial education or any financial literacy training, what are your values, because if unless they line up, it's never going to work out. So, I think that having those principles of where your values lie, are really important. So again, that wasn't part of the conversation. It was just being sensible.
Jane Monica-Jones 39:28
Roslyn thank you so much for being on the Financial Therapy podcast, I feel like we're gonna have to get you back on, there's probably plenty of territory we can cover. But this has just been absolutely wonderful. And thank you so much for sharing your passion and your own story and all your research and thank you... really appreciate you being here.
Roslyn Russell 39:47
It's really great to talk with you Jane. And it's fascinating and I think that your role is just amazing. And it's so, so much needed. So, it's fantastic.
Jane Monica-Jones 39:58
Thank you, Roslyn. That's so lovely. [END]