Ask the Readers: What would you like to Learn from a Personal Finance Presentation?

Next month I’ll be taking part in my first personal finance speaking engagement. The goal is to share a bit about my personal story and outline steps for others struggling with debt. I’m here today to ask the readers, what would you like to learn from a personal finance presentation? I want to be mindful of the fact that the subject matter can be dry and dare I say boring at times. (Math anyone?) With that in mind I’d love to have some feedback on my plan.

personal finance

Public Speaking

My public speaking kicked off in high school with your typical assignment that you had to present in front of the class.  It continued in college when I actually took a public speaking class. All assignments in this class were given orally in a small group setting. Over my 20 plus year professional career I have had many opportunities to speak, present, and lead meetings. So at this point in my life I’m pretty comfortable with speaking in front of a group. Given the fact that it’s on material I feel knowledgeable about makes it that much easier. I plan on using a power point presentation with bullet points to make sure I cover everything I want, and keep me from rambling. I plan on giving away a copy of Dave Ramsey’s “The Total Money Makeover” the book that really kicked off our debt free journey, and handout a reference sheet at the end of the presentation with books, podcast and blogs. Here’s the basic outline of topics I plan on cover over my 90 minute presentation:

  • Our debt story
  • How we involved our children
  • Defining a “Why”
  • Changing behaviors
  • Stop Build New Debt
  • Budgets
  • Communicating
  • Wants vs needs
  • Emergency fund
  • Building Wealth

I expect that there will be time for some questions and answers at the end. Assuming people are willing to ask questions.  That damn money topic no one wants to discuss. Ultimately my goal is to help educate my guests and hopefully spark the desire for them to begin their own debt free journey.

So Readers what do you think of my plan? What topics am I missing? What resources would you include on the handout sheet? What things am I overlooking?

22 thoughts on “Ask the Readers: What would you like to Learn from a Personal Finance Presentation?”

  1. I think that is a really good run down of some important topics. Are you going to be discussing different approaches to attacking debt that you already have, like the debt snowball/avalanche? I think that would be valuable information for people to take away from your presentation – a way to tackle the debt they already have in their life.

    Good luck!

  2. I would add a section in there about perseverance and strategies for keeping yourself on your own plan. A lot of the steps people need to take are well understood, it’s often hard to keep taking them or staying the course week after week. Whether it’s mantras, psychological games (like a debt thermometer), or cheat days; sharing some strategies that can help someone who wavers is a helpful and often overlooked section. I hope that helps!

    1. Thanks for your feedback Jim. I will included. We always focused on the end goal of being debt free, but know that doesn’t work for everyone.

  3. Excellent agenda here, Brian! The only thing I would add is the vital importance of perseverance. We’ve had SO many “backs and forths” in our journey – major expenses, family issues. It’s been a one step forward, two steps back thing for much of the journey but we are hanging tight. People need to understand that perseverance is just as important as the steps that go along with the plan.

    I like what Jim said about keeping to your own plan. We’ve also found that vitally important.

    I’m so excited for you that you are sharing your story, Brian. It’s one of those “If we can do it, anyone can” type of stories.

  4. That looks like a good agenda.

    If I was in one of those back when I was in debt, my first thoughts would be – of course I could get out of debt if I had “that kind of money” even if it was just more than I was making. I didn’t admit that it was really just that my spending was higher than my income. Until I realized that and admitted it, no amount of talks would have helped me, I’m just stubborn that way I guess. 🙁
    Maybe even add something like an 12 step meeting in that the first steps are admitting that there is a problem, and that problem is specific to each family/person in the room. If somebody put it that way, I might have paid attention a little more back then.

    Good luck!

    1. Thanks for you feedback Mr. SCC. One of my first slides I talk about behavior and change. How personal finance is 90% mental and 10% math. I hope that will make the point.

  5. Brian, I’m certain you’re going to do a fantastic job! I would make sure to infuse your personal experience throughout the discussion, as an example. For example, saying how your family defined your “why”, how you communicated with your wife and kids, etc. People love hearing/reading about personal experiences, and it can be so empowering. And maybe mention that personal finance is personal, and that one person’s plan may not work for everyone.

    Good luck!!

  6. The one thing I always communicate to people is the power of time and compound interest. I assume it’s covered in your last section, Building Wealth. If not … . I stress time and compound interest for two reasons. First, when I first began to speak to people (primarily friends and family) about personal finance, there would be a lot of head nodding and verbal confirmations that they like and agreed with what I was saying. However, inevitably I would hear something along the lines, “what you’re saying makes sense but I can’t afford to save/invest right now.” If people truly understand how critical time and compound interest are, they will act to change their money habits immediately. Second, committing to a savings/investment plan earlier can overcome some investing mistakes later. Conversely, we all know that the later someone starts, even if they do a lot of things right, it is hard to overcome the exponential growth missed out on by not starting earlier.

    1. Thanks James. I have a slide that shows a great example of compound interest with investor starting at three different points. I think it will get the point home.

  7. This is definitely a good list of topics. I assume that it’s to a group that is better served by learning about debt avoidance than investment/FIRE advice? I noticed that it’s tipped towards the negative net worth part of the journey more than it is the positive net worth part. Obviously, that’s totally ok if that’s who this group is! If it’s more of a generic personal finance discussion, I would say spend some time on the long term benefit of that wealth… early retirement (or retirement at all), building a legacy, the ability to give generously to charity, etc.

    Hope that you share how it went when it’s done!

    1. A great idea. It’s an open invite so I’m not 100% sure what type of mix of people I may get. But touching on the FIRE and working for g yourself is a great item to add.

  8. Compound interest for retirement — ie, pay off your bills but also max out at least your employer contribution or Roth (or at least contribute a couple of hundred a month or… anything really). I’m not quite sure how you can make that not dry, except to quickly illustrate the thing about the gal who invests in her 20s and stops a few years later vs the girl who invests in her 30s up til retirement. But I wish I’d put a bit more emphasis on building up our Roth when we were getting out of debt.

  9. Most kids wont pay attention to emergency funds, budgets or building wealth. They are just too young, even high schoolers. College kids to really!

    I would concentrate heavily on scare type tactics involving getting into debt. You scare them silly about debt and then they will try hard to not get into it and I think that is the stepping stone for kiddos!

    Great topics though!

  10. Great outline! I can’t imagine much else you’d be able to cram into an introductory finance talk! I do agree with Laurie though – maybe adding a bit about motivation & perseverance, since paying off debt and/or building wealth are really a marathon and not a sprint. It takes an overall change of mindset to be really successful.

    Good luck! I’m sure they’ll love your presentation!

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