In this month’s issue of Beyond the Classroom, we are proud to present to you, Ernest – Founder of Jopez Academy. Ernest believes that good money habits and attitude have to be instilled at a young age and how learning the basic rules of managing money is key to being successful in life!

1. Describe yourself and what you do?

My name is Ernest and I am a Master Money Coach, Wealth Trainer, Certified Financial Planner and the founder of Jopez Academy.

With 23 years of experience as a financial practitioner, I have devised my proprietary methodology which was designed into a board game (Money Junior) and used as a curriculum for money workshops and camps. Since 2009, I have been conducting such workshops for parents and educators in the childcare education groups. I found out that most parents are unaware of how much their children mimic the way they handle money, their conversations about money, financial habits and attitudes.

Using my experience as a master money coach, I have written a book called, “Raising Financially Savvy Kids”, for parents and educators to nurture and coach children on money mastery using teachable moments in daily life, based on values and life skills that are vital for financial success.

2. Is there a story behind WHY you do what you do?/ To what extent have your talents/passions led you in any way to do what you do today?

Being a financial practitioner for many years and coming from a bankrupt family, I have seen many families and individuals who want to achieve financial success but lack the know-how.

The same life skills used in good money management such as planning, self-discipline and goal-setting — are the same needed for personal success. By engaging parents in money management education and teaching their children how to manage money using life skills will also help to lead their children to success in their career and life.

Money controls almost everything in our lives, yet many do not have a good relationship with money or do not know the basic rules of money. Financial literacy and management is a basic and essential skill for living. Children may grow up to be successful in their careers with education through the standard school system, but without financial education, they may find themselves struggling financially.

After much research, I concluded that it is best to instil positive and supportive money habitudes (habits & attitude) to an individual from a young age rather than going through the painful process of changing them as they get older.

3. Share with us what you were like as a student and how school was like for you. In retrospect, how do you think that played a part in what you do now and who you have become?

I did very badly academically my entire school life. I guess the education system during my time was more towards a dictating/auditory methodology which didn’t suit my learning style. Studying soon became boring for me and I became talkative and playful in class which annoyed most of my teachers.

Being a curious boy, I learn best when I am left alone to explore a particular topic or subject that I show interest in as I will be very determined to study it further. Due to my nature and the circumstance that I grew up in, it made me realise the importance to find a more effective way to teach.

4. How do you reinvent yourself? What motivates you?

I read widely and attend workshops or seminars especially anything that is related to finance. I also constantly explore and seek opinions from my mentors and look for partners to collaborate on different projects.

Mimicking or modelling after successful ones motivate me to be a better person.

Teach to Learn – The more I teach or share, the more I learn from the audience or participants.

5. What’s the best piece of advice you ever received or given? Or Share ONE life lesson and how it changed the way you approached life.

Money controls everything in our lives, yet we do not know the basic rules of money. Mastering the rules of money is vital because it determines our future and allows us to take control of our lives and avoid getting into financial chaos.

With the ever increasing costs of living, money mastery is even more important now.

If I want my money to take good care of my future, I have to learn how to take good care of my money now. Using the money jar system, it has led many to financial success or better financial management.

6. The future-ready educator should…

Be a Lifelong Learner and embrace modern technology like Quantum and accelerated teaching into our teaching practices. Seeking professional development to grow and learn, recognize the importance of becoming an expert in the field that may use them in the classroom.

Be highly adaptable to the constantly changing and evolving world. When one idea or system no longer works, you must be able to adjust effortlessly. This allows you to regularly change lesson plans by incorporating new ideas such as technology systems and digital content.

7. What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?

Millions of people are able to achieve success in their careers by having an academic education, but without financial education, they find themselves struggling financially. Having money without financial intelligence and empowering habits for money, your money will soon be gone.

8. How do you hope your business might do its part to transform or add value to the educational scene in Singapore?

Money mastery is an important life skill. Mindsets about money are set at about the age of 2. The earlier a child starts, they will spend less time and effort to correct the bad habitudes (habits and attitudes) about money.

Unpredictable economic cycles will be even more volatile in the future. It is our mission to groom their children to be self-reliant by equipping children with financial skills and knowledge for life.