When Bronwyn Bruce wanted to get starting in investing just over 10 years ago, there was very little relatable content around. In fact, the complexity of existing financial information left her feeling baffled. This inspired her to start Miss Money Box, to help demystify many elements of investing and reduce barriers for those wanting to engage in their personal finances.
We sat down with Bronwyn to get some of her advice for people starting their own financial journeys and understand the importance of entrepreneurial attitude to your finances.
Why do so many young people, and young women in particular, lack personal finance skills?
I don’t think young women lack personal finance skills, in fact, I think they are amazing budgeters and savers. Where they can often struggle is in embracing risk that comes with investing. I think this comes from wanting a sense of security, and money in the bank provides that.
When I started out investing, the finance experts I saw in the media were all pretty much middle-age white men – and they really didn’t speak to me (and I really didn’t understand them!). Part of why I started Miss Money Box was to be a voice that would hopefully resonate with younger women.
What steps can people take to improve their financial literacy?
What I’ve learned so far through my PhD research is that the seeds of financial literacy are sewn at home. Parents are the first financial role models. So, if you’re a parent, show your children how you manage your credit card, talk to them about your mortgage and put them to work doing the laundry for money.
For young people who want to get better at managing their personal finances, being engaged is the first hurdle. To really get good at managing your finances, you need financial literacy, plus motivation. That equation will help to get you towards financial capability.
For me, creating a personal income statement on a spreadsheet was a really key way to improve my money management. This is basically a snapshot of your incoming and outgoing expenses. It will show you where you could save money and may highlight how much you’re spending on things like Uber Eats.
Another thing I can’t stress more to people is the importance of caring about your super. Periodically log in to your super account to see how much you have, if your contributions are going in, and what you’re invested in. If you’re young, invest aggressively. A small investment of time now will have a huge impact on your future.
Bronwyn Bruce Founder of Miss Money Box
In finance, having an entrepreneurial attitude is really important.
Do you have a favourite tool or app that you wish was around when you were starting out?
I wish podcasts were around in 2007 when I started investing. These days there are so many good finance podcasts out there. A couple of my favourites are the Australian Finance Podcast, The Pineapple Project, Choose FI, Suze Orman’s Women and Money and Afford Anything.
Do you consider your interest in investing and finance as ‘entrepreneurial’?
When I started investing in 2007, it felt a little entrepreneurial in the sense that I didn’t know other young women in their 20s who were doing it. Aside from my father, at that time there was really no one I could talk to about investing. None of my friends were really interested or experienced with investing, especially my female friends. Because of that I had to just give it a go, and sort of hope for the best. I failed a fair bit in the early days – losing all the money I invested in the first shares I ever bought. But, with trial and error comes a personal sense of mastery. And while I’m definitely no investing expert, I do feel much more comfortable with the investing process these days.
How can an entrepreneurial attitude empower you more in the financial sphere?
In finance, having an entrepreneurial attitude is really important. I started missmoneybox.com.au on the back of wanting to know more about finance, and wanting to educate others. It has helped me to get jobs, led me towards my PhD research and introduced me to a world of new people I would otherwise never have met.
It was an idea I sat on for a long time and did nothing about. I suppose due a bit to imposter syndrome (still have that!) and wondering whether people would want to read what I wrote. All I can say is, it changed my life in a hundred positive ways.