MoneyTalk With Rose Lander Marketing & Events Executive Refinery29
In this Interview series, we want to feature amazing and inspiring women who are willing to talk about money. Our goal is to break the taboo around money, share experiences and learn from the community. Please see examples here.
Hello Rose! Happy to have met you at Emilie’s talk for Refinery29’s team. I have been personally a big fan of Refinery29 articles - a modern woman's destination for how to live a stylish and a well-rounded life! Amazing to speak to you today on Vestpod.
Could you please tell us a little bit about yourself.
I’m 28 years old, London born and bred and I work as Marketing & Events Executive for Refinery29. I only started this role in January 2019 but it honestly feels like the perfect fit. Almost all my close family work in restaurants, journalism or wine so they totally understand the stress and the fun that can be had planning events, I always feel I have people to turn to for advice and have good role models who help me not let late nights or over planning take over my life. I was also so lucky to be raised by two working parents who were so passionate about what they did, I never even questioned that because I was a woman I couldn’t achieve all my professional goals or considered that I would have to compromise what I wanted to fit into a male dominated industry. Working with passionate, intelligent and motivated women at Refinery29 every day and creating exciting new projects through a female focussed lens with them is honestly a joy.
What inspired you to be part of Refinery29?
I went to a school that was very heavily focussed on exams, university and safe jobs like banking and law. It was fantastic for some people but I knew from my very early teens that was not the path for me. I started interning and working as much as I could so I would have as much experience as possible instead of a degree. After leaving school I studied for one year at UAL then used the money saved for uni to go to Paris and New York to get experience instead. I felt lost and alone and scared more than I would like to admit but eventually I got my first full time, paid job at Conde Nast and found how much I loved being a part of a media team. When I left that company at 24 I felt like I had trained myself and prepared myself for my career so much more thoroughly than I ever could have done in traditional education.
Refinery29 was my second ever full time job and I was the second ever UK employee for Refinery29! On my first day we didn’t even have an office, our President Kate Ward (the only other UK empIoyee at that point) and I went to IKEA and picked out office furniture. Having been full time in the industry for about 6 years by that point I knew what an amazing opportunity this was. Not just because Refinery29 was such a great company but also because I knew how important it was to me personally to work somewhere with a mission. From the moment I met Kate Ward I knew this was a place I would grow, be listened to and make a difference. I haven’t looked back since.
What are you passionate about?
Creating communities. I really love working on events because each one feels like an opportunity to bring people together, share ideas and make real connections. I admire so much people who have the vision to see the big picture and work for sweeping changes, but for me personal changes and solving issues right in front of me will always feel the most important.
Every event I do with Refinery29 feels like an opportunity to create a space where people can feel comfortable, can have a conversation that really matters and know they are listened to. The best part of what I do is seeing how much people grab the opportunity to meet the amazing speakers we work with, especially if they say they’re typically shy or quiet. There is so much talent and energy out in the world, so many projects that can start from just a simple conversation - I’m really passionate about creating spaces where those seeds can find fertile soil.
What was the biggest lesson you learnt in your career?
My dad’s advice has always stayed with me - “whatever you do, make yourself indispensable”. As I didn’t go to university, I knew I would have to work my way up and in my experience the best way to do that really is to make yourself so integral to any project you work on that no one wants to let you go. Of course there have been lots of times in my career, and everyone else’s I’m sure, when I’ve worked my arse off and it hasn’t paid off right away or I haven’t achieved exactly what I wanted. But consistently and persistently showing those around you your passion through hard work, attentiveness and being proactive has always worked out for me.
What’s your relationship like with money and personal finance?
Reading You’re Not Broke You’re Pre-Rich has really made me examine this so much closer! I would say I’m very aware of my money but not particularly interested in wealth. I love the stability of knowing I have enough money to cover what I need, but I don’t crave expensive things or have any big goals related to money. Honestly, as I have anxiety, spending large amounts of money makes me incredibly panicky. I will never have enough money in the bank that spending even £100 in one go won’t stop me in my tracks.
My mum brought me up to consider every purchase and save wherever I could, but also that if something makes you happy and you can afford it you shouldn’t overthink your finances. Now I’m in a stage of my life I want to make sure I can have a house and a family, I do feel I need to be more wary with my money. I have a lot of banking apps on my phone and am looking into getting some independent financial advice. I’m still in the process of figuring out exactly where I stand with money, but I think I’m getting there.
What does financial independence mean to you?
Now, for me, financial independence isn’t just being free from debt or having enough in the bank, it’s about being fully aware of your finances and where you stand. I frankly wasn’t very interested in my finances beyond having “enough” in my bank account until very recently. I think most people are raised not to talk about money, and definitely growing up I felt that as long as I was comfortable I shouldn’t discuss it.
After a few scares (big bills and terrifying tax bills) I feel very differently. I’m speaking very openly with my partner about where we both stand and trying to open up a dialogue with my family as well. It’s not easy but until I’m on top of everything, I don’t think I’ll have peace of mind.
What’s the one thing you indulge in?
Travel is probably my biggest vice and my ultimate joy. I go on multiple holidays a year, even if just for a few days, and realistically I think I always will. My mum used to be a travel agent so I’m pretty good at finding a bargain, booking in advance and keeping costs fairly low but it is probably what I spend the most money on every year. My response to any suggestion I spend a large amount of money on anything else is “but I could afford a holiday with that!”
I do get teased a bit for how much I travel (and am trying to be more responsible with where I go for environmental reasons) but I have no regrets. Looking back at my teens and 20s I could have done without almost all of the clothes, make up, shoes and accessories I bought and still have been very happy, but I wouldn’t take back a single holiday - I remember and cherish every single trip I took.
What is the best financial decision you have ever made? And what is the greatest long term investment?
The best financial decision I ever made was talking to my partner about money early in our relationship. When we first got serious, my response to anything that we could disagree about money wise was just to pay for it to avoid tension but that made me resentful. Now we talk about money very openly, we split all the household bills and have a joint account which we top up equally. Neither of us tells the other what to do with their money but we always consult before any big purchases and know we’ll support each other if we have any money issues. You can’t ever plan for all financial eventualities but knowing his outlook on money makes me feel so much more secure about growing our future together.
When it comes to investments, my grandfather always said you should invest in your shoes and your bed, because if you’re not in one you’re in the other, which is actually great advice. Though I’ve extrapolated it a little further and think you should invest in functional slightly unsexy things you use every day and rely on - nice sheets and Nikes for sure - but also boring things like functional appliances and dentist appointments. I never want to have a big house but no working boiler or a fancy car but gum disease. Maybe a financial advisor would disagree but I think the greatest long term investments are usually things you can’t show off to anyone but you get the benefit of every day.
Have you ever experienced a financial epiphany? A sort of wake-up call, where you suddenly think - “I must start doing things differently”?
A HUGE tax bill due to not properly being on top of my finances in my early 20s. After many tearful phone calls and months of panic-induced stomach aches I managed to sort it out but it really made me realise how many big financial holes you can fall in to just from not paying attention.
In all honesty it’s taken a couple more tax “surprises” to really get me to focus on this but it has made me much more motivated to take control of my finances. I’m still not as good as I feel I should be, but I’m trying to get there.
What is Vestpod for you?
For me Vestpod is the voice I wish I had found earlier. When I first started to talk about my finances openly my mum was really surprised, it just wasn’t something she had considered talking about. There’s still shame there about feeling inadequate compared to your friends or like you don’t deserve what you have. On a big and small levels, I don’t feel there can be any financial equality without financial transparency, whether that’s being honest about not being able to afford to split a dinner bill or companies hiding gender pay disparity behind salary non-disclosure. Sites like Vestpod and Refinery29 are not only leading that conversation but also creating a safe space for women to step up and lead it.
Own up. Have you made any major financial faux-pas?
Apart from my very scary tax bill (seriously please can someone add how taxes work to the school syllabus?) the thing I really regret is buying a designer handbag in my early 20s. At that time I bought all my designer goods on sale or at sample sales, but I did really think labels mattered. I used up my savings on a single bag or dress because I wanted to keep up with people around me or thought more of myself because of who had designed it. I love fashion and clothes are still important to me, but now, pretty much all my favourite clothes are ones I can wear while running after my nephews and nieces and my handbag serves as a pillow while I lie in the park with my friends. I really regret spending my money on things I thought would please other people rather than myself.
What do you wish you had done earlier in terms of financial planning?
Taken any interest at all in the big picture! I didn’t take out a student loan and honestly didn’t have any financial goals so was lulled into a false sense of security that if I wasn’t in debt I was fine. When I was being paid I just assumed my employer would take care of everything and as long as I had a pay cheque I was fine.
I wish I had sat down and at least asked people around me questions. Found out what an ISA was and how a credit card really worked for example and not just relied on my parents - who understandably wanted to keep my anxiety low so couldn’t be as blunt or in depth with me as other people would have. Now I can see that even if wealth isn’t something I want to accumulate for itself, I want to make sure I can afford to have a home, to travel and save for my future so I need to make my money work for me and not just assume everything will be fine.
Favourite book & podcast?
My favourite book is Miss Pettigrew Lives For A Day by Winifred Watson. I re-read it every year and it’s always a joy. It’s a retelling of the Cinderella story written in the 1930s that I found in Persephone Books (which republishes 20th century female authors who could be forgotten). Some of the loveliest writing in there is the author comparing different kinds of wealth and showing the importance of letting other people in if you’re lucky enough to have comfort and security
My favourite podcast is so hard to choose. I love podcasts! At the moment though it’s probably You Must Remember This which tells amazing stories from 20th Century Hollywood from Judy Garland to Charlie Manson. I’m obsessed.
Where can we find you?
LinkedIn: Rose Lander
Instagram: @Rose Lander
Articles: Rose Lander
Thanks a lot!
-- Emilie & Christina