With five years of corporate experience working for some of the largest financial companies in the world, Michelle was approached by CEO and Founder of Bumble Whitney Wolfe with an offer that was too good to refuse: lead Bumble’s expansion into Australia. And with that, Michelle is Bumble Australia’s Country Lead and Director of Marketing.
Inspired by the achievements of Wolfe and her approach to equality, Michelle is now on the journey to build a hive of Bumble supporters down under.
Michelle is passionate about what Bumble stands for, striving to deliver the importance of women making the first move and how Bumble is so much more than a dating app. When it comes to financial advice however, it’s hard to go past her father.
Q: Where do you get your financial advice from?
My dad, however he would say all that advice has been going in one ear and out the other!
Q: What’s the biggest money mistake you’ve ever made?
I think I was 19 when I got lured into one of those deals where you get an iPad if you sign up for a credit card. I was at university and managed to justify that I really needed that iPad right then and there, however I really couldn’t afford it and didn’t realise at the time I was opening myself up to debt I would struggle to repay off with a casual job and little self control at that time!
Q: Do you have a strategy when it comes to finances?
I have a new strategy at the moment, it’s one I read about and is the first one that’s ever worked for me. It’s all about goal setting and breaking down whatever your goal is into small achievable chunks. I think the issue for me with this is patience, however with that in mind it means you set realistic goals. So for example, if you want to save $20,000 for a car, a handbag or whatever it may be – ask yourself what is a realistic daily amount you would be willing to sacrifice. With that example depending on your goal/expenses you could say $28/day is achievable. If you can spend $28 on your lunch, travel, dinner, a couple of coffees and a smoothie then you can put $28/day into your savings and then check each day off on a calendar to stay motivated.
Q: Do you ever speak to your friends about money, investments, purchases?
Honestly, I don’t really like talking about money. That’s because everyone has different incomes, circumstances, some people may be struggling, others living beyond their means and then you always have the stingy friend who usually has the most money in the bank! I think ultimately though, the reason I don’t like talking about it is because it probably took me up until about 25 to work out how to save and be careful with finances.
Q: Looking back over your life, what are some of the most pivotal money moments (negative or positive) that you remember?
I remember this well. I was 21. Ironically it was when I got a job at a bank – it was my first “proper” job, I received a really large pay rise, I think it went to my head and at the same time I was approved for a loan I really didn’t need (on the bank’s staff interest rate). Because I saw the money sitting there I spent all of it. It meant that I was behind financially from a young age and it was a moment in my life when I really didn’t need to be.
A positive one however actually is to do with Superannuation as it’s an asset people take for granted. I have been making voluntary contributions since I had a full time job, I also monitor my super quite regularly. I recently had a meeting regarding a home loan and car loan and my super came up in these conversations and the bank was shocked how much super I have for my age. I think young people are all about feeling immediate results and seeing outcomes straight away. Whilst we all know we won’t be accessing our super for a while, being granted loans that will change your life is an immediate result gained by looking after your super.
Q: Do you consider yourself clued up financially? What do you wish you knew more about?
Nope! I wish I knew more about how to budget – I think I should watch my spending more but I get caught up in “the moment”.
Q: Do you remember any big financial lessons that you learnt at school / uni / in business?
So bad, but no…I guess that explains a lot! I have learnt a lot in the past year setting up Bumble in terms of how to manage business expenses, tax, superannuation etc.. I am pretty anti credit cards. I don’t have one at the moment and I think if you are impulsive like me it’s best to stay clear.
Q: If you have a financial question – who or where do you go to get your information?
I still always go to my dad, he is really switched on, great at managing money – he’s also brutally honest with me and knows what I am like.
Q: Superannuation is notoriously dull. Do you feel like you’re on top of your future financial situation, or do you not consider it at all?
This is the one area where I am on top of things because I think I learnt some hard lessons early. As well as that, my dad’s always pushed the importance of super ashe has just retired, so I can see how it makes a difference.
Q: Financial literacy appears to be lacking amongst younger Australians. How do you think this can be improved and what do you see as the big issues?
I do think it’s this mentality and culture of “YOLO”. The number of times I have said that to myself is not ok. We are also surrounded by social media which is full of everyone trying to look like they are having the best time and living the best life, so there is a natural element of wanting to keep up which feeds into bad habits.
In terms of how this can be improved, I guess age has something to do with it and not getting sucked into those habits. Education on finances is definitely important, but also thinking about the big picture and what you want at the end helps with control.
Q: Would you call yourself financially responsible or irresponsible?
I am split! I think I have my moments either way, but I’m still figuring it out.
Q: What’s the best piece of financial advice that you can impart on our readers?
Don’t buy something you haven’t seen or thought about before. Then, when you leave, if you keep thinking about it, go and get it and if it’s not there it wasn’t meant to me. That’s hard, but it helped me.
Q: Where are the gaps in your financial understanding?
Budgeting, which is probably laziness.
Q: What’s the dumbest purchase you’ve ever made?
The iPad still to this day. It’s not because it cost a fortune, it’s just that I couldn’t afford it at the time and I shouldn’t have done it as it was impulsive.
Q: What’s the smartest financial decision you’ve ever made?
Cancelling my credit card.
Q: If you run your own business, what are the toughest challenges you’ve come up against from a financial standpoint, and how do you work through them?
It is really tough running your own business. Staying on top of invoicing and accounts is a daily struggle. I work really closely with my accountant, I always withhold more tax than I think I need to so when PAYG, BAS and things like that are due I am never stuck. I treat my business account with far more respect than my personal one, however I can see those habits starting to rub off on my personal account. There’s a lot at stake with your own company and generally if you have started one, you are not the kind of person who will let it fail so you know from the start you have no choice but to be 100% across everything!