Why don’t women take control of their own finances?

That’s the question being asked by stock market training company ILTB (Invest Like The Best ). “We run regular workshops and seminars around the country,” says Susan Hayes, Support and Development Manager, ILTB. “We get a lot of interest from both men and women, but only about ten per cent of the people at our seminars are women.”

However, there has been a striking increase in the number of Irish women entrepreneurs. A recent Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM ) report showed that last year the figure for women running businesses had increased to 5.9 per cent from 4.2 per cent in 2006. GEM said this percentage was much higher than the average in the EU and OECD countries.

It seems that women are now very comfortable moving into the business market but have yet to find that comfort level in the stock market. Susan Hayes feels that ILTB have the answer: “We understand that people can feel uncomfortable in the unfamiliar environment of finance and that’s the whole reasoning behind the free workshops. Anyone can attend, no previous knowledge is needed. The workshops give a good grounding in investment and then anyone who wants to can do a full day seminar.”

Susan Hayes definitely got the stock market bug at an early age. She was studying in NUI Galway when ILTB came in to make a presentation to students. By her own admission she was hooked that night. “The penny suddenly dropped for me,” she said. “The presenter simplified the whole process of investment and I realised I could take control of my own finances with confidence.” That’s exactly what she did, she began working part time with ILTB while still studying and maintained her “double life” until she’d completed her degree.

“I did get a bit of slagging,” she admits. “Everyone else would turn up to lectures in jeans and a t-shirt while I was sitting there primly in my little business suit because I’d have to rush off to a meeting immediately afterwards. I knew it was worth it though, I’d found what I wanted to do with my life; I just love it.”

Of course not everyone will want to actually work in the financial sector, but most people would like to feel confident about making decisions on their investments. The next ILTB workshop is in Day’s Hotel, Castlebar on Tuesday August 19 at 7pm. Anyone who is interested in going along can reserve their place via the website (www.iltb.ie ), telephone 01 287 1400 or simply come along on the evening. Full information on the next seminar to be held in Galway on August 30 will be available on the night.


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