Money talk changes tack for MBA alum


We’ve been talking about money since King Alyattes, of Turkey, minted the first coin in 600BC. Since then it’s fuelled arguments, ruined dinner parties, made and broken many a man and woman.

Master of Business Administration alumnus Ash McAuliffe is part of a new breed of young financial planners taking the trauma out of money talk. In fact, he’s helping create a whole new language.

Ash talks Terminator-esque terms like ‘bionic adviser’ and ‘fin tech’. But listening to his methods, it makes a whole lotta dollars and sense.

The business owner is working on turning financial planning preconceptions inside out. He says traditionally, financial planning was thought to be for wealthy people wanting to invest.

“For people under the age of 40, things like superannuation and retirement plans are important, but because it’s not immediate it gets put on the back burner,” he says. “Adding to savings or paying off a mortgage, bills, groceries and school fees take precedence.” For younger people it’s all about cash flow. As such, Ash is filling a gap in the market. He’s introduced a cash-flow coaching service that combines face-to-face advice, online videos and apps to help people in their day-to-day financial decisions.

“It’s about helping people understand their finances, get a plan together, track it and make conscious decisions with their money,” Ash says. “It’s a service I thought was missing and it just doesn’t fit well with traditional financial advice. It’s actually the small decisions we make every day with our money that have the greatest influence on our wealth over time.”

Ash started his firm, McAuliffe Wealth Management in 2012. Before that he was travelling from Bendigo to Melbourne five days a week to work at the ANZ Bank. The young dad was gone before his son woke, and home after the baby went to bed. Something had to give, and a move to Melbourne was off the cards.

“I’ve had two jobs in Melbourne but we’ve never considered moving from Bendigo. We love it. It’s the right size for raising a family. And cost of housing here is a lot better. A lot of our friends who live in Melbourne and earn a similar income don’t have the lifestyle we have in Bendigo, because a lot of what they earn they need to spend on a house.”

Ash says having that MBA from La Trobe helped immensely when embarking on his own enterprise in Bendigo. “A lot of good connections were made – that’s why the Bendigo MBA was better for me. For Friday night, Saturday and Sunday classes I’d be in a room with 15 other people from Bendigo who were all in management roles in businesses. We were all mature-age students with something to bring to the table, plus wanting to take something away as well. So I got a lot out of it. And having the qualification certainly helped get my business case across to build this business.”

The husband and father-of-three is now in the position to help others build on their personal and financial goals, particularly fellow parents. His services are aimed at a tech-savvy, time-poor generation who are constantly told their future lifestyles will not be as comfortable as their parents.

“I’m there. That’s the reason I know how they feel,” he says. “The most surprising effect I’ve seen of the coaching is that it promotes conversations between couples and reduces the stress they feel every day due to money. It’s got some pretty good side effects.”




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