Anna Vanessa Haotanto played a key role in raising a mid-six figure funding for the New Savvy within 2 years of operation. She has 10 years of experience in the financial sector and is currently a Director at Tera Capital. Previously she worked at Citigroup, United Overseas Bank, a regional role in Business Monitor and a boutique private equity firm based in Shanghai. She graduated from Hwa Chong Junior College and Singapore Management University, majoring Finance and Quantitative Finance.

But her success story is way more complicated than it seems. Growing up, Anna Haotanto’s family faced financial hardships living in the world’s most expensive city.

At times, I worried we couldn’t pay our rent. We were living pay cheque to pay cheque. To help pay for my university, some of my family members took on credit cards with interest rates around 24%, leading to nearly $20,000 debt.says Haotanto.

Her family financial situation sparked off her wealth-building path. She began by reading finance books and started investing when she was 21. By age 29, she earned her financial independence and amassed her first million dollars. When she was in Hwa Chong Junior College, doing volunteer work, Haotanto noticed how many women were stuck in unhappy situations or marriages as they were not working or have any earning capabilities. That motivated her always to be self-sufficient financially and to prevent herself from being in similar situations. She acknowledges the difficulties that occur on the way to entrepreneurship. She was giving up a good five-figure income and some people told her not to be naïve and “get a real job”. That affected her morale.

“For a long time, I was wondering if I am just impetuous or silly. Should I just continue earning money and be in banking? There’s a societal pressure, especially when you don’t know what’s going to happen and I am doing this mostly to help other women.”

But proper financial knowledge and planning worked for Haotanto, and she was confident that it would work for many women too – which was why she started The New Savvy.


Women in Asia: More Money But No Financial Literacy

Haotanto believes that Asian women are at a very interesting stage in history. They are earning more, advancing further in their careers yet still lagging behind men in financial literacy. Women control a majority of the household expenditure, yet they save and invest much lesser than men.

Overall, there is not a vast amount of financial media, yet most of the existing outlets are catered to men. Women Finance is a grossly under-served market. Most financial news is complex, technical and boring. They don’t speak to women and form real emotional value. Women don’t want to know stock picks or technical analysis; they want to know how certain financial choices can better their life and improve their net worth. “As a woman, I want to know how smart financial management can impact my life and how relevant it is to my needs. I want something I can relate to, something that can inspire and motivate me” says Haotanto.

Women lack confidence in financial matters, it’s statistically verified that 41% do not invest or manage their money. And those who do invest usually take financial advice from men. But women have different needs from men and can benefit from unique financial advice.


The New Generation Of Financially Savvy

Haotanto realized that this lack of media outlets that have authentic financial insights would be a great market opportunity. Since she embarked on founding the New Savvy she was constantly questioning herself on how to make women more interested in financial literacy.That’s exactly what the New Savvy focuses on: having original content that is engaging, fun and relevant. Many women acknowledge that financial knowledge is important and they have wanted to learn but kept procrastinating. So when they find out about The New Savvy, they are more motivated to be in charge of their finances.

“I was very sure that we didn’t want to be another financial site which teaches you to make 20x in a week. I wanted The New Savvy to be relatable to women, so they won’t be intimidated by Finance”

The New Savvy is an online platform that focuses financial and career issues for women in Asia that attracts 143,716 people a month. The website have technical articles which are informative, introduce must-know cover concepts in bite-sized to make it more comprehensible to novice readers. As well as lifestyle content that covers issues plaguing the modern women. All of the articles include a finance or female empowerment angle to them.

Many women approach Anna Haotanto at different events and tell her that they read and love The New Savvy. Some of them write to the New Savvy team to share their lives and financial situations. The New Savvy also features inspirational stories about individuals breaking barriers, speaking up, and living authentic lives. We also have interviews sections where we question our subjects on their occupations or businesses, financial planning and thoughts on women issues.

Haotanto and her team partner with large government agencies including Monetary Authority of SingaporeCentral Provident FundSingapore Exchange (SGX) and Far East Organization to produce educational content. These organizations help The New Savvy boost their brand credibility. Right now they are also developing bite-sized financial online courses and looking at holding workshops for financial education every two months. Their 5-year plans include regional expansion, personal finance conferences and wealth management advisory platform.

Frequent workshops and Haotanto’s speaking engagements has helped The New Savvy to attract 30,000 subscribers to their newsletter. The team runs quarterly contests to entice people to subscribe, including a contest giving away free tickets to their “The Future is Female” conference with AsiaOne, which added 400 participants in only three days. The conference’s objective is to introduce women to personal finance management and empower women to thrive in a male-dominant environment.

“Women and children are my pet causes. I’m passionate about financial literacy and how it can transform lives. This feeds my soul, and the rewards are probably intangible, I am definitely happier than before.” says Haotanto

Anna Haotanto and her team know the value of women empowerment and want to help with the best way they know how – finance.

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