Budgets, savings apps, ‘Mojo’ accounts – there are endless methods and resources to help us keep on top of our finances. But despite all this information, many of us don’t feel in control of our spending.
Recent data from the the Australia Bureau of Statistics reveal the nation’s household to debt income ratio has hit nearly 200 percent, a level the UBS has called one of the “highest in the world”.
With the banking royal commission exposing gross misconduct by some of our biggest banks, many of us have been spurred into thinking how we can improve our financial autonomy. One answer could lie in learning ‘financial literacy’.
“Financial literacy is having a well-rounded understanding of all matters to do with personal finance and using this knowledge to make informed decisions,” says Greg Mawer, Curtin accounting and finance alumnus and Director of Mawer Consulting.
“Financial literacy should be learned in primary school, high school, and prior to being able to purchase a property and take out a mortgage.”
“It’s about taking small, consistent and planned actions to reach a desired outcome. It’s about having discipline to not spend the money that has been saved or invested. It’s about being patient and about not feeling the urge to keep up with the Joneses.”
Mawer admits it is increasingly challenging for people to resist comparing their lifestyle when we live in a culture that encourages competition and consumerism. To counter these beliefs, he started the blog Mawer Money in 2017 as a resource for people to learn how to better utilise their finances to enhance their wellbeing.
“I started Mawer Money as a social enterprise to help Australians with financial literacy and empowerment,” he says.
“On the hierarchy of needs, money needs to be spent on safety, food and shelter. After that, whatever provides you with a fulfilling life, allowing you to spend quality time with the people you love. Preventing lifestyle creep (where your expenses increase in line with your earnings) is important.”
Mawer has a rich employment history in accountancy and finance, and after working in senior accountant roles for companies such as BGC Contracting, he took the plunge and started his own consultancy firm, Mawer Consulting, in 2013.
Mawer Consulting provides small to medium enterprises with accounting and taxation services, as well as tailored financial guidance for business development. The firm was a finalist in the 2018 Small Business Champion Awards and was listed in the top 25 Most Popular Accounting and Tax Service by Search 4 Accountants in 2016 and 2017.
“I love helping small business owners as they are the backbone of the economy,” says Mawer.
“At Mawer Consulting, we train, guide and coach business owners to redesign their business in a way that allows them to live the lifestyle they desire.”
Australians might be currently wary of any finance professional promising them a better lifestyle, but it’s hard to deny Mawer’s genuine passion for number crunching and his enthusiasm to share his finance knowledge and expertise with the community.
Though he doesn’t expect us to get as excited about spreadsheets as he does, he does think financial literacy is something we can all improve on.
“All people should have a vision of what they what to achieve in their life and create a plan on how to achieve it,” is his advice in a nutshell.
Mawer soon plans to release a book on financial guidance so people can have a single resource to manage their finances while minimising the need for advisors.
Name: Greg Mawer
Studied: Accounting and Finance Double Major (Bachelor of Commerce)