The pandemic has really thrown a lot of our budgets out the window (we're looking at you online shopping and delicious dinners delivered!) so we asked financial expert, author and podcaster extraordinaire Victoria Devine for help to get us back on track and whip our savings back into shape.
What’s one thing we can do today to get back on track with our finances?
The pandemic has been so hard on so many people financially and if you’re feeling flat about maybe not reaching the big money goals you had planned pre-pandemic, then please don’t be hard on yourself! It’s enough just to be surviving through this time. However, if you do feel like you’ve leaned on Uber Eats a little too much and want to pump up that savings account, my advice would be to try and get your budget back on track by setting really clear goals to give you something (or some things) to work towards, while still allowing yourself the occasional splurge here and there.
That might mean contributing a certain amount of your income per week to a savings account or to paying down debts, but it could also be as simple as starting your journey on upping your financial education by listening to podcasts and reading books to help you to start making better choices with your money. If you set goals and write them down so you can refer to them again, I promise you’ll feel more motivated than just having a vague ‘try and be better with money’ intention.
What do you find the most satisfying or rewarding part of using your knowledge as a financial advisor to educate people about savvy finances?
My job as a financial adviser has always been so rewarding because I’m able to help people transform their lives by creating a plan for their finances - now that we have the platform we do at She’s on the Money, I’ve been able to take what I would do with a client on a one-on-one basis and bring that transformation to a much larger group of people which is incredibly rewarding to me.
There’s still such a lack of education around money (especially for women) and that’s wild to me because it’s so important yet we just don’t discuss it - all we really know are the habits (good or bad) our family may have handed down to us. For me, the most rewarding part of my job is seeing the impacts that education makes; seeing people climb out of debt or educate themselves on the power of investing are all things that just make me so happy and it really is why I do what I do.
What is the most challenging part of writing this book? What did you learn about yourself?
It is still surreal to me that I’ve written a book and if you’d told me in high school that one day I would, I’m not sure I would have believed you! The most challenging part I think was ensuring the book would be accessible to as many people as possible. Finance can be quite an exclusive topic where not everyone feels welcomed and I really wanted to write this book in a way that wasn’t pretentious but that also didn’t patronise - I think we struck a good balance in the end. In terms of what I learnt about myself, it’s probably that even when I have a full plate, there’s always room to pile on a little more – I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing though I guess!
What is the most common misconception people have about money and personal finance? And how can they fix that?
I think people really come unstuck by believing that their past behaviours with money will be the same as their future behaviours; or to put it another way, that because they’ve never been able to save or manage money well, that they will never be able to. We need to be really careful with the stories we tell ourselves, because they can lead to self-perpetuating cycles that lead us down negative paths when there’s really no truth in them. While I believe we all have money stories formed from our relationship with money growing up and the environment we were brought up in, it’s not true that we can’t become a good saver if we’ve never had more than $200 in our savings account. We just need to create a plan, set some goals, understand our budgets and hold ourselves accountable.
What is your favourite thing about yourself? I would say my tenacity is one of the things I like the most about myself. I’ve always been incredibly determined and there’s rarely a problem I’ve come across that I can’t figure out because I will find a way. I think as a female in the industry who wears a lot of pink and loves fashion people can very easily underestimate me, but I’d definitely rather be underestimated and blow them out of the water than the other way around.
In your spare time, what’s your favourite genre to read?
I love to read non-fiction because it takes me away from where I am. I’m very much a doer and sometimes I can find it hard just to unplug and unwind, but reading always brings me a feeling of peace. To spice it up I do like a bit of crime (yes, I love true crime - how original!) and when I’m feeling like I need to be inspired, I always return to the biographies of people who I aspire to be like to get a sense of the way they think, what they’ve been through and how they arrived where they are.
What was your favourite book when you were a child?
My favourite book when I was younger was On the Jellicoe Road, which is a novel by Melina Marchetta (she also wrote Looking for Alibrandi) about the friendships that shape your world when you’re of a certain age. I read it with my friend Harriet when we were in high school and it’s a book that still means so much to me because of the bond we formed while reading it. If you haven’t read it, I’d definitely recommend!
If you had the power to snap your fingers and change one thing in the world, what would it be? There are so many things I’d love to snap my fingers and change - it’s a particularly dark time right now and that does bring me a lot of angst. But beyond the obvious things we would all change if it was within our power, I think I would stick to my area of expertise and try to close the gender pay gap that still exists between men and women (the gap is at 13.4% in Australia at the moment according to the Workplace Gender Equality Agency) and more generally I’d ask that women be treated with the same respect as men in the workplace and be celebrated for all of their strengths. I think it’s a realistic change that will happen because women are so powerful and so inspiring, but I do think it’s going to take time - I just wish I could make it happen sooner!
She’s on the Money is available in print, ebook and audiobook, and at all good bookstores. And you can check out Victoria on her socials here.