Cover It pays to get the basics right before leaping into more complicated investment strategies, such as cryptocurrency. (Photo: Getty Images)

The newly launched Money Mind is a platform that teaches basic financial literacy. Founder Raven Tao explains how it works

A new platform for financial literacy shows how to get the basics right before getting into riskier and more complicated ventures, such as investing in the stock market or cryptocurrencies.

With all the hype around investing, it can be tempting to leap in without being fully educated on risks involved or having a secure fintech foundation. Online financial literacy course Money Mind, launched this week, expounds wisdom on all matters of finance, and is designed to give learners confidence in their knowledge when it comes to everything from creating a solid budget to making sure their will accurately reflects their intentions.

Money Mind founder Raven Tao’s approach to education leverages psychology to promote efficient knowledge retention, and she is an advocate for the mental health and empowerment benefits of being in control of money. Her online course covers five introductory concepts of financial literacy for beginners, applicable to everyone but targeting millennial women in particular based on Tao’s own experiences and pitfalls in money management.

As well as a range of free, ten-minute “samplers”, which introduce concepts from budgeting to wills to investing, Tao, a former model, actor and television host, presents a range of paid seminars that go deeper on each topic and give advice that is clear and designed to stick.

“I started working at 17,” Tao says. “I knew how to earn money, just not how to manage it. And that seems to be the gap. I want people to have confidence to manage their own money, especially women. I want people to be able to say, ‘Oh wow, I can’t believe I’ve been avoiding money this long. That was easier than I thought.”

Here, she explains more about the concept and where it came from.

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This is a social enterprise, based on financial literacy and empowerment. But the angle that I'm also working with is to make it easier for people to feel they can develop confidence in this area and just take the steps. It's kind of like holding a kid while they're learning how to ride a bike. So that's what I am doing: I'm teaching you that you can ride the bike. It's coaching elements with encouragement. And using a cognitive and neuropsychology techniques in order to neuro-hack, and use social learning elements to be able to use your brain in the way that is best facilitating your outcomes.

This is a confidence-boosting course: if you feel insecure in this area, it's safe here; you are going to be fine. Here are the basics. I want you to feel confident that you can ride this bike on your own. But avoiding falling over is what keeps us from getting going. I want people to be able to say, "Oh, wow, I can't believe I've been avoiding this. That was easier than I thought."

Neuro-hacking is essentially just understanding the neuroscience of our brain to make our life easier. In terms of financial wellness, when learning something about finance, or applying a budget, or making a decision, if someone helps guide you on that then your brain is 20 per cent less stressed.

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My role is really just to help people feel like they can achieve more in this area, and just make it seems smoother psychologically. The  layers of our brains still haven't caught up to where we are at in society. So we flip between our prefrontal cortex and the limbic brain, and we very often can't use both properly at the same time, which is why when someone gets angry, they seem to like lose the plot. With the basic pillars of money, like financial stability and personal finance, I know that the world has told you this is complicated. It is not: you can just let your brain know that it is simple, and it is safe. And that's what we're going to do here.

I spent my 20s feeling insecure that I was just bad with money and feeling like I there was so much stuff that I didn't know. No one seemed to be talking about it and no one seemed to have answers. I realised through many conversations with people, that is one area that almost everybody has, at one point or another in some area, felt a little insecure about, like, "Oh, I really need to do my will," or, "I have all the savings sitting there, but I don't know how to invest. 

We offer free samplers in each area. So you can see whether you like the style because if you don't like it, you're not going to absorb it. So it's just five, one-hour online courses, which are self-paced for you to do any time you like. We recommend doing one one-hour course and apply it for a week. After that and the next four courses, your life will be a better place.


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