I’m always talking about what a great job I have and how much I love what I do. I’m a lucky man. Last month my wife, Leah, nominated me to put my money where my mouth is by explaining to our son’s kindergarten class what a Financial Planner does and why it’s such a great job. The class has been learning about things they can be when they grow up, and previous presentations came from an Architect, a Doctor, a Chef, and a woodwork teacher. Some tough acts to follow when it comes to the subject of financial planning for six year olds!
I was advised that they’re a very bright class. So, following a refresher for the kids on the benefits of a diversified portfolio, dollar cost averaging and how important it is to get an early start with superannuation we moved on to an open discussion around interest rates and their impact on the share market and Aussie dollar.
Jeff presenting to six year olds about how he helps Mummy’s and Daddy’s manage their finances.
It’s funny, I was actually pretty nervous before the presentation. I think that was mainly because I wasn’t really going to discuss any of the above subjects, which are right within my comfort zone. I was going to have a conversation about money with five and six year olds and (bright as they might be) they would have no clue what a financial planner does. In hindsight, and in the nicest possible way, that probably makes the kids of KW pretty similar to a large proportion of the general public. A key difference being most of the kids would freely admit they don’t know what a financial planner does, where as many adults will have some preconceived ideas. We certainly need to get better at explaining what we do, without all of the jargon.
I told the class that I help Mummy’s and Daddy’s to save, manage and make smart decisions about their money. We discussed the ways Mummy’s and Daddy’s can get money (work, selling things and making things were some of the suggestions). I then asked them to tell me all of the things that families need to spend money on. I led them in grouping them into a number of categories and we ended up with a house, a car, food, clothes, bills, holidays, fun things and toys. Next I pulled out a bag of toy money and explained that this represented all of the money that Mummy and Daddy earned, and we now needed to allocate that to the different categories. We agreed that you need a lot of money for a house, a bit less for a car and so on. Until shock, horror we ran out of money before we got to buy some toys! Not one of the 20 kids thought that was a satisfactory outcome.
So I explained that’s where I come in. I help families to work through their priorities and allocate their money so they can buy all of things they need, now and in the future. We look at how they might be able to save some money to invest and earn some interest, which means they can go out and buy some toys. That last bit made me pretty popular.
Hopefully the kids learnt a little bit about prioritising spending and a bit about saving. After all of that who wouldn’t want to be a financial planner?