Anna Haotanto, the founder and CEO of The New Savvy gets real about the difficulties of being an entrepreneur and says the single most important thing for Asian women to succeed in investing is constant education in terms of knowing how, what and why you are investing.

What was the impetus to start this?

I have spent many years in finance and felt financial education is lacking in Asia. I wanted to make finance easily digestible and relevant.

Finance is not something sexy and fun–nobody gets excited about going home to read about bonds. I wanted to make something dry and boring interesting for people. The idea of The New Savvy was to make financial concepts bite-sized and easy to read on-the-go. And in Singapore, women are an under-served market.

Why a specific platform for women?

The way women fundamentally look at money is different from men. When it comes to investing, we invest differently; women expect lower returns than men. Men expect 15-20 per cent, women expect 8-10 per cent.

What patterns have you noticed in the way women spend, invest and save in terms of the
data you have gathered since starting The New Savvy?

If you look at Singapore, most people know they need to invest money, but they haven’t done it. Weather it’s due to a lack of education or easy access to information? In Hong Kong, the women are less passive– they are already investing and a lot of them have their own investments.

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In Hong Kong, the question is what do I invest in and in Singapore it is how do I get started? That’s the most common question we get asked.

Who uses your platform? What is their demographic?

25 to 40 year-olds. They are professionals who have a college degree. We don’t classify according to age groups or education as such. We classify according to their investment experience and life stages.

How is your content different and targeted for women?

First, we have the evergreen content– basic financial concepts, real estate etc. Then we have more in-depth content like how to use your CPF as a working mum. We also have information for women who are separating and going through other milestones.

Have you received any negative criticism?

Yes, from men regarding our women only conference called The Future is Female- men are allowed to be speakers, volunteers on moderators but not participants.

How has the scene with women in tech changed in the last few years?

I find that everyone is trying to collaborate and there are more and more groups coming up. Even in Fintech you have a lot of the subgroups. What is more encouraging for me is to see males championing women. Men are also more vocal about calling out when things are not right or fair.

What is your advice to young entrepreneurs?

I think people have a very romanticized version of entrepreneurship because of the Zuckerbergs and Elon Musks, all these great success stories.

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People don’t write about failure enough. I think for me personally, it has been rewarding and a learning experience. It’s also been very difficult for me the past three years and I have had low moments. The lows are really really low, and you need to ask yourself if you are made for this.

I started when I was older. I also have a lot of autonomy as I have saved enough. I would say, go and get some experience, save enough money and ensure your finances are in order before starting something.