This month we talk to Moscow-born entrepreneur Lena Perepelova who has combined her international business acumen, MBA credentials and passion for teaching into an established finance business for children and female investors: Fun Finance and Women Investors Club
How did you come up with the idea of creating a company that teaches women and children about money and finances?
I´d always been interested in education since having children and I noticed that the curriculum hadn´t moved on over the last 40 years with regards to business and finance. So ten years ago I decided to create my own programme and invited kids to try it out by skype. We both found it great fun and I really enjoyed the challenge of explaining complex concepts to a child. Requests to teach finance came from women later on.
What was your previous profession?
I am a specialist in international business development. I first worked for a Dutch premium beer brand and later for a renewable energy company. These jobs allowed me to travel in the world and gave me valuable insight into different businesses and learn from their successes and failures.
How does your company differ from a regular financial advice company?
As opposed to giving financial advice I teach people to understand financial products and make their own well-informed investment decisions. My classes are particularly well-suited to professional women as I can relate more readily to their needs and approach when it comes to finance.
What is the strangest request you´ve received from a client?
Probably the strangest thing I have done was to accompany a potential client who turned out to be the consul of a well-known European nation to a furniture shop in Turkmenistan.
Tell us a funny anecdote about yourself moving to Holland from Moscow or to Barcelona or Madrid?
Newly arrived in the Netherlands, I left my wallet behind in the office and had to convince the security guard to let me in over the weekend. I still didn´t know how to say “wallet” in Dutch at that point so I asked if I could come in and collect the “sack with the money”. Puzzled, the guard looked at me with considerable scrutiny and curiosity before finally opening the door.
Do any of your child clients stand out in your mind?
I used to teach a 9-year old student who was extremely savvy and an avid reader of the business news. After a long Christmas holiday I asked him how he was doing, fully expecting to hear about his vacation. To my surprise he replied that he was extremely upset by the bankruptcy of a huge British infrastructure company. He then went on to explain nonchalantly what “infrastructure” meant and exactly why that company had gone bankrupt.
What are the key messages children should understand when it comes to money?
In my view it is important to teach kids about the overall economy and business before we talk to them about personal finance. The more they understand that we are surrounded by businesses and what these businesses do, the better they can make their decisions as consumers as well as chose their future professions. We underestimate kids’ intelligence and their capacity to form their own opinions when presented with the right information
What are the most common misperceptions you see in women investors?
Women tend to underestimate their capacity to understand finance and / or investment products. I also notice that we tend to place too much trust and responsibility in banks and financial institutions forgetting that these are businesses which need to generate profits. Simply put, “bank employees are not doctors, they do not feel responsible for our financial health”.
What is the key to a successful grasp of investment opportunities?
– Don’t trust an opportunity which you can´t explain in a few simple phrases.
– Take a long-term perspective.
– Keep educating yourself.
– Learn Excel.
What is the key to a successful online teacher/advisor?
Be well-prepared before the class. Earmark alternative activities as back-up to roll out when you see that your students´ enthusiasm is flagging and always keep your students actively involved in the conversation.
What is your secret Madrid?
My current Madrid secret is the Monte Pilar forest very close to my house in Majadahonda. Only 15-20 minutes from Madrid, there is a hospital for wild birds and animals which offers excursions for families on Sundays. www.Grefa.org
What´s next for your Fun Finance Business School or Women Investor Club?
I would like to publish a few books and find partners in other countries.
What makes a shrewd investor in your opinion?
Find the right combination of assets and the strategy which will give you a peace of mind and occupy exactly the amount of time you can afford. Ideally investing should become a habit and a hobby.
www.Womeninvestorsclub.com – learn how to invest shrewdly
www.funfinanceacademy.com/ – virtual business school for kids