Wednesday 25 November, 2020

JMMB’s Simon Johnson says, keep your eyes on the financial prize

Simon Johnson is among a group of young professionals slated to speak at  JMMB Learn & Vibe, a fireside chat session.

Simon Johnson is among a group of young professionals slated to speak at  JMMB Learn & Vibe, a fireside chat session.

JMMB Financial Advisor and Senior Capital Market Analyst Simon Johnson is encouraging young professionals to think big, no matter how small their earnings might be at this time.

Johnson has a vision of how his future can be and he is advising other young Jamaicans to put some planning into their future as well.

Johnson is among a group of young professionals slated to speak at JMMB Learn & Vibe, a fireside chat session which will kick start the two-day JMMB Elevate 2.0 financial empowerment event series, slated for January 17-18 in Kingston. 

In the meantime, Loop News reached out to Johnson to share his advice on how young professionals can realise their financial and professional goals. 

Loop: How old are you?

Simon: I am 27 on the calendar, but 20 at heart.

Loop: What is your educational background?

Simon: I have a Bachelor of Science degree in Banking & Finance, a Masters of Science in Economics, both from UWI, Mona and I am currently a Level 3 candidate in the Charted Financial Analyst (CFA) Programme.

Loop: What are the main hopes and dreams you hear being expressed by school leavers and young professionals?

Simon: Many school leavers and young professionals that I have come in contact with have expressed hopes and dreams associated with finding a job in their field of study and starting to acquire financial assets over the next few years, such as a house and their first car.

Loop: Are these goals achievable for young professionals?

Simon: I always tell people, any goal is achievable. Achieving any goal is dependent on not just having a plan in place to achieve that goal, but executing on that plan every single day.

Loop: What financial advice would you give to those working in the business process outsourcing industry and also those who earn minimum wage and want to acquire a home and a car?

Simon: Ask yourself where do I want to be in X years? Now that you know your timeline, ask yourself what do I need to do to achieve those goals? Then set a detailed plan to achieve those goals; to do so you may need the help of a financial expert, to give you further guidance. Achieving those goals may mean that you have to start saving to go back to school or to become certified in your field. Delayed gratification is the key here. It is likely that in order to achieve your future goals you will have to make sacrifices now. The key is to set a plan in detail, focus and then execute. Things will not be perfect, but just keep working at it, until you achieve your goals.

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Loop: How can individuals set out to achieve their goals?

Simon: To achieve these goals I would suggest that you start by defining exactly what you are trying to achieve – make your goal/s SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, result-oriented and time-bound). So for example, if the goal is to own a home, speak with a financial expert to determine how much you would qualify for a mortgage so that you can have a better appreciation of the price range of the house that you are aiming to buy, the mortgage rate, the amount you need for a deposit and all associated expenses. This would then help you to clearly determine how much you need to get the mortgage and pay the expenses to buy the house or any other financial asset that you want to achieve. With a target amount, you can chart out exactly what time period you think that that amount is achievable. If the time period is too long for your liking, that means you would just need to save more, faster, which would involve decisions around either cutting non-essential expenses or finding better or alternative income streams.

Loop: What other goals do you think young professionals should target?

Simon: One’s financial health is very important. I would broaden the scope to say that we should all be focusing more on strengthening our financial position. The three cornerstones of finance that I focus on are: saving, investing and insurance. We should all be aiming to save more, but saving is just a form of preserving the money that you earn; this leads us wanting to invest more -investment is a form of diversifying your income and making your money work for you, and insurance allows you to protect our assets that have been accumulated.

Loop: Summarise your personal career movements

Simon: I started my career as a depository officer at the Jamaica Central Securities Depository (JCSD) at the Jamaica Stock Exchange. Thereafter, I worked as an investment analyst at Proven Fund Managers, before moving to JN Fund Managers Ltd. as an assistant manager, research & investment strategy - where I had operational oversight of the research team. Although I love investment research, I decided to take advantage of an opportunity to use that research base to gain further exposure in investment banking and corporate finance at JMMB, joining the JMMB Capital Markets Unit, as a senior capital markets analyst in 2019.

Loop: What’s your 10-year plan?

Simon: In the next 10 years I want to tangibly contribute to an improvement in Jamaica’s financial literacy, empowering all Jamaicans. I want to not just empower my own family to achieve their financial goals but I also want to extend these financial principles to my wider Jamaican family, so that they too can transform their dreams into reality. I want to see basic financial concepts and practical money management tools being taught at every level of our education system in Jamaica.


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