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Crimson co-founder Jamie Beaton's crusade to teach young Kiwis about money

If you ask Crimson Consulting’s Jamie Beaton, there’s an urgent need for New Zealanders to improve their financial literacy and understanding of money. And he’s on a mission to do something about it.

About 200 people packed into AUT’s central Auckland campus this past Saturday and Sunday to hear Beaton discuss how to invest – and how to invest smartly.

“There’s not a lot of awareness [about investing],” he says. “This is about bridging the gap. There’s much less education about stocks and financial instruments.”

Beaton says he believes that understanding finances – and having financial literacy – is as much a driver for success as having a great idea. And that, he adds, goes for any type of business or endeavour. “Knowledge of investing and finance empowers entrepreneurship,” he says. “Every person has their passions and interests. It’s about ambition and information.”

Changing technology – which has made investing “much more accessible” according to Beaton – and an increasing dependence on global markets and trends means financial knowledge is more important than ever, says Beaton. And it’s not about luck, he says – it’s about anticipating what may happen.

And to help anticipate what can happen with a stock or an investment, Beaton’s quick to bring up the importance of the “d” word: diversity.

“Investing in stocks is all about different perspectives,” he says. “You can’t just have everyone with the same view. It’s going to be quite problematic.”

But more people other than white, cisgendered, middle and upper-class men are investing, Beaton says. For example, he says, most venture capitalists in China are women rather than men. “We’re seeing a lot more women.”

That diversity, he adds, was also visible at the seminar. “You had 18-year-old women sitting next to 60-year-old guys.”

Beaton will next be taking the investing seminar to Sydney this weekend, then on to London. There’s plans for more events, he says, as well as hosting seminars online and making the materials from the seminars available on the net.

His reasoning? “Understanding finance empowers you to do so much more.”