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  • Published: 16 June 2021
  • ISBN: 9781761044137
  • Imprint: Penguin Life
  • Format: Trade Paperback
  • Pages: 320
  • RRP: $32.99

She's on the Money

Take charge of your financial future

Extract

Prologue

Hello, I’m so glad you’ve picked up my book.

Did you like the cover? (I know, I’m a sucker for mint and pink too.) Have you been thinking about investing, but don’t know where to start? Did you just inherit money? Are you trying to clean up debt? Do you want to get your foot in the door of the property market? Are there issues with money in your relationship? Wondering what you should be doing to get the most out of your super? Are you expecting a baby and don’t know where to start? Or are you simply trying to be more financially literate, or just trying to ‘adult’ like a boss?

Regardless of how you answered those questions, you are exactly where you are supposed to be. I’ve created this book to show you how to take control of your financial future, so you can set and achieve goals that will enrich your life while also having a positive impact on the world. My biggest goal is to have financial freedom, which I define as having enough money coming in from investments that I don’t have to go to work every day. Perhaps that’s your goal too.

I know that addressing the money side of your life plans can be overwhelming, confusing and uninspiring, and is one of the easiest things to avoid; however, the earlier you get on top of your finances, the greater the long term benefits will be. Today is the day we start having a significant and positive impact on your financial future. Whether you’re trying to pay down debt, start investing, save for your first home or purchase your third investment property – I’m on your team, and this book has all the tools and resources you need to help make your dreams a reality.

Chapter by chapter, I’m going to teach you key money principles that will stick with you for life, no matter what your goals are. This book is designed to help motivate you in the short-term, and also set you up for long-term financial success – because finance and money aren’t things we just set and forget. They’re a journey, and I’m so glad that I’m now a part of yours.

This book goes beyond the basics of financial planning and advice. It’s about more than how to save money, or what you need to take into consideration when looking at your superannuation. It’s about mindset, behaviour and how your beliefs, values and past experiences dictate and guide the decisions you make around money every day – consciously or subconsciously.

You will find that I am blunt when putting facts on the table, but believe me, when you read something in this book that feels confronting or makes you feel a bit uncomfortable, it’s for your own good. Besides, everyone feels a little uncomfortable when presented with change. I’d like you to think of me as an older sister – I want you to know that I’ve got my heart in the right place. And while you might not always agree with what I’m saying or suggesting, I just want what’s best for you (and sometimes, the best thing for you is not the thing you wanted to hear). I’m not just someone who’s excited about financial literacy and wanted to write a book – I’m a millennial, a financial adviser who started her career working in psychology, and a woman who is empowered by empowering other women. I am driven to provide my fellow millennials with the knowledge and confidence to be the person they want to be, not the person they have to be because they don’t know who to ask for financial advice.

When I say I want to empower you, I don’t mean I want you to follow my advice to a T. I want you to be educated to make your own decisions – those that work best for your personal situation. Not everything in this book is going to resonate with you. At this stage in your life, it might not even be the right fit for you, but I want you to read on anyway. You may learn something that could benefit a friend, a family member, someone you work with, or future you. There’s no such thing as being too educated.

Ultimately, I’m here to make it easy for you. I know you, because I am you. I’m not dumbing this information down, because you don’t need it dumbed down. You deserve financial security. You deserve prosperity. You deserve to be taken seriously. I want to change your relationship with money for the better and I’m not here to mess around. Finance is a priority and it’s time it became yours.

Most importantly – be nice to past you. She did the best she could with the tools she had at the time. This is a no-judgement zone. I’m not here to make you feel bad, or behind. I’m here to make you feel included. You need to remember that it’s not important what happened over the past ten years. It’s the NEXT ten that count. 

Chapter 1: Everybody’s got a story

Money stories are the subconscious and conscious beliefs and values about money and prosperity that we develop early in our lives. Whether we like it or not, they contribute to what we feel is financially possible, and they dictate our behaviour. They form the foundation of how we think and communicate about or react to money. Where conflict around money was a central theme in our upbringing, any conversation about money might start with a stomach ache. Where money was abundant, conversations about money might allow you to feel invincible, or sometimes even reckless. Where money was something your parents took care of and didn’t speak about, any conversation about money might make you feel unqualified, lost or uninterested. 

In my mind, the most empowering use of money is as a way to transform our lives and the lives of others. Money, after all, is the tool we need to live a comfortable life, both in the present and future. Money is intended for spending, sharing and investing – nothing more.

For something with such a simple and pure purpose, the reality is that money can feel wildly complicated and cause an enormous amount of stress. The term ‘money anxiety’ has been coined (no pun intended) for a reason. Worrying about where your next meal is coming from, how you’re going to pay off your credit card debt, or if you can make a quarter of a tank of fuel last until payday can and will keep you up at night. When it comes to even bigger things, like trying to imagine how you’re supposed to survive after retirement, the task can seem so Herculean that you avoid the thought of it altogether, and shove it so far into the back of your mind it doesn’t even get acknowledged. 

Whatever your money story, positive or negative, dealing with the mysteries of money as an adult can be a struggle. Especially if you’re a woman. Today, women are increasingly out-earning men, but in many cases we still don’t have the resources and tools available to avoid being disadvantaged. I see it, feel it and hear it all the time: young women feel disempowered around money conversations because finance isn’t a topic we’ve been taught to focus on. We don’t learn about it in school, and most of the time, we don’t learn about it from our families. Gender stereotypes are still wreaking havoc on female financial independence and contributing to negative money stories. It’s something I’m here to change.

Young women need to know how to be financially free. The impact of this will be felt thirty, forty, fifty years down the track. If you start now, creating a secure financial future will involve tiny baby steps instead of unrealistic leaps. If you can set good money habits up front, you can look at your finances holistically and increase your savings as you increase your earnings, instead of experiencing lifestyle creep.

What do I mean by lifestyle creep?

I mean that more often than not, the more raises and bonuses you earn, the more you will spend. It could be brunching with friends, booking a holiday, buying a luxury car, getting every streaming service under the sun or simply treating yourself to a good coffee each morning. All of these things are fine if they’re what you truly value, but they’re not going to help you build an investment portfolio that will provide you with financial freedom. The fact of the matter is: you cannot save without sacrifice. Something is going to have to give, and understanding just how beneficial choosing to go without can be is the first step to having a healthy relationship with money.

Have you previously tried setting goals to create more abundance, but didn’t make any progress? I strongly believe that your money story can sabotage your plans for prosperity. Now, you can’t change your story, but you can reinvent it.

Together, we are going to map out how you can free yourself to create a more balanced, enlightened and positive outlook on money. The truth is, personal finance is just that: personal. And remember, this is a no-judgement zone. I’m here to work with you on your own story and values. We all have a money story, and it’s not the product of our own doing. It’s important to say, ‘This is my starting position, now where can I go from here?’ 

Understanding exactly where you are right now with your money and knowing where it is that you want to be will give you the clarity and confidence to make wise choices that will set you up for life, both personally and professionally.

Let’s get started, shall we?

Activity

Connecting with your money story

  • What is the first thing that came to mind when the topic of money stories came up?
  • How were finances handled in your family when you were growing up?
  • Were financial expectations different for men and women? If so, what were the differences?
  • What is your earliest memory about money?
  • Was money spoken about as a family? If so, do you think those conversations impacted you in a positive way?
  • Did anyone influence your money story in a positive way?

What are your money beliefs?

Beliefs are assumptions we hold to be true. When we use our beliefs to make decisions, we are assuming that the causal relationships of the past, which led to those beliefs being formed, will also apply in the future. In a rapidly changing world where complexity is increasing day by day, using information from the past to make decisions about the future may not be the best approach. Beliefs are contextual: they arise from learned experiences, resulting from the cultural and environmental situations we have faced. 

I want you to start thinking about your money beliefs and answer the questions below.

  • Do you believe money is good or bad? Or is it just an evil necessity?
  • Do you think money should be spent or saved?
  • What would you consider a luxury purchase?
  • Do you think money is hard or easy to obtain?
  • Do you think money should be your responsibility, your partner’s or both?
  • Do you think both parties in a relationship should be empowered to make financial decisions?
  • Do you think money in a marriage should be separate or shared?
  • Where do you think these beliefs came from? 

What are your money values?

Your money values are different from your money beliefs. Values are not based on information from the past and they are not contextual. Values are intimately related to our needs. Whatever we need, whatever is important to us or whatever is missing from our lives – that is what we value. A good way to check what your values are is to check your bank statement and highlight what you spend most of your disposable income on. It’s basically a bank account audit (which you will do in Chapter 2!). While you may think you value paying off your mortgage, your spending habits may reveal that you actually value nights out with friends more, and that’s why you have so many pub and wine bar charges. As our life conditions change and as we mature and grow, our value priorities change. When we use our values to make decisions, we focus on what is important to us or what we need in order to feel a sense of wellbeing. 

What do you currently think you value?

Would you be willing to cut back on any of those activities or purchases?

  • If yes, why?
  • If no, why not?

Beliefs versus values

Being able to differentiate between your beliefs and your values will help you get your head in the right space to adjust your behaviour with money. Neuroplasticity refers to the ability to retrain your brain and change your habits. As much as your money story is defining your habits right now, you can absolutely change your trajectory. 

Reflecting on your beliefs and values, do they hold true for you today? 

Are they aligned with creating the life you want for your future?

Are your beliefs getting in the way of your goals?

Reframe your thoughts

Most purchases are emotive. Have you ever had a really crappy day and thought, ‘I deserve my favourite gelato right now’ or, ‘If I go and get that facial, I will feel much more confident at my work Christmas party, which will then help me network better and ultimately get me that new account’? This is called retail therapy. It’s your mind literally trying to soothe itself through shopping, and while it may hit the spot in the moment, it is detrimental to your bank account in the long run.

Another major cause of money anxiety is the unintentional practice of comparing yourself to others. When you talk to colleagues, friends or family members about salaries, savings, holidays, homes and the latest smart watch or phone, you can often end up feeling like you’re not where you’re supposed to be in life, which damages your sense of self-worth. It’s important to know that the world is not a level playing field, and that we did not all start at the same point. Don’t compare your start to someone else’s middle.

Our minds constantly give us chatter and feedback, but sometimes these voices in our head can be negative and unhelpful. By learning to tune in to this chatter and reframe the messaging, you can consciously shift the tone to neutral or positive, which can lead to better decision-making in every area of your life. 

Over the years, I’ve learned that people have excuses for everything. When people say, ‘I can’t,’ they mean, ‘I won’t make that a priority right now.’ It doesn’t matter what salary you’re on when you say you can’t save. You would if it meant a lot to you. You’re choosing not to achieve it. Financial independence is about mindset and your approach. Since your emotions are guiding your purchase decisions, you need to be able to reframe your reactions to your thoughts so that they align with your values.

Take one of the money beliefs you came up with earlier that has associated negative emotions for you. It might be a belief that makes you feel mad, sad, frustrated, stressed, trapped or worried.

Write down the thought that created this feeling and any actions that follow you based on this belief.

How can you reframe this event in a way that will bring more positive emotions and less negative ones?

I am here to help you build a bigger, better version of yourself. Money is really important, but it’s not what matters the most. Not making a choice is still a choice. If you’re not ready to face your money story, that’s fine, but that’s also a choice you’re making. I know that change is uncomfortable, but your thoughts, behaviours and beliefs are guided by your money story, and it’s up to you to change yours.


She's on the Money Victoria Devine

The ultimate millennial money guide, from the creator of Australia’s #1 finance podcast

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