Inspiring Good Financial Planning

This year’s International Women’s Day celebrates the global theme of “Invest In Women: Accelerate Progress”, which emphasizes the importance of the equality and wellbeing of women in all aspects of life.

This includes financial empowerment – much progress has been made in many social, economic, and political areas to improve equality for women. However, financial equality of the genders is still a way off, especially financial awareness and independence amongst women.

We spoke to Alice Kenny, Head of Paraplanning within our wealth management team, to find out who her inspirations have been on her professional journey, and the importance of empowering women and girls with good financial planning know-how.


Plus, Alice shares her top tips to take control of your finances.


Alice, you embarked on a career change into the field of financial planning and banking a few years ago – who or what inspired you to do so?


My mum has been a huge inspiration to me. When I was young, she worked as a Teaching Assistant and at the age of 39 decided to retrain as a teacher to better support our family. She won’t mind me saying that she wasn’t very academic at school and left without any qualifications. Watching her run a household whilst working and studying for 7 years to gain the necessary qualifications to go on and have a successful teaching career showed me that hard work really does pay off, and that it is never too late to start. 

Reflecting now; I have gone on to do something similar, changing direction in my career at age 28 and undertaking qualifications to advance on that new career path. Four years later I am still going strong – balancing work with studying to achieve my Advanced Diploma in Financial Planning and Chartered status, and training for my first Marathon in April!


Wealth management and financial planning is still perceived as a “man’s world”. From your experience, was it hard to break into this field and has the diversity of advisers grown during your time?

I knew I wanted to become a Paraplanner, but it’s a technical and specialist role. This meant starting in an administrative role to gain experience and undertaking the relevant qualifications to build my technical knowledge. The majority of these types of support roles are predominantly filled by female members of staff and I didn’t have any trouble finding a position. 

Financial Adviser and Investment Manager roles are largely held by men, but this is changing – we have women in both these positions at MHA Caves Wealth and are keen to continue growing in this area.  

Women in these positions, as well as leadership positions, should not underestimate how much of a role model they are to other girls and women. 


Do you have any advice for girls who may be considering a career in finance?

My advice to girls considering a career in finance is to go for it! The sector offers a wide range of career opportunities to match your individual skills, strengths, and interests, with professional development and promotion opportunities. 

Some companies showcase only their most senior personnel on websites, which may not be reflective of the real diversity of the roles and people in the organisation – so don’t let it put you off.  

If it’s not immediately obvious when researching prospective companies, always ask about opportunities for graduates, school leavers, or apprenticeships. Or if like me you are embarking on a career change, check for entry-level or trainee positions available that will help you gain the relevant experience, and move up the ladder. 


In your experience, do you feel that there are any obstacles to women seeking independent financial advice? 

I definitely appreciate that some women prefer to work with a female financial adviser and may see the lack of female advisers as an obstacle to seeking advice. That’s why it’s great to see more and more women in these roles. 

Not so much an obstacle as a concern, but the lack of awareness on the importance of good financial planning can mean it’s not even on people’s radar. For example, where women take on the traditional role of raising a family, taking one or multiple career breaks, they may not be aware of the negative impact on their personal financial position, such as gaps in National Insurance Contributions (NICs) and accruing less state pension entitlement, as well as personal pension funding. Marriage breakdown also commonly results in women being at a disadvantage due to the lack of financial planning, for example Pension Sharing Orders. 


In keeping with the theme, is there more that could be done to empower women and girls to become financially aware and independent?  

We can end up making key financial decisions at a young age without much guidance or understanding of how those decisions will go on to impact our future financial security. Therefore, I’d say that there needs to be more education in schools about good financial planning and money management skills – the earlier we learn these skills, the better we will understand the implications of our financial choices on our future.


What are your top tips to improve financial skills and security?

Taking control of your finances is essential to achieve your financial goals and secure your financial future.  Key things you should consider:

  1. Learn to budget.
  2. Start saving early.
  3. Have an emergency fund.
  4. Invest for your retirement now.
  5. Protect yourself with insurance.

Bonus tip – money is for memories. Don’t forget to enjoy it. 


Is there a final thought you’d like to share?

A quote from Michelle Obama comes to mind – “There is no limit to what we, as women, can accomplish.” 


Happy International Women’s Day!

We hope you have enjoyed this conversation with Alice and have taken away some valuable tips on financial planning. 

Alice Kenny is head of our paraplanning team. You can find out more about Alice here.


If you’d like to speak with a member of our financial planning team, please contact us:

T:  01604 621 421