Molly Benjamin is the Founder of Ladies Finance Club and the Author of “Girls Just Wanna Have Funds”. From a casual idea in Molly’s living room with friends, Ladies Finance Club has changed the lives of women all over the world by building a supportive community of women who are taking control of their finances and having fun doing it.
In this episode, Molly explains how to make financial literacy more interesting and why it’s so important. She also breaks down how having the right mindset can help you to achieve your dream of home ownership and talks about how using mantras can make a difference in your financial future. Plus, Molly shares the inspiring story of a Ladies Finance Club member’s journey to buying their first home.
Get in touch with Molly Benjamin
Founder of Ladies Finance Club
Author of “Girls Just Wanna Have Funds”
The information contained in this podcast is general in nature and is not to be taken as financial or personal advice.
It does not consider your objectives, financial situation, or needs.
You should consider whether this information is suitable for you and your personal circumstances before acting on it.
Hi and welcome to The Home Run your guide to buying your first home in Australia.
On the show, I’ll walk you through the home buying process from every angle we cover the steps to take the pitfalls to avoid, and the answers to all your questions you’ve been dying to ask.
No matter what stage you’re at, you’ll learn everything you need to know about buying your first home.
I’m your host, Michael Nasser, and I’m a mortgage broker at Lendstreet, and I really love helping people buy their first home today on the show.
I’m joined by Molly Benjamin.
Molly is the founder of the Ladies Finance Club, an exclusive women’s finance club that empowers women to take control of their financial futures and get money savvy.
Molly is also the author of the excellent book Girls Just Wanna Have Funds.
Molly has really impressive journey and in today’s episode, you’ll hear all about it.
Molly will share how she founded the Ladies Finance Club.
She’ll talk about the importance of having the right mindset for first-home buyers.
And she’ll breakdown why she believes that education is so important for first home buyers.
Let’s get into it.
Molly, thanks for joining me on the show today.
Thanks so much for having me excited to be here.
So you’re the founder of an organisation called the Ladies Finance Club.
And I wanna talk to you about that in a second.
But first I wanna talk to you about how did the journey get started for you?
OK, so if we’re going back to the start, it is, I think 2017 or something like that.
I’m in my apartment in London.
It’s a Sunday afternoon.
My girlfriends are over.
And I’m like, Wow, we’re all complaining about how broke we were after the weekend.
Like I’m so broke.
No, I’m so broke.
And it was almost like a bit of a joke.
And I’m like, What is going on?
We all have good jobs.
We’re earning pretty good money, but we’re living paycheck to paycheck.
We have no emergency savings.
We’re not investing.
Then the next day, I caught up with one of my guy mates and he was buying his second property.
He was investing in the share market.
And I’m like, What is going on here?
And so really, Ladies Finance Club was born in my living room.
I was like girls instead of a book club.
We’re gonna have a money club because me myself, like massive confession.
I was horrendous with money like, yeah, living paycheck to paycheck.
I had a great job, but nothing to show for it.
I thought money.
You earned money so you could spend money not l,ike, keep it and build strong financial foundation.
So we get someone in to talk to us about finance.
I’d put on pizza wine, get my girlfriends to come along, and we started learning about money, and I was like, Wow, so many of my girlfriends are interested, and people would be texting me being like, Hey, I miss that money thing.
Are you doing it again?
And so I was working for a bank in the UK at the time, which is like, not embarrassing because a lot of the women I was working with had no clue about money, and and I’m sure it’s the same with the guys.
But my focus was women.
And so I was like, I’m gonna put on my first event in London and see who wants to come along and it’s sold out.
Most of the women worked in financial services, and that’s kind of where it was born.
So if you fast forward to where we are now, I moved back to Australia.
I set it up in Australia.
We’ve had over 35,000 women through our events, courses, masterclasses, programmes.
And it’s all about helping make women rich because unfortunately, the gap is just big and we live longer.
That’s absolute fact.
We live on average five years longer.
We earn less.
We get paid less for doing the same job as guys, you know, for every dollar.
Unfortunately, we’re still earning 87 cents to that dollar.
So what this means is over a period of time in retirement, and I’m sure you’re very familiar with this and so are your listeners.
But we’re retiring on a lot less than men, and that gives us a lot less control over our lives.
And I think one of the big stats which really motivated me to start my business as well, is when I found out that the highest growing demographic of people experiencing homelessness was single women over the age of 55.
These women who’d like you know, either given up their lives to raise families to bring up the next generation of Australians, and then they are retiring into poverty.
And I just wanted to do something about that.
I didn’t want that for any woman.
And I was like, OK, let’s start educating ourselves because that is the key.
The education piece is the key.
Totally, and I think from what you mentioned there, that there’s a bit of a strategy piece there which I guess we’ll talk about, too, because it’s about being mindful of what you doing.
As you mentioned at the beginning.
You know, you were making money, but you were spending it so that there’s probably a lack of strategy there, and and that’s what you’ve started to pick up on now.
But this has inspired you to create the Ladies Finance Club.
Tell me about this club and tell me about how it works and and why was it so important for you to start this organisation?
When I started learning on my own like my own financial literacy, education, everything and excuse excuses, I just found it very male, pale, stale and blue and freaking boring. And I was like, I do not want to engage with this.
I love doing stuff with my girlfriends.
I was like, Why does this have to be boring?
Let’s make this fun.
So you know, it started off as events.
And then when covid hit, we turned it into an online club.
So we do monthly master classes.
What I do is I get the best experts.
Generally, they are females.
Sometimes they’re guys as well.
And we break down different topics of finance, from budgeting to investing to superannuation, retirement, getting on the property ladder.
We work with amazing mortgage brokers.
We work with fantastic property investors and just like creating this really lovely supportive community where I guess each other’s cheerleaders.
But we’re educating ourselves on the way, and it’s really cool to see women come in with no financial literacy and then they’re buying property or they’re like I bought my first ETF.
I bought my first shares.
And you knew three months ago they had no idea what an ETF was.
And they’re really setting themselves up.
And this information, this education is gonna stay with them for life.
I mean, I, I can just feel that coming through while you’re speaking about it, that you know that passion and and I can totally get it.
And having seen you know, your socials and seen your website fun definitely is something that I can I can see comes across.
It’s like turning this boring topic, you know, which is, you know, you’re very heavily dominated by males and all that sort of stuff, but making it fun and making it more appealing and attractive to an audience that you obviously resonate with and bring that message to them where they otherwise couldn’t and you mentioned there’s 35,000 people that have gone through it, so it’s obviously hitting a chord, and that’s fantastic.
So, congratulations on that.
And I think you know, you’re kicking some massive goals there.
You’ve written a book as well. I noticed.
Tell us a bit about that.
Yeah, so it’s called Girls just want to have funds and it’s all about starting from the beginning, with your mindset going through all the different areas of personal finance.
But we also touch on, like the basics investing super insurances tax.
But then also getting divorced.
Separation, teaching your kids about money, how to negotiate your salary.
So I’ve interviewed some of my most favourite women in finance all around the world.
And, yeah, we we put it into a book.
And then we just got out a journal as well with the founder of Kiki K, Christina Carlson’s new company, Dream Life.
Well, OK, and we’ll have information about the show notes a bit further on.
But that’s congratulations on that as well.
You’ve mentioned that, and I think it’s a critical thing, and it’s definitely a foundational concept, and I know you talk a lot about the importance of having the right mindset before we talk about why it’s important for anyone who doesn’t know.
What does it actually mean to you to have the right mindset?
I think it’s around having the right belief but also understanding where your money, like, especially your money mindset has come from, because if you can understand where it’s come from and you do a bit of a foundational work, because a lot of time, our money mindset is made up by the time we’re seven years old.
It’s heavily influenced by how our parents behaved with money or didn’t behave with money, or if they were good or bad, or if they thought about it, or how they behaved with it is very much influenced with how we are.
So if there are potentially some behaviours there that need changing, which I would say, majority of people I speak to, they don’t have positive relationships with money and positive mindsets around money.
So for me, yeah, it’s really about what do you really believe about money, your feelings and thoughts.
And as you said, it’s so foundational.
So you know you can learn all you want about investing, budgeting.
But if the mindset isn’t right, then none of the other stuff matters.
So it’s really, about nailing that one first.
What would be one of the biggest mindset challenges that you see from, You know, the experience that you’ve had dealing with people on this topic is there one particular challenge that you see more often than not or can it be really diverse?
And it just depends on the individual.
There’s quite a few different ones.
There’s a quite a big scarcity mindset.
And also like, I’m just not good with money.
That’s a belief.
I hear a lot and I’ll kind of challenge that.
And I’ll be like, OK, can you remember a time you were good with money?
Do you pay your rent every month?
Oh, yeah, Absolutely.
Do you ever miss any bills?
Never miss a bill.
OK, so you’re actually not that bad with money.
So that’s a common one, I hear.
Oh, gosh, there’s a lot.
There’s a real lack of kind of confidence with money because I also think this is a big part of it.
We’re not socialised as women to talk about money, and, you know, sometimes that might be because women could only open their own bank account in their own name like it wasn’t that long ago in like the seventies, like you couldn’t get a home loan without a male signature.
So women haven’t been having these conversations for generations and generations.
Men have always been controlling the money.
So there’s a lot of different, reasons that in the book, the first chapter is all about mindset and how to reframe some of those negative thoughts as well.
And I think it’s a matter of perspective.
And you know, you’ve mentioned there how you, you know, you speak to people and they’ll highlight an issue.
But then if you spin it and particular perspectives like Hold on, you’re not right in thinking in that way.
Try thinking about it this way and all of a sudden that just opens up new doors, I imagine.
And I think especially with home ownership as well.
A lot of our women are single women, and they kind of have this belief that I will never be able to get on the property ladder as a single woman.
And I’m, like, again challenge that.
How come there’s guys buying property all the time by themselves and actually going OK, Well, you’ve just got to look at what other avenues are there.
If you can’t get that 20% deposit, OK, what else can you do?
And that leads into our next question quite well because when it comes to first home buyers specifically and that’s obviously the market that we speak to here at the home run, why is it important for them to have the right mindset?
Your actions are your beliefs.
Your beliefs are your actions.
So iF you really believe that you’re never gonna be able to buy a property?
What’s your action?
You don’t take an action.
The result is you have no property.
If you believe you can get on the property ladder, you start taking action.
OK, well, I’m just gonna chat to a mortgage broker and see.
Where am I currently at?
Where do I wanna get to?
OK, I’m gonna start looking around.
I’m gonna look at what other options are there.
There’s some government schemes.
I could rent vest.
I could get my parents to be my guarantors.
You start taking action and I’m a big believer of mantras, goal setting and actually changing the messages in your head to say no.
I will be a property owner.
I will get on the property ladder and actually believing it.
I remember speaking to, a lady in London, and she was in HR earning a pretty good wage.
And we walked past a house together and she’s like, I’ll never be able to afford a property And I was like, Why is that?
And she’s like, Oh, you know, I just don’t earn enough.
I’m like, How much do you earn?
And she told me, And I’m like, You earn plenty enough to get on the property ladder.
Maybe you can’t start with your dream house like, you know, with the beautiful, you know, white fence and this.
But you can definitely become a property owner and build your way up to that dream home.
So, yeah, there’s always a way if you want it.
Absolutely, and it’s about finding it out.
And it’s that education, because once and it’s something I deal with a lot is that people don’t know what’s possible because they don’t know what exists to make it possible.
So if you can outline the path for them, then it’s like, Well, hold on.
Now that I know what I need to do, do you still want to do it?
I guess at the first instance, and if that’s generally yes, then Well, let’s start on that path.
So totally see, how you know, outlying that journey can at least make it more empowering for the individual to then go on that journey and realise their ultimate dreams.
Yes, and it’s so funny.
I think, when people make that decision and then you see this belief that they they’re like, Oh, my gosh, I’m gonna buy a property And then all of a sudden, they’re a bit of a financial hot mess, and then it’s like overnight they’ve, like, got their tax sorted.
They’ve got their pre-approval done, they’re looking, and it happens quickly.
It’s like tunnel vision effectively.
It’s like now that I I’ve got that in place.
I know that I can do it.
This is the strategy. And then all of a sudden, everything else falls into place.
And I think that’s where mortgages brokers play a big role in that education part as well.
And I know a lot of the mortgage brokers we work with as well.
I think they just spend, like, 90% of the time just educating people on that process.
Which is why we’ve started running Webinars on what is the process to buy.
So for anyone on the journey to buying their first home what what are some of the ways that they can improve their mindsets?
So I think there’s a couple of things you can do the mantras or the affirmations like I am gonna be a property owner.
I know it sounds a bit Woo Woo, but like literally changing the messages you’re telling your brain and then challenging those messages when the negative messages come up, you’ll never be able to afford it.
You won’t be able to do this by yourself and actually challenging those and going Is that true?
Has there been any single people this year that have bought property?
There Have You can totally do this.
So really believing that again.
I ain’t gonna sound weird to some of the people on the podcast, but manifesting telling the universe that this is what you want and getting really clear and focused talking to a mortgage broker.
I think that’s great for the mindset because it actually makes you go.
OK, I’m actually getting serious about this, and I’m gonna even if I’m not ready to buy right now, I’m gonna find out what I have to do and I’m gonna look at Do I need to start doing some credit repair on my credit score?
Even writing a letter?
I don’t again.
Sounds weird writing a letter to yourself about when you bought the property.
So it’s such and such I bought the property.
This is how it makes me feel.
This is why I wanted to buy it.
And really thinking about why do you want to buy a home?
What is it in you?
So you’ve got this security and comfort, is it?
So that’s something that’s yours and no one can take away from you.
Because if you want to start a family, there might be numerous reasons.
I think recognising that why.
And if you speak to buyer’s agents or, you know, when it comes to purchasing, generally, the first question they ask is, Why do you wanna buy?
And so being able to recognise what that why is can be very powerful.
But I think the things that you mentioned there were Woo.
I mean, perhaps maybe 10 years ago, perhaps people thought like that.
But I think more and more that type of thinking and that type of being is really becoming more common, and people are recognise that it’s totally OK to be like that and the changes that it can make are are immense. And I feel.
I know the mindset is incredible when you really believe.
totally on the same page with you, with that and and I think you know some of our listeners. If they’re thinking that it is II, I challenge them to give it a go because and I think the key is doing it consistently, you can’t do it for one day.
It’s just got to be something that you’ve got to ingrain in your process, right?
So, yeah, like if I look at my phone right now, I’ve got my vision board on my phone and it’s got the property I want to buy.
Like I look at that every day.
Michael Molly 15:18
I look at the 12345 different areas of my life that I’m visualising at the moment and I see that every single day.
Yeah, no, I think that’s a great tip as well.
For people that are thinking about it.
Manifesting your reality, I think, is very much something that’s a possibility and something that people should embrace as a concept and not think of it as being weird.
So hopefully we if we can challenge one person to break down that mindset, I think we’ve done a good job here.
So the other thing that you’re really big on is the importance of education, and we’ve already touched on it a few times here.
But I want to understand why is it important for first home buyers to educate themselves?
Well, you don’t know what you don’t know.
And when you educate yourself, you can save huge money, like even women who come along to our property sessions, and they learn about mortgage brokers.
If they use the right mortgage broker.
That’s gonna save them thousands and thousands of dollars than if they were to just walk into a random bank.
You can go, Hey, does my square profile fit your square cookie cutter?
And I think as well around insurances and cooling off periods, all that information which we don’t know about it, because why would we?
We’ve never been taught it.
There’s no university subject.
We didn’t learn it at school like unless you read about it or listen to podcasts like this.
You don’t know about these different processes that can save you huge money in the long term,
And it can speed up the process as well as, and that comes down to money as well, obviously.
But if you aren’t aware of something that can accelerate the time in which you can purchase, well, that’s a bit of a game changer, too so.
Like getting your pre-approval done like some people go.
Oh, if I want to find a house, I start looking on realestate.com.
I find the house I want.
It’s like No, no, no, you get your pre-approval.
You’ll work out what your lending capacity is.
You’ve gotta get it in the right order, which I know for many of our women, like again, Why would we know?
We don’t know unless you’re speaking to someone.
And then again, if you’re speaking to the wrong people or you’re listening to your parents or friends of your parents and they didn’t know either, then, yeah, you might not be getting the right information.
I think the parents is very much a concept where people can be misguided, and it’s not ill intentioned by any means.
But it’s just like you said.
They they perhaps don’t know because they’re not first home buyers.
And the challenges they faced, although they were probably great in their day, is not the challenges we face today and so.
No, very, very different, environment. uNFORTUNATELY.
Well, that’s just the way it is, right?
And I’m sure in 20 years time when you know our listeners have kids, if if they don’t already have them and it’s gonna be similar to that and things will be different, then that’s just the way of things.
They grow and evolve.
Obviously, we’ve got our podcast here that people are already listening to, or you’ve obviously got your mechanisms at the Ladies Finance Club.
And are there any other places that people can get some information that you’re aware of for first home buyers that you’ve had success with or you’ve known people that you know listened to or anything else in that regard?
Yeah, so we we we have a podcast, and there’s some fantastic mortgage brokers, buyers, agents on, like Tiktok and Instagram.
There’s podcasts, so I think it’s just about finding because there’s so many.
It’s about finding who is your style and who works for you.
But again, I know it sounds a bit nerdy, but the government’s money-smart website’s great and there’s also the first home buyers.
It’s a government-run site as well.
And it just tells you what latest schemes are available as well.
And actually looking into what are those schemes?
And then, yeah, I guess just being aware that with certain financial websites that you’re gonna get certain biassed information, so just making sure that you are kind of looking at everything with a bit of a lens as well.
You raised a good point there, and it’s something I guess you have experienced in creating what you’ve created.
There are multiple ways of obtaining this information.
It’s definitely available, and it’s becoming more available.
But I think the key to it is finding someone that you resonate with finding somebody that you know you can go on the journey with because that’s just as important as the information that they provide.
You wanna feel connected to that person that you want them to feel like they understand you and and your challenges and I think that’s a really critical thing.
So I guess if anyone’s out there looking for, you know those educational platforms, see what’s around, see what’s there, see what works for you.
And I think that’s gonna give you a big, better chance of being successful.
Yeah, And I think, you know, there’s not pressure to go with the first person you speak with or or like, even say mortgage breaking.
You know, you can date before you get married kind of thing like you can try out, make sure you like them.
They align with your values, they be supportive.
They’re gonna be that person who maybe helps educate you.
If you need to learn a bit more about the process because it is, it’s a big decision and you wanna make sure I yeah, you feel confident and you’ve got the right team behind you.
One of the things I know you talk about a lot is salary sacrificing, and it’s a particular concept here that we’ll draw on this term.
It does get thrown around a lot, and I know that a lot of people ask me about salary sacrificing as well.
But what does it actually mean.
And if we’re explaining it to a first time, why that hasn’t heard it for the first time.
How do we explain it to them?
Yeah, so it’s just before.
So, for instance, if you work for a company, they’re just taking some of that income before it’s taxed and you’re sacrificing it and you can do it towards your super.
And if you’re doing that, that’s where you might look at the Super Seda scheme and you can depending again.
It very much depends on the company you work for and if they offer it.
But yeah, it’s just putting Pre tax salary away before it’s taxed.
And how can this help a first home buyer and how how can they use it to their advantage?
I always work with the experts on this one, but yeah, there’s the the first home saver scheme, the super saver scheme, where, you know, instead of being taxed at your normal rate, you’re being taxed at that 15% rate.
And the benefit of that is basically, you’re able to build up your deposit a little bit quicker because then you can access it.
So yeah, absolutely something that you gotta be in the loop with and and in that instance and understanding how that can help us step where a mortgage broker can assist you with there.
All right to close things up.
I wanted to ask you, in particular, if you had any success stories with members who have bought their first home with the help of the Ladies Finance Club.
And if you have a story like that, if you could share it or even a scenario, perhaps if it wasn’t related to that, how it helped them start the particular path to ultimate success when it comes to purchasing their first property?
There’s one who is about to buy, and I love this story because she’s a nanny working in Sydney and she when she first came to Ladies Finances Club.
She’s been with the club now for two years, like she just never thought property was ever gonna even be an option for her.
But she has been saving.
She’s got her property deposit together.
She went and saw a broker quite early on to work out where she needed to get to, and I think the nice story about that is like she’s a nanny so she’s getting paid like middle income.
But she’s still able to do it because she’s been so focused on it.
She started a side hustle to bring in extra income.
There was another lady in Tassie.
It was a first investment property, but that was She had been divorced.
She had credit card debt.
She was starting over again.
And she’s still had the family home, but again, meeting some of the buyers agents we work with.
She bought a place, and that’s done really well.
And she’s, looking to buy another one.
Likewise, with another couple of our younger male members meeting some of our buyer’s agents, one of them’s built up her third property, which is so exciting, and she’s because that’s for a lot of them.
You know, they want that financial freedom, and they want to do that through property and building up that portfolio is a way to do it.
So it’s really cool when you hear, because we started the club in Australia back in 2019, the women who were with us from the early journey and the ones who have actually taken action, they really enjoyed that property boom for the that few years, and it’s really served them well so
Yeah, and and I guess having that team around them, like is what you provide there.
I guess it’s just and I’ve used the word before, empowering in terms of giving them some clear strategies as to how to achieve what they want to achieve and then providing the mechanisms, which I think is just as important so they can achieve their goals SP.
And we always run these just like free sessions that anyone can come to where it’s like we’re just gonna take you through what the process of buying property is.
So I always think it’s like a really nice first place to start because it’s like all you’re doing is showing up and learning the process, and we get literally like 1000 women registered to those events.
And I’m like, right, women in Australia wanna know how to do this.
And it’s important to know we’ve been speaking about property in particular here, but and you’ve mentioned it at the beginning, it’s it’s not just property.
You look at all you know, forms of financial.
I guess literacy and financial strategies and and whether it’s shares or other types of mechanisms.
So it’s important to keep that in mind, too, although we’re obviously very much focused on the property side of things.
Well, thank you so much for joining us on the show today.
Where can our listeners find you if they want to learn more?
Yeah, so we love the gram.
So we’re on Instagram at Ladies Finance Club or our Website
Check out the book.
It’s in Big W, Kmart on book Topia and Amazon.
Well, thank you so much for joining me on the show today.
I’ve really appreciated your time and your insights.
Thanks so much for having me.
You’ve been listening to the home run your guide for buying your first home in Australia.
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I’m Michael Nasser and we’ll be back next episode, covering another step on the journey to owning your first home.