Broker educates workers about their finances

A Melbourne mortgage broker is on a mission to educate people in the workplace about their finances.

Andrew Rennie (pictured above), who works at Helping Hand Finance, reaches out to employers such as offices and car dealerships offering to assist their employees with any financial questions or queries.

Rennie will sit in a common area, such as the staff lunchroom, and invite employees to sit down and have a chat with him about their finances.

He said the program was designed to give people piece of mind about their finances. 

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“The financial health check is very reassuring for a lot of people,” Rennie said.

“It’s not about giving broad financial advice, it is more around home finance – what is the impact of my credit card rating and my ability to get finance, what are buy now pay later schemes and what will they mean for me, what sort of things does a bank look at when considering if I am a financial risk or not.”

Rennie said he was surprised by the number of people he spoke to that were unsure of their current interest rate on their home loan or the limit on their credit card.

“We know that employers will offer a physical or mental wellbeing health check on their employees, but not a financial health check.

“Employers pay their staff a wage and consider that their financial commitment to them. However, for me it is about giving people the opportunity to talk to someone, give them the platform to ask questions in an obligation- free environment. My view is education is critical and by having a better understanding will help somebody make a well-informed financial decision.”

Rennie said local employers would benefit from him helping their staff members.

“This program is not going to cost an employer anything apart from allowing their staff 15 minutes of their time, which I believe is a small investment. I have had a couple employers say to me they don’t want their staff distracted whilst working, however my view is people don’t work consistently during an eight-hour day and they need breaks to focus on other important areas,” he said.

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“Wages are a determining factor for all employees and whether they consider staying or moving onto another role.  An employer might not be able to offer a pay rise, but they can offer my services where I can educate and show someone how to save money – it might be an incentive for a staff member to stay.”

Rennie said financial education was an area often overlooked in the education system.

“Financial education would be a great thing for schools to introduce and make mandatory for children to learn. Finances are one of the biggest friction points in family relationships. Without it, people would be under much less financial stress. People need to know what the impact is of not paying off a credit card or phone bill on time and what the repercussions are.”

Rennie said his education was not just for people who owned a home, but for people looking to buy their first home or an investment property.

“As a first home buyer, brokers know the three to six months before applying for finance is the most critical time,” he said.

“We know clients need to get their finances in order, pay off any credit card debt, remove any unwanted or unused subscriptions. It is harder now to borrow money, so first home buyers need to be in the best position possible to get their finances in order. By having that understanding in advance will make it much easier in the long run for when it is time to get into the market.”