June 17, 2024
Why Women Don

The authors of the recently published book Why Women Don’t Talk Money discuss their personal financial journeys, how their own relationships with money have evolved, and why we need to break the silence around women talking about money

Our childhood experiences shape us in all sorts of ways. And this is just as true when it comes to our relationship with money. 

Sharon Sim’s financial literacy journey started early. Growing up, Sim’s mother was—and at 76 years old still is—a stockbroker, and Sim grew up in the ’70s and ’80s when Singapore was enjoying high economic growth as one of the four Asian Tigers.

Money was a frequent topic of conversation around the dinner table. But more than just conversation, Sim also felt its impact on her life, and not always positively, at one point having to move to a smaller home due to financial constraints brought on by exposure to market volatility.

“My memories are of money being a double edged sword,” says Sim. “You can make money in the good times, but you can lose it all in a day. And that hammered home a desire to really learn about finance. Money for me has painful memories, but they motivate me to want to be in control of it a bit more.”

Sim pursued finance as a career, starting at Goldman Sachs, during which time she tried to gain an understanding around the psychology of money and investing. “You treat money as your friend. You invest time, you invest effort to keep in touch, to check in, to have this dialogue, and I think it has been a lot better as time progresses,” says Sim of the evolution of her relationship with money. “But I did have this negative connotation with losing money, that insecurity. But insecurity can turn into a motivation to have a better relationship and to take ownership with where you are in your life. It motivated me to really plan.”

At the age of 24, Sim invested in her first property. She says that the responsibility was a lot to take on—a mortgage when you are uncertain whether your job is secure—but she found a way to get comfortable with the risk. “I told myself when I bought my first property that this is the biggest loan I will probably take, but also the biggest investment I will [make] for myself. For me, it was important to have security. I wanted my first home. Those were the motivations I set for myself, and you can only do that when you are very honest with what risk you can take and what outcome you want.”

See also: How to teach children about money and empower them to be financially confident

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