Describing herself as a “financial force of nature” driven by a desire to make Kiwis smarter about money and building a career on her ability to help them get ahead Hannah McQueen has no time for doubters.
Truth be told, she has been rebelling against doubters for most of her life.
“Ironically, it’s the people who were the naysayers who have influenced me the most starting with the teacher who told me I shouldn’t leave school early because I would ruin my life (I did leave early), the boss who fired me when I suggested a new business idea (it became the basis for my current business), the people who said I was too young to get married (I got married at 18) and that I was too inexperienced to start a business (I started it anyway).
Encouraged by her mother to read the business pages in the newspaper from a young age she spotted an article one day that pointed out more than 80% of CEOs were qualified accountants and so that became the basis for selecting her degree.
Skipping Year 13 and starting university at 17, Hannah was on a mission to get her career started and the sooner the better.
Enrolling in a Bachelor of Commerce degree she admits the first two years were “challenging” but not enough to stop her from going on to complete a Masters in Taxation.
After graduating, she initially joined KPMG before moving on to work for a mortgage consulting company but decided that instead of helping people get into debt, she should be helping them get of it.
Discussing the idea with a colleague they pitched a plan to their boss at the time who proceeded to fire them both for undermining his business.
As it turned out the decision was fortuitous but the timing was less than ideal. Grappling with the idea of taking out her first mortgage, a $300,000 loan which would have cost her nearly $500,000 in interest over its 30-year term, she approached the University's maths department to create a formula that would enable her to repay her loan as quickly as possible, at the lowest cost and with maximum flexibility.
Hannah patented the formula, then realised the toughest part of applying it was finding the spare cash to pay back the debt faster. Despite earning a good income, she says she found it difficult to get ahead and the more she looked around the more she discovered lots of other people in a similar situation who were basically going nowhere financially.
So at 27 Hannah launched EnableMe - a personal financial training business designed to help people get better with their money which will this year celebrate its tenth anniversary and now has 10 offices around the country.
“We see ourselves as personal coaches to get you fit financially in the same way as you have personal coaches who will help you improve your physical fitness.”
Hannah’s latest focus is improving the financial literacy of children.
She’s recently finished her third book “From Pocket Money to Property – creating financial independent kids”, to add to several she has already published, that focuses on educating children about money.
“I believe many parents aren’t setting their children up to be successful adults, by not giving them practical experiences in handling money or developing a financial strategy before they leave home. I also think more parents need to be telling their children that financial support ends at 18.”
Hannah says her own kids already know this will apply to them too.