Chantelle Schofield, a 28 year old Auckland-based financial adviser from the Cook Islands, was at an industry conference in Christchurch when the MC asked for a show of hands.
She says that was when she realised she wasn’t like the rest of the financial advice community.
‘’The MC asked us to put our hands up if we were under 30, and there were only eight of us. Then there were only about 30 per cent women."
"And I realised later on that I was the only Pasifica person.”
From paradise to financial advice
Chantelle grew up on Aitutaki, a tiny remote island with a population of around 1500. She is of Cook Island and Aussie descent, with her mum passing away when she was young and her dad running Ranginui’s Retreat, an accommodation business with beach front bungalows that he still does today.
When she was 15, her dad said it was time for her to leave and experience the world:
“It was a huge culture shock moving to Auckland. The dairies were the size of our supermarkets back home. It was bigger, more intense, and busier.”
When she moved, Chantelle also found she was able to try a few new things:
“In Aitutaki women are elegant, tanned and beautiful. They look after the kids as well as working hard themselves. It’s old school and women don't participate in contact sports. Here in NZ it’s more open, so I was able to discover my passion for rugby.”
Chantelle played professional rugby league and rugby sevens, a calling that took her all around the world from Dubai and Japan to the UK and Australia.
After injuries ended her rugby career early and being stuck in New Zealand due to COVID, she started looking for a job. She was soon hired as the personal assistant to the CEO of a financial advice provider.
What is a financial advice provider?
A financial advice provider is a company that provides advice for personal finance: they can help you with budgeting, information and work with you on ways to reduce debt.
Giving financial advice is a huge responsibility, which is why financial advisers need to be licensed to be able to do. If you are looking for financial advice, make sure they are credible, licensed and professional.
However, becoming a financial adviser can be extremely rewarding career choice, as you help people in the community with what can be an extremely stressful part of their life.
Changing the face of the industry
Her boss noticed that Chantelle had a way with people and that she genuinely wanted to help and treat all clients equally.
“It doesn't matter to me whether a client has $5,000 or $5 million," Chantelle says. "I always treat everyone the same, get to know them and help in any way I can.”
As a result of her early successes, Chantelle was encouraged to train to become a financial adviser. She passed her papers with flying colours and quickly became qualified.
After working in the industry and spending time in New Zealand, Chantelle saw that there were very few advisers with backgrounds like hers.
“It makes sense to me why Pasifica, Māori and other minority communities often struggle financially and don’t get advice. We just don’t have advisers in our communities helping us.”
“The majority of people from these groups don’t realise the potential they have if they just put a plan in place. The possibility of saving or buying a home can be a reality. I want to be the person that helps them.”
Chantelle and her boss realised that the best way to lift up those communities was to encourage more of their people to become financial advisers.
'If I can do it, you can too!’
Chantelle adds that financial advice can have a huge effect on people's lives, helping them to retire early, buy a home or just support their family.
“In Pasifica and Māori culture, investment is a bit scary - putting your money somewhere and hoping something happens. But if we introduce more people in our communities to these concepts it could have a huge impact.”
“I followed the process and saved, invested and worked hard. Then as a single 28 year old Pasifica woman I managed to buy a home in Auckland. Honestly, if I can do it, you can too.”
Chantelle now also helps manage and support the scholarship programme at her organisation Money Hub, where they offer scholarships to women of Māori and Pasifica descent to become financial advisers.
If this sounds like a career you're interested in, check out the requirements and more information on careers.govt.nz.
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