With degrees in law and marketing, a shared money mindset and love of business culture, Gal Krohn and Em Kaplan are opening up the conversation around finance and career journeys for young women in their inspiring podcast, Clever Women Co. We spoke to the savvy duo about their personal attitudes towards money, the best financial advice they’ve received and how they treat themselves.
VM: How did you meet and was it your shared passion for business that connected you?
Gal: Em was a year below me at school and was friends with my sister. We worked at Woolworths together for five years and those were the years we started realising we had a lot in common, especially the way we looked at money.
When COVID happened, Em and I went on our ‘lockdown walks’ and realised we both wanted to start investing in stocks. Something we noticed at the time was that none of our female friends were even remotely interested in investing and if we ever asked if they were going to invest, they would always say either their boyfriend or dad invested for them.
VM: Why do you think money can be an uncomfortable conversation for women?
Em: I think it is the way we’ve been socialised. If you look back at our grandparents, generally the man handled the finances and the woman did the domestic tasks and had more of the emotional responsibilities. As we have progressed – and now with the high rate of divorce – women are dealing with everything, so you have to care about your finances.
Gal: I also think financial news and publications – even the AFR – are more catered to a male audience. It feels masculine in design and even the way articles are written. It’s made to seem more complicated than it is.
VM: Were you both money savvy from a young age?
Em: Yes, I studied law at Deakin and I made money selling my uni notes. I was always finding things to buy and sell online and flipping items.
My parents said if I wanted to buy something, go away or purchase a car, I had to go and work and earn the money, so during school and uni I was working two or three jobs. It really helped me understand the value of money.
I am earning proper money now but I still look at it the same way as when I was younger and earning a smaller wage. It is valuable. The more I save and invest, the more I can set myself up for the future.
Gal: I also got a job at 14. That was my mum’s influence. She’s a single mum and has been for years and years. Nothing to do with business or financial entrepreneurship came from any male in my life. My mum is the smartest person I have ever known. Anytime one of us kids reached an age where we could work, she encouraged us to do so. She used to work in an office in a bank and my first job was cleaning the office. I was always looking for ideas. I was a make-up artist and would make money off beauty content and I really went hard in that space.
Later, that experience really helped with Clever Women. When we had to start doing content for social media, I had so many tools up my sleeve, so we were able to launch straight into it.
VM: How did you come up with the concept of Clever Women Co.?
Gal: I was doing beauty but what I really wanted to do was unpack the careers of female founders in beauty.
Em: During uni, I had a stage where I didn’t know what I wanted to do and thought how cool it would be to have a platform where people told their career journeys and came at it from different angles. So, Clever was a marriage of both of our ideas.
VM: How has Clever Women evolved since?
Gal: We started off looking at women’s career journeys but it was all short-form content. Last year, we thought, ‘What are we doing?’ People want to listen to much longer-form content, they want high-quality stories, they want to hear from other people. We built the podcast for 10 months so we could include other women in conversations about business and career journeys.
VM: Can you share the most memorable piece of financial advice you’ve received from a podcast guest?
Gal: Our podcast guest Caroline Bowler, of BTC Markets, said the best piece of advice she took from her mother was to have a small amount put aside called ‘running away’ money so you never have to stay in a situation that didn't work for you. She said you never know what life is going to do to you and that money offers freedom if you need it.
VM: How would you describe your spending habits?
Em: We are both very much savers. We have been saying to each other that we both need to buy new clothes!
Gal: For us, it is about quality and being conscious of the business you’re buying from. We can’t stand fast fashion.
VM: What do you splurge on?
Em: I prefer to spend money on experiences and creating memories rather than physical products. I spend on travel, doing things around Melbourne, going to nice restaurants and exploring.
Gal: I love going out for nice dinners and also buying really high-quality produce from markets and organic stores.
VM: Can you share a Clever Women Co. highlight?
Gal: Launching our podcast, Clever Women Co. We were so excited to move from short-form content on social media to a platform that allows us to ask the big questions so that we can really delve into the brilliant minds of incredible women.
VM: What are your favourite features of the Virgin Money app?
Gal: The spend categorisation. It’s great to see where we're spending the most and how much.
Em: The notification of bills. These little prompts of what's coming up are a great way to stay on top of things in the busy day to day.
Ready to start some goood savings habits?
The Virgin Money app has plenty of features to help you up your money fitness and reach your savings goals sooner. Use the app to track your spending, set budgets, stay on top of your bills and lock down your long-term savings so you can live your best life.