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MoneyBrilliant CEO Jemma Enright talks portfolios, property and her new pet puppy

Published on March 29, 2015 4:42 pm, by

We kick off our series of fun, fabulous, financially-savvy female interviews, with MoneyBrilliant CEO Jemma Enright

So … We’ve just met you … and this crazy … but here’s my number … Actually wait, wait! We should probably get to know you a little better first…
My name is Jemma Enright and I’m a start-up CEO

 Ok, now describe your current relationship/values with your finances. We’re all about being economical at MoneyBrilliant so we want you to do it in five words or less (come on, you tweet in 140 characters it can’t be that hard!)
Delightfully in the comfort zone

Have you always been that Zen? If not, when did you see the light?
To be honest, I have always had a lot of discipline around my money. We had a big family and things were tight growing up so it taught me to value it and I’ve always had a phobia about (bad) debt like credit cards. I have been fiercely independent from a young age so managing money well was important to me.
I would say, however, that I have wasted a lot of money through my 20s and 30s on things that didn’t mean much. I was a shopaholic before I threw in a well-paying job for a start-up life of earning nothing for a long time. This was the best thing that could have happened to me; it taught me to focus on the important things in life. It broke my shopping addiction. I do regret not putting more of my money towards my future but I am now in a position to do this.

I’m a woman, you’re a woman. Let’s talk woman to woman – do you believe females have fewer financial skills then men, and if so why?
I believe women are as capable as men to learn the principles of money but they don’t make it their business to learn. Why not? I think the answer is complex. Women love relationships over numbers. To women, it’s taboo to talk about money; like big-noting. For men, it’s an interest like sport; it’s a competitive pursuit. For women, there is a vicious cycle at play; not talking about money limits knowledge and limited knowledge drives avoidance. I think this is a huge barrier for women to learn and seek financial advice.

In addition to the ability to walk in heels without wobbling, we think women need some skills to be financially empowered, right? However, since we couldn’t find them on the sales rack at David Jones, we’re looking at you … What do you suggest?
The skills are very simple if we break it down. You do not need to be a financial expert to be in control. The first skill really is self-awareness, something women do well! Understand yourself, your attitude to money and your spending danger zones. Do you spend to feel better? Do you over-spend because you’re just not keeping track?
The second skill is to know your money. This is like an auditing skill but it’s really easy. Spend time looking at the way you spend. Start asking yourself simple questions. Do I spend more than I earn? On what? Do I spend everything I earn? If I spend less than I earn, what am I doing with the surplus? This is a great time to get quality, professional advice.
Lastly, you need discipline. Think about what’s important to you in life and work out what it costs. Sticking to your commitments is a great way to feel empowered. You’ll get a buzz from staying on track that’s hard to beat. Yes, even by a new pair of shoes!

Why do you think women act all awkward shuffle/I might bump-into-the-ex anxious/monday morning spin class lazy, when it comes to financially empowering themselves?
Procrastination, fear, lack of confidence, lack of time, not spending time understanding ourselves and what feeling good about money means to us. Simply spending more money than we have and not seeing progress is demotivating and disempowering. Here, we get stuck in a rut.

So if Gerard Butler happens to be chilling in his pad in Scotland and reading this interview, what area of your finances/financial decisions would you most like to show off about?
Buying a lovely apartment in Bondi on my own at age 32. To me this was a huge milestone in my financial independence. It’s given me an important foundation to grow my wealth and a place to call home for many happy years.

And the stuff you’d like to give a Victoria Beckham-style makeover?
I’d like to learn more about investing in shares. I have some shares which I bought directly. I started small and low-risk but it was a great step for me as it pushed me to learn. I’d like to increase my knowledge and investment in shares.

As well as candle lit dinner and long walks on the beach, what would your (hypothetical) e-Harmony profile say about your attitude to investment (property, shares, etc)
Now, my attitude is maximise it. I’m nearly 40 so it’s important to me. It drives me to be sensible about my lifestyle now.

As a recovering chocaholic who has to navigate the Tim Tam aisle with her eyes closed, I am not one to judge vices… but what is your spending kryptonite? And since you can’t be a superwoman, how do you incorporate that into a financially responsible lifestyle?
My spending weakness is my new pup Boston. Wow this little fella is going to be loved to death if my eBay and online spending is anything to go by! But he is so emotionally gratifying I think he’s worth every cent

What is your 60 month financial plan (Its really only five years, but let’s buy you some time and make it sound longer)
Diversified investment portfolio. More shares and maybe a second investment property. I want to be able to have some frequent and smart conversations with men, and hopefully many women, about money and wealth.

As well as warning yourself against emotionally investing in Justin Timberlake’s work with NSYNC as his best, what words of wisdom would you give your 10 year younger self?
Don’t buy seasonal stuff, buy life experience and things that set you up for life.

LOOSE CHANGE

1. What song do you sing in the shower?
You’re the Voice – John Farnham

2. Heels or flats?
Flats now. If you’d asked me two years ago, it would have been heels – always!

3. Your dream holiday would involve …
Italy. Italy. Italy.

4. If you were a colour, what would you be?
Orange. Energy.