Like a lot of other 20 or 30 somethings at times I can feel a little out of my depth financially. Actually I don’t think there is an age restriction on that feeling although I’d love to be proven wrong in a few years time. As I look for personal investment options, or mortgage choices, or banking solutions often the problem I’m facing isn’t a lack of information, it’s too much information.
You don’t have to look far to find someone willing to give financial advice. Be it anecdotal or professional, financial advice is everywhere. Mentally when we are presented with too much information on one subject matter and no easy way to filter or categorise this information the natural tendency is to, well, just ignore it all. We then follow our nose and hack together a very Kiwi DIY solution.
On top of that at lot of this financial information or advice given is pretty complex, and not presented in a way I’m used to consuming information. We’re talking 100 page reports, and 20 acronyms to a page sort of thing. I’m used to consuming my information in 140 characters, 10 second videos, or if I’m feeling really adventurous a 700 word blog post.
When I’m really extending myself I’ll read a few personal finance or investment book. My tattered copy of Jones on Property is a relic I pull out when my Auckland friends are down to visit for the weekend - it’s safe to say they no longer visit, the joke wearing thin. But this iconic investment book actually hits home for me when talking about a lot of financial advice available today. Revered in it’s time, but totally outdated and irrelevant now.
So what does make for useful financial advice in 2016?
The first criteria is that it has to be relatable to my circumstances. Please don’t offer advice to me about minimum investments of half a mill. That’s just depressing to the average Joe or Joanna. Secondly it needs to be consumable - and to clarify a 50 page investment prospectus is not consumable. And a pretty pie diagram won’t alone fix that issue. Lastly, it needs to be actionable. The reason I am accessing financial advice is to change my financial circumstances, so if I’m in the same position afterwards I haven’t really met my objective.
I’ve had my head stuck in Banqer for so long now that my own personal finances have taken a bit of a hit. Ironic I know. But when I bumped into Liz Koh at a financial capability workshop it opened my eyes to the fact that I should practice what I preach a little more often. Liz runs a financial planning firm and is a certified financial planner and chartered accountant so possibly the perfect person for me to cross paths with. After going home and reading several of her ebooks I realised there is a lot of good financial advice out there, such as Liz’s, that ticks all the boxes. You just have to know where to look (and apparently financial capability workshops are a great place to start).
Probably my favourite of Liz’s books was 8 Steps to Financial Freedom. I found it a good entry level read as I’m not exactly in a position to invest in property at the moment, but this got me thinking about the basics necessary for a solid financial foundation. It made me answer some confronting questions about my personal finance habits and to better understand all of those complex layers of emotion that sit between us and our bank balances. And although some of it seems obvious and logical it’s remarkable how reading and considering it can turn it from a behaviour we know we should adopt to one we actively pursue.
I found Liz’s writing style professional yet relatable, and very consumable. As an ex-educator herself I think there is a lot the Banqer community can learn from Liz that can then be passed to our Banqer students. It’s rare to find a Kiwi who can talk about money effectively and in a way that is engaging and actionable. With the holidays coming up it’s worth putting aside an afternoon to read through her blogs, that’s the kind of personal investment that will pay dividends in time.
If you’ve found another winner when it comes to personal finance advice I’d love to hear about them. The journey of personal finance education is a never-ending one and the more we can share with each other the better off we will all be. I’m especially interested in hearing about advice/advisors that is relatable, consumable, and actionable, just like Liz Koh’s works.
Insights from Kendall Flutey; Personal finance ponderer and Banqer Co-Founder