George Boubouras has made a lot of money for people out of making big calls about the future. So when the Melbourne-based fund manager says that the future for young girls is brighter than ever and issues around gender equality are fazing out, you stop and listen.
“I am very excited and optimistic with what I am seeing with my own daughters,” he says. “Equality is just a natural development for them every day, its common sense and the outlier for them is, “there’s gender inequality? really?”
“For my daughters, gender inequality won’t even be discussed in the same way it is today for the majority of the developed world when they are adults,” says Boubouras, adding that for emerging countries in Africa, the key will be encouraging economic activity, and the rest will flow from that.
As chief investment officer at Contango Funds Management, George’s day job is focused on overseeing the management of nearly $1 billion worth of assets on behalf of clients, and when he’s not doing that he sits on numerous boards including advising on the board of Women in Banking and Finance.
But at home, it’s his three daughters who rule the roost.
“At the dinner table and on a regular basis, it’s my daughters who make me accountable on everything from what I teach them about money, to what they teach me about equality and the suffragettes – it is a complete breathe of fresh air,” he says.
“We don’t have a patriarchal or matriarchal household, it is a contribution from both and the lessons are very constant, it is all about communicating the concept of compound interest, the importance of investing and the basic building blocks for budgets.”
One of George’s most recent top money calls at Contango involved selling Rio Tinto shares around the $60 market before the stock plunged in value and also selling out of resources and energy stocks when they were trading close to their highs about 12 months ago.
But he says when it comes to teaching his girls about money and investing, the keys are:
- Start talking about money and investing while they are young through mathematics.
- Pick examples in their everyday activities
- Make money lessons fun
- Start them investing with real money
- And, keep the lessons constant.
“Every chance we get, we try to do a mathematics problem and work that out,” he says.
He says the examples will vary depending on whether the child is at high school or junior school, but the key is to make children think about maths and make doing it fun.
“For example, I might ask my younger daughter if I buy these four slurpees and divide the total by how many we have, what am I left with?, or for my older daughter, I might ask if we have to travel 120 kilometres to grandma’s house at 80 kilometres per hour, how long is it going to take us to get there. It’s that kind of stuff,” he said.
Indeed, George even has his daughters investing in some of the funds that he manages at Contango with the aim of a return greater than the rise in school fees!
“When I think about the future for my girls it brings be nothing but joy and happiness. I have no qualms at all however there will be some heavy lifting around equality. But the data clearly does show that there is that middle management pay gap, which I anticipate and assume will be resolved at a faster rate,” he says.
University studies on father and daughter relationships show that where Dads are more supportive of their daughters and play a key role in their upbringing, that they are more likely to grow up being successful young women and have greater financial well-being.
Research at Monash University also found that Australian men are spending more time being the primary carer for children and becoming stay-at-home Dads, and most of those who aren’t, at least want to, but regard themselves as still having to be the main breadwinner.