- The Jones’ are Not Real
The Jones’ used to be the neighbours; they had a bigger house than you, better jobs, their kids behaved better and they were better looking! To try and keep up with them you started buying things you didn’t want and couldn’t afford, just to make it look like you were no lesser than ‘them’.
Once upon a time, The Jones’ were just your next door neighbours, but now they are in your pockets and on your screens. But here is the kicker; they are not real, they never were.
Be wary of measuring your self-worth based on what you see and hear online. Those social feeds, fake reviews and filtered pictures are not real. The picture a friend captured might only be one nice snapshot within a day of chaos, and we add music to our posts so that you don’t hear the moaning and sighs in the background. The fake reviews make us think we are the last person on earth to own a Steve Madden Bag and we are sold the idea that if we have the latest thing we will be happy.
However, the truth is you’re not behind, you’re not ahead – you’re exactly where you need to be. Where you go next is up to you and has no bearing on what anyone else appears to have around you.
- We’ve Got Brains – Let’s Use Them
Instead of bingeing the latest Netflix series today, declare a brainstorming session for yourself. Throw ideas around and start to explore your dreams and unquantified plans.
Let loose and accept that there are no right or wrong answers. It’s time to be curious. Here are some questions to start with.
- What would be cool to be doing two years from now?
- Do I want to reduce my hours of work but still need the same income?
- Who gets my assets when I die? Who would have the kids if it was tomorrow?
- What does retirement look like?
- Do I feel the need to pack everything away and go in a caravan around Australia for a year?
- What is on the bucket list?
- How much savings in the bank would give me peace of mind?
- Is there a time in my life that I expect to be debt free?
- Is there something I would like to learn?
By doing this, you start to give yourself something to aim for. Here is where you start living your life the way you want to. Weed out what is important, release what isn’t – You do you Boo!
3. Confront Finance Head-On
If you are ‘guessing’ what money comes in and what goes out, you are going to find financial happiness very hard to attain. Here are three tips:
- Work out what money is coming in through wages, sale of goods, government benefits, dividends, interest and rental income.
- Money out: This is hard, I get it, but if you do nothing else, do this. Living within your means is your number one way to be successful no matter how old you are and no matter how hard you work. Use an amazing template that helps you plan your expenditure and get an understanding of how you make spending decisions.
- DO NOT do this when you are tired or already mad at the world. Eat first, keep refreshments handy. This is no time to blame or fight, just facts for now. When you know what you receive as income and what you spend, then you will know what you have spare to put towards your goals or how much you must cut back by. This one matters.
4. Should You Save, or Should You Borrow?
Not always an easy one to answer. The more debt you have, the more you’ll need to maintain the path you’re on. Potentially you will also need more personal insurances such as income protection and that means more costs. The more debt you have, the less choices you have and potentially less of those goals you get to achieve. However, it would take a gazillion years to save the cash needed for a home, so some debt may be acceptable. Be conservative and realistic when choosing debt over using your savings.
5. End of Life Planning is Vital
If you have superannuation, life insurance, kids, or ‘stuff’, you most certainly need to be the boss of it, even when you are dead. A Will can explain what you want to happen to your ‘stuff’ as well as Superannuation and Life Insurance proceeds. A Power of attorney will allow someone to make decisions for you if you are unable to do so yourself. A death nomination on your super and your insurances ties it all together and makes your intentions very clear. We see people happiest when they have these things done professionally.
Don’t leave your loved ones to be sad and grieving and trying to work out what your last wishes were.
6. Start Now
Did you know that if you save $100 a week every week from age 10 to age 60 and let that interest compound, you would have a million dollars? If you start at age 20, you will have a little over $600,000. The earlier you start the easier it is. I know I couldn’t have started saving at age 10 either, but don’t use that as an excuse to not start saving until you are 55 years old. Start now. Start as soon as you can, do not put it off for later when you can start today.
7. Make Appointments, Get Stuff Done
Be curious and learn about money. Watch the news, ask questions. Surround yourself with people who will help you put these things into place or guide you to the easiest path to meet those goals.