Eleanor Coleman is passionate about helping women achieve financial freedom and aims to empower them to build their net worth.
What’s your story?
I’ve worked for international banks for 13 years and throughout this time I’ve been passionate about helping women achieve financial freedom. With this in mind, I joined St. James’s Place Wealth Management in 2017 and launched the Financial Empowerment Group. My ambition is to help women understand their finances and achieve financial freedom through planning and education.
What excites you most about your industry?
Financial Planning has long been a male-dominated industry. However, things are beginning to change. This is exciting as women have very different needs: we live longer, we’re typically paid less and have career gaps, so we need to get it right. Money isn’t everything, but it gives us the opportunity to access better memories for our future. Without action, money is just paper. For a lot of us taking the first step and talking to an expert is the hardest but once they do the relief is incredible. For me, it’s about achieving ambitions for my clients, their families and their businesses.
What’s your connection to Asia?
Growing up I lived in the UK, US and Singapore, and moved to Hong Kong in my early 20s. I immediately felt at home here. Like a lot of expats, I wasn’t sure how long I would be staying but then I met my husband Sean. I am very lucky as my in-laws have lived here 30 years and eight years ago my brother moved to Macau. Although mum is still in the UK I am so very happy to have most of my family around me and feel very much like Hong Kong is our permanent home.
Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
I actually love Hong Kong. A lot of the big cities in Asia have horrible traffic issues which mean that going from meeting to meeting can be very frustrating. In HK you can be anywhere within about 30 minutes. It is bliss.
What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
I heard a wonderful woman from Google speak at an event about how she became successful. She said every time she was asked to do something that might be outside her comfort zone she would say yes and then work out how to do it. Taking a risk is the big step and the actual work was never as scary as initially saying yes.
Who inspires you?
My mother is an incredible inspiration. She is a strong and opinionated woman who works hard and has always made her own luck. She has been incredibly successful in her career as well as a superb role model for my brother and me. She is our biggest supporter and always the person we both turn to about personal or business issues and a great sounding board. Mum is also the most active retiree I have ever met and fully devotes herself to doing good in the world by helping various charities.
What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
In a survey, 61% of women would rather talk about their own death than their finances. It really shows me that there is a long way to go before women can feel comfortable talking about their money and that there is a lot of good that I can do by helping them to feel more at ease. The earlier people invest in their finances the more affordable it can be over the long term. Helping women capitalise on that and prioritise the needs of themselves and their family’s finances can make a significant difference in their lives.
If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
Saved more. Although I now realise the importance of being financially empowered at a young age and help women become more confident and competent, I didn’t start saving in a serious way until I was in my 30s. I would love to go back and do that again! I now am working with several schools to help teenagers and young adults understand how their finances work and how they can make sensible decisions now that make a huge impact on their lives in the long run.
How do you unwind?
I am an avid reader, mainly of novels though I do try and pepper “proper” non-fiction books in there too! I love the escapism of a well-written tale and also read a lot around women’s empowerment. Now I am reading Michelle Obama’s autobiography and love her positivity in the face of the constant public judgement she faced. My husband jokes that I am solar powered and so I love swimming in an outdoor pool in the sunshine or going to the beach. I also find baking and cooking for friends incredibly restful and most weekends have people over for dinners.
Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
I love Kota Kinabalu in Malaysian Borneo. We have been several times as a family and hire a villa just north of the city right on the beach. It is a great place to relax by the sea or explore the rainforest, it’s an incredibly biodiverse location. We go diving, snorkelling and have been out on the rivers searching for pygmy elephants, hornbills, fireflies, proboscis monkeys and orangutans. It’s very beautiful and an easy place to drive around. We try and get there for a long weekend at least once a year.
Everyone in business should read this book:
I’ve just finished “Get Your Sh*t Together: How to Stop Worrying About What You Should Do So You Can Finish What You Need to Do and Start Doing What You Want to Do” by Sarah Knight and it is a very user-friendly and no-nonsense guide to prioritising your life. We can all get bogged down by the menial tasks and email responses and can miss out on doing the more important jobs. This is a great manual on how to properly prioritise things so you can get what is vital done and feel good about doing what you want to do now.
Shameless plug for your business:
Planning for the future be it for yourself, your family or your business is one of the most important steps you will ever take. I want that experience to be positive in every sense. I am proud to provide a friendly, easy to understand and honest face to face advice service tailored to your individual circumstances. I consider it a privilege to be your trusted financial adviser and would love to sit down over a coffee and work out how I can help you feel at ease about your finances now and plan ahead for the future.
How can people connect with you?
Email: [email protected]
Phone: 852 9885 2192
This interview is part of the ‘Callum Connect’ series of more than 500 interviews
Callum Laing is an entrepreneur and investor based in Singapore. He has previously started, built and sold half a dozen businesses and is now a Partner at Unity-Group Private Equity and Co-Founder of The Marketing Group PLC. He is the author two best selling books ‘Progressive Partnerships’ and ‘Agglomerate’.