We sat down with local Gen Y Financial Planner Ross Marais to talk all things money, working with his dad and what the savvy Gen Y-er likes to do in his ‘spare’ time.
Tell us a little about More Time Financial and your role within the business
We have been running More Time Financial for just under 2 years, having opened our doors in the middle of 2015. I had graduated from Griffith University in 2013 and started working for a large financial planning business in Brisbane. At the start of 2015, I moved back to the Gold Coast and I started More Time Financial with my dad and haven’t looked back!
We have spent the past 2 years building and growing our business and most importantly helping and educating locals. Today, More Time Financial is a local financial planning, money management and financial education business located in Tugun – arguably, the best spot on the Coast!
We mainly help young Gold Coast locals (with some clients interstate and overseas) make smarter decisions with their money by providing ongoing financial advice and by running regular financial education workshops – run by young people for young people, designed to be fun and engaging.
My main role in the business as a financial planner is helping Gen Y with anything and everything related to their money and finances. Whilst looking after clients takes up most of my time, being a small business owner and in charge of all the other aspects of running the business, I also have to be across marketing, monitoring cash flow and everything else involved in maintaining a successful business – there’s never a dull moment in or out the office.
You work with your Dad at More Time Financial, how do you find that?
This is something I get asked a lot and the truth is that we have a pretty good working relationship, but that’s not to say it doesn’t come with its challenges and a few conflicts of opinion here and there! We try our best to keep business at the office but occasionally we find ourselves talking about work at family dinners, but it doesn’t last long with our family always catching us out in time and reminding us to switch off!
Being a young male, I wanted to be seen as being able to do everything on my own and never wanted to help from anyone, especially my family. One day I realised that having my fathers 20+ years of business experience was an opportunity that not everyone is fortunate enough to have, so it was a matter of putting my ego aside and talking on board his help and expertise and working together.
How do you help Gen Y with financial management?
I help young people with a range of their money related needs, from simple things like helping them put in place a simple budget and spending plan so they are in better control of their money, able to pay off credit cards or personal loans, to saving for a new car, holiday or a house deposit. I even help people with complicated and “adult” things like investing money, having the right insurance in place and understanding what super is all about and why it’s important for their future – you name it!
Everyone deals with money in different ways and has different goals, plans, wants and needs, which makes my job really interesting! As everyone’s situation is different, I create personalised and tailored plans to suit individual circumstances, so no two clients are ever the same. Some people only need help with some smaller things while other peoples’ lives are a bit more complicated.
What do you love most about helping Gen Y?
Helping people plan and reach their goals is what I love most about what I do – helping someone to plan and save for a holiday around the world or to save up enough to start their own business or buy their first house is so rewarding and exciting!
Being able to relate to what they are going through makes it ‘fun’ so to speak. As young Australian’s we experience so many of life’s major life events between the ages of 20 and 35, from finishing school or university, starting our first career job, moving out of home, traveling overseas, buying a house, getting married and starting a family, there is always something to plan for – and if I can play a small part in helping people to do the things they want to do and reach these major life events, knowing that the money side of things is taken care of, I am going to be satisfied that I have done my job to make someone else’s life a little bit better.
What do you think is the biggest problem facing our generation today?
One of the biggest problems is that so many young people don’t have a clear idea of what they really want out of life, either they haven’t ever really spent the time to figure it out or have never been asked what is important to them. With 24/7 access to all of the misinformation that we are exposed to, too many of us are being told what we should be doing with our lives instead of deciding for ourselves.
What is one of the biggest mistakes you find Gen Y is making and what can be done about it?
There are number of things that I see but the number one mistake is people worrying too much about what other people think, spending money on things that are not important to them and buying things to impress other people and using a credit card or taking out a personal loan to do it.
“Taking out a loan to buy a new car that you can’t afford just because your mates are doing it can only ever end badly”… I’ll leave that one there.
In terms of what can be done about it, there is no quick solution – there never is, but if everyone just spent some time figuring out what is actually important to them and what they want to achieve, and not comparing themselves to others, they’ll realise that making their dreams a reality is a lot closer than they may have originally thought!
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
That there is no shortcuts in life, if you what something you have to willing to work hard for it.
That is as true for growing a business as it is for saving money.
And reverse that, what’s the best piece of advice you can give to someone who might need help with budgeting or getting started on their financial future and wealth?
The best piece of financial advice I can give someone is to “spend less than you earn”. Too many people are focused on how much they earn and neglect how much they spend each week. It doesn’t matter if you earn $20,000 or $200,000 per year – if you are spending more than you earn, you are setting yourself up for failure.
For someone who is getting started the best thing you can do to get into a good habit of savings and start by setting yourself a goal. For example, if you get paid on a Thursday night, set up a direct transfer Friday morning so that by the time you check your account, the money has already left your account, so you won’t be tempted to spend it!
Okay, on a lighter note, where might we catch you on your coffee break and on the weekends?
Our office is in Tugun, so on my lunch break you may find me at Caribou Cafe – the head chef Matt does the best toasted sandwiches! For after work drinks, it’s hard to go past $5 beers for happy hour at House of Hubert, which is also in walking distance of the office.
In my spare time or on the rare weekend that I am not working (which isn’t very common), you will find me out in the surf wherever it is good (and not too crowded!) anywhere between Miami and Snapper, or enjoying a few beers on a sunny afternoon on Burleigh Hill.