Financial Planning Week: Live Up To Your Dreams

The 16th annual Financial Planning Week kicks off on 22nd August, running until Sunday 28th August. CANSTAR caught up with Jane Caro, FPA Ambassador for Financial Planning Week 2016.

According to the Financial Planning Association of Australia (FPA), Australians are dreaming more – but we’re not always living to our full potential, and a financial plan could be the missing link.

The research uncovered that one in two Australians (51%) are dreaming more about the future than they did five years ago. However, more than two in five Australians (63%) have not mapped out a financial plan to turn these dreams into reality.

FPA CEO, Dante De Gori, CFP® said the Dare to Dream research paper aimed to uncover the top financial goals, hopes and dreams for Australians across all life stages, while identifying the obstacles to seeking professional advice.

“The findings of our Dare to Dream research show that as a nation, we are dreaming more, but we often aren’t living to our full potential. This might be because of fear, apathy, or a lack of planning. For financial planners, these are valuable insights into their client base, ” said Mr De Gori.

The research, which surveyed 1,016 Australians split across Baby Boomers (born 1946 -­ 1964), Generation X (born 1965 -­ 1979) and Generation Y (born 1980 -­ 1994), revealed that the most common goal across all demographics was a financial one (34% of those surveyed).

“These findings reinforce the main goal of Financial Planning Week. That is, to reframe the conversation around financial advice by showing consumers that, by seeking the right advice from a financial planner, they can achieve their dreams, whether that be home ownership, travel, investment, or simply to pursue their hobbies and interests,” said Mr De Gori.

Live up to your dreams…

FPA ambassador for Financial Planning Week this year is author, novelist, journalist, broadcaster, columnist, advertising writer and social commentator, Jane Caro.  CANSTAR caught up with Jane to find out more about the role.

What attracted me to being ambassador?

First, it was a left-field request & I particularly like doing things outside my usual territory. That way I learn new things.

But what really attracted me was the opportunity to draw attention to the terrible consequences of ignoring your financial situation and future, particularly for women. I have been receiving unsolicited emails, texts & messages from older women who find themselves staring down the barrel of a poverty stricken old age, even to the extent of insecure housing. I felt that this was an opportunity to draw attention to their plight and also to encourage women (and men) to plan for their financial future early.

I have also benefited personally from good financial advice.

Some of the best money-related experiences I have had…

Well, I have earned an income for most of my adult life (I took 5 years out to have two daughters). I am a member of the first generation of women in history where earning your own money is the norm rather than the exception.

Being in the workforce for 30 years led to opportunities – like when the international ad agency I worked for bought itself back & offered staff share options. I took the maximum and that investment (salary sacrifice really) paid off handsomely.

My husband and I got some excellent financial advice when we were quite young which led to us paying off our mortgage quickly & enabled us to buy some investment properties. When my husband left his job of 27 years we sold those properties at a good profit which enabled us to enter our late 50s completely debt free. This has given us options and choices we would not otherwise have.

McCrindle Research conducted an FPA Dare to Dream national sentiment survey of 1,016 Australians aged 20-65 in July 2016. When it comes to our money personalities, men are most likely to identify as Movers & Shakers, while women are most likely to identify as Rule Keepers. Below is the national split across all generations surveyed:

Shoot for the Stars POKER MASTERS (12%) Daring when it comes to finances, and willing to take substantial risks for significant gains. Of these, 46% are female and 54% are men.
MOVERS & SHAKERS (33%) Takes calculated risks for significant gains, focused on saving for the future. Of these, 40% are women, 60% are men.
RULE KEEPERS (40%) Likes playing it safe by taking minimal to zero financial risk. Of these, 61% are women, 39% are men.
EASY RIDERS (15%) Often spontaneous about spending money, likes to play it safe and keep financial risks to a comfortable minimum. Of these, 48% are men, 52% are female.

Why are women more cautious as investors?

Women are still less secure generally in our society which, until very recently, was designed by and for the kinds of lives men mostly have. Women are still paid less than men, promoted less often than men, own less than men and are more likely to live on fixed incomes. They also tend to take responsibility for caring duties – of both children & elderly parents. For all these good and valid reasons women would rather conserve what they have than risk losing it. They face too many personal risks and barriers in their lives already to want to add more, especially financial ones.

Also women are still not generally encouraged to understand financial matters & worry they may be judged harshly if they are seen as too ambitious or greedy. We’re still harder on women & girls.

How I model responsible financial behaviour to my daughters…

First, always earn your own money and do your own budgeting. They both had part-time jobs while still at school.

Second, when they began earning as teens we got them debit not credit cards, a habit they follow to this day.

Third, don’t buy what you can’t afford ( e pay our credit cards off in full every month & always have).

Fourth, no debt except investment debt.

Fifth, we sent our kids to a public school. Then, when they went to university, we paid their HECS debt once they successfully completed their degrees so they started adult life debt free. This is advice I would give to every parent.

Download the FPA’s Dare to Dream report from www.fpa.com.au/financialplanningweek

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