This year I attended both the Conservative and Labour Party conferences in my capacity as Chief Executive of the charity Young Enterprise. It's now a couple of weeks since the conferences and I've had time to digest and reflect not only on what was achieved there but also where it was achieved...
Companies design for planned obsolescence - so that products breakdown forcing us to buy more and more often. But it was us that created psychological obsolescence. We want the newest, shiniest whatever the second it is available regardless of whether the slightly older, slightly less shiny thing is still working perfectly or is in no way demonstrably inferior.
At the beginning of May, I had the opportunity to perform one of my favourite roles overseeing Education at CFA Institute - presiding over the finals of our annual Global Research Challenge. The challenge, which tests teams on their knowledge and expertise in the investment industry, brings together the regional champions from EMEA, APAC and the Americas, each of which have beaten at least a dozen qualified and committed competitors from their regions.
Financial freedom is not a Pollyanna'ish vision of a lifestyle bereft of funds, nor is it the idea that one can easily generate sufficient passive income to fund a desired lifestyle without having to do any actual work. It is the idea that you can live without financial fear, without debt feeding your sleep with nightmare.
It was fortuitous that Star trek premiered in London on Thursday. Fortuitous because it book-ened a week which started with a tragic factory fire in Bangladesh. A factory producing cheap clothing for global brands sold internationally... today we find ourselves at a crossroads between the world we have always had and (metaphorically) the world of Kirk and Spock.
What we know for sure, what we know for certain, is that destiny is in our hands as never before. We know that if knowledge is power then economic knowledge must be economic power and we are certain that those who raise their knowledge will be at a distinct advantage. Those that don't grab it will only have themselves to blame.
New reality: get good marks that few think are credible, go to university, accumulate student debt, compete against global peers, work an average 43 hour week, rent, raise a family if you can afford it, zig-zag for 45 years through dozens of companies, retire with whatever you have managed to save, live to 81.
Pocket money is a great way of introducing children to learn financial literacy from an early age. Giving children the opportunity to earn more money through additional chores will help children begin to understand the financial benefits that come from hard work. Furthermore, it is imperative that we also teach our children about their role as a consumer.