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Mónika Kiss, a capital market analyst, advisor, formerly head of research at a major investment fund, now works as an independent financial advisor and writes a blog to make financial matters comprehensible for women. She is a highly proactive Senior Investment Professional with over 20 years of experience.
As she turned 40 she has decided to start her freelance business focusing on corporates mainly, but also giving back and helping people in the world of finance. She has also been featured in the Budapest Business Journal as a successful entrepreneur and in honor of International Women's Day. Let's get to know more about Mónika and learn how she works as an Online Financial Counselor:
WikiExpert: Tell us a little about your online sessions? What does a typical session look like? What do you cover in these?
Mónika Kiss: After receiving the initial message I offer an initial complimentary 30-minute session to find out what I can and can not do for her or him. I do not provide investment advisory, the Client shall understand it clearly. I can give a biased set of information and teach how to use this information in the decision-making process.
The first coaching session focuses on the exploration of the most important problems and setting up a plan for solving it. Here we decide about the next steps.
WikiExpert: What are the most common struggles that your Clients and other people in general face when it comes to financial management?
Mónika Kiss: I have been facilitating financial planning for many years, and came to the point that the most common struggle is the fear to face the financial issues. Even if someone's finances are sound, we often discover irrational anxiety. This comes usually from early adulthood when it is so difficult to cope with the world, living on very limited resources. Many people can not overgrow this feeling despite the fact that they have a better salary, solid savings. So many of them do not check their bills or bank account balances, they do not sit down and create a monthly budget. The situation got even worse when they have to make long-term decisions when it comes to savings or loans.
WikiExpert: It is agreed that the same worries worldwide about the future and the answers are different in each country, depending on the pension and saving systems, but the way of the right approach is the same. Why do you say this?
Mónika Kiss: Finances are tricky. There is no magic formula that allows you to never have to worry about money. But the devoted attention to lay down a financial plan and sticking to it will coach you, even after we finished our sessions.
WikiExpert: When should an individual start planning and saving for the future?
Mónika Kiss: Latest when you enter the labor market, but even better, if you teach your children about the basic finances. Have you ever checked the grocery bill with your 8-year old? It is a lot of fun! Speak to him or her about every day's finances, be sure they understand what tax, pension, saving means, start to have a weekly budget. A good routine should be established, then for them, it will be obvious how to manage the finances.
This is a very good example of how my coaching works. If a Client asks me when to start saving, I show how to find a real answer to this question. We find the concept of compound interest, look for saving planner pages- together on the internet- I point out which site is the best for the Client. This makes a Client a hard worker in the world of finance and makes me redundant in a few months. The Client will be capable of finding the right information and avoid deceptive and illusory offers.
WikiExpert: You published an article on WikiExpert: What are you going to do for a living when you retire? It was a great read and enjoyed by many. In this article, you mention the reasons that people use to pull away from investing and saving. Please can you give us a few examples and cases of people who felt it was unnecessary but ended up doing it? How did it change their lives?
Mónika Kiss: I don’t have time for this!/ don’t know how to make savings! I am really bad at investments!/I don’t have any money for this/I could never think ahead-- it's cognitive dissonance when behavior and beliefs disagree. People tend to seek consistency in their attitudes, so when what you do doesn't fit with what you think, something must change in order to eliminate or reduce the dissonance. A classic example of this is this "explaining something away." If you know how and why your brain cheats you, that is the first step to overcome this dissonance.
A few years ago I held a series of lectures on financial-self care for teachers, who are not really well-off in my country and are really overloaded with work. After I finished the course, I received so many emails, telling me that they were shocked how easy it goes, if you start. "I should have started this when I was 20", "Was I blind or what? "-they wrote to me.
WikiExpert: How Clients can benefit from investing in stock?
Mónika Kiss: Stock investment offers plenty of benefits, this is the best way to stay ahead of inflation, but only in the long-run. Over time, the stock market tends to rise in value, though the prices of individual stocks rise and fall daily.
WikiExpert: How do you help your Clients with determining which is the best investment for them?
Mónika Kiss: By setting up a financial plan, which is a long process. I do not work as a financial advisor, but help to choose a good one, if needed. But in many cases, you can define your risk profile on your own easily.
WikiExpert: You are dedicated to helping women to manage their money, invest and save for their future. How do you help them? Upon reading about you in the Budapest Business Journal, we stumbled upon one of your quotes: “You don’t pick your future partner based on the performance of your ex. So you shouldn’t choose an investment fund based on its previous performance either.” Can you expand?
Mónika Kiss: Sure. Would you read my article further if I started to speak about the alfa, beta, standard deviation and Sharpe ratio? By grabbing your attention we can involve you in this process of choosing the right fund for you. You choose, I teach you step by step. Have you ever looked at the USA SEC pages for advice on investment decisions? I do not think so. With me, you will and I am sure, you will love the power, and the knowledge, you have. Because I am passionate about your capability, you can do it.
WikiExpert: What is the difference between financial self-care and financial wellbeing?
Mónika Kiss: It's like the difference between the Saturday afternoon rendezvous and being in a relationship for 20 years. Financial wellbeing is about a sense of security and feeling as though you have enough money to meet your needs. It's your Holy Grail, but who told you that you will find it easily? Once you reach level 1, you will desire for level 2. There is a point where you should stop and feel: this is it.
WikiExpert: You also mentioned that in most households, women have become the breadwinners. However, financial decisions are generally made by men. How do you feel about this?
Mónika Kiss: Sorry, but often we are much better at it. Check the studies on the long-term performance of male/female professional investors. You know this stuff, men make riskier investment decisions, but in the long run, this does not pay off. So we discuss all our financial issues with my husband and try to find the best achievable option. I am lucky not to be alone in my decisions and to have an equal partner.
WikiExpert: Tell us a little about your journey with trading, how did you start? What inspired you to do this? You also worked at a bank in Prague. How did this experience shape your future?
Mónika Kiss: This happened in 1998, when I got my sociology MA degree, after 5 years of study. I was sure in 7 years I would become a middle-level sociologist, in 15 years I would lead a department of sociology. And I hated it. I still love reading, studies, but could not see society from an ivory tower. I wanted to be in it. So I decided to follow my boyfriend from Budapest to Prague and find a job. My specialization is change management within sociology, so I have changed a lot. I started as an FX trader assistant in Prague for years, then started trading with currencies for clients. Year by year I got a bigger responsibility, I managed a huge pension fund portfolio at an Austrian insurance company. But I will never forget the feeling of starting over with my 23 years in a strange city. I am still in deep love with Prague and the Czech language.
Now, let's get to know more about Mónika:
WikiExpert: When you're not helping others with their financial matters, where can we find you?
Mónika Kiss: You can find me working as a stock market editor for the largest Hungarian daily economic printed newspaper or counseling corporates on their finances. I was told a few years ago it was never too late to start kung-fu, and this is correct! I was 41 when I found this amazing way of living. This is the first sport where I came out of training more energized than I went in.
WikiExpert: Do you have any plans for the future, both personally and professionally?
Mónika Kiss: I hope we can bring up our sons (13 and 14 years old) with my husband as happy, confident and curious people. I remember my Grandma's funeral: everybody was sad and smiling at the same time: she was 84 when she passed away peacefully. All the people in the village were thankful to her and had such good memories. I wish, once I have to go, I left such good memories behind me.
WikiExpert: If you could change anything about your life, what would it be?
Mónika Kiss: I would definitely be a cat, but only in my house :):):) They have the best life, I think.
WikiExpert: What would you say is your biggest success to date?
Mónika Kiss: When I decided to leave my finance industry career two years ago (I was ahead of research with many analysts) and started a new career.
Start planning for your future, saving and investing. Message Mónika Kiss for free today!