Valentina invested at a high just before the crisis, Raffaella became an entrepreneur in January. Because we learn a lot about money primarily from experience: here are two stories about women and what they do with their money.
No-one knows everything about money, and certainly not in volatile times like now. At its best, the forecasts are scenarios. But it can help to know how others are managing it. Since we don't like to talk about money, but learn most about it through stories and experiences of others, we spoke to Valentina and Raffaella - two very normal and yet very remarkable women.
Valentina Coco left her finances to her husband for 15 years (by the way, she is a controller). After the divorce, she had to learn everything from scratch. And she invested just before the crisis.
Raffaella Dabusti Wilson worked in large corporations for decades and decided to become self-employed just a few months ago, shortly before Covid.
Both women will tell us here how they have been dealing with their situation and what they have learned.
Valentina Coco - Senior Controller, divorced, mother
I’m originally from Italy and moved to Switzerland shortly after graduating. I fell in love with the country and a man. First, I worked in analytics, then I went abroad with my husband and returned back to Winterthur divorced. Since then, I am rebuilding my career and life as a working single mother.
When I got divorced from my husband, I had to deal with the finances.
You started investing 6 months ago. How did you learn it and what do you invest in?
To be very honest, the first investment I made was in my twenties: a 25-year insurance-/investment-plan. When we discovered that the fees were incredibly high and most people barely broke even, I got scared and delegated everything to my husband.
A year and a half ago, when we split up, I had to deal with the finances. I read blogs, went to events and met other women who had similar experiences. Then I got the courage to go for it. I focus on sustainable investments and gender-lens investing and use different Robo-Advisors.
Today I know it's not a sign of weakness to ask for advice.
You invested when the stock market was at its peak - are you worried about the crash now?
No, I'm not worried. My investments are long-term, 10 to 20 years, and I hope that all will recover over time.
What was your biggest mistake so far when it comes to money?
My biggest mistake was to trust too quickly and to invest my money without a comparison or the opinion of a third party. After this experience, I lost my self-confidence and avoided the topic of money for 15 years. Today, I know that it is not a weakness to ask for advice and that mistakes in dealing with money do not mean that "we don't understand it" or that investing is "too difficult" for me.
What would you advise other women to do?
Don't be afraid! Take advantage of the many opportunities to learn the basics of investing and find out what is important to you. What your money should stand for - and then invest.
Raffaella Dabusti Wilson - Communications consultant, self-employed, mother
Since my childhood I have had a passion for writing: From short stories to poems to my daily diary. I believe that words can change the world. I studied foreign languages and business communication, moved from Italy to England in 1998, worked for large corporations and moved to Switzerland in 2005. Here I have been working for a large corporation for the last 14 years. At the beginning of this year, I started my own business as a communications consultant.
I take advantage of the crisis and create new opportunities.
You quit your job in a large corporation just before the crisis and became self-employed just before the crisis - with almost no customer base and no security. How do you deal with this now?
I'm an optimist by nature. I do not regret my decision to become self-employed. As a communications professional, I am very fortunate to be able to work from home, unlike others who may be dependent on a factory or a shop. In times of crisis, communication is important, from which I have been drawing new opportunities and customers.
You're not worried at all?
Of course, I am concerned about the long-term consequences of this crisis for society and the economy, but I hope that it will also be an opportunity for many people to pursue new career paths.
I learnt saving from my parents.
What is your relationship to money? How do you invest?
I would describe myself as a saver and a very cautious investor - values that my parents taught me. Over the last few years, I invested in real estate development in Italy and I have managed to save enough money to start my own business without feeling stressed. Since I have children, my view of money has changed - my main concern is to secure their future.
I had a bit of luck with the timing. In February, just as the crisis hit, I spoke to some institutions and financial advisors to discuss options to invest my savings and the money in my pension fund. Now, I've parked all my ideas and am waiting to see how things develop.
What would you advise other women to do?
Also this crisis will pass. I am counting on short-term cash savings and long-term investments to spread the risk.
No matter which path you take, whether it’s saving or investing for the long term, the most important thing is that the decision is made consciously and with consideration to all available information, and that we take a look at our long-term financial planning. This is a big step which, according to studies, still only a few women take as compared to men.
And since knowledge about money is mainly provided by friends and family and the experience of other people - 44% of women ask their family and friends for recommendations when selecting a financial provider.
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