Four Ways to Unf#%k Your Finances

By Paul Banner – Principal Adviser Provenance Advice

Ready to discover the life-changing magic of unf#%ing your finances?

We bring you a step-by-step guide to applying simple principles that we know will impactfully improve your financial position.

Less is actually more

Of course, we’re not talking about giving all your money away to make life simpler. But simplifying your finances will almost certainly make it easier to stay on top of money matters. Like Marie Kondo and her fancy wardrobe systems, when you’re dealing with too many bank accounts, late bills, multiple super accounts and a menagerie of disorganised debts, you’re far more likely to lose track of what’s going on. This means things will fall through the cracks resulting in wasted money and missed opportunities. 

The M bomb!

Mindfulness. I know it is the most overused term right now so I thought I would jump on the bandwagon and apply it to spending. Mindful spending is consciously thinking about the satisfaction your spending gives you and as opposed to mindlessly wasting your hard earned. It is not about frugal budgeting but rather focusing your spending where it gives you maximum enjoyment!

As an example, I used to spend $100 bucks a week on coffee and crap lunches that I eat at my desk and gives zero satisfaction. While convenience dictates, I still buy the $9.50 sandwiches and $4 buck coffees a day or two a week, reducing this waste has become a habit I have made stick. I use these weekly ‘savings’ for guilt-free, indulgent and frivolous spending. It adds up quick so perhaps a cracker bottle of wine by the fire or a night at Brisbane’s gastronomic French institution ‘Montrachet’ are ways I indulge.  The point is I try to spend in a way that gives maximum enjoyment and mindfully save where it does not.  

Bank like the Barefoot.

You probably know of the Barefoot investor, he is a bit of a financial guru, so if you do not know of him, I recommend looking him up – Scott Pape. He suggests in his book ‘The Barefoot Investor’ the idea of segregating money for specific purposes and this also makes sense to me. However, while he advocates a ‘jar’ system, I encourage my clients with a home loan to use a banking loan facility that allows for a number of offset accounts on the one loan (for no fees of course). This means you can save for holidays, big one-off purchases, luxuries and anything else while still offsetting the savings against interest. Ask your bank if they offer multiple offsets and if not do some research. While you are there, ask your bank to review your interest rate. FYI – your home loan should have a 3 in front of it and some lenders rates are as low as mid-threes. The banks will not tell you if you do not ask and most of the time it does not require you to refinance to get a good rate!  

To maximise your bang for the buck, try mindful spending with a multiple offset savings system and a super sharp interest rate.

4. Discipline equals freedom

I recently found a social media influencer called Jocko Willink. He is a rough and tough ju-jitsu rolling ex-US Navy Seal. He has gathered a following around the Mantra that ‘Discipline Equals Freedom’ and has written a New York Times bestseller on the topic.  His argument is simply the more disciplined you are the greater freedom you have in life. The theory goes that via disciple, determination and focus, you have increased confidence and the personal agency to achieve what you set your mind to.

This makes sense to me and, we all know if you watch what you eat and exercise, you are more likely to be fit and healthy which in turn enables you to live a more fulfilling life with less sickness. I am sure this is also the case with finances. Try setting aside say one hour each week to research, read, sort paperwork and plan your financial future, I am sure you will achieve savings and be in a position to recognise then take advantage of investment opportunities out there.

Naturally, disciple is easy to say and hard to do – right? James Clear, author of ‘Atomic Habits’ has done some great podcast interviews. This guy has a heap of good ideas about reducing the ‘friction’ holding you back from breaking bad habits but also creating new ones like your new one hour to financial power!

Also, try finding a quality financial adviser to work and collaborate with who does not charge percentage fees or receives commissions. Have faith they do exist and a quality adviser will help you with all of the above and much more. They will also help keep you motivated and together with your new found ‘Jocko style’ discipline, I can (almost) guarantee you will be better off. 

Provenance advice is a boutique financial advisory. We are passionate about working with our clients to ensure they have the knowledge, support and confidence to make proactive financial decisions at the right times in life.

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