I read it so you don’t have to: how the FLY handbook can help broke uni students.

Illustration by Sarah Cupitt.

Some books have the power to change lives – this is one of them.

Once leaving the safety net of high school, you’re on your own. Whether you remain living at home with your parents or not, the only person in control of your future is yourself. University students are notoriously known to be broke, and adulting with its finances can inevitably begin to creep up on you with little financial literacy. After moving out of home at 18, I thought I’d save you guys the hassle of reading the 300+ page paperback by Marlies & Jai Hobbs and see if it’s worth your time, and of course, chat with the authors themselves.

“Much of FLY and the contents came about from our personal life and business experiences. Jai and I came from different backgrounds, careers and upbringings, we married young in our early 20’s, and as we approached our mid-thirties – we both felt there was plenty we wished we had learnt in our high schooling years about financial literacy and life skills. These could have seen us avoid many costly mistakes and stressful situations. Instead, we learnt things along the way, often through trial and error. Fortunately for us, Jai always had a passion for finance and has worked in the finance industry for over 17 years, and his knowledge helped us immensely throughout our journey.”

The book incorporates a range of essential topics: earning money, tax, budgeting, tertiary study, credit record, significant purchases, property, investments, and more. I especially admire the guide because it runs through the basics and explains their importance, and branches into the niche of finance topics such as degree fee structures, micro-investing, and how to make a will. And if you want to plan and protect your financial future – it runs through financial hardship, how to start your own business, and setting lifelong financial goals.

Half of all Australians struggle with financial literacy.

“No matter what career you end up in, everyone needs a basic knowledge in financial literacy to ensure they make the most of opportunities, avoid costly pitfalls and set themselves up for their best possible future.”

“I studied accounting at high school and went on to include two years of Commerce as part of my law degree. Jai has been a mortgage broker since he was 19. Despite our financial educations and extensive experience in our careers and businesses, neither of us felt we received a well-rounded financial education at the optimal time in our [high school] life to help us with life’s important financial decisions and milestones.”

But isn’t all this information online?

Look, finance tips and tricks are all over the internet – it’s also hidden behind paid subscriptions and buried in pricey self-help books, scattered knowledge. After graduating high school, I went into a frantic hunt of searching up every individual finance topic and worst-case scenario I could come across. Not to mention reading about renting rights, living expenses, content insurance, youth allowance: EVERYTHING. I vividly remember the sleepless nights staring at the screen, copying and pasting any tips or resources I could find into a 50+ page word doc that ideally would make sure I didn’t screw up.

“During our brainstorming sessions in the early stages of FLY, we tracked back over our journeys and agreed on a logical sequence of financial milestones and helpful information that we felt should be covered in FLY. We wanted it to be comprehensive and all-encompassing, a one-stop reference guide in financial literacy. The information was a compilation of knowledge and research from Jai, myself and editor Cassandra Charlesworth, brought together in one credible and heavily referenced financial literacy handbook.”

There is so much potential for this guide to help young adults. So much more than maths in high school, learning how to manage a mobile contract and buying your first car. All the online research and stacks of notes I created barely even scraped the surface.

“We can’t define it any better, and we hope FLY is the perfect handbook to deliver this set of skills and knowledge to allow our youth to make informed and effective decisions with all of their financial resources, at a time in their life when it will make the biggest impact on their futures.”

Seven exclusive tips from Marlies herself!

1. Consciously take responsibility for the future you

2. Prioritise your financial literacy education to be empowered and seize opportunities and avoid costly mistakes.

3. 50/30/20 rule: Spend – 50% on needs, 30% on wants, and save 20%

4. Understand compound interest – how it can work for and against you

5. Avoid credit traps that could jeopardise your future borrowing capacity/goals

6. Limit personally borrowing money for depreciating assets: save and pay cash where possible to avoid hefty interest

7. Don’t procrastinate with starting to invest: don’t overthink it, educate yourself, and start small. Whatever you do, just START!

To be successful, you need to want and embrace it.

Knowledge alone isn’t enough to improve your financial health; what’s important is what you can do with that knowledge – and the sooner you start using it, the better off you’ll be. FLY- Financially Literate Youth is the perfect handbook for every young person who wants to be armed with the financial knowledge and confidence to set themselves up for success as they chart the course of their life.

Published: W’SUP News & Medium

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