A few words with Susan…

How did you get inspired to start the Women’s Financial Network?

The seeds were planted after a six-month contract helping a financial institution launch a female division in the early nineties. I was appalled by two things: 1) How difficult it was for women to get sound, balanced and appropriate advice, and 2) How difficult it was for women to work in such a ‘blokey’ industry.

How should women be treated when it comes to financial advice?

Women need to be treated with respect and integrity. We need to be able to ask questions freely and without feeling patronised.

Banks still think as long as an advertisement has a woman with a briefcase in one hand, a baby in the other and a splash of pink– they’ve got us sussed. Well guess what? We make up 52 per cent of the population and have as many if not more roles and responsibilities as men, but somehow financial institutions don’t want to understand this.

So how are you different?

I understand the importance of listening. If you’re confused or unsure about anything I discuss this with you – not other people in the industry. It’s not about wanting to sell products, it’s about understanding that good financial advice takes time – you don’t have two coffees with someone and then think you’re besties. You are trusting me with your financial wellbeing, and I take this responsibility seriously.

What keeps you interested in financial services?

Every day I have women telling me their negative experiences – that they weren’t listened to, or were patronised and made to feel stupid. There is still an enormous need and demand for women’s advocates in financial services, and this is what keeps me motivated.

Who would you like to have seated to your left at a dinner party?

I’m really interested and inspired by people who use their influence to do amazing things – not for recognition or because it looks good on their website, but because it’s who they are and the right thing to do. At the moment I’d have to say Will.I.Am – he manages to be enormously creative as well as involved with so many charities behind the scenes. Plus – he’s hilarious.

Susan Jackson is a licensed financial planner who has been assisting individuals with their financial planning requirements since the late ‘80s. She is a regular speaker, facilitator of money education programs, magazine contributor and radio and TV guest.