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The Experts

Independance, at all levels

Maureen Jordan
Thursday, September 24, 2009

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My friend Annie, a teacher, really believes in practising what she preaches. Annie does her homework like no one I’ve ever seen before, so much so that one real estate agent she dealt with asked her if she wanted to sell him her formula for house and loan hunting.

Annie is single and closing in on half a century of living. She loves to travel and has been to every continent on this planet. She didn’t have a silver spoon upbringing. She quietly worked away to achieve her goals.

Until recently, she kept her activities in the property market under strict control. Then she noticed that there were buying opportunities out there. She decided to buy a property for herself. The amount of preparation she undertook to install herself in what is now her dream home would shame most people.

Many lenders were put to the test. Each one went through a precise interview where she sat, pen in hand, noting down their answers. The hunt was on for the best deal. The internet was searched and every question about home lending was answered.

Annie’s secret weapon is to be thoroughly prepared. Those lenders she visited could see she meant business. With her standard variable loan now under way, she has turned her attention to paying off her mortgage in record time. And then the hunt will be on to buy an investment property.

I respect this kind of planning to be financially independent.

I watched the ABC’s Four Corners program on homelessness on Monday night. The program mentioned Kevin Rudd’s plan to halve the number of homeless people in Australia by 2020. That’s a fine goal. But I scratch my head wondering how these families get into these messes in the first place. Now that’s not a naïve, throw away line. I watched my parents religiously help people under financial stress. Dad was part of St Vincent de Paul and worked tirelessly with Mum helping deserted women and widows, and the homeless at Matthew Talbot Hostel for homeless men in Sydney. And they worked and budgeted to send their seven children to private schools because they had no faith in the state schools in the area we lived.

I taught for a short time in secondary state schools, and I was shocked the way the system was propped up by dedicated teachers like Annie. I wanted to talk to Sharan Burrow when she was head of the Teachers Federation to try and explain what I saw in these schools. But Sharan always looked too angry defending teachers on mass – when I wouldn’t have employed them in my business in a pink fit. I went to University with Sharan and she visited my home, knew my parents and we were at each other’s weddings. She knows I sent my children to private schools – and she never picked up the phone to ask me what I thought was wrong with the state system.

One major problem with our education system is you have too many of the wrong people teaching.

Having a goal to have less homeless people has merit. But the whole system goes round and round in circles. Money is thrown at the homeless. Money is thrown at our schools. The main thing we need in schools is passionate dedicated people who know how to teach.

How do you untangle the mess so you have more quality people like Annie in education really teaching people about independence at all levels?

Important information:This content has been prepared without taking account of the objectives, financial situation or needs of any particular individual. It does not constitute formal advice. For this reason, any individual should, before acting, consider the appropriateness of the information, having regard to the individual’s objectives, financial situation and needs and, if necessary, seek appropriate professional advice.

 

Published: Thursday, September 24, 2009


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