Earlier this week I delivered my talk to 400 sixth form students at Queen Elizabeth School in Wimborne, as part of my involvement in the Young Chamber initiative through the Dorset Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Their aim is to bridge the gap between businesses and schools and provide students with the skills and knowledge that will be useful when they enter the world of work. I think it went well… but only the students themselves can testify to the relevance and the quality.
Thank you for all those who responded to my blog last week. You supplied some really useful insights, much of which I used to help shape the content of my presentation. It set me up nicely.
I was looking forward to the talk but a dose of reality hit me early on when I asked if anyone in the audience was really excited about the prospect of a talk from some bald bloke about money, it’s perspective and the importance of managing finances. Sure, a slightly loaded question and I was delighted when one student put their hand up.
I then asked who was mildly interested at the prospect of such a talk. Yet again, one hand up went up. That left the other 398… tough gig coming up I thought!
In truth, I reckon many were too shy to show their interest and perhaps it’s just not cool to admit that understanding more about finances when you are aged 17 or 18 stimulates you. It again made me think how this subject matter should be introduced at a much earlier age and be examinable as a compulsory subject at GCSE level.
The good news is that they did engage and they provided useful feedback stating that they found the difference between good and bad debt interesting. The magic of compound interest clearly engaged others, as did the importance of setting goals and always having a structured plan that they should evaluate on a frequent basis.
I stated that approximately 4 out of 5 businesses fail and ran through the reasons why. Interestingly enough, there are similarities between the failures in business and the trouble people get into with their own money:
- Failure to plan
- Not looking after cash-flow
- Not evaluating frequently and changing spending patterns according to circumstances.
I then introduced the 7IM and their app, which showed the students how to plan and model scenarios through an interactive platform available via Blue Sky. They were encouraged to engage via a video link from Justin Urquhart Stewart, filmed specifically for the event.
Finally, I finished off by encouraging them to dream. Not to be constrained by others’ opinions, not to be affected by negative news-flow and not to be afraid to take risks.
I urged them not to let fears stand in the way of their potential. Arguably, the best investment they could ever make is in themselves.
Same advice goes for us adults. Live the life you want. Explore the possibilities and you may be pleasantly surprised at what may be on offer.
By Gary Neild, MD of Blue Sky Financial Planning