finance

At 22, Chandel bought a house in Sydney's inner suburbs. She was on a waitress wage.

Chandel Brandimarti started saving for a house when she was 14.

She didn’t tell her friends or discuss it much, she just quietly opened a dedicated savings account and started contributing to it.

At the time, she didn’t think much of it. She’d always been money-driven and had grown up hearing her mum speak about how owning property was a good way to set yourself up for the future.

Aged 22, as a young, single woman living in Sydney, Chandel bought a two-bedroom home with a (small-ish) backyard, in the city’s inner suburbs.

Everyone was shocked.

WATCH: Chandel and Jess think women need to change the way they talk about money. Post continues after video.

“It was a huge deal… people still are surprised to this day,” a now 29-year-old Chandel told Mamamia.

“I genuinely think as a young, single woman – who saved up a deposit and bought a house – it was really surprising. It wasn’t something people ever expected… and my gender I think, was the biggest part of the surprise,” she said.

Money, of course, was the other surprise.

At the time, Chandel was working predominately as a waitress. She was also getting acting jobs here and there, where she’d get a bigger chunk of money – but it was a very transient and unpredictable way to make a living.

“The acting work, when it was paid, was relatively well paid. It was certainly more than hospitality… but let me make something clear, I didn’t earn a lot of money,” Chandel explained.

No one seemed to be able to fathom the fact that she’d been able to save enough money for a deposit, rent in Sydney, still live her life and reach this milestone without being paid big bucks.

“I was really tight with money and I tried to not dip into my savings, ever. Which meant I worked a lot of hours, and I was working back-to-back hospitality shifts, at the times when no one wanted to work,” she said.

Chandel thinks this perception of shock and disbelief at her homeownership is what propelled her out of acting and into a career in finance instead.

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Chandel Brandimarti
Chandel bought a house in inner Sydney when she was 22. Image: Supplied.

Buying a house was hard.

Chandel did it all on her own, navigating banks who kept telling her 'she didn't earn enough' for a loan, while trying to work out how to use her parents' salaries as leverage to get her name on the necessary documents. It was a long, stressful process and she realised it shouldn't be. So she decided to hone her skills and help others to do the same.

"[Buying a house] gives you a certain sense of freedom, and I felt like I had more choice for my future. In some ways, it was really freeing. I have an asset - I am asset-backed now," the actor turned loan advisor told Mamamia.

During her four years working with clients, Chandel has realised just how oppressed women (in particular) are when it comes to talking about money and how deep-seated the stereotype that women are "bad" with money is ingrained, even just in people's subconscious.

"When men spend money, it's a power move. When women do it, it's frivolous. There are so many systematic issues at play there. Women internalise the messaging and they think 'I know I spend money on things I don't need', 'I am bad with money' and 'it's all my fault.' Often that's not the case," said Chandel.

"Women, in particular, can feel if they aren't earning lots of money that knowing about money and engaging with their finances is not for them, because of this 'I am living week-to-week' mindset. That's just exacerbating the problem. It's totally a lie," she added.

Frustrated by the barriers she witnessed both personally and professionally, Chandel and Jessica Brady, a financial advisor also working in the Sydney market, have just this month launched Ladies Talk Money - a free platform designed to remove the stigma around money, and encourage jargon-free discussions to help women harness true financial equality.

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For too long, women have been taught that money isn’t something we should care about. From investing to super, the world has told us to play small, stay quiet, and let men take the financial reigns. This collective silence has left women with huge financial knowledge gaps and an internalised fear of all things money. It’s time to ask: who benefits? Who benefits from our collective silence and discomfort? Who benefits from women having less knowledge, money and power? It’s certainly not women. . So ladies, it’s time to get more comfortable talking about money, starting NOW! Head to the link in our bio and download your copy of our brand-new guide: ‘How to talk about money’ ???????????? . And then, tell all the ladies you know to do the same, and let’s get money working for all of us! . . #ladiestalkmoney #moneyrevolution #womenandmoney #womenandfinance #financialequality

A post shared by Ladies, we need to talk... (@ladiestalkmoney) on

"It's a place to learn. Everything is free and we are aiming to include anyone who identifies as a woman. This top-down approach just is not cutting it," Chandel told Mamamia.

While it might not be the sexiest reality, Chandel believes when it comes to being able to make choices in life and have power as a woman, money is a big contributing factor.

"Sometimes women can feel like maybe it's less soulful of them to pursue and worry about money. I just want to help women go after money. I have seen a lot of clients who have been in really sticky situations because they haven't been across their family or relationship finances and the feedback is 'I just never learned about this' or 'I was never encouraged to talk about this'," she said.

Whether it's because it's taboo, unladylike or just anxiety-inducing, the reality is women just don't have the same confidence as men when it comes to money.

"I wish I had spoken about it more with my friends [when I was younger] but I thought it wasn't something I should have talked about it. Or maybe I thought no one was interested?" said Chandel.

"The more we talk about money the more it's in our psyche and [big money goals] feel attainable," she added. "I want to help women think big."

You can find out more about Jess and Chandel's co-venture, Ladies Talk Money here.

Feature image: Supplied.

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