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Born in the 1980's- lucky you

The case for Gen Y envy. Big claim about today’s Generation Y, but not when you see it from the vantage point of Generation X (those of us who are also affectionately known as the Sandwich Generation – stuck somewhere between caring for ageing parents and still living with adult children of our own).

The rumbling revolution

Today’s smart businesses are those that specialise. They often serve a Generation of Choice, are cause and mission driven and usually led by entrepreneurial thinkers who naturally disrupt the status quo.

And when did it start? I believe the Entrepreneurial Revolution was the tipping point.

Entrepreneurs by nature are innovative people of any age who are naturally drawn to solving problems, creating meaningful change, and looking for new ways to generate value. They produce the most effective and efficient ways of achieving an outcome and perhaps that’s in part because many of them are usually driven and transfixed on an end result - constantly scanning their environment for opportunities.

And as more digital tools of communication and efficiency reach the hands of these personality types, the effect is contagious. Peoples ability to compete against big business and with digital tools ‘that level a playing field virtually overnight’ – this enhanced feeling of autonomy, ignites the fire of change in what we are no longer prepared to accept, from traditional, stayed and lumbering corporate thinking.

Because of this tipping point, today, there has never been a better time to be alive and under 35. We believe that people do business with people, not companies, and when given choice, people always do business with people who best understand them. Sapience is a financial services specialist as much as it is also a way of thinking. ‘We believe an authentic life is about protecting and providing for those you love and about leading because you should.’

The big picture has changed, again

As a society, we have already passed through the agricultural revolution through the industrial revolution and now we’re well and truly into the information age and facing off against its first cousin, the entrepreneurial revolution. Quoting a poignant line from the 2007 drama war movie directed and produced by Robert Redford, Lions to Lambs, seems to sum up the sonic boom of realisation that is about to explode over Generation Y.

All I'm saying is that you're an adult now... And the tough thing about adulthood is that it starts before you even know it starts, when you're already a dozen decisions into it. But what you need to know, … no Lifeguard is watching any more. You're on your own. You're your own man, and the decisions you make now are yours and yours alone from here until the end.

Everyone understands the importance of making adult decisions about their lives. This is equally important in our work/business and personal lives. Our attitude and decisions about things of value, money and time, and people of value, family and friends, craft our lives. Ultimately, we become what we consistently do.

The trouble is that it’s often difficult to recognise just when you have made that transition. Adults make childish decisions and children can make adult decisions. I’m not talking about one off impulse choices, but a consistent transition into adult decision-making and attitudes about your life — about becoming Life Confident.

It’s this transition process — from childish ways of seeing life and money, into adult awareness and acceptance of responsibilities —this we call the great crossover.

The Great Crossover

The great cross over

The beckoning economic adulthood is now squaring off against today’s Generation Y. Millions of these individuals identified as currently under 35 are now making the great crossover from economic childhood to economical adulthood. The catalyst to this never seen before social phenomenon is the information age where access to information connects people on a global scale. It’s quietly astonishing that this change is yet to be sufficiently recognised for the social polarisation that it is about to bring.

Members of today’s Generation Y, are the world’s first ever ‘global generation’ who are LinkedIn, messaging, friending up and snap-chatting to their peers and future employers. The reach of the Internet means that Australia’s Gen Y thinking, fashion, music and attitude now melds quickly with Gen Y UK, USA, Japan and frankly wherever the Internet reaches – instantly. This is the world’s first ever global instant-peer-interaction.

And the intriguing thing to everyone but Gen Y may be this: if you’re under 35 and in the Generation Y community, you probably do not know life any other way (and you’re constantly wondering what all the fuss is about!). But that’s what good friends are for – to share their story with you, so that you can avoid repeating their mistakes (and Boomers and Xer’s have a made a lot.)

Freedom brought about by new technology is only own part of the picture. Social media access now gives voice to the people behind the brands and provides customers direct insights into the motivations of the individuals that make the solutions — that’s where the real change is. Connected consumers are now flexing their right to choose where they do business and who they reward with their time and money. Gone are the days where whichever bank gave away money boxes at school gets to keep your attention and loyalty. That is never more the case than in Financial Advice; and the world of financial advice isn’t just changing - it’s already changed.

Is that a factory in your pocket or are you just …

Today’s smart phone is really an entrepreneur’s factory in your pocket. A Swiss army knife of technology that has already revolutionised the world. Many developing countries are already leapfrogging traditional telecommunication barriers and not even considering moving to the legacy ‘copper cable’ but jumping straight to mobile phone services and providing WiFi to its citizens.

Why is this significant? Well apart from the obvious empowerment of the individual to compete with corporates, it means that remote, disadvantaged and isolated individuals can now access financial services over a smart phone - thereby sidestepping traditional banks and institutions that required a significant infrastructure and addition costs. The cost of doing business is reducing and an individual’s ability to compete against corporations is increasing. The rise of online job outsourcing services like eLance further compress the world and extend the reach of today’s small business owners and skilled professionals. Today, offshore designers, manufactures and distributors are breaking the traditional hold many local businesses had over the market. Now the rewards go to the one who adds the greatest value. Think it’s all ‘pie in the sky’? In March 2013 Facebook launched its Connectivity Lab and began discussions to acquire Titan Aerospace, the manufacturer of solar-powered drones that could be used to blanket large areas of Africa and other countries with internet access. The South Korean retailer Emart, has already successfully used WiFi Balloons to bring e-commerce closer to people who would not normally access a retail store. The result was an increase of 157% in sales from the previous year and the associated Shopping App was downloaded 50,000 times during one month alone. Life has changed; there is no going back… and in the words of Robert Redford's character, ‘... it started before you even know it starts.’

The ripple effect has already begun

Today’s Gen Y are more educated and informed than ever before, thanks to the Internet and rising TAFE and University graduation rates. Gen Y (and their elder cousins Gen X) are living longer, so their superannuation funds will have to last longer. They can expect to change careers at a minimum of 3-5 times in their lifetime, all the while as the official retirement age creeps from 65 to 70 years. Some Australian households are now home to 3 separate generations under one roof. And people today are facing financial challenges that their grandparents probably didn't even think about; like paying off education HECS debts (currently hovering at $6.2 billion Australia dollars) while supporting an ageing parent well into their 80’s, rebooting a life after 2.3 separations or divorces, fending off mental illness brought about due to depression and isolation, all the while saving for their own retirement without a pension.

So where does Sapience fit into all this?

Well for starters re-read the paragraph above.

The word sapience refers to the old English word meaning ‘wisdom, from unusual places’ and our logo draws its history from a West African tribal symbol called the Nyansapo wisdom knot. In tribal Africa, wisdom was recognised as a valuable commodity essential to good life, to the extent that elders with sapience were ‘contracted out’ and their ‘wisdom traded between the tribes’ as a valuable commodity.

So what does Sapience Financial and Investment Services bring to the table?

Over 15 years working with more young clients than traditional financial advisers, we have seen the rise of what we now call ‘The Goggle Effect’ and its erosion of much of what we referred to as common sense and clear communication. Today members of Gen Y have incredible access to incredibly board amounts of information; and with this, many are incredibly shallow in their understanding of it or simply overloaded by it and its paralysing increase in complexity.

The 'Google Effect' brings with it an initial false sence of security that finally gives way to full blown anxiety from information overload.

People either get paralysed into making poor decisions or get bullied into making uninformed decisions in the fog of information overload. We have repeatedly seen the reoccurring patterns and effects of missing key information and key life lessons that were simply never passed down from many Baby Boomer parents to their Generation Y children.

It’s probably not surprising, I suppose, as many of our parents’ parents, the Silent Generation, were focused on surviving two World Wars. Our parents, the Baby Boomer's, then bought into the lie, ‘children should be seen and not heard’. That then became a new parenting mindset (not an intelligent one I might add) of ‘never talk with your children about money’ and ‘to ask someone about their financial position’ was ‘downright rude’. So began the downward spiral and loss of so much needed sense about money, living within your means and how to protect and provide for those you love — while you live your life, too. Without those key life lessons, today’s increasing information complexity and overload become paralysing for many people, even with straightforward needs.

We have been there and we can see the Big Picture from the mountain top. We live what we say. We live in the digital world and our team is purposely half Generation Y and half Generation X. Many of our clients, friends and supporters have begun to make that great crossover from economic childhood to economical adulthood, we have already been there, we have seen the view and we have seen the problems that can be avoided.

A lot of our work looks like education Drew Browne

So we have structured our business around 4 key beliefs (that are very different to your garden variety financial adviser).

Four keys to providing a modern financial services business to Generation X and Y

1 The Advisor as Educator – We don’t tell clients what to do. The Sapience model is for shared learning, with advisor's who are educators who can make our clients smarter. We believe that sharing our knowledge and taking the time to educate our clients builds trust. We actively acknowledge our clients’ significance and we aim to help create meaning for them in their financial world.

2 The Advisor as Connector – We see our relationship and responsibilities to our clients as being a ‘connective hub of good advice’ – connecting clients to vetted and trusted professionals, as well as financial management and opportunities that are safe, appropriate and innovative. It’s all about helping solve problems for our clients and creating goals that are actually worth pursing in life.

3 The Advisor as Partner – We provide clarity by crafting clever individual strategies. We help people avoid impulsive knee jerk reactions triggered by media scares, scams and the paralysis caused by information overload and the Goggle Effect.

4 The Advisor as Guide – Many people today have an abundance of information but they still don't really get what they want, not from their job, not from their family and most importantly not even from themselves. Without worthwhile goals, seeing a path to follow and finding your purpose, many people scramble about hungrily seeking distraction and instant gratification. They don’t recognise the subconscious ‘money scripts’ that run in the background of their minds. Having a guide who has travelled the road ahead, who is accessible and an expert at helping you talk about really matters most - is a great way to become organised and clearly focused on a specific worthwhile result.

Sapience: it’s about capable + autonomy = life confident.

The wrap up

So do you have to be a member of Gen X or Gen Y to be a Sapience client? No. Our clients are people who usually want an ongoing relationship with a professional who just ‘gets them’ and people who see the significant value in having a financial professional on hand, who has walked the path they’re on.

So, if this sounds like, your 'kind of crazy' read on; be challenged, connect with us on Facebook, stalk us on LinkedIn or just browse through our different websites and see if you fit the family picture. When you’re ready, we’ll be there. Sapience - we create massive value for our clients and with good advice, we give people better choices

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Drew Browne

You never really understand a system until you start to change it.
I’m an entrepreneur specialising in usable strategic financial advice for gen X and gen Y. After 25 years of experience in law and financial services, I've come to believe there are some conversations that are too important not to have. In the end, we won’t remember the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.
Website: www.sapience.com.au