Interview with Molly Benjamin
“Women bring such understanding and empathy to the industry”
What is your job?
Ladies Financial Club empowers women to take control of their financial futures and to get money savvy! Our whole thing is about making financial education really fun and accessible. Women really want to learn about this information but it’s a very male pale world of finance. Everything’s very blue. So we’re trying to refresh that and help women understand why it’s so important that they get on top of their finances when they’re young. Because when we teach them about compounding and investing, one of the best things that can happen is when they’re young they can start investing and it can change their life.
Why did you choose this career path?
I was actually working in finance at that time and I had my girlfriends over on a Sunday evening a number of years ago and they were all talking about how broke they were after the weekend. That made me wonder- these guys had great jobs and were earning good money: how do they have nothing to show for it? And they had great holidays, had a great wardrobe but they’re living paycheck to paycheck.
The same happened when I was working as an event manager of marketing and communications for a bank. I spoke to some of the girls I was working with in the financial services and asked them how much they will have for their pension, and whether they were investing and they had no clue! In fact, they were confused where to start from. At that time, I got determined to do something about it.
What inspired you?
So I started researching more about how women handled their finances and what I found was pretty scary. Women are living longer, but we earn less. The pay gap is still very much there! We invest less into the stock market. We’re more in debt and we’re retiring on half of the pension of men. And I thought that this isn’t good and wondered what I could do about it. I literally started running events in my living room and then we grew very quickly from there.
My background was financial and FinTech events, I started running these events in London and they started selling out. More and more women started coming and then they wanted us to do corporate workshops. We did a corporate workshop with Lloyds Bank on the International Women’s Day- we’ve also done workshops at Barclays in the past. We have worked with a lot of financial service companies and also with fashion houses and law firms till date. It was kind of like a passion for me and I thought I could help women, which is amazing and something that I always wanted to do. I came back to Australia in August and no one was doing anything similar. I thought fantastic! I started the Ladies Finance Club to try to help as many women as possible. It’s a really important education that we’re not being taught at school or at university.
What were your biggest challenges in a male dominated industry?
We actually haven’t come across that many obstacles related to that but we always get a question asking why is it just for women. And I always reply saying it’s justified that it’s called Ladies Finance Club until the salary gap is fixed, until we’re not retiring on half the pension of men and we don’t have all these statistics against us. At the moment, we are going to focus on women because there’s a big issue here.
What is the best advice you can give to a woman that wants to work in Finance?
A woman who is stepping into the world of finance has to be prepared that she is going into quite a male dominated world. But things are changing and women bring such understanding and empathy to this industry and are so important. And they come up with new strategies for dealing with difficult situations. You just need to show them why you got hired why you are the best for that job. Also never fear to ask for a salary raise!
Another advice that I would like to give is to find a mentor and a sponsor. It doesn’t matter if they’re male or female, they just have to be supportive of you and your skills. It is important to be able to have someone who you can not only look up to, but who is also going to help you and guide you through what comes.