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As a child growing up I can never remember being given financial advice that was clear and comprehensible.
I grew up surrounded by a large extended family, my mother was one of thirteen children and my dad was one of seven. Two of their biggest past times was celebrating name days and telling stories. To get by in our family you had to know how to tell a good story and both my parents were great storytellers.
They’d deliver such expressions as: ‘you can tell a person’s wealth by how well their shoes shine’ or by ‘how well they treat their cattle’ or ‘how much pickling they had done for the winter months’ ……. and so the phrases continued.
But what I still remember with crystal clarity was how hard they worked. Having arrived as teenagers from a foreign land, the 1950s were full of enthusiasm, hope and opportunity … so they worked hard and worked harder.
When I entered the workforce, I put my concentration into my wealth and finances but could not find a story to guide me along the way. I needed something solid, tangible, concrete and something to go together with how hard I could work …. I needed something more than a story.
Well today, I am an accountant, educator and a financial adviser in inner city Clifton Hill, an area full of people from foreign lands. I have learned that everyone has a story, that everyone can work hard but that is not enough. Along the way I have been fortunate to have kids, to teach and to write business books but that is not enough. More than tell the story, I learned to listen to the story and by listening well, I learned how to build solid, tangible and concrete advice that works for each and every person.
So here I am so often giving advice only to realise that at their best my parents taught me how to listen well.
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