It wasn’t always this way…
But I constantly find money in the pockets of my clothing, or in the bottom of my handbag, or in a clutch I haven’t used in awhile… all the time. Probably once a week. I’ve created what I like to think of as an ‘abundant’ lifestyle and if I want to do something that costs money, I only need to ask myself if I think it is worth it or not before purchasing, never “can I afford it?”, or “where will I find the money to pay for this?”.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not ‘rich’ by any stretch of the imagination. I am building wealth – yes, however what I feel I have mastered is a pretty neat system that means I always have money for the things I need or want to do in my life, I’m saving and investing toward my longer term goals and I have a good grasp on what it takes for me to earn the money I do so I’m not inclined to waste it anymore. By waste I mean spending money on things that provide little or no value to me.
As I said, it wasn’t always this way! Before the age of ten I grew up in Melbourne, in a pretty normal, probably slightly upper-middle-class family with parents who owned their own business. As the business grew, we definitely got to do nice things like have family holidays in Queensland, and do jazz-ballet on the weekends, however as is always possible in business things came crashing down in the early 90s when my parent’s business fell apart at the seams. They avoided bankruptcy by the skin of their teeth (something I think I’ve always admired as it would have been pretty easy to file in the situation they were in), but their marriage fell apart and I celebrated my eleventh birthday in Brisbane, in the backyard of my Nana’s rather run-down old-queenslander where Mum, my sister (Emma) and I where staying.
It took Mum almost a year to find a part time government job and a few more months before she had enough money to rent a place of our own for the three of us. It was a steep learning curve, however Emma and I knew we were not in Kansas anymore and there would be no weekend dance classes or family trips away. ‘Scarcity’ was the word, and that is how we felt everyday from that moment on.
Before I was legally allowed, I got myself a job at the local video store and by the time I finished high school I was pretty used to juggling a couple of part time jobs with my school work. In all honesty I didn’t do much on the school work front, but I got by. Mum definitely did not have enough money to do more than cover the basic living expenses and take us on the occasional weekend away to visit one of our Uncle’s in the country. There was no extra for socialising or entertainment for us, so earning our own money was the only way my sister and I could maintain a social life.
I guess these were pretty formative years for me, and I got very used to the feeling of never having enough, and not knowing how I would be able to pay for all the things I wanted to do. I managed to save occasionally if I really wanted something badly enough, and thankfully avoided too much pain with credit cards. I went there in my late teens / early twenties and worked my guts out to pay off that $4,000 swearing I would never do that to myself again.
It’s safe to say I went through most of my twenties building on that mentality of scarcity. No matter what I was earning, I never quite got on top of things enough to actually ever feel that I had more money than I needed. I definitely got better at saving and managed to buy an apartment, and later a townhouse, I travelled every year and continued to avoid credit card debt but I wasn’t realistically building long-term wealth and I still had to specifically save for anything I wanted to do or buy, as there was no spare cash around to just spontaneously decide to do something.
Let’s just say there was no chance of me finding even a $5 note in the pocket of my jeans. I knew where all my money was, and there was never enough.
The thing that was holding me back all that time was my own limiting beliefs that I had developed as a young adult. I truly thought that that is how it was for everyone except maybe the uber rich. That money doesn’t grow on trees, there’s never enough of it and the only way that would change for me is if I won the lottery or if I could find a way to earn more later in life.
Ironically, I shed this limiting belief and changed all of my behaviours during a period when I was earning VERY little. In 2009 I met my (now) husband, Finn Kelly. We started a business 6 weeks later and began a journey of immense sacrifice. We did not have the cashflow to pay ourselves for almost 2 years and lived off the savings and investments we both managed to scrape together when we met. During this time though, we were so fulfilled with our work and with our relationship that we actually needed little else. It was a tough time, but I learnt very quickly not to waste a penny and also not to waste my time doing anything other that what I really wanted to be doing, and that was generally spend time with my friends and my love, and build our company.
We connected with what we really valued in life and developed goals together and a plan to get there. Once we were able to start paying ourselves again we agreed not to alter our lifestyle drastically (as we were already very happy inside) and started automatically saving and investing toward our goals. Each bank account or share portfolio had a specific purpose and goal attached to it. We also used a joint bank account as a cash hub where all our income would be deposited and let everything feed from there. We retained our own personal bank accounts and each got an ‘allowance’ transferred on a weekly basis for whatever we wanted to spend money on as individuals.
This was a game changer, and ended up being the foundation that we built the advice we give to our Gen Y members at Wealth Enhancers on. Because it worked for us and it works for everyone. Life is pretty amazing for us now, and I love seeing our WE members grow in a similar direction, it is so rewarding to see other young people creating abundant lives for themselves.
The result has been so great that we now have all the money we need to do the things we want in life (and that is of course different for everyone), and we never have to worry about how we are going to pay for something. We still have bigger long term goals, but all of the shorter term and spontaneous stuff is well covered.
After seeing it work for us and for so many of our WE members, I wanted to create a way to bring my philosophy and wealth building structures to more people, and that is why I created the 8 Week Money Makeover program. To reach many more people than I otherwise would have been able to.
Abundance for all, I say.