In this two minutes with segment, we speak to Emma Flaherty, Founder of the MoneyGirl website, about young people and financial resilience, industry jargon and backpacking.
You’ve recently launched MoneyGirl. Can you tell us a bit more about the website and its objectives?
MoneyGirl is a social enterprise that seeks to demystify personal finance for young women. I’m 26, so I know first-hand how challenging it can be to manage your money, save it and grow it. My aim when setting up MoneyGirl was to connect young women from low socio-economic backgrounds to the know-how that will allow them to succeed financially.
The blog breaks down any jargon that’s associated with the world of finance and adds some humour, making it easy to resonate with other twenty-somethings. The main objective is to create a shift in the way that women view money and to encourage more accountability.
You recently took part in an event with the CISI on young people and financial resilience. How well equipped do you think young people today are to deal with unexpected financial shocks?
I believe young people today are more switched on than ever before due to the amount of information available to them via online resources like YouTube, blogs and social media. However, more needs to be done to ensure that the type of information millennials are receiving through these channels is aimed at educating them about the full picture. It’s very easy to take out a store card, neglect a pension plan and not prioritise high-interest debt, but we often learn the hard way with these things.
Most young people that I speak to are extremely capable of managing their own money and do a good job at it. However, there is still a high majority that don’t give their future situation much thought and live for the here and now. I think young people need to be encouraged to take a more positive mindset. And we can only do that by introducing more role models, case studies and incentives.
If you could give one piece of financial advice to a teenage version of yourself, what would it be?
This is a tricky one. I started working at 14 and had a part-time job continuously up until I graduated. I worked at a local football ground, I was a waitress, a Saturday girl in the local hairdressers and, more memorably, a pizza maker in Dominos. I’ve always been financially independent and saved up for things I wanted. If I went back in time though, I wouldn’t spend as much on boyfriends at Christmas.
If you could change one thing about the financial services industry, what would it be?
I’d make it more transparent and appealing. Money shouldn’t be complicated. I’d also place more responsibility on the financial services industry to address the need for education in schools. It’s a win-win situation for us and for them.
What would you do if you were Prime Minister for a day?
I’d implement financial literacy classes for an hour every week in every school in the UK and personally visit them to see if it’s making an impact. Knowing me, I’d probably take an excited selfie outside Number 10 and send it to my friends and family.
What is your biggest pet peeve, or makes you angry?
I wouldn’t say it makes me angry, but a pet peeve of mine is poor time management. Especially if it’s the first impression; in today’s world that counts for everything.
Now, tell us a little about your life outside of work, do you have any hobbies?
I love to travel to new places and I’m always plotting my next trip. Favourite stint so far has been backpacking around South East Asia when I was 21 as well as trekking the Sahara Desert. I love to laugh, eat good food and get lost in a great book or interesting conversation. Old soul at heart!
What is the one column or website that you read every day?
Forbes or The Huffington Post – both have good quality content that’s inspiring and thought-provoking.
What would you do if you received a windfall of £10,000?
It’d pay for my stamp duty on my second property so the sensible side of me would pay that off, but the spontaneous side of me would go travelling and see some more of the world whilst I’m still young.