FINANCIAL services business owner Jen Richardson has launched an online financial literacy course specifically for women because, she says, they need to take control of their money.
Ms Richardson devised the Got Money Honey course after watching her mother languish after being brushed off by financial planners at meetings with her husband, and hearing her clients complain that they needed someone to budget for them like she does herself.
Richardson, 54, who founded her business 123 Financial Group from her bedroom not too long after being told by a former boss that "women will never be a partner here because they go off and have babies", says there is a financial literacy education shortfall.
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"I get that that applies to men, too, but I chose to help women only, because I am very much a believer that women are brushed aside," she says. "I don't mean to sound sexist, but people assume men will look after the finances. In my office, we get people ringing and asking for the boss, saying 'Tell him to call me', assuming it's a man, not me."
The mother of three wants to give women confidence to manage their finances, and she hopes her courses will create a community of women who will rise with each other.
"I want to give women control, with divorce rates and women outliving men ... I have clients whose husbands have passed away and they don't know how to do internet banking," she says.
"If you don't know what's wrong, you don't know what to fix, but part of fixing it is you give yourself confidence to take control of your financial future and then you have a choice in life - whether it's staying in an unhappy relationship, a job you don't like, or a choice of when you want to retire with the lifestyle you want."
Raised in Newcastle, Ms Richardson thought she'd be a teacher but took her father's advice that accountancy was a good profession to be able to mix with family life.
After gaining her qualifications at the University of Newcastle, she worked at a few local firms before her future husband encouraged her to go solo.
"So I started in my front bedroom, fitted it in around breastfeeding and baths and when my eldest went to school, I went out in to office space while my husband stayed at home with the other two kids to be a stop and home dad."
In 2017, 123 Financial Group moved into the financial planning and mortgage broking sectors at the behest of clients.
Ms Richardson first tested the waters with a financial literacy course for women in December and has now transferred the offering fully online.
She believes finance has remained a man's domain because of family and social mores - "People talk to their sons about how to do things, but not to their daughters" - and that while women are now taking equal workplace roles, they don't take an equal role in their financial path.
Another block for women being in the driving seat, she believes, is their lack of confidence.
"It's not knowing where to turn where to get help and it's mich easier to say 'i'm hopeless at finances' but you never hear a man say 'I am hopeless with spending'," she says.
Targeted at women aged between 35 and 55, who mostly have "lots going on, from single parents to those wanting to separate or who have been left", Got Money Honey is a deep dive into spending patterns.
Ms Richardson says this allows course participants to see where their finances are going and make changes to be in a stronger position.
"Once you have worked out where you spend your money, it gives you your average spend in all those categories over three months, then we ask everyone to reduce their needs by 10 per cent and they have to remove three wants, then we redirect their savings either to paying down debts or working towards goals they might have," she says.
"So the ladies closer to 50 might be putting into super so they have more money for retirement, others might be paying a home loan off or planning a holiday."
Developing a budget with six bank accounts for their spending, including bills and a "OMG" account for emergencies, then follows.
It's all familiar to Ms Richardson, who never lets any of her insurance or utilities accounts "roll over" without checking them and recently saved $400 by changing her electricity provider.
She still remembers when her children were young and money was tight.
"I did a plan for my husband and I because I couldn't work out where money was going, and it turned out we were spending too much at the butchers, you know, kids with hollow legs, and I said to him, 'Honey, you need to cook meals now with cheaper cuts of meat!"
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