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Jenny Moloney had a long career in financial journalism before she retrained as a financial adviser to get a better work life balance.
Jenny Moloney is part of the sandwich generation. Not only does she have two young children, aged eight and ten, but she has also had to look after elderly parents.
She was looking to find a better work life balance so she could manage her caring responsibilities, but still maintain her earnings. Her journalistic background made PR a possibility, but she says if she wanted to work flexibly she faced having to work on a lower rate. “It seems you are penalised no matter what experience you have for wanting to work flexibly. I felt this was unfair and that there had to be another way,” she says.
Jenny has been working for 20 years in financial journalism, including 10 years in senior management at Bloomberg working in Tokyo, London and Sydney. Before that she had worked internationally with ABC News, CNBC and CNN. Although many parents take career breaks when their children are babies and toddlers, Jenny felt the challenges of balancing work and life got more complicated as her children got older.
She wanted to have some sense of control over her diary. She had run her own consultancy for around three years, working with clients such as HSBC and PricewaterhouseCoopers. This gave her some flexibility to pick and choose who she worked with. However, it still meant fitting into the corporate structure and schedule, which often meant 12-hours days.
Two years ago her father had a bad fall and needed support, not just while he was in hospital, but when he was discharged and she also needed to help arrange support for him in the home. Last year her father-in-law suffered similar injuries.
Jenny lived overseas until around six years ago and had moved back because she wanted to be around to help out as her parents aged. However, between work, looking after her children and elder care she felt overstretched and needed more flexibility.
She researched different possibilities and decided to join St James Place Academy in January to train as a financial adviser. She had stopped work a few months earlier to start studying and get ahed on the first of the six qualifications she would need to pass in order to get the Chartered Insurance Institute Diploma in Regulated Financial Planning. She studied for six months full time at the Academy for the five other qualifications. There were 20 people in her group. Five were women, a number the Academy, which specialises in careers in wealth management, hopes to increase. It has recently begun a campaign to increase the percentage of women in financial services as well as the number of women entrepreneurs. The Academy, which has a rigorous selection process, says that this will provide greater gender balance, help women break through the glass ceiling in financial services and allow clients a greater choice over whether to have a male or female adviser.
Jenny says: “Women are an untapped market and bring a different aspect to the party. Some clients prefer to speak to women. They see them as having more empathy and understanding the practicalities of budgeting because it is often women who run the household finances.”
She describes the course as “very comprehensive”, covering everything from soft skills to regulatory issues. Since July she has been managing her own time and business, but comes back into the Academy for top-up days and to network. She says the large support network offered by St James Place Academy is “second to none” and includes mentors and a business development manager. She got help with areas she was not familiar with. She says she is also very motivated because she is running her own business.
She can control her own time so if her children are ill or she needs to see her parents she no longer has to ask for time off from a manager or worry about the impact that will have on the team. “Corporate companies are now very flexible about childcare, but not necessarily about elder care and it can be very challenging if your parent needs help and they live quite a distance away,” she says.
“St James has offered me the opportunity to use my experience, knowledge and skills in the financial services industry in a way that allows me to manage my own time and fit my professional working life around other things,” says Jenny.