On Monday, 6 August 2018, I had the pleasure of talking to a theatre full of year 12 students at McKinnon Secondary College about financial tips, tricks, and traps.  It was a great interactive session.  The students asked all the right questions and were so eager to learn about simple money habits, the dangers of credit cards, the basics of a payslips, the cost of owning a car, etc.

The supervising teacher sent me this response following the presentation:

It was wonderful to have Neil come and talk to our Year 12s about financial literacy.   The students were thirsty for this kind of practical advice, and they came away feeling empowered with their new knowledge about saving and common traps for young people like credit cards.  Neil’s presentation was very clear, well-designed and interactive, and he engaged the students with his warm manner.  We hope he can come back next year!

I felt overwhelmed by the positive response I received. But seeing the students’ appetite for basic financial literacy, left me with one worrying thought…

Financial literacy does not get enough attention in our schools. 

Students often leave school, to go on to tertiary education or start their working lives, with a lacking understanding of the financial world and poor money habits.  What is most frustrating about this is that young adults in their twenties have little financial responsibility. They have no mortgages, unlikely to have started a family, and at the same time begin earning a decent salary. In other words, they will have a reasonable disposable income, especially those who are still living with mum and dad. It is the ideal time to save for their future. Yet too often, they spend their twenties learning from their financial mistakes, spending money they don’t have on credit cards, buying stuff they don’t need, without thinking about the future consequences.

I truly believe that just a small amount of financial guidance could make a huge difference to these kids’ futures. It’s not rocket science (and I can say that as a former aerospace engineer), just a little bit of discipline will go a long way.

Following my talk at McKinnon Secondary College, I’m inspired to do more to help more students get ahead financially.  I’m currently organising more presentations at other local schools.

Why am I sharing all this with you? 

Because you don’t need to be a financial adviser to teach this stuff.  If you’ve got teenage kids or grandkids, can I encourage you to talk to them about money and pass on those little nuggets of financial wisdom that we’ve all learned along the way.  Help them avoid those common financial mistakes, and I’m sure they’ll thank you for it in a few years time.

If you would like me to come and present at a school that you’re connected with, please get in touch and I will do my best to organise a session.