Improving Your Finances

How women can take their finances into their own hands.

It sat in my neck like a monster for a long time: The subject of finances. Precaution. Pension. Securing children. Argh. Igittt.

I am already quite far, organized and informed, but uhhh, no, puh, bah, it was not much fun in the beginning. But as soon as you understand the big picture and celebrate the first small successes, it even starts to be fun. If you have the documents together, everything neatly filed, check the box behind, don’t worry any more, don’t have that nasty feeling in your neck anymore. Life.

Because this topic moves me, I talk about it with my friends, there have already been inquiries from readers as to whether I could take up this topic, I have done it. I quickly met Natascha Wegelin, 32, for an interview in Berlin on the weekend. She has just written the sensationally good book “Wie Frauen ihre Finanzen selbst in der Hand können and is blogging as Madame Moneypenny.

I didn’t really have time for it at all, but wow, it felt good to read her book, learn from her and talk to her about your and my worries. Many of you had rather sent questions about Instagram. Meanwhile, one week after publication, Natasha’s book is already a mirror bestseller!

Natascha says that the financial industry is deliberately trying to irritate us so that we lose sight of things and close something. She knows the tricks out of the I-will-be-it-yet-not-understand-powerlessness and explains super simple how you can even find fun with the topic.

Dear Natascha, I’m a little dizzy, I read your book yesterday in one go. I looked one of my greatest fears in the eye, confronted the subject of precaution and the forehead. So the worst is behind me, right?

Absolutely! The most difficult thing is always the beginning, the introduction. As with everything you learn new. But once you have decided for yourself: This is an important topic, I want to take care of it and look for a tool like a blog, a book, a podcast on the topic – whatever! – then the worst is already done. Which shares you buy afterwards et cetera, that is then only knowledge acquisition, as if you learn a new language. There are rules and vocabulary that you have to learn and then you can chat along.

The worst-case scenario right from the start – what happens if you don’t take care of the topic?

Old-age poverty. For many that is still far away. Some also think: It’s none of my business, it only happens to the poor in Germany – Pustekuchen! Old-age poverty is the problem of the middle class, my problem, your problem, ours.

With a good net income of around 2,500 euros, you are right in the middle of it. The lower class is socially provided for and they already know how to live with crazy little. It is very dangerous and naive to believe that the state will regulate this for us.

IF WE DON’T WANT TO COLLECT IN OLD BOTTLES, WE HAVE TO BECOME ACTIVE OURSELVES.

You’ve studied business administration, but just three years ago you didn’t have much knowledge of finance. How did you manage to become an expert?

My “aha” effect came with a commission consultant who cost me a lot of money. I was too comfortable, too naive to follow up, I let her talk me into a private pension insurance. I have always paid a nice 300 euros a month for about three years and at some point I thought: How strange that I don’t even know what it is and what it brings me.

Then I asked an independent fee consultant for advice. Which is paid by me, so it is not necessary to sell me any insurances. (Via this link you’ll find one near you) We went through all the documents and then I realized that out of the 300 Euro per month not 300 Euro go into my provision, but about half for costs, like this commission consultant. This is also written somewhere in the small print, but no one ever reads it through.

How are you positioned today?

I have my own company, we have organised a small company pension scheme through it, I am neither legally nor privately pension insured, I do it all completely through equity funds, ETFs – these are exchange traded funds, in short several shares in an evil-oriented passive fund together.

I have acquired all the knowledge about this myself. I think you have to know what you are doing, especially on the stock market. I also explain everything step by step in my e-books and online courses. It’s like road traffic, there are rules, you don’t just walk across the street and wonder why you’re being driven to death.

And the ETFs are not again such a hype as life insurances and building saving contracts, which years later are not worth as much as thought? The question was asked by one of my clever readers.

With an ETF, there is no one higher up who can simply determine the rules, depending on their mood. They are stocks whose value is determined by the market. From the world economy. You pay a small annual fee to the fund company for the ETFs, but that’s only 0.3 percent or so, not to compare with other funds, which are loosely at 2%.

If you invest in two or three ETFs, you have several thousand shares working for you. The key is: broad diversification, large ETFs, offered by different fund companies – the more shoulders it is spread over, the better. The second trick is the long term: you can’t historically make a loss with equities over 15 years.

Your book and your e-courses are aimed exclusively at women – is the topic so gender-specific? Aren’t many men just as clueless as we are? I don’t get anything out of it either, if I’m top financially positioned afterwards, but my husband slips into old-age poverty…

For us women, there are just a lot more topics that come together: Baby breaks, we earn less – that’s why I decided to concentrate on women. I have the feeling that there is so much for men. The ideal case is, of course, that the couple approaches the topic together. It already starts with moving in together and choosing an account.

You recommend a so-called three-account model.

For this you take a joint account, on which all salaries come first and from which the joint costs for rent et cetera are deducted. Also for children. And then each partner is paid a fixed amount into his own account and can do whatever he wants with it. There are still many women who do not have an account of their own.

There is not…

Oh, yes, you are. The man has then only the EC-card. I have these women sitting in my seminars and they are not all in their mid 50s. They have never had it exemplified by their parents. My mother still has no account of her own. That’s why I always advise everyone: Talk to each other. Discuss what is important to you. Do we want to spend a lot of money on holidays and therefore less on rent? Or the other way around? Do we want children? Do we want to build a house?