Article / News

Financial literacy: How our members are making a difference

L-R: Debbie Hutchings (REFS Australia), Adele Andrews (Australian Property Home Loans), Jaeneen Cunningham (Etairos)

At the MFAA, we’re advocates for financial literacy, so, we’re proud to shine a spotlight on the incredible work our members are doing to improving financial literacy within their local communities.

Not understanding how money and finances work, can hinder a person's ability to make informed financial decisions and plan for a stable future.

Unfortunately, the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) Survey has found that overall financial literacy in Australia is going in the wrong direction. Fewer people were able to answer five money-related questions correctly in 2020 than in 2016, particularly people aged 35 and under.

But, our members are making a difference.

We spoke to few of our members taking proactive steps to address financial literacy and empower those around them with the knowledge and resources they need to make better financial decisions and achieve their goals.

Here’s what they’re doing.

Using libraries for learning
No longer the halls of quiet they once were, libraries now offer range of services and facilities for their communities including rooms brokers can use for free to hold financial literacy sessions.

That’s what Debbie Hutchings, REFS Australia, does as a way to give back and make connections.

Libraries allow brokers to run sessions across key topics for the community to learn including financial literacy.

“As long as you're not branding yourself or promoting your business and giving back to the community, the library are more than willing to allow you to share your knowledge and educate local community members,” says Debbie.

Debbie’s advice is to head to your local library, it’s free and you might find an audience you didn’t know existed she said.

Explaining finances to school students
Understanding what budgets are and how you can make your own, is a key part of financial literacy.

Working with local schools, Adele Andrews, Australian Property Home Loans, is improving financial literacy of students.

“I teach them about budgeting, Buy Now Pay Later schemes and what impacts your ability to get a loan,” she said.

Adele was even invited to be on the judging panel of a local school’s ‘Shark Tank’ exercise, showing that her work with students has built the trust of her community.

Supporting recovery from abuse through financial literacy
Giving women fleeing domestic violence the confidence to assert their financial independence is what it’s all about for Jaeneen Cunningham from Etairos.

“I empower women through financial literacy including explaining how they can secure funds in their own name before they are able to leave, and fight for assets in a divorce,” says Jaeneen.

She also educates women on what consumer debt is, and the best way it can be used and reduced as well as how superannuation is an important component in building wealth.

By encouraging confidence building activities, Jaeneen fosters long-term economic resilience.

“Many of the women we support go on to become financially independent and purchase their own properties, which is extremely rewarding,” Jaeneen said.

L-R: Rod Peirce (Aussie), Niti Bhargava (Resolve Finance)

Brokers giving Australians choice through financial literacy
Rod Peirce and Niti Bhargava are brokers changing the lives, and the financial futures, of their clients and communities through financial education, resulting in both personal satisfaction and benefits to their businesses. Read more about what they’re doing.

These are just a few ways you can connect with your communities. You can also get started with our range of Community involvement resources in your Broker Toolbox.

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