Money is about choices - to live our lives the way we want

Author and finance writer Julia Newbould on the joy of money

“Money isn't just about money. It's about security. It's about choices - to live our lives the way we want. It's about everything money enables you to do and what it allows you not to do.”

Author and finance writer Julia Newbould is well-known throughout the Australian financial services industry. Now managing editor at Conexus Financial, most will recognise her as the former editor of Money magazine, Australia’s popular personal finance magazine, and for hosting its Friends with Money podcast. She’s also known for making strides for women and diversity in financial planning, having founded The Stella Network. But she’s probably best known for putting the joy in money.

After noticing people struggling to get their heads around financial terminology and language, Julia co-wrote The Joy of Money together with Kate McCallum, director of financial advice firm, Multiforte, to help women feel more confident in making positive decisions about their money.

“We saw the issues our friends were facing with personal finances and thought we could help by writing something using simple language. It was originally written for women from 40 onwards. We thought that was the age people got serious about finances, but lots of people in their 20s have read it and are taking an interest in their finances.”

“Financial services feels like something over there. When I wrote the Joy of Money, the idea was that it's part of your life.”

Passionate about equality, Julia’s dream is for everyone to recognise the importance of finance and to have the same opportunity to enjoy it and make the most of it.

“Money is important to us all - no matter our goals or ambition, money fuels our ability to achieve. I believe everyone should have an equal opportunity to understand how to do the best they can with their money. This is what inspires me.”

Financial services feels like something over there. When I wrote the Joy of Money, the idea was that it's part of your life.

Julia is a firm believer in the power of education and content to ‘make up for some of the initial inequalities’ and says both the industry and specialist media have a role.

“We had a lot of people seeking financial information during the pandemic, just worried about how they could save what they had, how they would manage if they lost work. It increased our readership, and I think it's stayed that way. People are a lot more engaged with their finances now.”

And the more information, the better, says Julia, who loves to see people talking about money - no matter how wild it gets.

“It’s good to have more information and have people talking about finance. We need to start bit by bit and take the embarrassment out. There’s a “She’s On The Money” Facebook group; it can get wild in there. People will discuss everything from rent to financial advice, and sometimes they’re right, something they aren’t. When I started 20 years ago, no one talked about what shares they were buying. Now it’s a regular discussion.”

Listen to episode two of the Upfront podcast to hear Julia talking about why the language of financial services needs to change and what the industry can do about it.

What I love about financial services

There are a lot of things I love about it. I love the fact that it can help people. The fact that you can borrow money and achieve things today that you otherwise wouldn’t. Or that there’s someone there to invest for you and help you make more money. Financial services can achieve some great things for people and so many opportunities.

Julia Newbould - Financial journalist and author