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From humble beginnings, the 10thousandgirl programs have now reached over 10,000 women. I know that was the goal we were working towards but some days I can still hardly believe it.

As I hand over the reins as 10thousandgirl’s CEO this year, I feel buoyed by the International Women’s Day theme for 2017 #BeBoldForChange and excited about 10thousandgirl’s next phase, as well as my own.

A key lesson I’ve learnt over the last few years is to BE BOLD and BE SPECIFIC.

When we decided on the name ‘10thousandgirl Campaign’, reaching 10,000 women with our pub-born idea and grassroots program seemed a pipe dream. Now it’s a reality.

Personally too, reading over my (50 year… yes I’m a planning freak!) life plan that I wrote in November 2010, it’s hard to fathom how things can play out so accurately. One goal that rocks my boat was writing the date I planned to have my first and second child. At the time of writing these goals I hadn’t even met my husband yet! Sure enough, my first child arrived on the said date, and I’m expecting my second in April this year, right on cue.

But of course goals don’t just happen because we set a date. I decided one day it was time to find a husband but it wasn’t just about writing it down. I gave myself three months and told every friend I was on the look out for a good quality man. I said yes to every social event, went on every (good and bad..) date that was offered, signed up to a couple of dating apps. And sure enough, my goal setting and action taking paid off. I met the man who is now my husband in that third month (and for background, I hadn’t even swung hands with a boy in the two years prior, so really was starting with a blank canvas…).

Same thing happened with our investment properties and with moving back to the country. Dreams were made, dates were set, actions were taken and even if at the time I had no idea how each goal was going to happen, with some focus they just did. You never know when you’re going to receive a phone call, meet someone who makes a pivotal introduction, read an article that uncovers your next clue or idea, meet someone who wants to help you…

But it’s not that easy you say, life throws us challenges, mistakes are made. My husband was made redundant when Freddie was two weeks old, changing our course, our location, our focus over the last two years. We’ve ended up moving, borrowing more money and buying a business and in hindsight now wish we hadn’t bought an earlier investment, but we’ve found a way and with the right advice we’re paving this next path. After this then having a sick child in and out of hospital last year, my life came to a halt. I dropped the ball on so many things, including 10thousandgirl’s management and reporting and even nearly lost our charity status. All I felt like doing by the end of last year is pushing life under the carpet and literally going into hiding but like anything – we need to show up in our own lives. After all – who else will. So I wrote a big list of all the things in my life I’d let fall off the radar, and made myself methodically work through it. It’s good to know that even when you slip off your path, life is forgiving and you always have the choice to take the lessons and climb back up again – and each time we clamber back we’re given the opportunity to do it smarter.

After experimenting in my own life and running planning sessions with literally 1000’s of women, I know with every cell of my body and can look anyone in the eye and say DREAMS COME TRUE. So how are you planning to #BeBoldForChange this IWD17?

How will you change the world? How will you add a little more magic into your life? Who will you meet? Where will you go? Who will you surround yourself with to make sure your dreams happen?

Check out our free resources to kickstart your flow of inspiration.

We look forward to hearing about your dreams coming to life…



THANK YOU to those of you who stepped up in your lives to create positive change. A special THANK YOU to those of you who shared your stories with us. On the nights I’d be up to 3am working, at times feeling resentful at the huge amount of volunteer hours I’d invest (rather than playing with my toddler or sleeping..), I’d read a story about an action someone took or a change someone made and immediately feel refuelled. So THANK YOU to the wonderful women who have embraced the opportunity to attend a 10thousandgirl program.

THANK YOU to our key partners over the 2015-2016 Regional Women’s Financial Literacy Project, including Financial Literacy Australia, Rabobank, HESTA, FPA, Insurance Council of Australia, ATO and Credit Savvy, thanks to local support groups, councils and advisors in every town we’ve run a workshop, and thanks to our powerful social partners – the local, regional, state and national women’s and community groups who share our passion for women’s economic empowerment and who promote our programs far and wide so as many women as possible can attend and benefit from the workshops and online events.

THANK YOU to the team at RMIT who have collated a two year women’s financial wellbeing study using our program findings. I hope we can use these findings to improve our offering into the future and continue to advocate for women’s economic advancement.

THANK YOU to our 10thousandgirl team, volunteers, board and advisors, past and present. You have contributed to some incredible program outcomes. Highlights from the RMIT Program Evaluation Report include:

  • Because of the program, 91% of participants felt more motivated to achieve their financial goals, 83% of participants felt better able to plan ahead, 75% of participants felt more in control of their money and 52% of participants felt less stressed about their future. Following the program, 61% of participants reduced their spending in order to save more, 57% had taken action towards achieving a dream and 56% had got back on track to achieving their financial goals.
  • Working toward closing the retirement savings gender gap, following the program 43% of participants consolidated their superannuation funds; 24% increased their superannuation contributions; 27% changed their superannuation investment portfolio; and 19% of participants increased their investment (other than superannuation) portfolio. 74% of participants reported that they revised their existing insurance policies; 35% altered their existing policies; and 15% purchased new insurance policies.

With the organisations goal of financially empowering 10,000 women and families across Australia now reached, stay tuned for the next phase… exciting new programs and plans being announced very soon.

love & money


  1. What’s the number one piece of advice you say to women about managing their money? 

    Know your numbers!  You should always know where your super is, how much interest you are paying on loans, credits cards etc.

  2. I’m thinking about separating from my partner, what should I be thinking about?

    If you are across your financial affairs great.  If not get up to speed quickly so that you understand what is your personal liability.

  3. My partner and I just cannot agree on money – we fight every month about out strategy.  Any advice?

    Understand what you are fighting about…..  Do you simply have different values when it comes to money? Do one of you feel like you contribute more than the other?  Understanding the way each other see/treat/value money will help you have more meaningful conversations, and hopefully be able to calmly come up with solutions.

  4. I have been divorced now for a year and still have my settlement money sitting in an account; I’m unsure of what to do next.   

    Take your time!  There is no rush, but make sure that you seek the advice of a professional before you do anything (not family, friends, new partners etc.)  Most importantly take your time to find the right professional to help you.  Most will see you obligation free and you should get a feel for who feels right for you.  Importantly pick an adviser who understand that you are coming off the back of a traumatic event and you will need time and education before taking any major steps.  Pick somebody who will be patient and perhaps ask if they have had other clients in your situation.

  5. What’s the best arrangement you’ve seen for couples to share their money? 

    This is very dependent on the couple and back to my comment about understanding how each party feels about money.  Certainly in a long term relationship where you are going to be setting goals and managing money together if makes sense that some of this money is in shared accounts, but that each party also has their own ‘guilt free’ money and you discuss and take equal responsibility for the budget and big purchase decisions.  There is nothing wrong with one person taking the lead but there should still be transparency and regular discussions about how you are tracking.  Sometimes an adviser can be a good person to help you with that.

Virginia Heyer will be hosting upcoming FREE online workshop:
‘Love and Money: Finding Domestic Bli$$’

Enrol now!

You can find out more about Virginia, here.

women and finance

Checklist applying for mortgage

It’s one thing wanting to buy a house and apply for a home loan but there is a fair bit of preparation needed before you step foot in a bank or a mortgage broker’s office.

Here’s our quick checklist for you to increase your chances of approval:

  • Lenders like to see that you’ve been employed for at least 6 months
  • You will need a decent credit score.  Get your free credit check here from CreditSavvy and start working on it if you need to
  • The bigger the deposit the better – save save save!  Aim for a 20% deposit.
  • Make sure you have been in the habit of saving – lenders will want to know that you are in the habit of genuinely saving. Aim for 5% of your salary in a savings account.
  • Make sure you have been paying off your credit cards and rent etc on time – lenders like to see good repayment practice before they take you on.

Want some advice with that? Check out our Lil Black Book of trusted advisors

women and finance


women financial empowerment

I have always taken a conservative approach towards money. I was raised this way. Work hard, save money, live within my means, don’t take risks, don’t talk about money. It has some basic merit but wasn’t really working for me.

I became a mother in my early thirties and for 9 years I was at home with my sons. Only recently did I began consulting in my design business again, but having been an ‘unpaid’ SAHM for so long meant my superannuation was looking very lean. This began to really worry me and got me thinking how little I know about superannuation, investing principles and generally talking about money.

I was recommended the 6 week money makeover by a financially super savvy friend. I was nervous about starting the course as I felt like I would be the only person unable to speak the language. As soon as I heard Zoe’s enthusiastic and passionate voice over the webinar I was instantly interested and inspired to continue. We began by goal setting and it was a revelation of sorts. It became apparent that these things I thought were out of my reach or so far in the distant future were actually achievable. I began goal setting in detail. Renovating our home, building more super, improving my business and a dream family holiday. They are all possible. Break it down, planning is key. It doesn’t have to feel overwhelming.

I really enjoyed the practical exercises throughout the 6 weeks. The life audit, bucket list, goal planning, my personal risk profile, understanding how I am wired to plan, mapping my support network, all contributing to an understanding my own money mindset.

Other important administration tasks I’d stalled for years I finally felt motivated to accomplish. Estate planning, health and insurance audit, rolling over my super into one account. My husband and I sat down and created a money-flow system redirecting where some of our income goes to make our money work better for us. I was beginning to feel empowered by our finances!

The 6 week money makeover was a significant exercise for me. I gained valuable insight to my own financial management, knowledge of general financial principals and I have ongoing access to the forum and so many nuggets of wisdom! Zoe is very generous with her knowledge and so encouraging. I felt that no matter how late in age I was beginning my ‘financial education’ it is ok. My anxiety began to fall away because I was taking control. My conservative money mindset found some balance as I am exploring property investing and I am openly talking about money with friends and family. I am once again contributing to my superfund too! I have to say our savings/6 month buffer unfortunately came into play recently and I cannot stress how important this is to have. I still have a way to go but I often look back on my goals for inspiration.

Thank you Zoe and the 10thousand girl team!

Click here to get invited to the next 6 Week Money Makeover!

women and finance










Today, women are still paid less (around 18%) than men for working equal roles (some more info here).  It’s never easy asking for more anything; least of all more money from your employer.  For many people it is a situation that brings about great nerves, discomfort and anxiety which may lead to avoiding the situation altogether.

Because unequal pay is still an issue today it is important that you ensure you are getting paid what you are worth.  Here are some helpful tips to help you seek that pay rise without all the anxiety and nerves that can go with it.

Do your research

Be familiar with the pay process within your company/organisation – research the policies around pay rises and salary reviews.

Research your market value – what do others in your field at your level receive?

Is the company performing well at the moment?  If you know that things are tough it might not be a good time to ask. However, if things seem to be going well – go for it.

Be clear about what you want

Be clear about your goal – how much extra would you like? Interestingly, research has shown that rather than going for straight zeros e.g. $90,000 shoot for $94,500 instead – replacing the zeros with more precise other numbers yields more successful results in pay rise requests.

Pitch and back yourself

It’s not easy going in asking for more money but reframe the situation from you going for more money to someone who is of great value to the organisation.  List all the ways that you have added value, improved a process, improved the workplace/working culture, increased the value of a product etc in some way.  Start to view yourself as someone who deserves this amount.

Send your boss an email requesting a meeting for a salary review (we suggest a review rather than ‘pay rise’ as these words can give employers the jitters).  In that email outline your case listing your strengths, achievements and where you’ve gone above and beyond.  Take the pitch further buy outlining what the company will get in return should the raise be granted.

Timing is everything

Is this the right time of the year to be requesting a salary raise?  Get in before the budgets have been allocated so there is ample time to have your request processed and actioned.

Regarding your meeting, request a time that will ensure your boss has time to consider your case – first thing Monday morning or last thing on a Friday afternoon ain’t gonna be it.

The Meeting

Before you go in to the meeting, have a coffee!  Research from the European Journal of Social Psychology shows that coffee will help you stick to your guns more and show greater resistance to any pushback.

Make sure you are well prepared and clear about your value before you go in. Take with you your notes around the initial pitch email – s/he will probably want you to talk through each point with you and you’ll want to be across every detail.

Now that you’ve sent in the email outlining your case, the meeting should be at more of a negotiation stage.

Remember, they’re not going to be throwing a pay rise at you – you’re going to have to convince them and be prepared to push for your goal amount.

When it comes to showing your hand around the key question of how much; go ahead and put the amount you are seeking on the table first.  Research shows that folk who go in first with a higher amount do better than those who allow the employer to go first with a lower amount.

She said NO. Now what?

If your employer says nope, don’t burst into tears and walk out (though go ahead and express disappointment)!  Calmly find out why and what you can do to get that pay rise in the future. Ask if you could have your pay reviewed again in 3 or 6 months time, ask what you could do differently, is there anything else the company can offer in the meantime e.g. flexible hours etc?


Have you ever initiated a pay rise conversation?  How did you do it? Were you successful?  

women and finance

MOney & relationships

“Shared joy is a double joy; shared sorrow is half a sorrow.”
— Swedish Proverb

Yes, and that includes the joy of a personal financial plan!  Hmmm, joy and financial plan in the same sentence?  Oh yes, it can happen!

So you’re in a relationship and your finances are maybe a bit week-to-week, or they’re relatively in order but not really getting you to where you’d like to be.  Thing is though, it’s not just you, you have a partner too who has his/her own financial weaknesses for mohair socks and motorbikes.  You want to take control of your money by having a financial plan and of course, you need him/her to be in on it too; otherwise you’ll be doomed to failure.

So, how to get your partner on board with your plan so you can both not only stick to it but feel excited by what it will bring you both further down the track?

Start with fun

Let your partner know you’d like to activate your finances and get on an exciting life adventure together.  Start out by talking about where you’d both love to be in, say, 10 years from now.    What are each of your biggest dreams in terms of how your lives might play out?  Is it to work less and travel more together?  Is it to be able to retire at 50? Is it to be able to take one big fat fancy holiday every year?  Whatever it is, get each other frothed up over it!


Okay so now you’re both excited!  What now?  And how do you maintain the froth?

So, you’ve both talked (excitedly) about life dreams and some (maybe even all) you share.  Here’s where the focal point of your planning will need to be.  And please note: it is now no longer a dream but a goal (suddenly, that sounds way more achievable than a dream, huh?).  Take one or two of those big life goals that you both share and stick a date on it.  Yep. Stick a date on that shizzle.  As soon as you have a deadline you can start planning, set your sights and take bold strides in that direction.  This is where the magic starts to happen.

Magic happens


Okay, so it’s less magic than sitting down and looking at what you’re going to need, financially, within your timeframe to be able to make this goal happen.  Together, you make a decision that you’re going to shoot for that goal and if it means changing some daily money habits then that’s okay because, gosh darn it, those goals are so very exciting!

Okay you have your date/timeframe and you’ve figured out what your goal will require in terms of money.  You might find you will need to save x thousand dollars each year to be able to achieve your goal.  The next thing you both will need to do is to sit down together and look at your incomings and outgoings.  And, as we all know, the only way to save is to spend less than you earn.  Are you doing that now?  If not, what can each of you cut back on?  Still need more to make this goal happen?  How could you increase your income in the timeframe?  We have some fun ideas for you here.

Keep the momentum going

Back away from the pretty Spell dresses
Back away from the pretty Spell dresses

There will be days of weakness when those mohair socks look ultimate and that GORGEOUS Spell dress going for a song at $300 belongs in your wardrobe and nothing else will do.  We know, we know. It is at these times that you might consider interrupting that old thought.  Just stopping for a second and looking at it square on:  ” Do I really need that pair of Jimmy Choos?  Do I?”  Even just thinking like this will cut right back on the spontaneous spending many of us do out of habit to fulfil some kind of emotional need at that time.  And of course, you shouldn’t deny yourself things that you love either – but it’s about mindfulness in your purchases.  It is a good idea to pre-empt these days for the both of you.  They will happen, you’re human after all!  We suggest a little visual cue that represents your short/mid/long term goal you both set and shared and made a plan for.  Keep it in your wallet, on your fridge or anywhere you will be able to see it or reach for it if and when you need it.  Here are some other fab Jedhi money mindset tricks you might consider.

Develop a Jedhi style money mindset. Click through for more….

Action Time!

Putting the plan into action is a really motivating, powerful stage of achieving dreams, goals and aspirations.  You start to see results from your actions and feel like that dream you once had is now actually becoming a reality!  Stick with it.  Be mindful with your purchases and spendings.  Keep checking in with each other to see how you’re both feeling about the plan.  Not working for one of you?  Tweak it as you go but stay on course for that ultimate goal, whatever it is.  If one of you slips up, forgive, remind one another of why you’re doing what you’re doing, get those excitement juices flowing again and away you go.

Let us know how you go!

Want a FREE online workshop about finding
Domestic Bli$$ around money?

Click here to enrol now!

For each woman who joins the 6 Week Money Makeover Program and learns to manage and invest their income wisely, $10 of their program fees are contributed to microloans for women in a neighbouring country who don’t have access to traditional lending institutes. The loan is provided along with business training until she can set up an income stream supporting herself, her family and in some cases employing others in the community. 10thousandgirl is partnering with Good Return and Opportunity International to provide microloans.

Here’s one story:

At only 24 years of age Alaseini has been singled out for her entrepreneurial skills as a finalist for SPBD’s Businesswoman of the Year Award.

Ala joined SPBD after hearing about it through a friend two years ago. She already had an established kava business that she ran from home, selling kava her husband grows on his small farm. With the knowledge she gained through SPBD, she learned how to improve her business profit, and with her loan Ala diversified her efforts by setting up a small home-run canteen selling basic necessities to villagers.

Alaseini, left, at the SPBD Businesswoman of the Year Awards.

Alaseini, left, at the SPBD Businesswoman of the Year Awards.

Through keeping track of her finances, she realised that while her canteen was a stable business, the profit margins were low due to competition. With her second loan, she launched both her 3rd and 4th businesses; frozen fish and billiards.

Read more here.


tax returns

Typically, more than eight million Australians claim over $20 billion in work-related expenses on their tax return. That’s a lot of receipts to keep track of throughout the financial year.

At the same time, the ATO estimates that the average worker could be missing out on claiming some work-related expenses that they’re entitled to, due to lost or damaged receipts, or from a lack of understanding of what they’re entitled to claim.

To help make the process easier for individuals to keep a record of their work-related expenses in one place, the ATO recommends using the new myDeductions tool (which can be accessed through the ATO app).

Using myDeductions is an easy and convenient way for people to keep track of their expenses on the go.  Individuals can keep track of all their work-related expenses throughout the year by simply inputting the information into the app and taking a photo of the receipt, which is stored on their phone.

Tax time 2016 is the first year individuals can upload their completed deductions from myDeductions directly to the ATO, allowing them to pre-fill their tax return. These deductions can also be shared by individuals with their tax agents and accountants via email.

For more information about what can or can’t be claimed, visit the myDeductions page on the ATO website.

Here is also a link to a video with a demonstration of the tool and you can download the ATO app on your Apple, Android and Windows device.

Credit scores_ the importance of having and building your OWN credit rating

We’ve all been told it’s important to have a good credit rating. It’s true, it can set you up for a good financial future. So what determines your credit rating? Your credit rating reflects your financial history – if you pay your bills, if you’re current on loans and how often you’ve applied for credit.

Having a healthy financial history means a better credit rating, and makes you a much more attractive customer for banks. This means more options for you in planning your financial future. If you establish a good credit rating, you’ll have a much easier time obtaining a loan or credit card when you need one. And you may be able to access a much more favourable interest rate.

So how can you start building a good credit rating? Steps that you can take include:

  • Pay your bills and make your loan payments on time – always
  • Start small if you need to. Mobile phone plans, electricity accounts or internet service can be a place to start proving your reliability.
  • If you will be responsible with managing expenses, consider getting a credit card to build up even more of a track record. Always pay the bill each month on time.
  • Don’t take on more debt than you need. The number of loans and total borrowed can have a negative impact.
  • Limit how often you apply for credit. Only do so when you truly need it. Too many applications make you look unreliable and can damage a credit rating.
  • Avoid defaults and long-overdue accounts at all cost.
  • Check your credit file regularly and address any errors quickly.
  • Be patient. Creating a credit rating, or improving a poor one takes time.

A first step can be checking your current credit rating. CreditSavvy has one you can do for free on our website. If it looks good, give yourself a pat on the back. If not, make it a priority to change your money habits to get back on track!

Financial literacy events for women

early retirement plan

By AMP financial adviser Justine Back

We know women generally live longer than men, but new research shows the majority of Australian women are unlikely to work past the age of 65, making it more important than ever for them to take control of their finances early and plan appropriately for life after work.

The latest AMP.NATSEM Report ‘Going the Distance: Working Longer, Living Healthier’, has revealed the gender gap in the Australian workforce widens with age, with women experiencing increasing barriers to work in their sixties.

Future modelling in the report shows that even 20 years from now, when the pension age is proposed to rise to 70, significantly more women than men will be forced to give up work by the age of 65, mostly because of family or health reasons.

More than 64 per cent of men currently aged 40-44 years and who have excellent health are expected to still be working in 2035 when they are 60-64 years of age. In stark contrast, as few as 5.6 per cent of women who are aged 50-54 years today and consider themselves in poor health would be expected to be able to remain in the workforce in 2035.

Here’s what women should start thinking about if they want to defy the odds and enjoy the fruits of their labor with an enjoyable, self-funded retirement:

Take super seriously

A comfortable retirement isn’t about fancy cars and expensive meals out every night of the week, it is simply about maintaining the lifestyle you are working hard for now. It’s estimated a comfortable retirement costs around $58,326 a year for a couple.
Salary sacrifice is one of the most tax-effective ways to boost your super. Most people can pay up to $30,000 into super (or $35,000 if you’re 50 or over) from their pre-tax salary at the concessional 15 per cent rate of tax. Even if you are self-employed, you can make personal contributions into super up to this cap for which you claim a tax deduction.

Start saving and investing

Think about how you can make your money start working harder for you.  The earlier you start putting money away into investing, the more time your investments have to grow. And the more regularly you add to your investments, the quicker they can grow.  You might even be able to use equity you already have in your home to buy another investment property. Down the track, good investments can add up to a comfortable retirement.


As all investments carry some level of risk, it’s important not to put all your eggs in one basket. Having a diverse range of investments helps prevent losses during market downturns. These different types of investments are less likely to be adversely affected by the same market developments.

Protect your future

What underpins all your investments is the ability to earn an income that pays for investment strategies and lifestyle. Being adequately insured is extremely important for women and gives both financial security and peace of mind. The key personal insurances to consider are life, total and permanent disability (TPD) and trauma insurance.

Seek financial advice

Planning early and seeking professional advice can go a long way. A financial adviser can offer knowledge, expertise and guidance to help you to define your goals and work out a plan to achieve them.

More about Justine

Justine Back is an Authorised Representative of AMP Financial Planning Pty Ltd, ABN 89 051 208 327, AFS Licence No. 232706.  Justine is also one of 10thousandgirl’s Trusted Advisors and you can make contact with her and find out more, here.

Any advice given is general only and has not taken into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. Because of this, before acting on any advice, you should consult a financial planner to consider how appropriate the advice is to your objectives, financial situation and needs.  

Financial literacy events for women

Each time a woman completes our 6 Step Money Makeover, $10 of her program fees go toward providing a microloan for a women to start or grow her small business.  Find out more about our micro loan program, here.

Mary Ann Arevalo is a Good Return borrower and has been taking out microfinance loans since 2006. She has started several small businesses and her increased income has allowed her to send her daughter to university — the first in the family to go!

Watch her story below:

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