Marcela Hrubošová is a financial coach, founder of Finance pro radost (Finance for Pleasure), Academy and Kuřátko Pípo (Chicken Pipo), successful entrepreneur, passionate sportswoman and last but not least a devoted mother. I met Marcela in the Municipal House to discuss about money, values, entrepreneurship and financial literacy over a cup of coffee. Her mission in life is to help people live a happy and fulfilled life in abundance and high standard of living through education about financial literacy.
Time or money, Marcela?
Time. Time is namely the most important commodity in life which we have. We should watch what we do so that it is effective and we do not waste our time somewhere where we do not learn, create or develop anything. The purpose of life is not to work but to lead a happy and fulfilled life.
Yet based on how many people spend their time it seems that they live only for the money. What do you think money is and what role does it play in life?
In my view money is a means of payment and expression of our usefulness in society. The higher my usefulness to society, the better paid I am and vice versa. The closer one works to satisfy basic needs of man, the more assessable one is. The further away the job areas are from these needs, the more I have to prove that my work is needed. Society has agreed to use money. However, if I lived in seclusion and could procure everything, I would not need any money.
Why do some people perceive money as evil?
If I put money on a pedestal, I will be unhappy. If I perceive money in a way that money will come to me, it will be better. I first have to provide something in order to get something. If I work timely and to the best of my abilities, I can be a hundred percent sure that money will come to me. However, if I only do what is required, I cannot expect that somebody will want to pay me. In socialism we were used to going to work and at the end of the month sticking our hand out for an envelope with money. Only after the Velvet revolution we were asked to show what we can do, and get paid based on that.
How should one develop his capabilities and find out what he is good at?
After graduating from school, one should find a company of one’s heart (even if it means only copying papers there) and observe how the company works inside. I advise everyone to explore the six areas which make up every company in the world (marketing, trade, finance, IT, administration and HR) and then go their own way. One is learning in a job. It is a school of life. It is important to find your passion and utility in the society and then found your own company.
This implies that you find entrepreneurship a more perspective way to go.
I support entrepreneurship because it enables you to create your own assets and wealth, while in a common job your salary is determined by someone else. Graduates are paid a little, in the 30s comes career progression, in the 40s many people burn out and in the 50s nobody wants to employ you anymore. This means that in the beginning and at the end you have the smallest salary and exercisability and you spend most of your progressive time of life in a job with a glass door salary.
Czech people often have nostalgic memories about the era of the First Republic when our economy was one of the best in Europe. One keeps asking where all the perseverance and entrepreneurship has disappeared.
Yes, as for the entrepreneurship, we were the world number one in the food-processing, textile and automotive industries. The problem nowadays is that there is nowhere to learn how to run a business because practical education is missing. It is vital to learn the simplest basics of business and then meet businessmen. What is also important is what incentives the state provides. When a foreign company comes to the Czech Republic, they immediately get tax holidays, but what about Czech companies? By entering the EU a major part of our most powerful industry has moved to other EU country which has harmed us. We do not have sugar and textile factories anymore and buy them abroad. A rich economy should be able to produce products in its own territory and export the remainder abroad. In this regard Iceland is inspiring because they adopted this model after their financial crisis.
This sounds interesting. How did you specifically do business in your life?
In the 90s I worked as an in-store accountant with a trade certificate and eked out my salary with sports, tax returns, coaching and knitting sweaters. Later on I joined the state service as a revenue officer and after coming to Prague in 1998 I started my career building the financial sector for big corporate companies. In 2007, I left the position of general director of a collecting bank because I had reached such a high position that I had no opportunity to grow professionally anymore, so I founded broker’s insurance businesses in the market. Even though I then jumped into the bank sector for three more years to build divisions for debt recovery, I am my own master now. I have my own companies and I have created concepts for financial literacy education and entrepreneurship for children and adults. I believe that it is not about “As many languages you know, as many times you are a human being” but “As many crafts you know, as many times you are a human being”.
Did you also go through the contemplating phase of life in your 40s?
Yes. During that time I found that I was missing the purpose of my life. Even though I had a happy family, beautiful and healthy child, a lot of money and success at work, I had a feeling that I had nothing to live for. People suddenly realize that they have everything materialistic but their heart is not fulfilled. They directed everything at one part of their life, reached the finish and found out that there is nothing to live for. I burnt out because I used to spend 16 hours a day and weekends at work. I told myself that after those 15 years in corporations I cannot see anything but the companies making profit from my work.
Basically you realized that work is not the most important thing in life.
Exactly. I found out that the purpose of life is not to be at work from morning till evening. The Bible describes this quite nicely in the chapter when God punished Adam and Eve after the expulsion from paradise by assigning them work on this Earth. The Enlightenment contrarily placed work on a pedestal as something spirited. We turned it upside down. People completely forgot what their essence is. Nowadays work is only a part of my life. I try to balance my life across four areas; family, relationships (friends/hobbies), health and work.
This was a significant realization.
It definitely was. Nonetheless, I am glad that I went through this lengthy path because or else I would not have all the knowledge and might not have come to what I am doing now with such zest. My aim now is to give knowledge to people so they do not have to run all the way as I did, and can exert their skills sooner and secure themselves much earlier in their lives.
Can you tell us now more about your education?
When I left, I listened to my heart and decided to stop with debt recovery for the financial sector and start teaching people how to manage finance. People do not become indebted because they would be stupid, but they fall victim to manipulation of businessmen. I try to teach people how to be financially literate, how to find their utility in the society and how to build their thriving independent business. I teach based on a scheme (to make money, to manage it, to administer it and to breed it) and explain the basics of financial literacy from the old days of Plato.
How does your education work?
I first created a website called “Finance pro Radost” (Finance for Pleasure) where I shared findings from life. I also established my own broker’s company. Eventually it turned out that the interest in the financial literary education in kindergartens, schools and NGOs throughout the Czech and Slovak Republics was higher and thus my broker’s company is now hibernated. Women and children have become my main target audience. I also started to teach the basics of entrepreneurship and this has evolved into business mentoring. I also have my own charity foundation Kuřátko Pípo (Chicken Pípo) intended for children’s education.
I appreciate that you have unconventional stances on many things (such as on mortgages).
As for mortgages, we have understood our time wrongly. We want to live in our own housing but we are becoming servants of the financial sector. In the history we always served someone, whether as slaves, servants or employees. After the revolution we lost our master and we signed on to banks. I have no idea from where people adopted the philosophy that when one lives alone, one is freer. We forgot that we are born into families and we are building a family base. I do not need to create new assets but valorize the wealth we possess as a family. Property should never be sold and bought on a debt. We got lost in ourselves. We are single, and do not take care of our parents or search freedom where it is not. Love and social security is at home, even if I run away and search for it elsewhere.
This slightly reminds me of travel obsession and running away. What do you think about it?
For many people travelling is about finding the purpose of their life. A person trying to find oneself through travels does not have basic needs covered (Maslow’s hierarchy of needs). He is not fed, dressed and dwelled because of the constant move. If he searches for love, he can experience love affairs but that does not equal a fulfilled relationship. Relationships are built over years and love has many forms (parents, mother, children and friends). But one is alone on the road. When we speak about the self-actualization level, the person is not helping anyone even if he is helping in a charity program. It is a physical help but the heart is not there, hence he cannot reach self-fulfillment.
Can you think of examples of meaningful travel?
It does not mean that when people are searching, it is something bad. It is key to find out “who I am” and “what my mission is”. I find it good when people travel to learn how things are done elsewhere and then return to their homeland to help their own people (such as Tomáš Baťa). I think these people realized that at home they have the best background and people who love them and by returning their destiny is fulfilled. A person who is just searching and thinking that on their travel to India they can find happiness is running away from the stress they would face in our society. He might be running because he is afraid to deal with things waiting for him at home.
But you also like to travel.
Indeed. I like to discover the world from a bicycle seat. I have travelled together with a travel agency called Adventura to Chile, Argentina, Corsica, India and New Zealand. Whenever I come home, I am grateful for coming from here. We are living here like a pig in rye. I am grateful that I was born here as a woman. Women in many countries cannot go to watch a football match, ride bicycle or do business. Here I am nobody’s asset and nobody is dictating me anything. I am glad that I was born in this country and at this time. I love to travel to see the differences and this pushes me even more to help other people.
Thank you for the interview.
To find out more, you can visit the website of Marcela Hrubošová.
Photographs: Archive of Marcela Hrubošová