Sixteen year old eyes up advice profession

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Watch out planners, there’s a new kid on the block eyeing up your jobs, and she comes in the form of 16-year old Lara Markham.

Lara will be the youngest delegate at the AFA’s national conference this week. She’s been thinking about financial planning as a career for the past 12 months, after a school assignment sparked her interest.

“We were given an assignment at school to research a career we would like to do.  I had no idea so I picked financial planning because Mum likes her work and always says she meets lovely people.”

She must have liked what she saw, because she’s now looking at going to university and doing a Bachelor of business. The idea of meeting so many different people is a pretty attractive feature of the job for Lara, but it’s not the only perk.

“I like the idea of wearing a ‘lady suit’ and high heels!” she says.

However, the financial planning profession can’t get too excited about its new recruit just yet because there's another potential career pathway vying for the teenager’s attention.

“I do cheerleading as a sport and my dream would be to move to America and do cheerleading over there for 12 months and win at worlds, but apparently that’s not realistic,” she says.

Lara’s mum, Terese Markham is very excited that her daughter is considering following in her family’s footsteps.

“Financial planning is a very big part of our family,” she says. “My father, John Macey, joined the industry in 1971 and is still involved.

“She still has two years of school then uni so i’m trying not to get too excited just yet, but hopefully she will be inspired by the AFA conference and see what a truly wonderful profession ours is.”

Confidence and “the subconscious worry of failure” were the main stumbling blocks for Terese Markham, who spent 20 years on the admin side before deciding to become an adviser. She says that she will be doing everything she can to encourage Lara to become an adviser much sooner, because “that is the ‘fun’ part of the job”.

Brad Fox, AFA CEO, says he is delighted to have three generations of one family attend the conference this year.

“It will be a fantastic opportunity for the AFA to encourage more young people into the industry and to demonstrate the benefits of a career in financial advice,” he says. “It will also be a chance for Lara to connect with other young people particularly from our GenXt and Campus AFA networks, and to make some life-long friends who can help her along her journey to joining the profession.”

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