How financially savvy are you? And how comfortable are you talking about money?
Over recent months we've begun to see financial literacy come out of the dusty offices of banks and elite financial advisors, into a more open, approachable space.
Good money management is starting to be seen as a wellbeing issue, talked about more openly in the context of self-empowerment. There are now a range of easy-to-navigate apps and fintech solutions - like Pingit, which powers Tovi Sorga contactless payment bracelets and key fobs - helping people to track spending, start investing and take control of their budgets.
To introduce you to this new landscape of financial know-how, we're really excited to have had the opportunity to interview Maya Prentis, founder of Fempire Finance - a brilliant website dedicated to helping women start the conversation about personal finance and change money mindsets.
Founder of Fempire Finance, Maya Prentis
What is Fempire Finance?
Fempire Finance is a financial education platform that aims to educate, inspire and empower women to take control of their finances and increase their financial wellbeing.
We provide original, educational content on topics such as Budgeting, Investing, Saving and Money Mindset. All our content is made by women for women. Fempire Finance was created to allow women to talk about financial topics, and provide education so change can be achieved i.e. closing the gap of financial education and wellbeing between men and women. I’m really proud that it has grown into a global community of women, where thousands of women are inspired and empowered to take control of their money and financial journey.
We’ve been named one of the Top 20 Money Accounts in the U.K. (by money management app, Emma), we’ve also been featured in various media outlets and recently spoken at virtual events at The University of Oxford and the Women in Finance World Online Series Festival. This is just the start.
What inspired you to start Fempire Finance?
As someone with a background in numbers (I have a degree in Economics, and started studying to be an accountant after I left University), who has worked in finance, I always reflected my interest and knowledge into my own personal finance. It wasn't until I started speaking to my friends that I realised that this knowledge wasn't widespread - so many people were taking on debt that they couldn’t afford, and didn’t know where to get started when it came to making financial decisions, or how to navigate the complex language of money.
And to make this worse, elements of financial education weren't put on the school curriculum until 2014, so there is a huge number of people who don’t have knowledge of the topics that affect us all.
But what inspired me to launch with Fempire was when I wrote a blog post talking about money on my personal blog. The reaction was huge and made me realise that more people wanted to talk about it. So with the positive reactions, I took a leap of faith.
You’re helping make finance more accessible to a whole generation of women. Why do you think this messaging is so relevant right now?
The U.K. is in a financial literacy crisis. It’s the type of crisis where we have one of the lowest financial comprehension levels in all of Europe...
75% of people do not understand or relate to common banking terms, 90% feel uneducated when it comes to finance, 72% don’t invest, and the wage gap between men and women is still hugely problematic.
Everyone is at the peril of economics and finance, whether you work in the field or not, have an interest in the area, or couldn’t care at all - we are all affected by personal finance. And more needs to be done to make it more accessible so that everyone can benefit from the knowledge and opportunities available.
Where do you go for inspiration and information?
My biggest source of inspiration will always be those who have ‘been there and done that’. The everyday financial heroes. For example those who have struggled with debt in the past but are now debt free, or those who have saved for their financial goals - so talking to them is a great way to get actionable bits of information that we put into content.
From my academic and professional background, I also have a lot of textbooks where I get information from too. And finally, keeping up to date with sources such as The Financial Times, Forbes, Harvard Business Review, and other publications with a focus on economics, finance and business, allows me to continually gain inspiration and information to form my own ideas. What I see in the news and the types of conversations that I have with friends are huge drivers to the content that goes into Fempire Finance.
Follow @fempirefinance on Instagram for more money management know-how.
How has your following and community evolved over time?
We are still fairly new (Fempire Finance started in January 2020) and then 2 months later, the impact of the coronavirus pandemic hit. Coronavirus shone a light on personal finance and a lot more people started to pay attention as they were impacted by the financial hardships that the pandemic brought. Our community has grown since then as more people are wanting to take control of their finances and people are turning to the internet to understand these concepts like never before.
What we love about our community is that they actively shape the content we produce. We get so many Direct Messages or emails each day asking for a certain topic, and we deliver on that. We also love that our audience want to help each other, sometimes it’s refreshing scrolling in the comments and see peer to peer support.
But thanks to the evolving and eager-to-learn audience, we’ve spoken at conferences, the latest being the Women in Finance world online series, hosted numerous workshops and sat on panels, including one with Like Minded Females, been featured in the media and even got invited down to the Microsoft offices!
You’re also managing a day job and a really successful fashion blog - how do you juggle the 3 and switch between modes?
Founder of Fempire Finance, Maya Prentis, wears the String of Hearts Contactless Payment Bracelet.
For me, it’s setting clear boundaries and dividing up time for when I’m going to work on each of the three areas. For example, I’ll wake up at 7, do an hour on What Maya Wears whether it’s emailing brands, chasing up invoices, engaging on Instagram, writing a blog or editing content. Then from 8am - 6pm, I'll do the day job. Then in the evening I’ll spend a few hours on Fempire Finance and What Maya Wears. Saturdays and Sundays are dedicated to my businesses too.
I’m a massive fan of to-do lists so that tends to be the best way to keep me on track. I thoroughly enjoy everything I do, and the opportunities I get from them remind me how blessed I am, so finding the time and effort for all three of them is never a chore.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received that’s helped with your blogs?
Create the content that you want to see! This goes for both platforms. I perform better and I am much more passionate about creating content that I want to see, as it is so much more authentic and probably someone else out there who wants to see it too.
That, and consistency is key!
What’s on your wish list for the next 12 months for Fempire Finance?
A lot! We are going to continue producing free content both on our website, social media and through our newsletter. We are releasing a range of products over the next year starting with our ‘Get Fetch in a Fortnight' ebook, which will be launching soon.
We also currently creating our own podcast, called ‘The Fempire Finance Files’ which will consist of money interviews with money professionals and experts in their field. And we also have a fempire community (a private members space) coming soon... It’s all very exciting in the Fempire Finance world.
Who are your favourite 3 social accounts to follow for inspiration – of any kind!
Can you share a favourite finance tip for our readers?
Get a budget (and if you have one, update it and track it regularly)! It’s essential to tell your money where to go each month (by allocating money towards your needs, wants, and savings) instead of your money telling you where to go when it gets to the end of the month and you have £10 to last until your next paycheck.
The second thing is to view your budget as an enabler. Most times, when people hear the word budget, they fear it can be a restriction on their life, but it doesn't have to be - a budget allows you to have the flexibility and freedom. And you can even add ‘fun’ sections of your budget too so you can treat yourself!
Money management apps like MuchBetter can help to track spending and enable easy budgeting.