Vilma Marques meets our PFS Education Champion of the Year
As many of our members know, the return of the Festival of Financial Planning in autumn was a huge success, providing an engaging and energised space for the financial planning community to meet, collaborate and network, as well as to celebrate the incredible work being done across the profession.
The event also included the prestigious Personal Finance Awards 2022, which recognise exceptional PFS members who go the extra mile. During the festival, I met with the Education Champion of the Year 2022, Daniel Williams, to talk about his involvement in the My Personal Finance Skills programme. Our interview follows below.
Why did you decide to become an Education Champion?
I first heard about the initiative at a PFS conference. I remember thinking ‘that sounds like a fantastic thing to do and I wish that I could be part of it’.
At that point, I felt that I was too young in my career to get involved, but looking back I wish I had started sooner.
I joined the initiative because I thought it would allow me to use my knowledge and skills to help the next generation to achieve their financial potential and make consistently smarter financial decisions.
Can you tell us briefly about your journey so far?
My first few sessions were delivered remotely, which allowed me to hop onto the session from the office, deliver them and then get back to the day job. Since then, I have delivered in-person sessions across the region.
Financial education is the cornerstone of financial success
I must admit, I do have a favourite presentation, which is ‘Staying safe from scams’. It is an area where I am passionate about raising awareness and it is such a great forum to start the conversation about how to keep yourself safe from a young age. For people who can’t conduct in-person sessions, it is great that schools are still happy for us to deliver the sessions digitally, but I enjoy being in the classroom when I can.
Why is important to provide financial education to young people?
Financial education is the cornerstone of financial success but it is lacking in the curriculum. Young people are asked to make difficult financial decisions on a regular basis at an ever-younger age, without the skills or knowledge to be able to make consistently good decisions. It is often not until they are much older and speaking to financial professionals like you and I that they start to gain valuable financial knowledge. By giving them those skills at a younger age and equipping them with a framework to make smarter decisions, in my opinion we are effectively supercharging the next generation.
What advice would you pass on to anyone interested in volunteering?
This is a fantastic way of giving back to the community, at the same time as building your skills and network. It is completely flexible and can work around your diary – if you are available, you can accept a request, but if it doesn’t work for you, other Education Champions around the country can pick it up.
All the materials are provided for you – it is just a case of turning up and doing your thing.
To find out more about the My Personal Finance Skills initiative, email: email@example.com
Vilma Marques is education programme executive at the PFS