Interview: Janet Xuccoa talks about Women & Money
Janet Xuccoa, author, public speaker, professional and investor has spent over 30 years helping people with finances, working in banking institutions and professional services practices (accounting and legal organisations) specialising in the trust arena. She currently works for Black + White Trust Services Limited. Janet talks to NZ Booklovers about her book Women & Money: Mastering the Struggle.
Tell us a little about Women & Money: Mastering the Struggle.
It’s an easy-to-read guide, containing cradle to grave financial information, supplemented with stories women have generously shared demonstrating the information I’ve imparted operating within their lives.
What inspired you to write this book?
I’m a firm believer in education – it builds a more ably equipped, stronger person and enables society in general to progress. Ultimately, that is where I get my inspiration from for writing all my books.
In respect of this book I was inspired to share information that would assist women to make smart financial choices and decisions, to help women avoid the numerous money pitfalls that frequently befall them in life and to motivate women to create and capitalise on the dollar and cents opportunities that come their way.
What research was involved?
Initially I used much of the information and experience I have gained during my lifetime and career. I’ve spent 30 odd years working in banks, law and accounting firms and helped hundreds of clients over that time. This provides a rich background of information and life lessons from which to write from.
Additionally, I spoke to numerous women about their own experiences which has resulted in stories peppered throughout the book, acting as a supplementary aid to the information I’ve shared.
Finally, I had my information reviewed by industry professionals such as the New Zealand Institute of Economic Research to ensure the points I recounted were indeed correct.
What was your routine or process when writing this book?
Anyone who knows me, knows I love order, structure, routines. My routine for writing this book did not differ from the routines I’ve adopted when writing my previously published books. I schedule block time units to write, often in the morning and the afternoon. In the week I write in the early hours of the morning, prior to heading to my office and later at night, after the day has finished. In the weekend, I tend to write all day. For me, writing is a very calming activity.
The process I undertake involves a lot of thinking. Initially I spend time thinking about what I want to write, what I want the book to cover, what I hope to achieve by writing the book.
As a generality, I often spend a bit of time thinking about something before taking action either for myself or a client. Sometimes I spend more time thinking than actually doing. In my experience, time expanded in the thinking quadrant is usually well spent as it avoids unnecessary time wasting which is a pet dislike of mine. It tends to lead to better outcomes too than simply jumping in and exerting needless energy or energy in the wrong direction.
Only after I’ve completed the thinking segment of the process will I compile a list of topics I intend to write about.
I then order my list of topics chronologically and begin researching the subject matters, chapter by chapter.
After my thoughts have been ordered and my research completed, I sit down and start tapping on the keyboard, laying down my words on the pages sequentially. Once the chapter is written I read over it. Very occasionally I rearrange blocks of information.
For me, the words just flow. My first book took me 10 days to write. My second book took 14 days. This book has taken longer because I’ve contemporaneously undertaken two other significant projects which have taken large portions of my time. Ultimately, the critical part of the process lays in the thinking because that makes the rest of the process incredibly easy.
What do you hope readers will take away from reading the book?
1. Confidence to confront their financial position;
2. Motivation to seek out financial knowledge and assistance from experts and professionals in their respective fields; and
3. Inspiration to fully engage in building a financial life for themselves and their loved ones.
If you had to pick three top things all women should know about improving their finances, what would they be?
1. Truly understand your Nation. What’s coming in, what’s going out, what your current state of coin is and what your financial position it is likely to be in say 6, 12, 24 months’ time.
2. Set goals and take action. No goal is ever going to be achieved without some form of action being implemented.
3. Always obtain good quality advice from seasoned professionals before making a financial move. As humans, our decision making is limited by what we personally know. By taking advice from people more qualified than us, our knowledge is enlarged and the quality of our decision making is enhanced, leading to better financial outcomes.
What did you enjoy the most about writing this book?
I enjoy all the parts equally that are involved in the writing of a book. The thinking, the planning, the physical writing, the designing of the cover and the layout of the book – they all bestow a cathartic effect on me personally.
What did you do to celebrate finishing this book?
I enjoyed an extra-long run that afternoon, followed by a glass of bubbles accompanied by an Italian meal with a very good friend that night.
What’s next on the agenda for you?
There have been substantial law changes in the area of trusts and tax that I practice in. As such, I’m currently very busy helping clients navigate new waters and capitalise on opportunities. I expect the intensity of the work won’t abate until mid-2022. I really love my work and want to concentrate on it so am keeping my mind and energies free to do just that – to focus wholly on clients work. That said, I am planning on writing Book Number 4. Already it is percolating away in the back of my mind. The serious business of thinking about that new book however is going to have to wait awhile yet.