People & perspectives: Improving financial literacy

Brownyn Bruce
 
Bronwyn Bruce is the founder of Miss Money Box, an educational blog to help Australian women expand their general knowledge around personal finance.

Like us here at Stockspot, she’s passionate about improving financial literacy and helping educate more Australians to have a better understanding on how to manage their savings. This started from a childhood passion for shares and being fed-up with how financial services market to women. Miss Money Box is all about taking control of your financial future.

We wanted to get to know the brains behind the money box so we sat down with Bronwyn to find out more about how she got started on her personal finance journey.

Tell us a bit about Miss Money Box and why you started it

I started Miss Money Box in July 2016 but the idea had been on my mind for a number of years.

Miss Money Box is purely a passion project and began as a way to break down the barriers of communication in finance. I think so much about the personal finance industry is geared towards middle-aged men – from the products to the marketing – that women find the industry difficult to navigate.

What has the response been like from your readers?

I feel like there’s now definitely a paradigm shift happening with women and money. Women seem genuinely interested in learning about how to manage their money, how to invest and what they should be doing with their superannuation. I love hearing stories from readers and friends who have started taking an interest in how their super is invested or how the stock market works. It makes me genuinely happy.

One of the benefits of starting this blog is that I’ve found myself involved in an online personal finance community that is very active on social media. I even got to meet some blog readers when I hosted a MeetUp late last year.

What’s your personal philosophy on money and life?

I think what has struck people that read my blog the most has been the money values my father instilled in me from a young age, which I share sporadically in my writing. Unfortunately for many girls, my experience seems to be the exception.

Back in the days before the internet, dad would call me in the evening from work and get me to relay the high, low and closing prices of all the stocks in his portfolio from the newspaper. I didn’t know much about what dad was doing but it piqued an interest that has formed the basis of my entire financial life strategy.

Dad’s enthusiasm for the stock market has powered on long into his retirement, and mine has only grown since my teenage years. In my 20s, I started buying shares.

I also try to keep my writing real, and a post I wrote about how I lost all the money from the first shares I ever bought seemed to resonate with readers.

My personal philosophy on money is that you have it so that you can enjoy life. I’m not a big spender, nor am I a frugalist. Being financially independent is so important to me- it means not having to compromise on my career or my personal life. Money gives me options.

What advice would you give a friend who was leaving her or his money in a savings account?

I’m not a financial adviser, but I would advise any friend who was leaving his or her money in a savings account to look at other alternatives. Inflation, plus the current low-interest savings rate is killing anyone’s ability to get ahead purely by leaving their money in the bank.

For those thinking about the longer term, I’m a huge advocate for investing. For newbies, I reckon Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) are a really excellent option as they offer instant diversification (so important!) with very minimal hassle and initial outlay.

You’ve just started a masters of research into women and finance. Tell us a bit about that

I’ve just started my Masters by Research where I’m looking into the barriers women face in engaging with the personal finance industry. It’s early days yet, but it’s a topic I am so passionate about I am really loving the research I am doing.

 

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Lauren Franze

Head of Communications and Public Relations