Financially sound: Sydney-based Paridhi Jain tells you how

By Indira Laisram
Paridhi Jain // Pic supplied

Much of her childhood life, Paridhi Jain recalls, was seeing her parents struggle and work hard. She thinks this is the unchanging migrant narrative through the years. Her parents, originally from Delhi, came to Australia over two decades ago, leaving behind their successful careers—her father was an engineer and her mother a teacher.

Jain’s parents came to Australia for a better life but little did they realise it was going to involve a lot of hard work to get that better life. It was a shock for my parents to have to start from scratch. I watched them do odd jobs until they could get a ‘foot in the door’ in their respective professions. They both went back to university to get locally-recognised degrees. On top of it, everything was so much more expensive in dollars than it was in rupees so they were trying to save money wherever they could,” says Jain, who is based in Sydney.

Jain’s interest in financial security stemmed from her parents’ initial lived experience and the many common hardships that other migrants too face. “The anxiety around financial security, the reluctance to spend money, the fear of risk and investing money are all common experiences that many migrants face,” she reflects.

As a student, Jain, 32, completed her Bachelor’s in Business and Bachelor’s in Law. And it was early in her career while working briefly as a case manager with Cancer Council that she got a bit of a wake-up call. “I saw first-hand how many people, of all ages and professions and educational levels, struggle with understanding their finances. I saw the serious consequences of not having your financial life in order. The hard thing is, for the most part, people are doing their best but they just don’t know what they don’t know, and haven’t learned how to manage their money properly.

“Somehow, we assume that if you have a high income, or you’re highly educated, then you’ll automatically be good with money or be financially successful. But that’s not true. Money management and building wealth are specific skills that need to be learned, just like driving a car. Just because you have a car, it doesn’t mean you know how to drive one.”

Paridhi Jain // Pic supplied

A few years ago, Jain was also struck by how so few people feel confident with saving and investing. That apart, financial advice in Australia costs thousands of dollars, she says. “And it can feel hard to trust a financial advisor with your money when you don’t understand what they’re telling you.”

So, after a few more years in the corporate sector, Jain founded her company SkilledSmart, a financial education platform, to teach people the practical skills they need to confidently manage their own finances. She has worked closely with financial professionals to design and develop its flagship program, Mastering Money, which covers everything from saving and budgeting, to topics like investing, superannuation and taxes.

Since starting SkilledSmart in 2017, Jain says hundreds of people have undertaken the Mastering Money program achieving results such as being debt-free, saving tens of thousands of dollars, starting their investing journey and so much more. “Collectively, we’ve helped our students create over $1 million of wealth. More importantly, the impact on the rest of their life is so fulfilling to see. So many of our students share with us that their marriages are healthier, they’re less stressed financially, they’re more excited about their future and achieving their goals and much more,” she claims.

Asked how her approach to finance is different from other financial gurus in the market, Jain says SkilledSmart focuses on some important principles particularly in the development of the Mastering Money program. She stresses on practical application of an easy to implement step-by-step roadmap on how to apply what one is learning. Second, taking a more holistic approach and providing a more comprehensive, 360 review of one’s financial situation, from investments and insurances to superannuation and taxes.

“Something that we also look at, which I find missing in most financial content, is the psychology and mindset around money. We’ve all absorbed so many ‘money lessons’ from our parents, our culture, our upbringing which may unknowingly be holding us back. Maybe we’ve heard that ‘investing is too risky’, or ‘property is a safe investment’, or ‘it’s bad to use a credit card’. It’s important to revisit these ideas and see if they’re still applicable in our current context,” she says.

Paridhi Jain // Pic supplied

Jain finds it important to recognise that money is a basic survival need and is important for everyone, men and women alike, to feel confident in understanding and managing the finances regardless of whether they are the primary breadwinner or not.

Part of the problem with women in particular is that they express feelings of insecurity, are overwhelmed and often confused with the topic of finance, says Jain. “The conversation about money needs to start much earlier. Just like we want our kids to be good at math or sports, we should start talking about basic concepts around money management more openly and earlier at home.”

Jain believes she has found a career where she can make a positive impact. Having spent a lot of time volunteering in not-for-profits and learning about international development and social justice even with underprivileged communities in India, she sees the connection between these societal issues and money.

“I started to see that money has a huge impact on both an individual and on a societal level. Since money has such a big impact on so many areas of our lives, even a small improvement in our financial situation can benefit many different facets of our life,” says Jain.

For now, Jain finds it fulfilling that her work in helping people improve their finances impacts both the individual and society—in a positive way!

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