The Tale of Three Students

Ignorance, Concern, and Confidence

In the world of academia, the journey of students is as diverse as the colours of the rainbow. Within any educational setting, one can encounter a spectrum of attitudes and approaches towards learning.

Through three fictional characters; Andy, Brodie, and Charlie. We can look at one aspect of student behaviour, highlighting the differences in their approaches to challenges of meeting learning targets, and see how these attitudes to learning deadlines might also relate to other areas of their lives.

 Andy: The Blissfully Ignorant

Andy embodies the archetype of the blissfully ignorant student. Unaware of the depth of work required to pass his course, Andy drifts through academia with a nonchalant attitude, oblivious to the looming spectre of failure. He lacks focus and commitment, neglecting his academic responsibilities in favour of ever present, and seemingly more important distractions.

Despite occasional inklings of realisation, Andy's epiphanies may come too late, wisps of clarity dissipating in the face of impending deadlines. By the time Andy acknowledges the gravity of his situation, the window of opportunity for redemption has firmly closed, leaving him adrift in a sea of missed opportunities and unfulfilled potential.

 Brodie: The Worried Wanderer

In stark contrast to Andy's blissful ignorance, Brodie represents the worried wanderer. Fully cognizant of the work required to succeed, Brodie is plagued by a relentless sense of anxiety and apprehension. He knows what needs to be done but finds himself unable to make significant progress, consumed by the fear of falling short, and suffering from the lack of a clear plan with achievable milestones.

Brodie's concerns permeate every aspect of his life, casting a shadow over even the simplest of joys. Unable to fully engage in extracurricular activities or social interactions, Brodie is haunted by the gnawing realisation that he is not on track, trapped in a cycle of worry and self-doubt. Brodie's fear and inertia create a self-fulfilling prophecy.

 Charlie: The Confident Conqueror

Finally, we encounter Charlie, the epitome of confidence and competence. Armed with awareness and unwavering self-assurance, Charlie navigates the academic landscape with ease. Unlike Andy, who remains oblivious, or Brodie, who succumbs to worry, Charlie approaches his studies with a clear plan and determination. Charlie is no ‘smarter’ or more advantaged that his peers, but is better placed to succeed because of choices, not chances.

Charlie understands the importance of setting milestones and devising a structured study plan. With each task meticulously mapped out, he tackles his academic responsibilities with methodical precision, making steady progress towards his goals. Moreover, because of the confidence that comes from knowing he is on track, Charlie maintains a healthy balance, finding fulfillment in both his academic pursuits and personal interests.


Drawing Parallels to Retirement Financial Planning

The narratives of Andy, Brodie, and Charlie mirror the challenges encountered in retirement financial planning in New Zealand. Just as with his academic goals, Andy remains blissfully unaware of the savings needed for retirement. A great portion of Kiwis neglect to acknowledge the importance of financial preparedness until it is too late.

Similarly, Brodie's worries and concerns parallel those who recognize the need for financial planning but struggle to take decisive action, paralysed by fear and uncertainty. They understand the gravity of the situation but find themselves unable to make significant progress towards their goals.

In contrast, Charlie exemplifies the confidence and preparedness necessary for a secure retirement. Like Charlie, individuals who approach retirement planning with awareness and confidence are able to set clear goals, devise actionable plans, and navigate the complexities of financial preparation with ease. And just as with ‘student Charlie’ , the Charlie preparing for retirement enjoys confidence in other areas of their life because they know that this vitals aspect is in order.

Research from the FMA suggests that there are more Andys, and Brodies in New Zealand than there are Charlies.


This paper found that only 21% of Kiwis feel they are financially secure, only 32% have a goal to save for retirement.

Earlier FMA research found 46% of those nearing retirement don’t have a financial plan to live the sort of lifestyle they want in retirement, and only 25% have even given ‘a great deal’ of thought to the sort of lifestyle they want when they retire.

Around third (34%) of those nearing retirement have worked out how much they will need, in addition to NZ Super, to have the lifestyle they want. Less than half (42%) have actually calculated what their regular expenses could be.


In study and retirement planning alike, awareness and confidence are paramount. The stories of Andy, Brodie, and Charlie serve as cautionary tales, reminding us of the importance of proactive planning and decisive action in pursuit of our goals.

By drawing parallels between the journeys of these three students and those navigating retirement financial planning, we gain valuable insights into the significance of awareness, determination, and confidence in shaping our future success. Just as Charlie's preparedness leads to great academic results, so too can proactive planning pave the way for a secure and fulfilling retirement.

And just like study, the best time to take action on your retirement planning is now.