THE STORIESTHAT COUNT
Start Counting is creating change for women and the employers backing them.
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“I’m setting myself up for success in the future”
But I knew I still had some work to do. I was lucky enough to be sponsored by my employer, NAB, identifying me as someone that could benefit from the increased life and financial confidence this course would give me.
I bought my own place when I was 29, and I’ve been steadily paying off my mortgage. But I really had no idea how I was tracking with my weekly expenses.
I was often scared to look at my bank account. It’s really easy to sweep it under the carpet and live from pay to pay each fortnight.
During the workshop, we did a great exercise where we worked out what we were earning, spending, the value of the money we owed and the assets we owned. I discovered I have champagne tastes on a tap water budget – I was spending more than I was earning. It was quite confronting, but also oddly therapeutic because there was an action focus to the program.
I decided to put steps in place to take control over my money, and I left the workshop with a detailed plan to pay off my credit card debt.
It was encouraging sharing this experience with other women. We all learned from each other, and it makes you feel, ‘Oh, okay, I’m not a freak, I’m not alone, there’s lots of people facing similar pressures’.
I created a budget and reduced some of my high spend items, like eating out at restaurants, and I started using cash rather than cards. It was harder handing over physical cash compared to just tapping my card and moving on!The money and what I was spending seemed more real.
Within four months of finishing Start Counting I’d paid off all the credit card debt that had been hanging over me for years. In the past I’d go and spend my tax return money on a new handbag or something, because I’d think, ‘I’ve earned that and had a big year of work’. Now I’ve shifted my mindset to not being as materialistic and stopping to think, ‘Is this a wise decision?’
“Start Counting offered our participants a unique development opportunity to grow confidence around life and money and build crucial networks with other women outside of our business.” KPMG
“I now understand my relationship with money”
My parents migrated from Europe and followed fairly traditional gender roles that saw my father taking charge of most financial decisions. Coming from a European culture, it’s widely accepted that the father passes this knowledge and know-how onto the boys – and the girls often miss out.
I have seen so many women in heart-breaking situations largely due to a lack of money management - particularly when relationships break down or where their partners pass away. This has forced many of them to try and learn these skills when they already have enough to worry about.
I try to play a pro-active role when it comes to money in my own family. After all, working at NAB has meant that I know how important it is to be financially wise. But after the program I did realise some of my ingrained habits and beliefs were still holding me back.
Understanding your financial position is such a powerful step to mapping out where you are and where you want to be.
Things change; and when you have a family it’s even more important to be empowered financially.
The program made me think about my family’s vision for the future and understand how our financial position might impact these goals. I sat down with my partner after the workshop and shared my vision board with him. Collectively we worked out how much we owe, own, spend and save.
It was a real eye opener for us and really hit home that to get where we want to be, we were going to need more income to make it happen.
It’s not just learning about money, it’s about stepping back and having a plan of how it fits into other parts of your life: your relationships, family and work. I now have the tools I need to be the best I can be in terms of my life and money as well as be a good role model to my kids.
“Our workforce is strong in diversity, so supporting women through individual challenges is hugely important. Start Counting provided the confidence boost they needed in both life and work.” Clemenger
“It’s about taking responsibility for my money”
I had learnt a little bit about the issues facing women at uni, but it was never laid out to me as something that could be worked on. Start Counting makes you dig deep into yourself and uncover what your life looks like now, where you’re headed and how your money stack up to achieve it.
One message that really stood out for me was that even if you don’t make a decision, you’re still making a decision. It was quite powerful to learn that when you’re in debt, you will just slowly, progressively get more into debt. I am the one that needs to decide, ‘I’m going to break it,’ in order to change.
I had never really thought about it before, but during the workshop I realised I was in a pattern of spending more than I’m earning.
I work full-time, but the money wasn’t going towards my future. I didn’t need to change that much about my life; it was more about changing the way I looked at things and the habits I had created- like never paying off my credit card each month.
I set goals during the program, like to move out of my parents’ home and to pay off my credit card. It took work and I had to be strict with myself, but within three months I’d achieved them both.
It really is about taking responsibility for my money. I do regret the time when I was mindlessly spending money without a second thought. But the good thing is that it’s never too late to turn things around. I now feel set up with a good mindset and plan for my future. Bring it on!
“Start Counting actively supports our approach to rewarding and retaining the future female leaders of our law firm.” Gadens