“Here I am sipping a coconut at one of my favourite Sydney beaches.” Photograph taken by the amazing Lauren at Sol+Co
I just signed up a few weeks ago to a writing course with Joshua from ‘The Minimalists‘. It has been a great couple of weeks so far. I started the course not knowing what I had signed up for. So far in less than 3 weeks I have read a book on grammar, which has been one of the hardest books I have tackled this year, written over 8,000 words and learned a lot about myself. I have told strangers about my passion for writing and I have made friends with a lady in my course from San Antonio, Texas named Susan whom previously was an English teacher and librarian and is a keen writer. Susan is my accountability partner who has been encouraging me with her hilarious daily writing updates. It has helped me tremendously to stay on track, as I feel so guilty if I don’t write for at least an hour a day. I have been writing for the past 3 weeks about my purpose in life. It has got me thinking more and more about why I write and why I want to continue writing and sharing my voice with the world.
I started my blog exactly a year ago not knowing what it would become. I wanted to help others with their journey to financial freedom. I also wanted to help increase women’s self worth and inspire them to step up in their lives. I think just convincing one person to cut up their credit card has been worth it for me. For one person to think about why they are mindlessly consuming. For one person to realize making small changes to their life now will lead to big gains down the track is what lights me up. I want everyone to be more open and just talk about money rather than keep it under wraps.
Why I am so passionate about sharing this message? I hate seeing people suffer when they don’t need to. I grew up in a household full of money troubles. There was the maxed out credit card, late payments on bills, missed mortgage repayments. It was hard to see my parents fight and struggle with managing their finances. I never knew why some people struggled with money and others seem to have it all sorted. When I turned 18, what do you think I did that day? I applied for my very first credit card. I hadn’t even started full time employment. The bank was willing to give me a credit card so I applied for one. I thought this was part of becoming an adult as all the adults I knew had credit cards.
Fast-forward 7 years and there I was with 30,000 dollars in credit card debt, a car loan and a really good income working in finance. Something wasn’t right in this equation. I was earning amazing money as an accountant but spending even more money living what I thought was the good life. I was keeping up with the Jones, Kardashians and whomever I thought was cool at that point in my life. I went on for years in this consumer debt trap, as I didn’t know any other way. I thought it was normal to have a maxed out credit card. Even though deep down I knew this was not ok. I had focused on finding happiness externally rather than looking within.
One day my lovely little sister said to me “Jodie you earn so much more than me, but you always seem to have no money left at the end of each month. Why is this?” I looked at her in shame and said, “I really don’t know”. I had no idea how I got myself into all the debt, it just escalated over time. Then she gave me this book called the ‘Barefoot Investor’ by Scott Pape to read. “What is this? I haven’t read a book in years, I do all my reading each month in Vogue”. You don’t have to wonder how I had a shopping addiction. I took the book to my room and read it in one evening. As I turned each page something began to click. What was I thinking for all those years? How am I going to ever be a financial superstar with all the debt I have? The same night I finished the book I drew up a plan to pay off all my debts.
Six months later guess where I was? Having champagne with friends celebrating my last debt repayment. I was finally free. So this is what it feels like to not have your whole paycheck taken up by debt repayments. Hallelujah. I then decided enough is enough. I needed to educate myself on this foreign concept of financial freedom. In all my years of studying accounting and business I never really took an interest in personal finance. So off I went to read as many books, blogs and articles on personal finance I could get my hands on. I realised quite soon that the equation to financial freedom was quite simple. Spend less than you earn and invest the rest.
No one teaches you at school how to stay out of debt or how important it is to live within your means. No one teaches you that credit cards are bad. We are brought up in a society that doesn’t talk about money openly. We don’t mention it even amongst our families, its seen as a topic that should be kept on the down low. I think this is a load of BS. We all understand the equation spend less than you earn. But we get caught up in consumerism and wanting everything instantly. We get caught up in thinking that we need a whole lot more stuff than we really do. We also don’t value our future selves enough to take time to look into the future and be honest. This is something I struggled with big time. I didn’t really care for worrying about anything post 12 months.
I am not saying be a scrooge and have no fun. What I am saying is have a balance between having fun now in the present and save a bit for your future self. Set yourself up now so that your future self can chill out later. Life is much more fun and vibrant for me now. I now have more money to invest in helping others, my health, business and travel. I worry less about how I am going to retire because I know when that time comes I will have enough. I changed my mindset and I feel free now. As soon as that debt was gone I felt free. I think we should all feel this freedom.
Financial freedom is not a destination it’s a path.
I now have much more time to spend on the things that matter in my life. My family, friends and the community around me. I also feel less stressed and worry. I don’t have to keep up with anyone anymore. Something I learned from one of my financial mentors Scott Pape is to ‘Tread your own path’. Don’t be disconcerted by other people’s successes or what they own or invest in. Be grateful we live in such an amazing country with access to clean water, food and shelter. Stop mindlessly consuming to keep up with others. This is how I live my life now in a simpler way. I still buy new things but it’s not as regular as before and I only purchase something when I really need it. I also pay cash for everything now which feels so much better than using the banks money. Hope this inspires you to keep moving along your path to financial freedom.
How are you going on your money journey? What has shaped your money mindset? If you would like to share in the comments below that would be amazing.