FLY: Financially Literate Youth by Marlies & Jai Hobbs

FLY: Financially Literate Youth (Penguin) is such a good idea for a book for high school students and those who have left school. It is a comprehensive and well set-out handbook that will help people make informed decisions about their financial future and also prevent them from falling into potholes.

Thank you for speaking to PaperbarkWords, Marlies and Jai.

Where are you based and what is your background that is relevant to your new book FLY?

We are based in Noosa, having moved our family from our hometown of Cairns in 2018.

We wrote FLY to help school leavers be more prepared for life after school. Having journeyed through the highs and lows of business, our professional careers, property projects and parenthood, we felt there was a real opportunity to better educate, empower and inspire our youth to be more financially literate and confident.  This knowledge would see our youth more prepared to embrace life after school, to spot opportunities and avoid unnecessary and costly mistakes.

Who came up with the clever acronym FLY and could you describe more about what it means?

The idea of FLY came to us in 2016. When we were brainstorming the concept and writing down the outline and ideas, the words Financially Literate Youth appeared on the pages. We immediately saw an opportunity to use the acronym ‘FLY’, which represented the outcome we sought to achieve from the book; empowering youth to fly into life after school.

Why do you think that it is so important that young people are financially literate?

In the early stages of writing FLY we discussed the history and importance of financial literacy with several friends and family across a few generations. It seems that in the past, children speaking about money has often been taboo. Parents would respond ‘that’s none of your business!’. To make things worse, financial literacy was/is generally not taught in schools. Then those children fly the nest completely unprepared for what was ahead of them.  Thankfully, times are changing, and parents and children are having more open and transparent conversations about money, helping prepare them for life on their own.

Being financially literate from an early age can only be a positive, with effects such as:  

  • Increased motivation
  • Goal setting skills
  • Work ethic
  • Sense of security / understanding / empowerment
  • Increased sense of reality
  • Appreciation
  • Less entitled mindset 
  • Increased initiative / responsibility
  • Sense of purpose
  • Sense of contribution 

No matter what career or job youth end up in, financial literacy skills are essential for a prosperous future. The sooner youth learn them, the more confident they will be in their future endeavours and the less mistakes they will have to endure.  

Who most needs to read this book?

School leavers, parents and teachers, in order to best prepare our youth for life after school. Empowering our youth with knowledge and support is critical to ensure they are ready to seize opportunities and avoid costly mistakes.

What are some of the topics that you cover in the book?

FLY is a comprehensive reference guide spread across 320 pages.

It is set out in a logical sequence, starting with your first job and earning money, bank accounts, employment types, tax, super, budgeting, credit and continuing through life’s important financial decisions and milestones, including major purchases, renting, property, investing, starting a business, protecting your financial future, financial hardship and a final money mindset chapter to FLY.  

Which do you think are some of the most important topics here that young people need to be aware of?

There is a lot of practical information in the pages of FLY, but important topics that will really impact the future success of our youth would have to be the chapters that focus on developing skills to budget, save and leverage your financial position through investing. Also, the chapter on how to best protect your financial future is another important topic for young people, no matter what job they end up in.

How can young people be more careful about the security of their money?

The best way young people can be more careful about the security of their money is to educate themselves about financial literacy, both the opportunities to actively protect their money, as well as the pitfalls, scams and higher risk investments that could jeopardise their financial future.

What is a quick tip you have used that you could share with readers?

Spend less than you earn!

Learning to save money from an early age is a powerful skill and habit that will set you up well in your future. It will give you a strong foundation and opportunity to leverage and grow your wealth faster.  

How could FLY be used in schools?

FLY has been designed to serve as the perfect financial literacy textbook and school leavers handbook.

We are also just about to welcome enquiries for school-based presentations to help empower our youth to embrace their financial literacy education and set themselves up for a prosperous and fulfilling future.  

Marlies & Jai Hobbs (credit Cairns Life)

Are there any areas related to finance that the two of you disagree on? If so, could you please give an example and explain?

Not really to be honest. Any disagreements we have are typically around investment timing, risk assessment and market predications. 

What is some feedback that you have already received about this book?

The feedback has been amazing. I will share some here:

Faith Roche, year 12 student and College Captain St Andrews Anglican College: The importance of financial literacy is never understated but always overlooked. Financial illiteracy is prevalent both in the youth and people well into their adulthood, but Jai and Marlies have ensured that taking the time out of your day to go and do your financial study is achievable and reasonable. Their handbook is comprehensive but understandable, fun but realistic, and of course driven from a place of making a difference. You don’t know what you don’t know. Pick it up and have a read. You won’t be wasting your time.

Christopher Nicoll CA, Small Business Tax Accountant: While finance / tax / superannuation / etc are not the most exciting topics for most people, financial literacy is an important and essential life skill. If the government is going to spend the money you pay as taxes that you earned from your job or business then why wouldn’t you want to know more about that financial system?  This book is able to explain that financial system, which is detailed but easy to read at the same time. The contents of this book should be a compulsory subject for all school students – it is that important. This book is a financial guide for the transition from school into the big wide world.

Rylee Duncan – 18 yo, 2019 highschool grad:  Wow! I just finished reading and I think this book will FLY!!! This is something everyone can benefit from, whether they are 16 or 46! This textbook literally covers everything, step by step. It covers all the topics that I never learned at school, but wish I had. I know my year 11 and 12 business teacher would have loved to have had a resource like this one to help us with our studies. I absolutely love the ending of the book and the sense of peace and encouragement it brings. After some overwhelming information, once I got to the end and read all the tips I started to feel more confident, grounded and excited for my future!  

How can readers interested in this subject find out more?

Visit our website www.financiallyliterateyouth.com.au

Thanks very much for your responses, Marlies and Jai, and all the best with FLY.

Thank you so much. Our dream is to see FLY in the hands of all school leavers. We appreciate your support.

FLY: Financially Literate Youth by Marlies and Jai Hobbs, published by Penguin Random House on 5 January 2021, RRP $29.99

FLY at Penguin Books

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