WOW - Women of the World - Festival

WOW - Women of the World - Festival

Happy International Women's Day!

I'm getting really excited about taking part in the WOW Festival this weekend. I'll be there 3-4pm on Friday as part of a panel discussing risk, exposure and resilience. And also delivering a worksop 'Getting Personal with Finance' 3-4pm on Saturday, where I'll be taking women through the 7 Laws of Sheconomics and answering audience questions.

Passes for the festival are now sold out, but come and see me if you're there! @WOWtweetUK #WOWLDN

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Are you thriving or simply surviving?

Are you thriving or simply surviving?

I was interviewed by a journalist recently who wanted to write an article about ‘financial therapy’ - a combination of financial advice and therapy for unhelpful money behaviours - that is currently popular in the US.

The article - Do you need financial therapy? – was published by The Guardian this week. While I don’t describe myself as a therapist, my work often involves helping clients address the emotions they experience surrounding the subject of money and helping shift unconscious patterns of behaviour around money.

As well as interviewing me about my work, we did some work on the journalist’s relationship with money so that she could experience what I do. She’d never before given much thought to her relationship with money.

What was revealing was that she can get herself out of trouble but can’t maintain that forward momentum once it no longer feels like a problem. We did an exercise where I got her to personify her relationship with money, and what came to her was ambivalence, disinterest and discomfort about engaging with money. We realised that her focus was on survival: getting through the month, paying off debts, but not on thriving.

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Are you holding yourself back from financial success?

Are you holding yourself back from financial success?

I always find it interesting how often we hold ourselves back. How often female clients, in particular, voice their concern over feeling like a fraud professionally despite sincere recognition from the outside world and extensive experience within their profession. Yet, despite that external acknowlegment, internally there's something else going on.

I've noticed that many of us experience an internal conflict. While a part of us knows who we are and what we're capable of, at some level, another part may believe the complete opposite. 'Who am I to achieve/desire/deserve that?’. Sometimes it feels like there’s a fight going on inside with both parts vying for attention and neither getting heard. 

I do a lot of work with this in relation to people’s behaviour around money. One part of you ...

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Pensions just got more flexible

Pensions just got more flexible

Spring has sprung and this April has brought us not only sunshine, but something even brighter - big changes in pensions!

Fundamental reforms, introduced in the 2014 Budget, come into effect this month. But if you don't have a clue what these changes are, you're not alone. To understand the implications, we need to take a step back and clarify some pension jargon. There are two main structures of pension provision....

The first is known as ‘defined contribution’, or ‘money purchase’ where you, the employer, or both, pay in a set amount each month. The fund grows and you end up with a pot of money at retirement. But the size of this pot isn’t fixed - it depends on how much is put in when, investment returns, charges etc. And the pension income you end up receiving is unknown until you start drawing from this pension pot.

The second structure is a ‘defined benefit scheme’, known as a ‘final salary pension’, which pays out a guaranteed level of pension income based on your income when you retire and the number of years you’ve been working.

Most people today are in a ‘defined contribution’ scheme, and the current reforms are mostly in relation to this. So what’s changed?...

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What are we giving our children at Christmas?

What are we giving our children at Christmas?

I was chatting to my hairdresser the other day, having the conversation we’re all having at this time of year: “You all set for Christmas? Done your shopping yet?” She said she was all ready, excited for her young children aged 7 and 10, and revealed that her budget was £500 per child.

I left the hairdresser reeling a bit from this figure, and the wider implications of that kind of spend. It set me thinking about what we’re actually giving our children at Christmas. Every parcel under the Christmas tree is wrapped not just in sparkly paper and ribbons, but in many layers of belief and attitudes and values. While the actual presents may soon be forgotten, these extra layers often stay with people for their whole lives – affecting how they deal with money, love and giving in adulthood.

It's these beliefs and attitudes...

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