She is the author of Get Rich Slow, and co-founder of the award-winning Gen Y financial advisory firm, Wealth Enhancers, and the highly successful League of Extraordinary Women, an organisation supporting the development of young female entrepreneurs nationally. She’s been featured in Cosmopolitan, Money Magazine, Women’s Health and Marie Claire just to name a few; now how did she get here?
After studying photography and dabbling in software and IT before settling in a Bachelor of Business majoring in Finance Planning, it is obvious that you didn’t always know your direction. What is your advice for others trying to find their path?
Drawing from my own experience, I recommend taking the time to work out what you want. Take time out to work rather than enrolling in a degree or course that you don’t like, just for the sake of it. Who knows, you might really like that crappy part time job.
If you don’t have any big long-term goal, think about the things that you love. Maybe not playing video games (or maybe so), but opportunities through your hobbies may open up to you that you never thought possible, and that you will enjoy. I don’t even care that I work Sunday nights, and I definitely don’t live my life with the ‘Hump Day’ or ‘TGIF’ mentality- I can be working seven days a week, but I’m happy with that.
You have such a great ability to communicate tangible financial advice to Gen Y, where did this come from?
Well, most of us live life with the mindset that we are invincible, that bad things happen only to ‘other’ people, that we’re personally immune; and especially in our younger years. I had this mentality myself, though have grown away from it through my own life experience and so I have realised that there are two sides to relating to Gen Y.
On my first year out of school when I was 18, I went on a trip and put myself in a lot of debt, and I hated it so much I had to pay it off within 6 months. This was definitely a turning point for me, and my attitude toward managing my finances.
It’s not realistic to tell young people to save for a rainy day because when we are young we want to have fun and travel and don’t foresee a ‘rainy day’ in the near future. I lived overseas in Canada, London and Dublin for three years, and even when I was doing that, not necessarily saving for the long term, I saved for spending during that trip, endeavouring on a work-save-travel-work-save-travel pattern. I’m about maximising every experience and wanted to see as much as I could, and to do this I needed to be in control of my money. While I didn’t come home with money saved, I didn’t come home with debt either. I knew a lot of people in London who just worked and didn’t really travel, living just like they would at home, missing out on a lot of opportunities.
For Gen Y, I understand the need to ‘live now, enjoy now’, but try to think about the things you really want, because if you live too much in the now- you’ll miss out on the things that you really want to do.
Is it difficult to keep Gen Y engaged when you’re trying to talk finance and your ‘Slow Money Rule’?
My speaking to Gen Y just kind of happened by accident, and now I am on a journey to both share advice, and manage my brand. For me it’s been about being realistic and authentic. If I started just talking about boring finance stuff, young people are not going to listen nor care.
I am part of Gen Y too, and truly believe our generation has so much to offer and so much ahead of us. There’s a lot that we haven’t had to worry about compared to older generations, but thinking about finance is such an important thing and it does actually impact everyone, so we all have to be ‘into it’. Money makes the world go round, it’s true!
My ‘Slow Money Rule’ is about starting small, but starting now. What you’re doing doesn’t have to be massive, but even putting away $10 a week is better than doing nothing. You need to build those habits and gradually chip away at something. If you leave it until later you’ll have to take massive action, so I really do encourage everyone to start small, start now.
Do you have any advice do you have for other young entrepreneurs?
Firstly, make sure that you stay true to your brand, don’t just appeal to the masses or else you may find that 60% of the hype is not even from your market.
Don’t knock competitors- success isn’t found through putting others down.
Try and connect with other entrepreneurs. They might not be within your industry or appear that obviously relevant, but they will all have ideas that they are working on and that could be translated into your own work.
Finally, give yourself time, nothing happens overnight.
To hear more from Sarah and her financial philosophy, head to getrichslow.com.au