Becoming a Mother Transformed my Financial Approach. Now I'm Educating Myself on Financial Markets and Investing

"It’s about recognising the ability mothers have to make our money work for us and our families"

WORDS BY
Ellie Turner-Coughlin
Published
January 19, 2024
(Photo: Miki Photography)
Tags
Money & Life
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Becoming a mother has transformed a lot of things – it’s forced me to reflect on my views and beliefs, and especially my relationship with money. Motherhood comes with a whole new set of responsibilities, including now being responsible for someone else’s financial wellbeing. Not only has it changed how I spend and invest my money, but it’s made me reflect on how my attitude to finance will also inform how my son approaches it down the line. 

The conversation around money and financial wellbeing is important, whatever stage of life that you’re in. But what I’ve realised is that becoming a mother has made it even more so. Why? Because for me, money is about security and choice. It’s about being able to choose how to spend my time and who to spend it with. It’s having the ability to support my family – the area of my life which now takes center stage. Since becoming a mother in March this year, I’ve learnt the importance of taking an active role in managing and building our finances. It’s a journey I’m still taking so allow me to share what that’s looked like so far.

Pre-motherhood

Before I set up my business, I’d spent over a decade working within luxury hospitality and events so building relationships with HNW individuals and investors was often a large part of my job. That’s when I noticed that finance was a topic that was discussed so openly, but often only between men around me. I naturally became curious. I hosted networking events connecting startup founders and investors. I learned enough to join conversations, but it was still a topic that slightly scared me. I felt intimidated by the financial jargon that seemed to make everything sound more complicated than it needs to be. 

Having your own business means you need to be clued up on all things finance. Whilst your accountant or financial advisor is obviously there to advise, you need to know enough to be able to understand your position and profitable revenue streams. And for me, that was often where it stopped. I never thought to invest personally. I’d always known how much money my business was bringing in at any given time. I’d regularly save, I’d look at ways to build more revenue but I’d never thought about making money work for me. 

(Photo: Toa Heftiba/Unsplash)

How getting pregnant shifted my mindset

Everything shifted when I became pregnant and my approach to money and investing changed. My husband and I decided to move house so that we could be closer to family. We also wanted more space, not just for our growing family, but more room for visitors and for my husband and I to be able to work from home. We spoke to a financial advisor who advised us to make a will to ensure our future child would be protected. There were lots of discussions around financial planning, life goals and all the finances associated with starting a family. It’s no longer just about you - there’s childcare, education, unexpected expenses, holidays. Motherhood entirely changes the financial game.

Being self-employed also meant I had to think about how much maternity leave to take and the impact that would have on my business and clients. Suddenly, many of my conversations seemed to revolve around money and financial goals, and I started to reflect more not just on my own goals entering motherhood, but how this would change once I had my son.

Motherhood and my approach to work

Becoming a mother has shifted my perspective on a lot of things – particularly the way I approach my work and finances. At the same time, it’s  given me more focus and drive than ever before. I’ve always been someone that’s enjoyed working and luckily I have a career which I’m passionate about. But motherhood has given me more confidence in myself and my ability to do things I didn’t think I could. Having a child, helping him grow and watching him learn has shown me that we’re capable of way more than we think. It’s made me want to take control of my finances and investments, and learn more about what I can do that will benefit my son and family in the long-run.

"I’m educating myself on financial markets and investing"

For me, my financial goals have always been linked to freedom and the ability to choose how to spend my time, but now even more so. I have a beautiful baby who fills me with joy and I want to spend as much time with him as possible. As someone who loves their career and has spent years burning the candle at both ends, I’ve been known to get stuck on the hamster wheel of work and never wanting to switch off. 

Motherhood has made me rethink how I want to spend my time. I still have the same financial goals, but I’m trying to work out how to find a balance between focusing on my career and being a mother, which unfortunately isn’t always an option mothers have. I want to make long-term investments that will benefit my family and figure out how to make money work for me. Which is why my interest in financial education expanded.

How motherhood changed my approach to finances

So now, I’m actively learning more about finance. Here’s how I’m doing it:

1. Investing 

I’m educating myself on financial markets and I’m investing with a view to make returns over the longer term. I deposit regularly into a stocks and shares ISA, comprised of multiple index funds across all sectors and asset classes to diversify my holdings and gain exposure to those broader market movements. I’m currently researching equity investments with a view to actively participate in the stock market in the future. 

(Image: Female Invest)

2. Working with a financial advisor

I’m also working with a financial advisor to review my personal, financial and business goals. We look at my priorities and lifestyle ambitions for the next few years and work out how to plan accordingly so I can make informed decisions.

3. Talking about money openly

I’m talking more openly with friends about our beliefs around money, where these have come from and how to change them. At the events and panel discussions I host, I’m facilitating conversations exploring our individual definitions of success and happiness - and how this relates to our relationship with money.

4. Planning what I’ll teach my son

And most importantly, I’m thinking about what I want to teach my son. From how we will discuss topics related to money and financial wellbeing, to how I can ensure the savings and investments I’m making now will benefit him not just in the short term, but in 18 years time and beyond. 

Final thoughts

Becoming a mother has been the most incredible experience. It’s changed my mindset on so many things and given me so much love. Before becoming a mother, money wasn’t a topic I felt comfortable talking about. It felt like a taboo subject - something I felt intimidated by. Now I’m learning about it and breaking down the overcomplicated jargon, I realise it’s about financial wellbeing and education – a  conversation we should be having more often. And as a mother, something that I not only hope to teach my son, but something that I believe should be taught in schools. It’s about security, it’s about making choices that reflect our own beliefs and values, and it’s about recognising the ability mothers have to make our money work for us and our families.

Tags
Money & Life

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