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Headshot of Tristian. He stands behind a pink backdrop

How to talk to your friends about using money for good

March 18, 2024
February 23, 2021

With using money as a force for good close to his heart, Bank Australia customer Tristan Ceccato – who’s one of our People Australia Needs in 2021 – shares his tips on talking to family and friends about putting their money in more ethical institutions.

Money is a powerful tool. And how and where we spend, store and save it has real-world implications.

I know from experience how unethical practices can impact real people and families. Years before I even knew about Bank Australia, my own family were the victims of predatory lending by another bank – a bank that put its profits before its customers. As I got older, I began to think about using money in a more ethical way, and the power of our daily decisions.

A while ago, I posted a simple message to Facebook about what happened to my family, and how easy it is to switch to an ethical bank, like Bank Australia. I was passionate about it and just wanted to get the word out. After I did it, I had so many messages from friends and family saying that they’d switched banks because of the story I shared.

I think that shows the power of spreading these messages in the right way.  

So If you’ve decided to take more control over where, why and how you spend your money, and removing it from institutions that do harm, that’s great. But how do you start those conversations about using money for good with friends and family?  

Keep it simple

Conversations like this can get complicated pretty quickly, so when you’re talking to other people about the power of their money, it pays to keep things as simple as possible.

One good technique to use is visualisation: you could explain to them that their money isn’t just sitting in a vault in their local branch. It’s actually being moved around, sold and invested in other organisations, and these organisations sometimes use this money – your money – to invest in things they wouldn’t agree with, like fossil fuels, tobacco, or weapons.

But if you bank with an organisation that has a policy of not investing in organisations that are potentially harming people or the planet, there’s more money going to better things and less money going to bad things. So, switching banks is a simple and free way to send a powerful message and to easily align your actions to your values.

Explain how easy it is to switch banks and rollover your super

People think of changing banks like changing schools, like it’s going to be this big, overwhelming, time-consuming thing. But it’s really not. You can set up a new account in a few minutes, usually through an online sign-up process. And once you’ve signed up, you might need to spend a bit of time sorting out your direct debits, but that’s about it. And new tech such as PayID and Osko make sending and receiving payments to your new account so much easier than it used to be, when you had to remember your BSB and account number too.

Superannuation is another area where people have a lot of money sitting idle and might not realise how much of an impact it could have if it was invested into an ethical super company. It’s now really easy to locate all your lost super and roll it into one account – next time you do your tax return through the ATO, follow the prompts to consolidate your super. It’s also just as easy to change to an ethical super fund, or to an ethical mix of investments within your current super fund.

Find a common ground

We’re all motivated by different things, so try to find some common ground with the person you’re speaking to. If it’s a conversation about using money for good with a friend who’s passionate about the environment, you can talk to them about how lots of banks (and super funds) lend to the fossil fuel industry.

Be positive and don’t judge

Big banks and super funds really benefit from those feelings of attachment people have to them. So many people are inclined to stay with the bank they opened their first account with, and they might not question their bank’s ethics, or think it’s too much work to change.

When this comes up in conversation, it’s important to keep things calm, rational, and non-preachy. I think that’s what happened with my Facebook post – I just managed to strike the right tone. I didn’t tell anyone to do anything, I just presented a problem and a solution. Everyone’s on their own journey, and is figuring this stuff out at their own pace. So if you can help them navigate it at their own speed, that’s a big win (for you and for the planet!).

We’re proud to have Tristan as a Bank Australia customer. Find out more about Tristan and other Bank Australia people here.

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