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The Impact of Financial Knowledge with Cristina Jaeger, Head of Female Community at Globalance Bank!

Introducing Cristina Jaeger, the Senior Relationship Manager & Head of Female Community at Globalance Bank. Cristina is a passionate advocate for empowering and connecting women through financial knowledge. She has dedicated her career to helping women achieve financial independence and success by providing them with the tools and resources they need to make informed decisions about their finances. With her extensive knowledge and experience in the financial industry, Cristina is a leading voice in the movement to close the gender gap in finance and to promote equality and diversity in the workplace. Join us as we explore Cristina's inspiring journey and learn more about her vision for a more inclusive and equitable future.

1: Tell us about your life! You have lived in some incredible places like Hong Kong and now Zurich... What inspired this expat lifestyle and where are you originally from?

Growing up in the countryside in Germany near Frankfurt (yes, with the big airport), where there wasn’t even a bus route, I have always been curious about what else awaits me “out there”. Never really having a plan, it all rather happened through opportunities that I took or short-term decisions I made. For example, attending internships during my studies, i.e. abroad in Luxemburg or Singapore. The more I saw of the world, the more curious I became….the more people I met who had an international background, the more I got inspired by their stories. I loved their drive but especially that expats do not necessarily live according to the strict rules of society, i.e. how one has to live, but that they often define their own rules that make them feel comfortable.

Surely, this was only possible because I have been raised very independently and my Mum always encouraged me to do exactly what I want. Writing this, I feel extremely grateful right now..I need to tell her more often!

2: What have been some of the challenges you have faced over the years living in different countries and cultures? How did you overcome them?

The first time I really moved abroad (settling in a flat for a longer term instead of just moving with suitcases) was to Zurich. It took me quite a while to build a network and overcome the shyness as the locals of course had their friends and families and it was new to me in a working environment, that people would just leave work. It was very much the opposite to the internships and other opportunities abroad, where all international students or interns would easily connect and randomly join / invite / gather. Looking back, I would say this time turned me into the “professional networker” and passionate community builder that I am today. My friends who I met at that time still keep telling the stories of how we met, e.g. “she met me in the office washroom and said “you look kind, we should go for lunch” ;-)

3: You have done a lot for females over your career in differing roles and now Head Female Community at Globalance Bank Ltd! This is incredible - tell us more!

How can I empower women? My absolute passion!

With everything I do, I try to empower women. Be it in my job, with herFinancialFreedom, the charities and projects I support, younger women I mentor, friends I give advice, or the women’s circle I host. Also, everywhere I lived I have started (and still continue..) Whatsapp groups for women to get to know each other, learn about events, get answers to pending questions, plan events with them etc.

In my experience, women feel more secure / confident in a group full of open-minded women who are eager to improve (their lives, careers, finances, well-being etc.) – they leave events inspired and motivated and they will continue to spread the word and share learned wisdom with their (girl-)friends. This creates a ripple effect which is exactly what I hope to achieve so we close the gender wealth gap!

4: What advice would you give to fellow women looking to advance their career?

Some advice I received myself was: at first “you need to do a great job”. Excellent ratings should be the baseline for any negotiations. Ask your managers what they expect from you, what are the targets and try to achieve them plus deliver a bit more.

What I would add is the importance to talk about your achievements (for many women it feels like bragging, but it doesn’t have to be). Of course, it has to stay realistic, but it is always good when others, especially your management circle, keeps a great impression of you. When they have your milestones and achievements on top of their head it helps them to argue for your promotion or salary increase compared to your peers. Women tend to hold back with self-promotion whereas men overly promote their achievements (speaking in stereotypes here, of course, it doesn’t apply to everyone - Gender norms and societal upbringing feed into this behaviour).

5: What are your top tips for women who are moving abroad for a job?

  1. Before the move: negotiate well!

Do your research to get to know the local costs of living to estimate how much you will need ((income) taxes, pension deductions, rent, food, going out, flights, insurance costs..). Then if possible, add on to that so you do not only live comfortably but also are able to stash away for your savings and investments!

Top tip: During coffee or calls, ask people about which numbers they would consider fair. That’s exactly what I did, I contacted people I knew who were living in that city before. Don’t be shy about it, no need to ask them what they earn but what they would consider a decent salary for position x in city y and rank z.

2: Once moved: make as many friends as possible!

Overcome any shyness and overthinking and just approach people. You will realise almost all of them will welcome your invite for a coffee, lunch, drink or else. I tried to say “yes” to all invites and events (as long as it was not creepy of course), so I met as many people as possible and learned about so many locations, parties, restaurants, things to do, events etc. After a while I became more selective then. Also don’t be shy to make use of your network for recommendations, referrals, introductions, advice etc.

6: You empower & connect women through Financial Knowledge! Give us your top financial tip for females looking for financial freedom?

Top tip: “START NOW”

Why is this my #1 tip:

  1. Key take-away from herFinancialFreedom “90 days to FinancialFreedom course” alumni

This is really the absolute no 1 tip and also the key take-away from most course participants.

START! Don’t procrastinate any longer – with getting into the topic, with starting to talk about finances with your friends and exchange experiences, with learning about it (for example bite sized pieces like many of the FinFluencers on IG (@her.financialfreedom) with placing the first trade!

2. Only when you really get into the topic, the right questions will arise.

You will gain experiences and feel more confident by getting started to act on your finances / managing them. You will find the right people or communities (“join our herfinancialfreedom free WhatsApp community here) to have a safe space to ask all the questions you always had and never dared to ask. Plus, you also see what others are asking and learn how they got into the topic when they didn’t know where to start.

3. In finance we always say “it is about the TIME SPENT IN THE MARKET” (meaning how long you stay invested for) instead of trying to “TIME THE MARKET” (meaning when you invest).

The problem is, waiting around only costs you money instead of just starting to invest – even when you start with a very small amount, it will have a huge effect later!

7: As someone with investment knowledge - what advice would you give a female looking to invest for the first time?

  1. Ties in with the above, start investing NOW. Start with a small amount and learn from there.

  2. Don’t start with a risky investment but rather with a well-diversified (risk is better controlled) investment like an ETF (Exchange Traded Fund). Learn how to invest into ETFs with our Free ETF Guide that provides guidance from A-Z so you can get started or level up your ETF investment game!

We just had over 200 women participating in a week-long ETF challenge who were so happy about their progress with the guidance from the ETF Guide and the herFinancialFreedom team.

3. If you follow the first two tips then continue to invest regularly (even with the smallest amounts, ie 25 USD per month).

8: Where have you traveled/lived/worked that really inspired you and why?

I have traveled to over 60 countries, and I cannot name a single place that I wouldn’t visit again. Of course, every country or culture has their unique traits and the longer you spend in a place the better you can understand the history and background.

Surely, the places that shaped me most are Zurich and Hong Kong, having spent most of my adult life there. In Hong Kong I learned to think more entrepreneurial. It all started with supporting charities (one for Girls to empower them and one for women to learn about finance). The founders were inspiring career women or entrepreneurs who saw a need and took it into their own hands to close the gaps they saw. Seeing how they built these amazing projects and businesses encouraged me as well to start my own courses, as more and more of my girlfriends asked me what to do with their money. So it all started in my living room over a glass of champagne ;)

9: How do you create a work/life balance?

To be honest, I am not the best person to ask here as I am working a finance job, leading herFinancialFreedom, a women’s circle, I am a mentor and organise a lot of gatherings/networking events. I just love connecting and empowering women with everything I do, thus it is hard for me to say “no” to requests that align with my mission and passion!

After a life-changing break-up of a 16 years relationship last year, two moves across three continents (from Hong Kong to Mexico to Zurich), I am now trying to find some calm for self-care and reflection.

I try to set some ground-rules for myself, for example to go out but not drink, to meet my friends but try to be in bed at a reasonable time and to find no excuses to stick to my sports routine. Also I am lucky as I gain energy through talking to my friends and network so I love a lot of catch up and dinners etc! Just remembering constantly how grateful I can be and that I am also of nobody’s use when I am tired or ill.

10: If you're a woman aiming for a managerial position or trying to climb the corporate ladder in a cross-cultural, multinational company, what advice would you offer to others in a similar situation to be successful?

Keeping in mind all the points I’ve made above already, in the end it is about overcoming shyness and doubt to network / connect with others, especially higher ranked role models. But often they are more open than one thinks and are also prepared to mentor or share advice & connections. Find your tribe to exchange and encourage each other! This helps me so much as well. If I have a performance review, a meeting with my manager about a promotion, plan my next career step or even in my business develop a strategy or service, I always ask my inner circle about refining the wording or idea. It is adding a different perspective and enriching the argumentation. It is crucial that those are people wanting the best for you and are happy to see you reach your full potential.

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