Kicking off the Asian Money Guide launch series, a press event was held at Cocina Peruvia in Manila, Philippines, where panelists were invited to discuss this burning question in the minds of the AMG community.
Husband and wife team, Eugene and Ginger Arboleda, founders of fintech start-up Taxumo, Gina Romero, founder and CEO of Connected Women,and Carla Perlas, Regional Head of Content for theAsianparent,had this to say…
On the maximum amount to be spent on:
A handbag?Eugene surprisingly had the highest price at PHP 10,000, joking that his answer was due to his wife being there. The women on the panel had a range of PHP 2,500 to 8,000.
A weekend vacation?Again, Eugene had the highest figure at PHP 50,000 while the women’s ranged from PHP 20,000 to 35,000.
A car?This time it was Gina with the shocking answer of PHP 0 (citing the convenience of ride sharing) while the rest all gave PHP 1,000,000.
On Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies:
While Gina shares that she’s not an early adopter and Carla says that she’s open to it, self-confessed ‘finance nerd’ Eugene already has Ginger’s computer running 24/7 to mine cryptocurrency Monero.
“I always think about my kids; and I don’t want to burden them,” opens Carla, sharing that she and her husband do agree that it’s a necessity. Meanwhile, Eugene sees it as a matter of risk management. “Life insurance, in particular, is not very high in our list of risks to mitigate. I’ve accepted that risk – things can happen – but Ginger will take care of [things] basically.” He points to health insurance as a ‘replacement for an emergency fund’, mitigating the risk of their child getting hospitalized, and something they do have.
On how men and women negotiate salaries differently:
Carla shares that while most of her potential hires get surprised when she inquires about their asking salary, she noticed that women would give a range, then go into details about the figure (“What are the deductions/exclusions?); while men would ask, “What are you offering?” Ginger adds that the male applicants she interviews rarely negotiate upon being given a figure.
Gina, who works with mostly female hires, says that the conversation is anchored on their aspirations – single mums would be more demanding of income; whereas those who’ve gotten out of the corporate world and just want to be working again, ask more about flexibility and hours since they still want plenty of time and focus for the family.
As for salary increases, Eugene points out that men usually have the ready excuse of having to provide for the family; while women do not, and so have to go into the tricky discussion of “What I’m worth”.
On what can be done to narrow the gender gap in leadership positions
Ginger points out that what the statistics don’t reflect, is that women are actually the ones doing something about this as they establish their own businesses. The corporate gap may move at a glacial pace, but every day, more and more women are becoming founders and CEOs.
Gina calls for the support of the government, citing exemplary parental leave policies such as the four months Facebook offers to both male and female employees. Support and incentives given to small businesses that/to offer such benefits “would definitely even the playing field,” she says.
Carla has a similar sentiment: Support companies that support women – soon enough, other companies will notice that they’re not getting top hires and be enlightened by the policies of those that do.
Eugene suggests empowering men to step up and be more involved in the traditionally female role of child-rearing. It shouldn’t be expected of the woman to resign in order to raise the family. “It’s the couple’s job together,” he says.
On closing the financial literacy gender gap:
The future is bright; the future is now for Ginger, who shares, “There is an evident clamor from women.” The workshops they run on entrepreneurship are heavily attended by women. In their marriage, she has taken on the role of being the one to set up and meet with financial advisors – many of whom also happen to be women!
“It’s a good shift that we’re seeing,” adds Eugene, referring to knowledge being shared between married couples.
On what they would advise their younger selves about personal finance:
Gina: Don’t get caught in the ‘end-of-the-month’ mentality of having a salary. Have a back-up plan; learn to earn in other ways.
Carla: Don’t fall into the credit card trap! Be comfortable with what you earn; live within your means.
Ginger: Don’t fear money [management]; enjoy learning everything you can about it.
Eugene: Look for people whom you want to emulate in terms of financial wellness.
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