When Jennifer Gibbons-Joseph retired from her long spell in the insurance industry last December, she had no plans of settling at home and taking up a hobby.
The former assistant branch manager wanted instead to find a way to use her experience as a financial planner and her newly acquired certification as a life coach, so she combined the two and now offer them both at her company Conec Marketing Financial Services Limited.
"I help and empower people, teenagers, young adults and adults, to find their true potential, to design a personal and sustainable life plan and take the necessary steps to achieve their financial plans and life goals," Gibbons-Joseph said.
She does this through interactive financial literacy and coaching programmes using age appropriate language and goals .
The modules for adults were designed to help them understand money management and how to handle their household expenses effectively. The programmes also help individuals to build self-esteem and confidence, Gibbons-Joseph said, "as they take corrective action to get back on the right track to financial success.
The modules for Young Adults and Teenagers teach money management and self development again using interactive methods. The goal of these sessions, Gibbons-Joseph said, is to "provide young people with the skills needed to make wise decisions as they prepare for a successful future.
On Saturdays Gibbons-Joseph conducts her interactive coaching programmes with different groups. Her next session is a CareerCoaching for young adults 18-25 in September, which will be done with an industrial and qualified psychologist.
"With the young adults and teens I also use the Conec's Career assessment to help them determine what career is suitable to their skills.
"As I tell young people, whatever you do academically would determine the money that you make in the future.
For younger children Gibbons-Joseph has created Minimoney, a mascot that is used to entertain children and teach them about financial literacy using catchy rhymes.
"Most parents don't talk to their children enough about money because. I always encourage parents to tell their children what they are earning and what they are spending because the children need to understand the cost of things.
"They need to know that when a parent says no to something they want it is because they really can't afford it."
In her recently released DVD , Money Management for Families , Gibbons-Joseph shares tips on the many ways parents could talk to their children about critical financial issues. The 60-minute disc, which is available at RIK book store alsohas segments for young adults and little children.
One of things Gibbons-Joseph has found, since opening her Austin Street, St Augustine office doors, is that a lot of people are clueless about their life purpose because they have a fear of dreaming big.
"A person with limited resources won't be set financial goals because they can't see past their situation."
Gibbons-Joseph conducts her hour and a half sessions either face to face, on the phone or via Skype. For clients in dire financial straits, Gibbons-Joseph advice on achieving life-long goals, especially on a limited budget, sounds almost impossible. But she is not giving any advice that she herself has not taken.
As a single mother of two girls Nneka and Zahra, Gibbons-Joseph said she took care of her family on a commission salary that varied month after month.
"I tell people that it is not impossible reach their financial goals even with a limited amount of money. I did it. It just takes a lot of sacrifice."
Today, Nneka has her masters in Industrial and Organisational psychology and is currently pursuing her Phd. Zahra, who has an associate's degree in video production, is at the University of the West Indies completing her Bachelor of Arts in Film Production.
When she gives advice to retirees, who are clueless about their next step, Gibbons-Joseph, is also speaking from experience.
"You'd be surprised how many retirees are unprepared financially for transition. Mentally they not ready and some can't cope – especially the men."
In preparation of her retirement, Gibbons-Joseph moved to a residential community in Arima after spending 20 years in St James.
"I wanted to enjoy a peaceful and slow paced environment, as I transition from the fast paced phase in my life to a more holistic and meditative phase."
Gibbons-Joseph believes that there is a great need for the service that she provides.
"I want to help people meet their financial and life goals. In short, I am taking financial advice to another level."