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Sharing financial wisdom between the generations

25 August 2017

Three generations of men in family gather around computer

Money & Life team

Money & Life contributors draw on their diverse range of experience to present you with insights and guidance that will help you manage your financial wellbeing, achieve your lifestyle goals and plan for your financial future.

Money know-how can come from anyone, young or old. When it comes to financial wisdom, author and speaker Kylie Travers and actor and singer Charmaine Bingwa have taken their lead from the previous generation.

Save and save some more

There’s no getting around it, getting on top of your finances means saving and saving means having discipline. Both Kylie and Charmaine learnt from their parents – and grandparents in Kylie’s case, that a serious approach to saving is important if you want to look forward to a better financial future.

“My parents raised me to save money, set big goals, work hard and think about the future,” says Kylie. “They were both very open about money and my Dad gave me a copy of “The Richest Man in Babylon” by George S. Clason to read when I was just 12. So I learnt early about what you could do with money if you were prepared to save. My parents invested in shares and property and that helped me realise how much more freedom you have with other sources of income, apart from your earnings or salary.”

Charmaine’s parents were also committed savers and investors. “Well Mum liked to spend,” says Charmaine. “But Dad was more frugal and that balanced things out. They both showed me that short-term sacrifices are important it when you have a goal that’s worth pursuing. They arrived in Perth from Zimbabwe with just $500 and two big goals – building a good life here in Australia and giving me and my brothers a good education. And they succeeded, thanks to their commitment to saving and their property investments.”

Seek out advice – especially from experts

Both Charmaine and Kylie have enjoyed the benefits of family advice on their finances. “When I was in my 20s my brother encouraged me to buy my first property,” says Charmaine. “It was a time when many people my age would be spending on entertainment and travel, putting off the whole real estate thing until later. And now I’m in my 30s, I’m so glad I followed his advice.”

Several of Kylie’s uncles ran businesses, which has given her plenty of advice and real experiences to drawn on when setting up her own company and brand. But she was quick to learn that well meaning friends and family will only take you so far. “I didn’t just rely on my own knowledge or what friends were saying,” says Kylie. “I engaged a lawyer I could trust to help me in my business and personal affairs and through them, found an accountant and financial planner. Their advice has been essential for expanding my business.”

Plan for tomorrow, enjoy today

Although baby boomers are often praised for keeping a tight hold on their purse strings, perhaps they have something to learn from the millennial trend for living in the moment. Something else Kylie learnt from her grandparents was how much you could be missing out on if you only plan and save for the future. “I had one set of grandparents who lost everything and struggled to live on the aged pension when they retired,” she says. “My other grandparents planned carefully for a long and happy retirement but they both died at 63. So they didn’t have the chance to enjoy all those savings they’d worked so hard for. My Mum also died very young at 37. While I might be careful with my finances and make sure my daughters and I will be provided for, I also take time to enjoy what I already have.”

Everyone has something to offer

Charmaine shares Kylie’s live in the moment approach, particularly when it comes to offering the best of yourself to others. “Don’t underestimate the impact you can have on people you encounter in the world,” is her advice to the rest of her generation. “By bringing a bit of fun and positive energy you can help people feel motivated to succeed in a world that seems full of constraints and obstacles.”

Kylie also advises young people to keep an open mind. She appreciates just how much the financial wisdom of her parents, uncles and grandparents helped her make positive decisions for her finances. “The basics of finance have stayed the same,” she says. “Digital has changed how we manage our money day-to-day and there’s plenty more information available, but the principles are just the same. And that’s why it’s worth listening to a generation who’ve already been through the same challenges we face – trying to find a way to live our dreams, with the money we need to do that.”

Whatever generation you were born into, a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER® professional can offer expert advice to help you make the most of your finances.