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#304 Jenny Rolfe-Wallace – Transcript

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Jess Brady
Today’s chat is with Jenny Rolfe-Wallace. Jenny has a really interesting background. And we talk about how do we actually practically improve financial literacy in the next generation, which is different to what I thought it was going to be. We talk about financial advisors, and how we need to improve the level of diversity that exists. And we call out the structural inequality, and changes that need to take place to do that, because they’re all really interesting chat. And I hope you’ll agree. Hello, Jenny, and thank you so much for being here today.

Jenny Rolfe-Wallace
Hey, Jess, it’s great to be here chatting.

Jess Brady
So I’ve got a lot of questions for you, as you can possibly already imagine. But I think the most logical place to start is you’ve got a very diverse and unique, I would say background, having stalked you on LinkedIn. Which is so interesting and fascinating. And I have no doubt that that’s going to really help pepper today’s conversation with interesting and colorful things. Could you perhaps help everyone who is listening, learn a little bit about you?

Jenny Rolfe-Wallace
Sure thing, I have actually had a really interesting journey personally and in my career as well. So I started my career studying accounting and economics. And the only reason I did that was because I loved economics, I had the most fabulous teacher in high school, who just engendered an absolute love of the subject. And I wanted to be an economist. And the only way that I could do that was to study accounting as well. But going through that course, I really just developed such a love for finance, but also a love of, I suppose, teaching and talking to others about the topic. And so instead of going out into accounting initially, or into the economic world, I was a teacher, I worked at the university and then in high school for a while. And I was teaching, personal finance, and commerce and all sorts of fun things. So the kids and I absolutely love that. But after a few years, thought, right, I really need to get out into industry and get some experience. So I ended up while I was teaching, studying both financial planning and law. And I had an opportunity to enter the financial planning industry. So I worked as an advisor for a number of years, and that was during the 1990s. And so I saw the introduction of fsra. And because of my education background, I had a chance to then actually teach what was the ps1 for six now rt 146 And of course, now totally superseded courses. And so for the last 20 odd years, I’ve actually been focusing in the financial education space, I’ve worked with a couple of unis and I moved out of advice because I just loved being able to work with advisors, but then also working in consumer education. So I’d actually describe myself as a financial education specialist, that with a real passion for helping people to understand the complexities and really taking that difficult concepts and putting them into everyday language, so that people can feel confident in their decision making, whether that’s as an advisor, or as a consumer, and I particularly love working with women and I always have, from my advice days right through to my consumer education She dies now.

Jess Brady
We’re both on that front. You can’t see it. But we are. It’s such a great, interesting background. I was like, Oh my gosh, look at this. She’s been a teacher. She’s taught at universities around financial about she’s been a financial advisor. She’s now doing, you know, consulting and education stuff, which we’re gonna get into in a minute. But yeah, I was so excited to have you as today’s guest. Because I think that this is just such a space that, you know, it’s shipped Jenny, why don’t we teach all of this stuff? It’s, it’s still blows my mind that it’s 2022. And this is still something that we don’t really get very much education on or taught about unless our parents do it. Why do you think that is still?

Jenny Rolfe-Wallace
Well, that is a great question. And the answer to that is financial literacy is actually embedded in the Australian Curriculum. But there’s a few problems about the way that it rolls out in schools. And part of it is actually the way that it’s designed. So little disclaimer here. I’ve been working towards a PhD for a little while. And my topic is actually on the financial socialization of children, and primarily looking at the role of parents. And the reason I did that was because years and years ago, I came across some research that shows you know, what if we teach kids financial literacy, and I’m using that term, very specifically, in school, or even at a tertiary level, it doesn’t result in long term changes in behavior. And part of the reason is, because we might know this stuff, like we know, we should eat well, and wish you’d exercise and all of the things, but we don’t necessarily do it. And that really highlights how important understanding our values and our attitudes, and our behavior is to our financial decision making. So who want to be make good decisions with money, we have to understand what motivates us. And in schools, the focus is on can you calculate a percentage? Do you understand the different interest rate structures, and it’s really dry. And it’s often taught from a math perspective, and there’s a lot of great research and Australian based research is Well, coming out of a number of universities that show actually teachers aren’t really prepared, equipped and resource to teach these topics. Now, we know there’s a lot of great stuff that Asik Moneysmart has done. But the research says about 80% of teachers don’t feel confident teaching financial literacy, let alone financial capability, or financial well being. And so we often when we teach this, we default to what we know and our own lived experience. And many teachers are no different anybody else some are great with money, and some are have. So there are all of these layers that mean that if we try to embed financial literacy knowledge in schools, we need to make sure that it’s looking at behaviors and values and attitudes, as much as the numbers. And you know, a lot of the measures like the PISA test that shows the Australian 15 year olds have declining levels of financial literacy are really focused focused on those mathematical concepts. And we need to actually revamp financial education in school. The other missing piece, which is what my research is looking at, is what role do families play, because what you learn in the home is so influential on the behaviors that you that you demonstrate when you are older. And we do what we learn, we follow often the role models we’ve been given whether that’s to do what they did, or do the opposite of what they did. And when I first started doing my research, I discovered that the parents that I interviewed, were really keen to teach their kids about money, they wanted to be involved. Very few of them said that they felt their parents had prepared them for the financial world. And what was really interesting that default parenting, what they were doing with their kids was what their parents had done with them, but they’d already kind of acknowledged that what their parents did didn’t work. And what I realized was we actually have such a gap in supporting parents to consciously teach their kids about money to unpack our own financial values and attitudes and behaviors. And then look at how do we actually teach our kids and it’s really exciting because there’s so many people that are doing great, great work in this space. Like Laci Phillips which of the money school she There’s some great stuff grounded in entrepreneurship for kids. And they show that it’s more than just the knowledge. It’s about the behaviors. It’s about capability. It’s about applying skills. And that’s what we really need to be focusing on in education. So, yep, we need to do financial education in early years, but we need to do it far better. And we need to acknowledge that there’s a partnership between homes, parents, and carers and schools as well. And we shouldn’t just be putting the burden on schools, because schools will teach one thing, but if kids are seeing a different thing in the home, you’re not necessarily going to get that integrated change. And that’s what the research tells us.

Jess Brady
This is so interesting, my brain I love talking about,

Jenny Rolfe-Wallace
oh, my gosh, kind of one of my favorite topics, just I love this, because everyone has opinions. And yet, actually, when you look at the research, you know, it’s so multi layered. It’s so multifaceted. The other thing is that a lot of the financial literacy programs, and particularly those that are targeted low income earners, kind of teach this idea or you can budget your way out of poverty. And that is just so far from the truth. And part of the problem with these programs is often they are developed by people with a particular lived experience. And I’m going to really stereotype the people that are often involved in creating these programs. You know, if you name the people who have been really influential in the Australian financial education landscape of recent years, they are all largely white, affluent men and women coming from a particular lived experience. It often means they’re bringing their unconscious biases. And I’ve seen that in a lot of financial literacy programs where the assumption is that, well, you’re you’re in poverty, or you’re struggling financially, because you don’t know how to manage money. I’ll tell you what, if you want to find someone who has a brilliant budget, you find a single mom who is living on a limited income. They know how to make the most of it. They know how to squeeze the last dollar the issue has not granted. Yeah, the issue is far broader. And it’s systemic. And it and it ties into why so many women experienced financial insecurity throughout their life.

Jess Brady
Absolutely. And you know, I read this research. I don’t think it’s Australian research. I think it’s European Research, which frightened me. And it talks about, obviously, the existence of a wage gap, which we know is real, it’s real,

Jenny Rolfe-Wallace
very real, very big. And

Jess Brady
we know from that research, that it actually starts at home coming to that piece around that behavioral family component to teaching your kids about money. I was most fun to learn that I think from like age 10. There is already a gendered wage gap for pocket money and roles inside a home.

Jenny Rolfe-Wallace
Yes, yes. And it’s unconscious. No one does that intentionally. Right. Well, I’d like to think people don’t do that intentionally. But yes, you’re absolutely right. It actually starts from very early years. And it’s, it has long term impact. Yeah,

Jess Brady
yeah, totally does. Yeah. And then it perpetuates that cycle that you’re talking about, which is that unconscious bias and belief around how Judy’s are divided in a home and how income is produced, and that has lifelong impacts. And we’ve seen that right now. And so if we’re thinking about how do we help the next generation and the generation after, then I think we all need to take a look at not only for our clients, but actually ourselves what’s going on in our family, in fact, I, I have a small, terrific niece, and she is wild. So she clearly does not take off to me at all. And I bought her the series of books around money and teaching them about money. And so one is around saving, and what does saving actually mean and investing. And I said to my sister in law, please read her these. And please make sure that she you know, gets them over and over and over again. And she said to me, Jess, where did you get these from? Because I’ve been to so many kids bookstores, and I’ve not seen anything fun and interesting about kids and money. And when I actually thought about and I looked it up and to your point. All of the kids books around money are written by like guys in 90 suits. And I was like, Oh my gosh, can we do anything worse to engage the next generation? About money? Yeah, it’s, it’s frightening.

Jenny Rolfe-Wallace
It’s frightening. Yes. Yes. But you know what, there are some great things out there. You do just need to go and look for them. Have you ever come across the lunar Jeff Jaffe books, no wild money in the journals. So she is US based and she’s a financial advisor, but she’s also an artist and she has written these most beautiful books and journals around money and they are Ah, aesthetically stunning, but also the way they interact and encourage the person reading and to write and to reflect. And it’s a completely different approach to often the recipe book approach to, to financial security where you have to have buckets or you have to save a certain perspective, or you have to, you know, you must do it this way, it actually is just beautiful. And I often will recommend that to my creative friends who say that they’re no good with money, but actually just have never found a way to relate to it. In a way that’s fun and interesting. Isn’t that shame, we make it so boring. Finance is awesome money stuff is fun. And how beautiful that your knees has you to talk to, because I think having those conversations with the with the little people in our lives are so important, and especially as an attorney, because you can have conversations and send messages that the they will ignore their parents or their primary caregivers, rather listen to the extended family in their life. And I think that’s a really, really important thing to do. I just asked my nieces and nephews, they’ll show you how annoying I was, I used to give them cards on the 18th and 21st birthdays with an amount of money and and say now if you save this amount every week, instead of buying pizza and going out. This is how much you’ll have when you’re 30 and 40 and 50. I’m sure they did not pay attention to me at all. But it was just an opportunity to have have those conversations. If this isn’t just $20 or $50. This is 1000s over your lifetime.

Jess Brady
Do you know what I did? So I only have one niece. And I’m very hopeful that I don’t end up with scores of them, because I don’t think I’ll be able to do this for all of them. But at this point, it’s okay. So when my niece was born, I’ve got this box embossed for her with her name and her birthday. And every birthday, every Christmas, I write her a letter, random musings that she’ll probably burn in a rage of you know, teenage angst at 16 or whatever. But you know, I talk about what’s going on in the world and some of the political issues and like, how much does coffee cost because I think inflation will be interesting by the time she reads it. And I started an investment bond for her with investing age of 25. So that she’s not 18 and wild. And she doesn’t get gifts from me. So she gets money put into her investment portfolio. And, you know, she would have no idea that she’s missing a few toys along the way. But, you know, I try to explain to her throughout the letters, you know, what does it mean? And why are we doing this? And what’s this going to offer her the opportunity to do now she’s too little to actually take it all in. But even something like that. I tell people that I did it people think it’s like mind blowing. And I’m like, we need to normalize awesome. This

Jenny Rolfe-Wallace
stuff. Yes, absolutely. That’s great. Thank you. I’m sure she won’t blow up in and I’m sure she’ll maybe it’s just from a parent maybe. But cool. Annie cheers. She’ll be like, these are awesome. I hope so. Yes. So

Jess Brady
what advice, okay, let’s say a parent is listening, who is feeling slightly guilty about the fact that they too, have said, and maybe they are an advisor who said, it’s a shame that we don’t teach financial education, but hasn’t actually started to embody that in their own home or start to notice some of those unconscious biases that live in exist in most people’s houses? What do you think they should do? How do they start?

Jenny Rolfe-Wallace
Well, I think the first thing is to realize you’re actually already doing it, you’re just not doing it consciously. We are all modeling to our kids, attitudes and behaviors around everything. Because kids are like sponges, and they watch us and they take it in. So firstly, just make it a conscious thing. So say right there getting messages from me, What messages do I want to get? Look for the teachable moments, I think is a great thing. So if you ever asked my kids, they would roll their eyes and tell you all the times where you’ve been shopping or and from when they were little, and talking when they wouldn’t even be able to verbalize having conversations with them about making choices and comparing. Is this a better buy? Or is that a better buy and, and role modeling that budgeting even through little things like shopping? Talking about opportunity costs? So if we go to a fight, for example, or you know, kids always want things, right, because that’s how we’re wired, often and so they might be given $5 for school fight, and it’s like, right, there’s the $5 There’s your $10 you can spend it on whatever you want, but there is no money when this is finished. And it’s really interesting watching them as they grow that well is that $1 Top The Apple $5 Ride, oh, I don’t want to pay $10 for that, because that’s my money all gone. And understanding well, you can have that if you have that you might have to give out something else. And, you know, I love kids handling cash. Because we know, from a psychology perspective, when we hand over cash, we actually trigger the pain points in our brain. And there’s that sense of lots, which we don’t get when we’re spending cards or online. That actually triggers me. Pleasure points. So we love it. Yeah. But when there is that sense of loss of handing over, and I think it’s really great for kids to learn those skills of counting out money getting changed handling that and I know we’re moving towards a cashless society. But kids learn initially through concrete experiences. And I think if you can give them that, those opportunities to handle cash to pay over to get the change, is that right? It’s a way of just embedding those things very naturally. And the other thing that we’ve done in our family, from a very young age, if they have saving goals, we will do research, they want to buy a thing, let’s say it’s an iPad, saying that because there’s one in front of me, we’ll work out how much that is. And okay, how much will you need to save? How much does that work out per job? And no, your time is not worth $50 an hour, how much are you really worth as an unskilled laborer, there. And then, like with my daughter, when she’s now 14, but when she was four, she was saving for something, we had a jar, we had a picture on the front of the jar with the item, the amount she needed to say she had her jobs. And we would we would put the money in when she earned when she earned it, grandma would pay far better than me. So she saved quite quickly, but we would count the money. And it was just those skills so that now that she’s older, she’s a teenager, she has her own job, earning her own money. And we’re still having those conversations, it’s just in a different context. And the conversations that started when she was little little and have just been built on over time. So I think it’s about looking for the opportunities in the moment, using the teachable moments, making it as concrete as you possibly can, when they’re younger, and just having those very open conversations with them. And just make it explicit. So I, I will talk to them explicitly about the money stuff as I do about anything in their life. And having said that, I’m sure they will make mistakes and make different choices to me. And that’s okay, because we learn through those experiences. But I think that’s something my parents did really well. Even though we I grew up in a really, really low income home, we we talked about money stuff, often the lack of it and how you made it stretch. But those conversations, I think, really gave me a great base for what I, I then had a conscious approach as an adult. And that’s what I’m trying to replicate with my kids because that is what the research says, you know, if we can make it explicit, and give them skills, and just start with the little things.

Jess Brady
I got no financial literacy from my parents, it was actually quite a good learning of how not to behave with money, I think is probably what I saw. And that made me I’m very conservative to conservative with money, actually, because I watched my parents make some interesting financial choices. And actually one of them, Jenny, I think about this, and I hope my mother never listens to these podcasts. My mom used to make us hide her credit card statements in her sock drawer. And so it was a thing about when we got the mail, we would have to go through it and look for the logo on the front. And if it was x, y or Zed logo, we’d have to hide the the mail in the in the sock drawer. And I think about this now trying to teach people about, you know, communication around money and you know, no secrets and all of those things. And I think oh my goodness, interesting, interesting. So it’s fun isn’t?

Jenny Rolfe-Wallace
Isn’t that interesting? The fear and the most like, everybody, every single person has an emotional response to money. You mentioned money and whether it’s empowerment or fear. We all have an emotional response. And it’s about recognizing that and you know, how, what a different point if you can feel empowered, this is what I love about working in the consumer education space. When people feel empowered and in control, and then not driven by fear. It lets them make different choices, rather than feeling like money controls them. And money at the end of the day is just a tool. It’s not a measuring stick. It’s just something that we’re using our society and that feeling around empowerment is so, so important. And it’s, it’s not. I think it’s really interesting that the choices we make are our choices based on our values. But it’s if we feel in control of our money, not that money’s controlling us, if we are living, our preferred lifestyle, whatever that looks like, not feeling pressured from external forces. I think that’s a beautiful feeling, if you can reach that point. And where you see money as a tool, to achieve the life we want to live, I’d rather be happy and feel empowered than live in fear, or stress and worry, which is, I think one of my overriding memories as a kid was, would ever be quite enough money to do what was needed. But isn’t that interesting how our childhood experiences does influence how we respond as as adults

Jess Brady
totally. And even as someone who works in this sector, and who understands all that, you know, my money story is still showing up a lot. And so I’ve done a lot of work on it. And I actually know that many financial advisors don’t talk about this, this isn’t part of their remit. This is superfluous, fluffy, not necessary, because we give great portfolio investment advice. I mean, what would you say to someone who thinks that Jenny?

Jenny Rolfe-Wallace
Well, I think that, well, let’s look at the most common reasons for complaints flight complaints, is that they’ll complain about fees and not understanding fees and charges, they’ll complain about market volatility and risk. And they’ll complain that they didn’t understand the advice that that wasn’t what I was told. So we do have a job, financial advisors, I mean, you look at the code of ethics, we have a responsibility is a legal duty of care to clients. And a large part of that is understanding where your clients are rare. And I think their money stories are really central part of it, because you can come up with the best strategy using the best products. And clients will still have a sense of inertia, if you haven’t overcome, though, or addressed those emotional responses that they’re having to it. Or as soon as the market dips, and I was an advisor during 2000. During the 911 attacks, wasn’t that a fun couple of weeks right when the market absolutely went haywire. That time showed I think the importance of those client relationships and understanding your clients. And in my case, having spent a lot of time getting to know them, and educating them around investment and volatility in markets. And, you know, we, if we want to act in the best interest of all your financial, because I’m not an advisor anymore. But if we want to act in the best interests of our clients, or the people that we’re working with, we need to understand what motivates them. And we need to make sure that we’re genuinely addressing their concerns. Because the best strategy will mean nothing if someone isn’t committed and motivated to achieve it, an understanding of why I think is really important as well, why this strategy? People engage with advisors because of the knowledge and the skills and the ability to wade through all the complexity and come up with a great strategy and appropriate products. But take them on that journey. I think it’s really, really important. I left advice because I wanted to spend more time on that I wanted to spend less time choosing products and more time help, like taking people on that journey. But you can absolutely do it. I think together I think the best advisors naturally do.

Jess Brady
And what would you say for someone who’s like, Oh, my goodness, this is a light bulb moment? You’re right. I must do that. Do you have ideas? Do you have resources that you would put them you know, to go and check out? Do you have great questions that you would suggest that they start asking their clients? Where do they start? If they’re feeling a little bit overwhelmed by it? Do you think

Jenny Rolfe-Wallace
it’s a great question? I think, you know, given that everybody needs to do CPD and keep those points up, I think doing some investigation into some of the financial psychology, behavioral finance is a really great point. Great way to start and that can kind of tick off that CPD or professional development or education side of things as well. But there’s some really interesting emerging stuff in the behavioral finance space behavioral economics space, and plus some older books to like, I’ve got one that is ancient, I’m sure it’s called the psychology of saving. And I spend some time trying to understand human Like to because I think actually a lot of financial advisors do this intuitively, like it’s a financial advices of people industry. It’s about understanding people. It’s about connecting to people. And so the basis would be there, I’d imagine, but it’s just finding some resources and tools to support probably what many people already have a basis for. So I cannot on this on the on the spot, think of any resources, but perhaps that’s something that I can provide. No, that’s okay. Sorry. Yes. That was no, yeah, that’s

Jess Brady
fine. I read money, my mind went blank. No, and I’m putting you on the spot. So don’t worry at all. I read years ago, I read money, a love story. And I found that quite interesting to give gave really specific questions that you had to work through as the reader in sort of like a, like, have a workbook next to you as you’re doing it. And I think even just reading books like that, as an advisor, and starting to incorporate them, we incorporate some of those questions into our onboarding journey, and it helps us coach our members as well. So, so many, to your point before, like, there is so much emotion wrapped around money and the idea of money and so many, particularly women come to me with all of this shame and fear and stigma about what they know or don’t know or where they’re at and helping them learn and watching them. Change is one of my greatest privileges actually, as an advisor, it’s really beautiful.

Jenny Rolfe-Wallace
And you know what, there are so many amazing books written by Australian women in the finance space now, I have an entire bookshelf full of our officials full of them. And they they are brilliant, because they are, you know, previously a lot of the books you know, we’re we’re again coming from a very narrow lived experience. But whether you’re talking about Mel Brown, or Lacey or Natasha Jameson’s or Julie Newbold, and Kate McCallum’s, the joy of money, I love giving that book because it is beautiful. And it’s bite sized, and it’s got stories. But even getting those types or having a list of resources that clients can go and read to help them along the journey, because you know, most people have have a bit of work to do in that space, so having resources that can support them, not necessarily thinking you have to be the one to take them on the journey. So how do you as an advisor, tap into the amazing resources that are out there, you do not have to be all things to all people. But if you know where to send clients for specific resources that can really help. And I think, touching on that one thing that is often not talked about enough is the impact of economic abuse on women and on women’s financial security. And I think, particularly with when we’re working with clients who may be couples, having an awareness that economic abuse is something well, you know, family, domestic violence is something that happens across every single socio demographic group. Every single part of our community, regardless of a person’s net wealth are where they live. And a large part estimates that around 40%, goes unreported. And we often think it’s related to physical abuse or sexual abuse. But in fact, economic abuse occurs in 90% of family in domestic violence situations. And it often falls under that banner of coercive control. So understanding that, you know, when we’re working with clients, as advisors, that you will have clients who are experiencing an economic abuse situation. And often for women who have left relationships, there will be a large portion again, who have experienced economic abuse. And there is a whole raft of trauma and complexity that goes along with that. And you mentioned shame. And shame is absolutely one of those things, because, you know, for a lot of women, very even very educated women who had their own careers and had their own money, who may have taken time out of the workforce to care for kids. And that’s often when family domestic violence ramps up and find themselves year later, a bit like a frog in a pot of cold water where the heat is gradually turned up, and they leave that relationship. Having experienced gaslighting, having experienced that coercive control, having experienced economic abuse that is not necessarily presented as abusive behavior. You know, just to look after the money, don’t you worry about that. And yet it’s so so common, and I think being aware of And how do we support clients? Who are or who have experiencing that and understanding that actually, working with those clients presents very different challenges to working with somebody who has not experienced that?

Jess Brady
Totally. So I am, I am so passionate about talking about financial abuse, because as a female as a young female who works in finance, I haven’t heard much about financial abuse before. And so I interviewed, move, watch. For the International Women’s Day. News. Amazing is amazing. And so if this is an area that you’re grappling with, because, you know, just listening to her, you’re right. It’s really, really complex and challenging. She actually helped us understand, what do you do if you suspect it? What do you do if someone acknowledges that that’s happening? And how do you help them getting the resources and the care and services they need, knowing that it can be a really dangerous time in someone’s life? So absolutely, not to toot my own horn, but go and check out that specific episode on that, if that’s something that you need to learn more about. But you’re absolutely right. And you’re right, we need to start normalizing these conversations. This is our world. This is our realm. And this

Jenny Rolfe-Wallace
links into what you were saying before about young people. We did some research in our local area where we are in Walker as part of a thing called the DV Project 2650. Because in our region, our reported rates of domestic violence and are 29%, higher than the rest of New South Wales. And so we created a primary prevention campaign, which ran over three years. And it was really interesting how, and we know this from research that domestic abuse, family domestic abuse link so strongly to rigid gendered stereotypes. But what was quite concerning was that when we did the pre project, research into community attitudes, and then we did the post, project, community attitudes, the group that had shifted the least, in holding these very rigid gender stereotypes were young men, and they did not see and young people generally in our community, and I’m going to guess, very similar across Australia, they didn’t actually see controlling money as a form of abuse. And we need to have those conversations with all of the young people in our lives to actually say, well, it is, and it’s not okay. And preventing prevention is so much better than dealing with situations when they arise. But we also need to be careful that we’re not, we’re not telling women to fix themselves, because it’s actually a systemic issue. And that’s the same that ties in with financial insecurity as well. Women are not the problem, women do not need to fix ourselves, we actually need to fix the systems that give rise to these situations and gendered stereotypes, a part of that, which ties back to, you know, kids earning different amounts from when they’re very young, right through to the pay gap, right to the fact that you know, less than, you know, less than a quarter of financial advisors are women in Australia, and it’s just this wickedly integrated issue, really. And you know what, though, women are great at money stuff. Women are fantastic, but we are often told that we’re not. And we’re often told that I read a brilliant comment on a on an article that someone had published about trying to get more women into the financial planning industry. And the person commenting Well, maybe it’s just time to accept that, that men are more interested in finance than women. There’s really no, no, no, women are great investors, women are actually really great at evaluating risks, and really great at making decisions and really good at sticking to strategy. Women are brilliant. We just often tell we’re not also we’re operating, whether you’re an advisor, or a client, you’re working in a system that is dominated by men. For the record, I do love men but dominated by men where products are made by men. For men, there’s a brilliant book called Invisible women that looks at the impact of data. Have you ever heard that? It’s, it’s

Jess Brady
on my it’s on my

Jenny Rolfe-Wallace
it’s, it’s fantastic. It is brilliant. And you can see the parallels into finance the financial advice industry as well. You know, the fact that we have superannuation, which I love super, but super is made for somebody that starts work when they finish school and work consistently through their I’ve never taken time off, hitting their peak earnings in their 40s and 50s. Which is your typical man And this is why so many women now and into the future will not have sufficient savings in retirement despite the fact we live longer. Right. So, products, you know, products are problematic. The systems are problematic the rules, you know, paid parental leave, which is based on, you know, a woman can’t under current rules can access if if they’re earning 150,000 or more. Yeah, their partner could easily be earning more than that. And she could access. Yeah, right. The government, the government’s announced some changes, but it’s still not going to address the fundamental issue around the way we split, unpaid caring, but pay parental leave is such a flawed system, because it has shamed so much about work patterns, and about earning capacity. And we need to really unpack these systemic issues. And I think as financial advisors, part of the job is not just working with clients, but actually lobbying for change, and the more women you can get in the industry, then the greater those are not just women from diverse backgrounds as well, right? Completely increasing the diversity in the industry. And you get those different voices. And you can lobby for change, and you can advocate for a more equitable system, because at the moment, there is so much inequity that leads to women statistically, be more likely to live in poverty and experience financial insecurity. And women are not the problems. We are great with money. We just kind of need a fig, we need a level playing field. Yeah. And I

Jess Brady
think if you are not a female listening to this, you have to help us, we need your help as well. And so you’re right, it is something that we have been so busy. Frankly, I know that financial advisors, particularly ones that run small businesses, we wear many hats, we totally do.

Jenny Rolfe-Wallace
The hard work, yeah. Yes, who cares?

Jess Brady
We need to do this. I think lobbying is really vital and actually missing. So I’m just going to publicly say, do super funds, do investment product providers, do anyone that works in marketing, come and talk to me? I’ve got ideas, I’ve got big ideas on how we can help make it more equitable, but also more inclusive. It really needs to be inclusive,

Jenny Rolfe-Wallace
completely. And you know what women is stupid. There are some great groups out there, great voices out there, women are super have been saying for years, you know, the $450 a month threshold, excluded disproportionately women. Do you know that parental leave paid parental leave is the only paid leave? That does not attract Superannuation Guarantee, regardless of who takes it? And so there are these these little things that that creates significant inequities in the long term long run, and even the assumption that people are always in coupled relationships or have kids or whatever else, we need to kind of really revamp that. Another thing that ties into it, you know, is the is the issue around under insurance, women are by far more more likely to be underinsured, then, ma’am. And there’s lots of reasons for that. And I know from my personal experience that is so so important to have the right personal insurances in place for when the what ifs happened. But again, it leads to so much stress in a household or on an individual if they don’t have the right insurance and income protection is a perfect example. You know, the latest the statistics that I most recently looked at said that only around 25% of women who are eligible have income protection insurance, which is completely concerning, given that for most people, the ability to earn an income is your greatest asset. And I will always be thankful for Paul clear throws making money book for making me realize that and the next week running out and getting income protection insurance.

Jess Brady
And for me, I was a assistant to a BDM in an insurance company. And she said to me, listen here, if you’re going to work here, you got to have it. And I was about to go on a holiday and I was 20 or 21. And I was like, Yeah, sure. But I just need to go on this holiday and then when I come back from the holiday, I’ll get it. She was like no, no nananananana you will not go on the holiday without this cover. And I am so grateful because I am now uninsurable. But you just actually sent shivers down my spine 25% of women who are eligible to take out income protection habit,

Jenny Rolfe-Wallace
and that’s including those that have it in their super fund. Log in that may be a slightly updated statistic, but that was that was two years ago. And that I that I got that stat, and I don’t imagine that it’s really changed. And we talked about, you know, under insurance for house and cars and all the rest of it, but ourselves, but it’s even, you know, total and permanent disability cover it is even if you are the primary caregiver, you know, what happens if you can’t fulfill that role? You know, we’re always going to provide that this is where having trauma cover total and permanent disability and, and as much as the home duties, finishing is so narrow. But yeah, just having that protection for the what ifs. Because if we look at you know, as stereotypes couple relationship with kids, where woman provides a lot of the unpaid care and domestic duties and other partners out earning the income, it’s still a massive contribution, I think one of the figures put the value of the contribution if you had to outsource the cooking, the cleaning the running around. It was inaccessible $150,000 where does that money come from to or how to families cope? If the primary or the person in that primary role can’t do it. And it needs to be addressed as part of advice. It absolutely needs to be addressed. And if my attitude has always been if a family relies on an income or an unpaid contribution, then you ensure that no matter if you possibly can, and find ways to make that work,

Jess Brady
and I think holding space for challenging conversations where you push back on someone who doesn’t believe that that’s, you know, an important thing to cover, I think is very important as well.

Jenny Rolfe-Wallace
Yes, well, I’ll never forget a conversation I had with a client when we were talking about insurance. And I’ve always been a massive, massive fan of insurance, because I’ve seen what happens if people do and don’t have it. And, you know, the the partner turned around and said, when I was asking, you know, have you thought about what would happen, you know, the usual kind of conversation. You went, should we write she would just marry somebody else? And I was like, I have no clue. I really, really don’t think that’s a great financial plan. Let’s talk about some alternative provisions you can put in place. But yeah, and he was debt it CRDs right. And was

Jess Brady
she’ll be fine. She was gonna marry some rich guy, and it’ll all work itself out. Newsflash, it did not work itself out. That’s not what I want to ask you a question because I’m conscious of time. And I could. I want to talk to you all day long. But I know that you have a license. So that’s very sad to me. Given your work with universities, and my real fear that we are not going to have the number of women giving advice grow a lot. Do you have thoughts on how we can grow the level of diversity in all its forms in those giving advice?

Jenny Rolfe-Wallace
Yeah, look, I think this is such a massive challenge. And, and yeah, look, having lived through fasea and phone, sorry. fsra faux fur and then the fussier changes, and this idea of, of educating up the population, advising population, which is absolutely important. We need professionalism and ethics, ethics. And competency. Absolutely. But I look at you know, for example, the requirements around the professional year the requirements around education, and, and then the CPD. And it’s always been difficult for women, to not just gain entry to the industry, but to continue in the industry. And it’s not about interest. And it’s not about desire, but it is about the practicality of how our life balance sometimes goes. And I remember having a conversation with a licensee would have been good eight, nine years ago about the difficult tea they were having retaining women, because it’s not set up as a part time career. And yet so many other industries have capacity for women to you know, there might be a reduction in CPD points, for example, or reduction in the cost, you know, pro rata membership, all of these things. So if you’re working a part time role, and I’m not saying that all women do that, but statistically more likely to right. So if we want to talk about retaining women in the industry as a starter we need to look at making it cost effective and time effective. Because if you have a choice between seeing seeing clients or doing CPD, what are you going to want to do? I don’t know anyone became a financial adviser to do education. And so we have the practicalities and you need to be able to make a living. And particularly if you’re a small business owner, you know, I, you know, remember, there was a certain amount that I need to earn, before I got our big kind of just to make ends meet, meet as a small business advisor back in the day. So we need to be able to make it cost effective and time effective, we also need to make it relevant we need, we need more high profile women, I suppose lobbying and advocating for women in the industry as well. But the industry needs to end the regulators need to look at what are the systems and structures that they have in place that are excluding women. And yes, you can have a young person come out of school and study and go and do their P y. And that’s great. But some of the most amazing advisors are those that came to the industry as a mature age person with a wealth of lived experience. And if you are a woman who’s statistically gendered stereotypes has the primary caregiving, balancing study and work and kids and all of the rest of it. It’s an obstacle, how do we get rid of those obstacles to make it more workable, without lowering the standard? And I think we actually really need to, I don’t think there’s an easy solution to that. But I think it needs to be discussed. And I think it needs to be put on the table. And it does affect women more than men. It is a gendered issue. And I think, how do you how to how to practices build, at a practical level? How do you build support? I think often advisors have traditionally we’ve been, you know, you’ve been a silo and you’ve had your client, maybe it’s time to think of, you know, multi group practices where there is a team of advisors that work with the client. And there’s that potential for job share, for example, you know, let’s really rethink what has been and kind of engineer what could potentially be moving forward. But unfortunately, the regulation, the insurance, the cost, doesn’t facilitate that. And that’s a problem. And I think the regulator’s really need to take some time, we kind of need to hold a mirror back to them and, and raise it as an issue with them to say this is a problem. How do you think it could be solved without compromising standards?

Jess Brady
Agree? And thankfully, for us even having this conversation, I think it’s really important. Your research is fascinating. I am pleased, let us know, when you’ve finalized all of the research that you’re doing for your PhD, I’d be fascinated to learn more about it. How can people learn more about you and all of the great work that we haven’t even really touched on that you do? Do you want to just give everyone a really quick overview of all the great things that you do now and how people can find you.

Jenny Rolfe-Wallace
So my, my business is the sprout education group. And I’m doing a lot of, I suppose, behind the scenes work around economic abuse, and advocating for women around financial insecurity, and linking into my work in in the PhD space as well. And really looking at that lobbying and advocating as well as consumer education. So what I really do is I help people to change how they think and feel about money. But I really want to change the system so that it is far more equitable for people, and that there is greater diversity. And there is a wide range of voices heard in policy development, and in strategy, so that, you know, in 1020 years time we’re not having a conversation about why is only a quarter of the workforce of financial advisors, women, Why are women overwhelmingly experiencing financial insecurity? Why do so many women don’t have superannuation? When they retire? I really want to see that change. And that’s what I’m, I’m working behind the scenes to achieve.

Jess Brady
Well, I just want to say an enormous thank you because it’s hard work. It’s no doubt messy, complicated, difficult, frustrating work at times, but goodness me we need more people like you, Jenny. So thank you, on behalf of basically everyone because there is no one that doesn’t win from this both from a client and an advisor side. So I want to say a huge thank you keep doing the great, amazing work that you’re doing. And before you go, can I ask you some rapid fire questions? Sure. Have you this for everyone and it’s the same questions. So I’m just going to who spit them out? Whatever comes to your mind first is correct. What do you do to look after your mental health?

Jenny Rolfe-Wallace
I landscape, I dig holes in my garden and I put plants in and I design and get my hands dirty. I love it love growing food to eat enough that?

Jess Brady
Do you have a piece of advice that you would give to your younger self?

Jenny Rolfe-Wallace
Do what you’re doing? trust your instinct. Absolutely. And do not listen to the negative voices. You’ve got this.

Jess Brady
This is amazing. What is one big thing that’s on your bucket list that you haven’t ticked off yet?

Jenny Rolfe-Wallace
Oh, great question. Ah, great question.

Jess Brady
I know it’s tricky.

Jenny Rolfe-Wallace
Well, it’s interesting that you asked me that given that I almost died and kind of totally reject my bucket list.

Jess Brady
Because Because you had something you had an event occur, which means you’re quite unwell. So you’ve might have recalibrated what your bucket list looks like after that.

Jenny Rolfe-Wallace
Yes. So. So I think, do you know what? I think the one thing I haven’t done that I will do before I can tie is right. We’ll get my PhD and write my book, which is in the financial literacy, wellbeing kind of space, but very much looking around women’s experiences in financial insecurity. So that’s my bucket list.

Jess Brady
I’m very happy that that’s on your bucket list because that is a giant segue into my last question, which is what’s a book for me to read as part of my fake book club? I have a fake book club, which is just everyone helped me read great books. And so obviously yours will need to be on there. Once it’s published. Please let me know.

Jenny Rolfe-Wallace
Absolutely. Once Yes, definitely. Ah, gosh. So many. You know what I’m going to say? Luna Jaffe books, the around wild money because they are beautiful. And they are in the financial space but they are just so different. They bring a different lens to the money stuff. And I think they are wonderful,

Jess Brady
fascinating. Adding to the list, Jenny, love chatting with you. We have a lot of the same views and you are doing amazing work. Thank you so much for being part of the podcast today.

Jenny Rolfe-Wallace
It has been delightful chatting to you. Thanks, Jess.

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