How Darren Smith FCPA builds financial wellness
Darren Smith FCPA offers financial wellness programs to employees to help reduce the cost of stress.
At a glance
Enhancing financial wellbeing for individuals and employees has helped Darren Smith FCPA build a profitable and diverse financial business and accomplish a personal mission.
“Wellness has many dimensions, including financial ones,” he says. “Approximately 2.44 million Australians suffer from financial stress, which is costing companies an estimated A $ 31.1 billion in lost revenue annually.
“A report from the Consumer Policy Research Center found that COVID-19 has also increased consumer vulnerability due to the scale of job loss and financial concerns.
“On a personal level, I’ve seen the effects of mental health problems – I lost my brother to suicide 20 years ago. While it had nothing to do with finance, helping people improve their financial wellbeing, which has been identified as one of the biggest culprits in suicides, has been a powerful drive for me. “
Increase in financial literacy
While Smith has been in financial advice for nearly a decade, his Brisbane-based firm, Financial Advice Matters, started a separate brand, Financial Wellness Matters, six years ago.
Of the company’s 32 employees, 13 work as financial advisors. The business has a twofold focus – providing holistic financial advice and coaching and providing financial wellness training.
“Building the new corporate structure and brand in 2015 gave us the opportunity to reposition our values to include financial literacy, motivation and ultimately wellness,” says Smith, who began his financial career in 1989 as an accountant trainee at Commercial Union. began Melbourne.
He holds a master’s degree in business administration from Deakin University and has experience in insurance and sales.
“We had a group of existing clients joining us on our trip, and we also reached out to HR to run financial wellness programs for their employees,” he says.
“We are now growing by referral to 1200 private clients and a list of companies and organizations across Australia engaged in financial literacy including Qantas, Glencore, The Motor Trades Association of Queensland, Wesley Mission Queensland and the New Hope Group.”
Through a structured, multi-module training program, Smith and his team provide participants with practical tools and skills to help them make more informed financial decisions.
“It’s about giving people the energy and enthusiasm to take control of their finances and helping them with financial literacy,” he says. “When you actually come into a meeting with 20 people, you realize how badly many people manage their money.
“A corporate welfare program that ignores financial health will have limited impact because our finances affect so many other elements of our well-being.”
Diversification of income streams
While Smith and his team personalize programs for each company he works with, he says there are many common areas to get started with.
“We find that many basic things appeal to many different age groups and jobs. For example, one of the most popular sessions we have is “Words to Use at Your Bank to Get a Better Deal”. A high percentage of people take action and get a result. “
There are 16 modules in total, ranging from debt management to investment and estate planning.
“We also work a lot with National Seniors Australia, helping people understand their decisions when they retire,” says Smith.
Workshops are paid, stand-alone, and are not used as leads to attract customers or sell them financial products. “Often times people come back to us, but that’s not the primary goal,” says Smith.
An increasingly important part of the offering is the flexibility of remote provisioning and licensing that supports financial wellness content.
“During the COVID-19 lockdown, we changed all of our programs so that they can be made available digitally and used on a company’s intranet for a specified period of time.
“When you run a diverse company, you are constantly reviewing how you can make improvements and that you have the right tools and team members.”
Opportunities for other finance professionals
“We believe we are leaders in financial wellness education, but there is also a great opportunity for accounting and finance professionals to use their skills to help others and diversify their source of income.
“In every session I do, I find that we can really make a difference. I think how can we scale, how can we get our message across?
“We are currently trying to expand our reach to schools after initially focusing on teachers. I would do that every day of the week! “
“Decide what areas of your company or service you want to lead and find ways to build a team and process that will continuously fuel your energy and passion as it will inspire others.” Darren Smith FCPA