How to Be Smart With Your Money: an Interview with Merryn Sommerset Webb

Merryn Somerset Webb We caught up with financial journalist, editor, author and all round financial supremo, Merryn Sommerset Webb. We picked her brains about her amazing women-centred book: ‘Love is Not Enough – The Smart Woman’s Guide to Money.’

Merryn started her career in Tokyo at public broadcaster NHK, before becoming a Japanese equity broker at what was then Warburgs. After five years in Japan she returned to work in the UK at BNP Paribas. On leaving the City, Merryn became the launch editor of MoneyWeek in 2000.

16 years on, MoneyWeek is the best-selling financial magazine in the UK and Merryn remains as its editor-in-chief. She also has a weekly column in the Financial Times and a monthly column in Saga. Merryn has also starred in Channel 4’s show ‘SuperScrimpers,’ which helps ordinary people save money.

As if all this was not enough, Merryn decided to put all her financial know-how to good use, helping women to be more financially aware in her book: ‘Love is Not Enough – The Smart Woman’s Guide to Money.’  Her book has helped thousands of women in their quest to take charge of their finances.

This savvy guide is one that every woman should read (instead of waiting for Prince Charming). It is full with practical ideas that will challenge and encourage you to take your career and personal finances to the next level.

As the editor-in-chief, nationally recognised personal financial expert and bestselling author Merryn Sommerset Webb, knows a thing or two about what it takes to attain financial success.

We asked Merryn to share some tips that will help you get smart with your money. Read on to find out more…..

1. Thanks for coming to talk to us at Money Nuggets. What inspired you to write a book about women and money?

I realised that the majority of my female friends knew nothing at all about their own money. Clever women – lawyers, accountants, even fund managers – didn’t really understand how to take care of their own financial futures.

Worse, they weren’t really thinking about those futures. Some couldn’t face it, some were bored by it, some were frightened of it and some assumed a partner would take care of it at some point. I wanted to make all of them get a grip!

2. Research shows that women are better at investing than men. In your experience, why are most women reluctant to invest and how can they overcome this challenge?

The data here is a bit dodgy. Female fund managers should on average be better than male fund managers for the simple reason that they have to really preserve to get (and hang on to) their jobs.

There are fewer women in the business and those that are in it are the best. That said there is some evidence that when non-professional women invest they do on average slightly better than men because they tend to trade less – and lower costs mean better returns.

Why do they trade less? The conventional view is that they are more risk averse and less likely to be distracted by market noise than men. However, it could also just be down to them having less time than men to play on computers. Who knows!

3. How can women get smart with their money?

Get started. It isn’t as complicated as you think. Save cash. When you have six months of living money saved, start investing.

When you invest do it into one of the tax wrappers available: an ISA, a LifeTime ISA or a pension. If you want to make it really simple use an online wealth manager to do this.

I advise NetWealth but this has a minimum investment of £40,000. Others to look at include Nutmeg – you can start small here. And remember the sooner you start the sooner you can sit back and let the magic of compounding take care of you.

Get started investing and let the magic of compounding take care of you. Click To Tweet

4. Will you be doing an update to your book anytime soon? And what advice would you give women now?

I’d love to do an update but it is a matter of finding the time. I will get to it.

Advice? Plan to take care of yourself – you can’t rely on the state, on inheritance or on anyone else’s pension. You can rely on your own.

Over to you

Ladies, it is time to starting leveraging your income to build wealth. What can you do today to get started and let the magic of compounding take care of you? Are you currently saving and investing? Share your experiences with us, we’d love to hear from you.

For more fabulous tips, connect with Merryn on Twitter @MerrynSW and get your copy of ‘Love is Not Enough – The Smart Woman’s Guide to Money.

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  1. I have not always been good with my money but now I am managing it better and even bought stocks in a company. Lovely interview

    1. Hi Anosa, thank you for taking the time to leave your comments. I am glad you are taking positive steps towards securing your financial future.

  2. Interesting enough, between my other half and I, I’m the one who started treating personal finance seriously 😀
    We were both blindsided by debt and expenses and, well, my irrational fear of ending up broke (again) made me realize it’s time to take money seriously and start saving. Being in control of your finances feels so much better than living carelessly and spending without thinking about the future.

  3. This is a great post. I am a single mum in my forties so am going to look into the suggestions, and the book. Thank you so much. Kaz

  4. I’m not always good with money, but as I’m getting older I am starting to look at investing more. Thanks for the tips!

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