On Carolyn: Crystal necklace, Swarovski. On Anna: Toga dress, Karen Millen. Earrings, Swarovski.
Styling: Jerome Awasthi, assisted by Nadiah Rashid & Ling Chew. Hair: Ash Loi, using Keune Haircosmetics Singapore. Makeup: Hongling, using YSL Beaute.

Carolyn and Anna Haotanto
#TogetherWeTriumph rings true for this mother-daughter duo whose ultimate goal is offer women the power of financial independence.

The antiquated belief that women are unable manage their own finances has been disproven time and again. Yet in 2018, many women still find themselves at a loss when it comes to figuring out how to invest their money wisely. Noticing this worrying trend among female professionals, Anna Haotanto founded The New Savvy, an online portal that aims to empower millions of women with the proper skills in financial planning.

“Women have made incredible progress in the workforce over the last 20 years,” points out Anna. “But despite working and earning more, they are still not investing and managing their money. The fact is that most women are savers or leave it to their spouses to manage their finances.” 

Anna has witnessed firsthand the pitfalls of financial instability. When she was barely in her teens, her parents’ textile business went bust due to the Asian financial crisis in 1997 – landing them $20,000 in debt. This sparked off her wealth-building path. The 33-year-old recalls: “I knew that I had take care of myself and my family. That’s why the idea of making my money work harder for me really fascinated me; it was a way to stop living pay cheque to pay cheque every month and feeling very stressed.”

Armed with the knowledge gleaned from working in the finance sector – including stints at UOB and investment firm Tera Capital – Anna rolled up her sleeves and got to work, making her first million by the age of 29, and launching The New Savvy in 2015. Three years on, it’s safe to say that Anna’s brainchild is making great strides with 200,000 monthly page views and an e-commerce store. It has even held conferences and reader events in Singapore, Hong Kong and The Philippines. Her ultimate vision? “To empower 100 million women to achieve financial happiness.”

Running a lucrative enterprise is not something that can be done alone, which is why Anna looked to her mother as a pillar of support. She says: “I’ve learnt a lot from her every day: She’s patient, level-headed and the rock of the company, whereas I am the passionate visionary.”

Her mother, Carolyn Haotanto, is COO of The New Savvy, and she has faced challenges of her own – both professionally and personally. Last year, she was diagnosed with breast cancer and underwent a bilateral mastectomy. She reveals: “Knowing that you have cancer feels like the end of the world.” Amid the fear, pain and stress, Carolyn learnt a few important lessons about strength and determination, which she hopes to impart to other women. “You have to face your problems – or rather, own them. Running away will not cure cancer. It won’t be easy, but as long as you stay positive, you will come out stronger.”

Despite the troubles they have faced in the past – be it financial or health issues – the mother-daughter duo remain steadfastly focused and optimistic about their mission: to continue empowering women. “Many women have written to me, sharing about their lives and financial situations, telling me how the The New Savvy has motivated them to be in charge of their own finances,” says Anna. “It’s exhilarating because I get the chance to create history and push for initiatives that will benefit women and the industry as a whole.”

“Due to family’s past financial situation, I’ve always been passionate about financial literacy and how it can transform lives. That’s what sparked off my wealth-building path,” says Anna.

“The New Savvy team is made up of hard-working, driven ladies who have the heart and empathy for other women – to understand the struggles they commonly face and to know how empower them.”

“My advice to women is to be tough! You have to persevere, be thick-skinned, and prove yourself,” says Carolyn. “The New Savvy is for women to better themselves in a world that we’ve previously been too scared to conquer.”

Do you have an inspiring role model in your life? Name a woman who makes you feel empowered and share it with us on Instagram with the hashtags #TriumphSGSupportsWomen and #TogetherWeTriumph.

You could stand a chance to win up to $1,000 worth of Triumph vouchers! Find out more here.