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.
Our new research report shows we’re keen to be giving gifts that can be enjoyed for longer. Find out how a financial plan can be a gift with benefits that last.
Giving her daughter a financial plan for her 22nd birthday isn’t the first time Maryanne Cummins has chosen a gift to last well into the future. “For her 21st birthday, a major gift we gave her was shares,” says Maryanne. “It was our way of setting her up for better opportunities down the track. When she received them, she wasn’t at all surprised as she knows how practical I am and how much I believe in supporting her to be independent.”
Practical vs. personal gifts
When it comes to gifts, Maryanne is definitely not alone in being practical in her choices. According to our recent Gifts that Give research report on gift-giving habits and preferences among Australians, more than half of us (52%) prefer giving practical gifts over personal ones. And gift-recipients are definitely in favour of the practical approach, with 65% preferring to be given something useful, rather than personal.
The good news for Maryanne’s daughter is her financial plan is just as personal as it is practical. As Stevie-Jade Turner CFP®, Senior Financial Planner says, making sure financial advice ‘fits’ the individual couldn’t be more important. “With every client, I listen to their values and preferences to make sure they’re going to feel completely comfortable with my advice on their finances,” says Stevie-Jade. “I work with clients from every generation and they each bring their own unique experience to the process. If that’s been a negative experience, with managed funds or property for example, it’s no good offering them a plan that includes these. I want to make their financial plan easy and natural for them to follow so it needs to be the ideal match, for their goals and values too.”
Gifts that last
Another key finding from the Gifts that Give report is the importance Aussies place on how long a gift will last. More than four in five Australians who regularly give gifts (81%) think about how long a gift will last when making their choice. Maryanne is in agreement with the majority on this point and has high hopes for the lasting impact of her gift on her daughter’s life. “Many people wouldn’t think of seeking financial advice until they’re in their 40s and 50s,” says Maryanne. “I think there’s a real need for young people to get the benefit financial planning can offer when they’re just starting out on their journey. With all the talk of how hard it is for young people to buy a home now, they could really do with professional support from someone who can talk through their options. It can help them feel more in control of their future and also improve their financial literacy, empowering them to make better choices with money.”
Maryanne’s belief that financial advice has an important role to play in the lives of young people is backed up by the FPA’s Gifts that Give survey findings. Four in five Australians aged 18-39 would like to receive the gift of time with a financial planner: 81% of Gen Z and 76% of Gen Y.
The gift of Independence
Maryanne has always been very open with her daughter in talking about financial concepts like budgeting and compound interest. But she’s also very aware that for young adults, many life lessons are best learnt first hand. “My daughter recently graduated from university and is out there in the workforce for the first time,” says Maryanne. “She hasn’t taken up this gift and met with a planner yet, but I think she’s been very wise in taking her time. She’s been getting to know what it feels like to earn money and spend it and that’s going to give her a sense of where she needs support to reach her goals – like buying a property, which is definitely an important one for her.”
In spite of having family friends who are financial planners, Maryanne is keen for her daughter to make her own choice in who she will meet with to claim her birthday gift. “It’s very important for her to share her thoughts and goals and receive advice in complete confidence,” says Maryanne. “She’s an independent adult now, free to do whatever she wishes with her money. She’s been very positive about having this opportunity to make her own decisions but rely on someone who can offer professional, independent advice and guidance that’s in her best interests.”
You can’t put a price on peace of mind
Stevie-Jade also finds it very rewarding to see how empowered her clients feel, having taken steps towards greater financial security. “Having some kind of financial buffer in place is something I make a priority for my clients,” says Stevie-Jade. “The target amount is different depending on their unique circumstances but the outcome is pretty much universal for everyone. They all tell me how much peace of mind and freedom it brings them, knowing they have the option to make life choices on their own terms or cope with something unexpected without the financial stress. And having that feeling of security from their savings has a snowball effect on the rest of their financial situation. They experience the benefit of their actions which gives them the momentum to get to work on ticking off more financial goals from their list.”
Gifting a financial plan as a wedding present or for a significant birthday is a great way to have a lasting impact on the future wellbeing of someone you love. You can download the FPA’s gift voucher template and personalise it for your gift recipient. And if you’re looking for the right financial planner to add to your own peace of mind about money, our Match My Planner can connect with your local CFP® professional.