Thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule to sit down and chat with us!
Firstly, could you please tell us a little about yourself and your interests and hobbies.
Hello! Thank you. My name is Emilie and I am the founder of London-based fintech startup Vestpod - our mission is to empowering women financially. I am French, and have been living in London for more than 10 years with my family, including my 2 young kids.
What lead you to set up Vestpod?
My background is in finance, I worked in private equity for 7 years and also set up another tech startup in the recruitment space. I realized over the years that while I was earning money, I was not necessarily saving or investing enough, and this was also the case for most of my female friends.
Talking about money is a very personal topic and is still taboo, and most of us have not received any financial education. I could not find someone to talk to to get some advice - professional advice could be very costly and you have to find an adviser you really like to work with - nor did I have the time to trawl money websites. This is why I started Vestpod.
Why do you address women in particular?
Here are some very interesting statistics about women:
Women drive the world economy, and are family breadwinners;
But women aren’t saving enough for retirement, even if they live longer than men;
Women also earn on average 80 cents to a man dollar.
At the same time, professional financial advice is expensive, intimidating and not well-adjusted to the challenges women face.
What are the challenges (and rewards) of setting up a start-up in the fintech sector?
Regulation is maybe the most challenging part of the equation I would say. Vestpod is in the financial services space but we are also a lifestyle media company talking about money. My background is in finance, so I am very interested in fintech innovation and find it amazing to see the newcomers and challengers in the sector.
Vestpod looks to be a real game changer in the sector, with all your users singing your praises, how do you see Vestpod growing and changing in the next 2 years?
I launched Vestpod as a free weekly newsletter (you can get it here) giving women tips and guidance on personal finances. We now also organise events and workshops and are developing our education offering. In the future, I hope Vestpod will be instrumental in improving women wealth globally and will also inspire a generation of financially independent women.
Can you tell us what ‘being in control of your money’ means to you?
For me being in control of my money means that I know how much money I have today, how much money I earn, save and invest. Knowing your numbers is an important step towards better money management. I also have a long term plan for my money and life.
What’s your biggest financial regret and how did you learn from it?
My biggest financial regret is not contributing more money towards long term retirement at the beginning of my career and investing this money. It is important to get into the habit of saving small amounts of money regularly and put this money aside for the long-term. Investing this money will make it work for you. Interest compounding is a very simple but amazingly powerful concept. Wealthy people understand it and benefit from it.
Finally, what is the most important piece of advice you could give to someone who is struggling to manage their finances?
You could start by trying to understand your goals and your spending habits. Instead of starting by crunching numbers, try to understand what money means to you and where you want to be in the next 5, 10, 20 years: what is your plan for the short term and long term? Once this is done, you could look at your spending decisions: do they make sense and are they aligned with your goals?
Ultimately preparing a simple budget is really helpful, it will force you to look into your spending and allocate your money better. I quite like the 50/20/30 budgeting rule as a benchmark - where you allocate your net salary as follows: 50/20/30 means that 50% of your income is allocated to essential expenses, 20% to financial goals and the remaining 30% to lifestyle, flexible spending.
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