Women Talking Money #1 - Susan Campbell

Susan Campbell is a seriously empowered female.  She runs a successful consulting business specialising in risk management, has worked with major banks around the world, was also a senior lecturer at RMIT university and is a non-executive director of Heritage Bank.

She has also been an amazing role model to her two girls aged 21 and 16.

Here's our conversation...

 

What does F-Empowered mean to you?

I can answer that in a story.

When I gave a financial planning course a number of years ago I asked 

“if you were a financial planner, and a female client came in to see you, what is the first thing you would ask ?”

 The response from the group was “Are you married?”

I suddenly thought “why is this so high on the priority list? the woman is coming into see a financial planner for advice!”, so I asked “is this the first question you would ask a man?”.  

The answer was, unsurprisingly, “No.”

So for me, F-Empowered means being financially independent, regardless of if you have a partner or not.  

 

What does financial independence mean to you?

It’s being able to answer the following questions:

  • Do you know where your money is?

  • Do you have access to it?

  • Who does have access to it?

  • Do you understand the basics of the products you have? for example, interest rates on your home loan, what happens if you overdraw on your credit card. etc.

  • Do you have enough money if your husband left you?

 

Why is this so important?

Women earn money in their own right so why not learn to take care of it yourself.

Statistically women live longer than men… so will have to be responsible for their own money decisions. 

Also, many  women leave the decisions about money to their partners and assume their  know what they are doing.  This is definitely not always the case. 

 

How do you practise being F-Empowered?

I definitely practice what I preach… so this means:

  • I run my own share portfolio and make buy and sell decisions

  • I make decisions together with my husband

  • We both know where all our accounts are

  • I have our accounts in our joint names and a credit card in my own name

F-EMpowered Tip: if you are not both signatories on accounts and you do not have your own credit card (that is that you are not the primary card holder) and g-d forbid something happens to your husband, the banks will freeze the accounts and credit cards…

 

A lot of the F-Empowered community is interested in investing, what are some of the things you have done on your investment journey?

  1. I read as much as I can - about the investment product types, then the companies themselves that I may be interested in (e.g. How to money(basic product information ), motley fool, the Australian Fnancial Review, the australian, Investsmart)

  2. I was not afraid to start - but I started small

  3. I do not put all my eggs into one basket - no matter how good the offer seemed, spread the risk by product companies advisors etc.

  4. I use listed managed funds or unlisted managed funds - where professionals do the hard work for you (they should make a big effort to know the companies in which they invest

  5. Use existing tools to trade for my share portfolio - I use the banks’ trading platforms to trade shares (e.g. CommSec, E*Trade)

 

What have you done to empower your two daughters?

I’ve taught my girls

  • don’t be frightened of money or reliant on someone else to tell you what to do with your money… learn how to invest

  • know what money can do for you and what it can’t…

  • have an emergency fund

  • invest in the compound effect - e.g. shares giving dividends, compound interest on high interest savings accounts

 

F-Empowered Tip** Make your money work as hard for you as you work for your money

 

Final words of wisdom to our community:

  • it is your money, if you do not take an interest in it, no-one will

  • Don’t believe that anyone makes perfect decisions

  • Be prepared to learn

  • It’s important to talk about money with your partner and your children

 

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If you have a story to share - please contact me on irit.harris@f-empowered.com.au