INTERVIEW: Meet the founder of She's on the Money - Victoria Devine

Recently, I’ve started to realise that I need to take control of my finances. I’ve spent my whole life (basically) living pay cheque to pay cheque, not really keeping track of my spending and not thinking about my future. When I stumbled across the first episode of the ‘She’s on the Money’ podcast, I was hooked. FINALLY, someone who could talk about finance in a straightforward, relatable way.

From investing your money to working out ow to get rid of bad debt, financial advisor Victoria Devine covers it all on one of Australia’s fastest growing podcast with host Annabelle Lee. I’ve listened to the podcast religiously since it first began, and posted about it on Instagram a few times. I’m so honoured to bring you this interview with Victoria, founder of She’s on the Money and Director and Co-Founder of Zella.

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Hi Victoria, so nice to chat with you... is it weird I’m totally fangirling?! For those who don’t know you from the She’s on the Money, could you please introduce yourself? 
Hello!! That’s actually hilarious, definitely not fangirl worthy however I’m very flattered! By way of introduction, I am Victoria Devine, and I’m a Financial Adviser who’s wildly passionate about empowering women to change their relationship with money for the better. I’m also a very proud cat mum who enjoys going to pilates classes and having brunch on Sundays.

 How did you first get into finance? Where did your passion come from? 
Had you told me when I was at university that I’d end up working in finance I would have laughed! Prior to working in finance, I worked in Organisational Psychology as a Culture and Engagement Consultant and absolutely loved what I did in that space – however I consistently found myself being led back to finance. Speaking to people on a daily basis about workplace stress made me very aware of the impact financial stress was having on people and finance felt like something I should learn more about. From there, I fell in love with the impact good financial literacy could have on people – and I guess the rest is history!

 And from there, how did She’s the Money come to life?

After working in the financial advice space for a while, servicing high net wealth clients and really getting to see the impact good financial advice has – I kept finding myself frustrated with the lack of access women my age had to good financial literacy resources. I was also starting to see there was a lot of confusion around what the difference between Financial Advice and Financial Literacy was, so I started to run workshops called “She’s on the Money” for women who wanted to understand their finances better. A while later, I created a Facebook group where people who had attended our workshops could keep in touch and have their money questions answered. From there, it’s grown into a thriving community of women who just want to be more financially literate and it’s incredible. The podcast felt like a natural progression from there as it gave She’s on the Money another avenue to empower women to take control of their finances.  

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 Alright, let’s talk MONEY. Firstly, you talk about good debt and bad debt on your podcast. What’s the difference, and should we be worried?! 

Before you take on any form of debt, regardless of whether that's a new credit card or a home loan - you need to have a think about how this debt is going to help you reach your financial goals.

Quite simply, good debt is debt that is helping you to achieve your financial goals, and bad debt is debt that will put you in a worse off position, and stop you from achieving your goals.

An example of bad debt, is a debt you've incurred for things that are going to decrease in value, or experiences that made you feel great at the time - but now you're back at work and you're stuck with a high interest rate personal loan. Bad debt includes things like credit cards, personal and car loans, and Afterpay. In comparison to this, good debt is debt that you incur for an asset that will increase in value, or provide you with an income. This includes a number of different things like shares, property, education or business. It’s not something to be worried about per say, just something to be aware of when looking at taking on debt – because if it’s not going to help you create wealth, it’s likely a bad idea.

 Okay, moving on to credit cards, afterpay and personal loans. Are they worth it? Should we cut up our credit cards? 
As we just talked about before, credit cards, Afterpay and personal loans are all bad debts to hold. You might be thinking "but Victoria! I am very responsible and pay my credit card off every single month!" and while that may be the case, research tells us that on average consumers spend 10% more when using a credit card so you might not be as savvy as you'd like to think you are in that aspect! I think if you’re unable to trust yourself with a credit card though – then it’s perhaps time to put it in a place you’re unable to access it, or as you said – cut it up!

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 Bye bye debt! When it comes to saving money, there are SO many ways. I often find myself spending on useless items, and know it needs to stop. What are your absolute top tips for saving money? 
Everyone saves in different ways, and that’s great! I think my number one tip for saving money is having goals, and making sure your spending is in line with your values. If you’ve got your head buried in the sand about what you’re really spending every week, you’re unlikely to be able to accomplish the goals you’re setting for yourself. Sitting down and taking some time to understand what you actually spend each month and whether that’s in line with your values is really important – because it means we’re able to cut down our spending on things we don’t value quickly and painlessly, while contributing more funds to things we really do value.

I’m personally trying to save for a house AND an overseas trip next year to Machu Picchu, and find it hard to know how much of my savings should go where. Is there are a simple solution? 

There is! The easiest way to set savings goals is to work backwards on them. Even if you’re a few years off purchasing a house, have a think about how much that might cost you. Are you wanting to purchase a large family home in a fancy suburb, or an apartment close to the city? Once you know what your goal is, have a look online to understand what that’s going to actually cost you, and calculate what your deposit might need to be. Once you’ve got that figure, have a look at how much you’re able to save each month and go from there – if your goal is to save $50,000 for a deposit in the next two years, that’s going to mean you need to put away just over $2,000 a month – is that something you’re able to achieve reasonably? If not, have a look at your goals. Do you need to change the type of home you want to buy, or do you need to add some more time for you to achieve that goal?

The same goes for your holiday to Machu Picchu, calculate the cost of your holiday and work backwards! I don’t think enough people set realistic goals for themselves, and too often they then find themselves in positions where they feel disenchanted with the process because they haven’t achieved what they wanted to.

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And investing... what’s the go? I feel like I know nothing about the topic, and most of my followers feel the same. How can we educate ourselves on this? 
Investment is the not so secret key to creating wealth – simply put, investment is when you purchase something which with either increases in value, or receives an income – or both! Over the long term there is incredible power in investment, and that’s why I’m so passionate about women starting to invest when they’re young. Where’s the power come from you ask? Compounding interest. Whilst that sounds really boring, it’s actually a really cool concept where the money that your money makes from being invested, makes money and keeps growing far beyond what you initially contribute – and over the long term, this can make you very wealthy!

For example, if you started to invest $500 a month into an investment portfolio (that has an average return of 7%) over 40 years, you’ll end up with an asset worth approximately $1.3 million. Compare that to just saving, if you take that same $500 and save it each month, after 40 years you only have $240,000 – and this is why it’s so important for us to learn about investing while we are young.

In relation to educating yourself on investment, I’m going to shamelessly plug my own podcast here (surprise!), because we recently released Investing 101, Part One and Two to cover the basics of investing and whilst I’m a bit bias I do think they’re a great place to start. Apart from there, there are so many great resources online to learn about investment, the MoneySmart government website has a lot of great resources, tools and calculators, as does the ASX website, which has a heap of reading resources and a great share trading game which teaches you about the share market and investment.

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  I know there are so many amazing apps out there that can help you to save money, on food, petrol, investing etc. Are there any apps you can recommend to people who are trying to save? 

I'm very much a spreadsheet kind of gal, however there are a few apps I really like. The really easy to use TrackMySPEND app by ASIC's MoneySmart is a great tool to track your budget on the run - it's quite basic but a really great app. Recently I've been playing a fair bit with Pocketbook, and I know a lot of women in the She's on the Money Facebook Group love it too. It's got a lot more features than TrackMySPEND, and links to your bank accounts to really account for every cent!

I also use the Raiz investment app personally for the roundup feature. Raiz is all about investing small amounts of money on a regular basis without impacting your current lifestyle and lets you invest that money into a portfolio that suits you – Raiz is also quite popular with many women in the She’s on the Money Facebook Group because it’s a soft introduction to investment and gives them the opportunity to learn about the different investment portfolios, how they’re constructed and how the share market works.

A massive thank you to Victoria for taking the time to sit down with me and chat all things money. I can’t stop re-reading this interview, because there is just SO MUCH INFORMATION! What a legend you are Victoria, and I hope whoever is reading this now that you feel more empowered about your finances than ever before. You can stream the She’s on the Money podcast and join their wonderful Facebook group and follow them on Instagram.

*** Please note the Raiz link given is an affiliate link and we will both receive $5 if you use my link.

Ellie ParkerComment