The Aussie money school helping adults save up to $40,000

A Current Affair investigates an affordable way to understand your finances, get them under control and even save thousands

Making sense of financial lingo can sometimes feel like you’re trying to understand a foreign language.  And if you want professional help to work it out, you have to be prepared to pay.  But there is now an answer that is much more affordable for most — a ‘money school for adults.’

SkilledSmart is an affordable alternative to financial planning, where Aussies are going back to the classroom — both online and in person — to learn the basics about money management.

Paridhi Jain is SkilledSmart’s founder and she describes the short courses as, “a bit of a money school for adults or a group fitness class for your finances,”

“It can cost thousands of dollars to engage a financial professional,” Jain told A Current Affair“And the reality is the vast majority of Australians might not be able to afford that.”  

Aussies like Bianca Camilleri, who has just graduated from a six-week night course in Sydney. With a credit card debt and no real savings plan for her future, the 29-year-old explained that she had decided it was time to get her finances sorted.

“I came across the course. It sounded exactly like what I needed at the time,” Camilleri said. “I just got to a point where I knew that something needed to change in my life when it came to money.”

On the course (more details on costs and locations below), Camilleri learnt how to budget, sorted out her superannuation and worked out a savings plan for an investment property. And she says it has definitely been money well spent.

“I think I’ve saved around $40,000 since the course. I have completely paid off all my debt, which is a really exciting thing,” she told A Current Affair.

Debt like that faced by Camilleri is likely to be one of the biggest reasons people are signing up for these types of courses. Statistics show more than 1.9million Aussies are struggling with credit card debt — we owe a mind-blowing $45billion in credit card debt and the average Australian owes more than $3,000 on their card.

So it’s no surprise that financial experts are urging Aussies to take control of their financial literacy. Scott Haywood told A Current Affair he is an advocate starting financial education for Aussies from a young age.

“Financal literacy is something that should be taught in schools, so if people are doing it after they graduate and when they’re actuall earning money it makes it more appropriate,” Haywood said.

“I would encourage anyone to get better educated on how to manage money. It could save you a lot in the long term,” Haywood said. And Jain agrees.

“A good financial education is worth hundreds of thousands of dollars over a lifetime,” she told A Current Affair.

Jain explained that it doesn’t have to be hard to get on top of your finances, you just need to know how.

“We’ve seen students save thousands of dollars in a very short period of time, and they’ve set themselves up to make tens of thousands of dollars in a really short period of time through their new found skills in superannuation and investing,” Jain said.

Her best piece of advice to those hoping to save and get on top of their finances is to accept a little bit of short term pain for a long term gain.

“I think people underestimate how little things can add up over a long period of time,” she explained.

Her insights and Skilled Smart’s approach has certainly made a big difference for Camilleri, who told A Current Affair that the course has completely changed her approach to financial matters.

“I’m no longer overwhelmed when it comes to money and I’m actually really excited about money, which I never was before,” she said.

Financial expert Haywood says while crash courses like this can pay dividends, they can’t always replace advice from a professional. “Whenever you’re sick you can always go to a Doctor Google, but it’s better to go and see a doctor and it’s the same with financial issues, you can always google financial advice but it’s better to go and see a certified financial expert to give you a hand with money issues,” Haywood said.

SkilledSmart FAQs

  • How does SkilledSmart work?

    You attend 6 classes (once a week) over a 6 week period. Each class is approx. 2.5 hours, and is taught by an experienced financial adviser.
    Each week, for each class, you will receive additional pre-work and homework to help you absorb and implement your learnings.
    Got questions about homework during the week? You’ll receive support from your instructor(s) throughout the 6-week program, including additional time each week for Q&A.

  • What’s included?

    15 hrs instruction by an experienced professional…at a fraction of traditional costs
    Community support (because learning together is way more fun)
    All course content available online
    MONEY BACK GUARANTEE: If you’re not happy after the first class and wish to discontinue, they’ll give you a 100% refund.

  • What does it cost?

    $99 per week (for 6 weeks)
    All Course Inclusions! (see above)
    Anywhere in Australia!
    Live, in-real-time! You will log onto the virtual classroom each week and attend a live class.

    $125 per week (for 6 weeks)
    All Course Inclusions! (see above)
    Only in Sydney, NSW. (Classes held in Sydney CBD)
    Face-to-face classes. Course content and material is exactly the same.

    More Info:

* In highlighting particular offers we are not making specific recommendations as this article does not cover all available products and may not compare all features relevant to you. Any advice provided is general in nature and does not take account of your needs, objectives or financial situation. Individuals should consider their own circumstances, and if in doubt seek appropriate advice, before proceeding.