Taghrid - Australia
Taghrid arrived in Australia from Lebanon 10 years ago with her husband and one-year-old daughter. With a university degree in business, she worked in Lebanon for eight years managing a small branch of an accounting firm.
Taghrid described her life in Lebanon as: “middle class, not rich, not poor”. However, conflict in Syria and Lebanon was making life more difficult in Lebanon. The political and economic uncertainty motivated Taghrid and her family to move to Australia.
Taghrid was keen to start her own business making special occasion cakes, and a friend told her about Stepping Stones, a program offered by the Brotherhood of St Laurence. Stepping Stones assists women from migrant, refugee and asylum seeker backgrounds to develop a microenterprise through mentoring, training and other support. In partnership with ANZ, the Stepping Stones program has introduced a MoneyMinded component for participants to build their financial skills.
For Taghrid, completing the MoneyMinded activity on ‘needs and wants’ had the biggest impact. Initially, she categorised all the items as ‘needs’, but after thinking about them in her MoneyMinded group she realised many items were actually ‘wants’ and some were even ‘not important’.
“This activity was a big hit for me. Before, I had been trying to do things but there was something missing. This activity actually made it ‘click’ in my mind,” she says.
The ‘click’ came about, as Taghrid described it, because she was involved in a hands-on activity relevant to her and her life. It wasn’t “listening to someone telling her what to do”. Taghrid now uses the logic of assessing needs and wants in her daily life.
Taghrid also uses these concepts with her husband and her children as part of their financial conversations. She is confident in challenging their requests. Taghrid says, “I actually use this method with my kids now. I ask, “Look, do you need it?””
Taghrid also learned about the value of having emergency money as a buffer. Through MoneyMinded, she was encouraged to transfer $A50 regularly into a specific savings account, ‘just like paying a bill’, which she can only access if she visits a bank branch. With these savings she was able to buy a replacement car when she needed it. Before MoneyMinded, she would have been without a car for several months.
MoneyMinded has also changed Taghrid’s attitudes so she thinks about money in a different way now. She is careful with her money but is also finding alternatives so she and her family are not missing out the things they enjoy.
“I think differently. I’m not cutting anything; I’m not suffering. I cut my coffee, but I enrolled in a gym. I go to the gym seven days a week and gain my health as well,” she says.
Taghrid has developed more confidence in managing her money. This confidence comes from being able to save and achieve her goals. She now also has clear financial goals for the short term (saving for materials for her small business) and longer-term (saving to buy a home for her family).