Are you trying to get your finances in order but your partner doesn’t seem to be on board?
It can be frustrating when you are trying to get your finances in order, stick to a strict budget to save for that house deposit in the next two years only to find your other half has just spent $60 you had designated for a credit card repayment on a pair of socks. And they keep doing this!
Random, spontaneous spending: we all do it but when it is scuppering your ongoing efforts to save for a very worthy life goal, it might be time to have a conversation with your partner so that you are unified and strong in your financial and life goals.
Here are our tips to help ease you both through:
1. Take a good hard look at yourself first
In a relationship it can be easy to point the finger when things go wrong. Have a trawl through your bank accounts for the past month or so to see what your spending habits are. Identify areas where you could reign yourself in. Make this easy for yourself – use an online budgeting tool, like the MoneySmart budget template and get things down in black and white. Then, when you go to the table for that conversation you can start the discussion by identifying where you feel you can improve.
2. Talk to one another
It isn’t an easy conversation to have. Money can be a hot topic between couples so it’s no wonder that this will be a discussion you are both looking to avoid. But, putting it on the table now means that you can both get on the road now to clarifying and understanding your financial goals together and the steps that you both need to take to get there.
Discuss your future plans, break them down into short/medium/long term goals. Pay off that debt, buy a new lounge, save a deposit. Agree and commit to them together. Feel excited together by them!
The next step is looking at your current spending pattern to identify cutbacks or changes to attain your goals. This is where things can get sketchy between you…
To keep things smooth, approach your partner with a no-blame, ‘we’re-in-this-together’ attitude.
Ask questions like:
- “I noticed looking through our accounts that I spent a fair bit on lunches out with the girls last month. I’m happy to drop those and do something cheaper instead. How about you? Having a look through here, do you see anything you could cut back on or out all together?”
- “Is this expense something we might cull so that we can attain our short/mid/long term goal you think?”
- “Can we scale this expense back? What do you think?”
- “Can you think of any ways we might reign in our spending?”
It may be your partner simply must have a solid collection of snazzy socks – that without them feels like their life’s purpose is non-existent. That’s okay! Buy maybe instead of spending $60 a week on a new pair, is there a compromise position of maybe one pair a month? Create a plan. Maybe once gone through your life goals together that in fact maybe socks aren’t their thang anyway.
4. Share the Small Successes
As your plan and more controlled spending rolls out be sure to share with your partner the savings you have achieved together and link the progress to your shared goals. It always feels good to know you are on the road to success by having tangible evidence to show for your hard work.
5. Get some help!
If this is a truly hot button issue for you and your partner (and it is for many!) where you really can’t get understanding or traction, simply get in touch with a local Interrelate counsellor for a few sessions to help you both steer through these choppy waters. Often, spending habits are linked to emotions and deeply held beliefs from way back that don’t serve us as adults in our present world. Counselling is a wonderful opportunity to grow your understanding of yourselves and each other.
If you are over 18 with any possessions to your name, then you need a Will. It’s pretty gloomy to think about, but it will make life so much easier for those left behind. And it means you decide who gets your stuff, rather than a pre-determined government formula. This might mean taking steps to make sure your family are provided for, gifting something sentimental to your best friend or making a donation to a charity that inspires you.
If you have kids, there’s a whole set of other issues to consider, like who you would trust to raise them should the worst happen. Who loves them and is going to be physically and mentally able to raise them the way you want? And who do you trust to look after their inheritance until they are old enough to do so themselves?
There are different ways to get a Will – a DIY kit (if you know what you are doing), through your lawyer or through the State Trustees (but note they can charge a large commission if you make them the executor).
You should pick an executor who is trustworthy, reliable and happy to deal with the paperwork on your behalf. If there might be disputes, it can be good to choose someone independent or you can nominate one from each side of the family.
Don’t leave your loved ones guessing what your wishes were, particularly if you may be leaving children behind. Leave your assets and your little ones in safe hands, and make a Will today.
Laura Vickers is the Principal of Nest Legal, Australia’s first online after-hours law firm for busy women and their families, and finalist for the 2015 LIV Law Firm of the Year. For more info about making a Will, go here.
Are you feeling an itch? Like you want to put the brakes on day-to-day life things for a year or more and do something that will make a real difference to others’ lives? Something at a grass roots level, taking real action where it counts the most?
Volunteering overseas can be incredibly rewarding, character building and an experience you are likely to remember for the rest of your life.
If you are eager to make a difference to the lives of women and girls overseas, take a look at these programs:
1. Volunteer in Kenya: Women’s Education Project – HIV/AIDS
Due to on-going initiatives to support those affected by HIV/AIDS, many women living with HIV/AIDS in Kenya are still able to function on a day-to-day basis, but require support to be able to do so.
Volunteers on the Women’s Education project work closely with centres which support these women and their families, providing counselling, guidance, and sometimes childcare. The primary aim of these centres is to empower the women through income-generating projects, education and skills training. At many of the centres, women are able to learn sewing, tailoring, candle making and jewellery making through subsidised courses.
The women also have access to finance and small business management courses, enabling them to start their own craft-making or tailoring businesses to generate an income and provide for their families.
In these centres, volunteers can assist in a range of areas, including counselling, skill-training and campaign/education development. Volunteers on the Women’s Education project do not need previous experience or training in HIV/AIDS support or Women’s Education, however we strongly recommend volunteers gain some understanding of these areas prior to their arrival in Kenya.
Find out more here
2. Volunteer in Peru: Women’s Empowerment Program – Domestic Violence
The Women’s Empowerment program aims to assist women who have suffered domestic violence. Most women have children so the shelter where volunteers will assist works directly with kids also. The project aims to help with emotional healing as well as teaching skills and helping the women regain control of their lives.
Part of the volunteers’ responsibilities will be to help the women with English, support them during the workshops, as well as lend a hand around the shelter (cooking, cleaning, laundry etc.).
Volunteers will also have the opportunity to organise activities for the women, which is a great chance to provide skill-oriented training. Volunteers will share their own experiences and insights.
Find out more here
3. Volunteer in Tanzania, Africa: Women’s Empowerment Program – Vocational Training
In the patriarchal society of Tanzania only 5% of girls finish secondary school. Without education and guidance, most women end up serving their husbands or struggling to provide as a single parent. Give A Heart To Africa (GHTA) is a non-profit organisation that empowers women with the skills to improve their situations and pull themselves out of poverty by providing free vocational training.
Find out more here
4. Volunteer in Morocco: Women’s Rights – Outreach and Advocacy
Improvements in women’s issues in Morocco have been made in the last twenty years. Economic and political liberalisation have helped, as well as efforts by national and international organisations pushing feminist issues. The government has also taken positive steps, for example by setting aside seats in parliament for women.
However, the gender gap in Morocco remains very wide across every indicator, including education, employment, health, human rights and literacy. Cultural factors play a part, as well as ones related to the education and justice systems. Advancement is more difficult for women than men, especially in poor communities.
Volunteers support a grassroots organisation devoted to feminist issues. They bring new perspectives and skills, and collaborate with the local staff to push forward the organisation’s activities. Volunteers live and work in Rabat.
Find out more here
5. Volunteer in India: Rehabilitation of Young Girls from Distressed Families
India is trying to change the way of thinking about women in the society. Be part of the rehabilitation process of young girls who come from distressed families. Main aims of these projects are:
- Rehabilitation of the girls who come from broken families
- Provision of safe caring atmosphere
- To provide education and give skills so that the girls are able to be independent income generator
- Eventually send them back to their families or find them a job
- Give them the self-respect that they have been denied previously
Volunteers have been helping with the studies of some of the girls by teaching them English in fun and interesting ways. They have also been playing various games to promote both relaxation and some physical exercise as some of them have become demoralised and really relish time spent thinking of other things. Just the cultural exchange and interaction with international volunteers provide the girls/ women with much needed confidence and exposure.
Find out more, here
There is a whole world out there! Find something else to do that doesn’t involve being at the shops.
Having a sudden rush to the head when you’re at the shops and buying all the things – it’s not just you doing it. Oh no, we all do it. And buying yourself nice things is okay but when you’re trying to attain some serious saving goals then that delicious little habit might need to be altered somewhat. Here are some helpful tips to help you reign in those spontaneous spending splurges to get you well on the road to financial strength.
1. Cash only
When you spend, spend cash. Using credit cards is too easy – when we spend cash we have to consider how much we are actually spending.
When you withdraw your cash for a spontaneous spend, make a point of checking the balance so you can see how it is going down and question whether you would prefer a healthy bank balance or this lovely thing in the shops…
2. Old Wisdom
Remember this old adage when cruising around the shops for something :
“Look as you go, buy as you come back”
This will help you save money by scouting around for the cheapest option rather than purchasing the first item you come across.
“Cut your cloth accordingly”.
If you don’t have it, absolutely don’t spend it!
3. Get accountable!
Tell close friends and family your savings goals so you feel accountable.
Promise yourself a (reasonably priced) treat once you hit a certain savings target as a short term incentive (outside of the bigger incentive of galloping towards your life goals of course!).
5. Be clear about Needs vs Wants
Each time you go to purchase something (outside of food and the absolute essentials) ask yourself whether you really, truly need this thing… Be really clear about your needs and wants.
6. Make an oath!
Make an oath to yourself:
“I promise to be more mindful in my spending and remind myself each and every time I go to spend money what I am saving for. I am committed to saving $x,000 for a new ______”. Write this on some card (make it really beautiful!) and stick it up somewhere you are likely to see it often. Make this into a credit card size card too and keep it in your wallet on top of your credit card so you have to get past it every time you reach for your credit card to spend.
7. Visual Cues
Get your life and finance goals in your mind and find a visual cue to remind you of why you are being more frugal. Keep this visual cue close to you around the house so that it is always in your mind. This will help you keep your focus on your goals.
If you need something with you when you out and about (because that’s when you’re ‘at risk’ of spending!), choose a lovely little smooth rock. Sit with it in your hands and visualise all your life goals, see them in glorious technicolour! Then, when you are out and about and feeling the urge to buy something random and unnecessary, reach into your pocket and touch your rock to remind yourself of all those wonderful goals you are committed to. And walk away from that lovely thing in the shops…
8. Be more mindful
It is so easy to get into a mindless habit of buying random bits and bobs (for whatever reason). By simply being more mindful in our behaviour we give ourselves the opportunity to question ourselves as to whether we truly need this item and interrupt our random spending habit.
9. Budget and compromise with yourself
Much like radical dieting, if we are too hard on ourselves we are more likely to sabotage and rebel and our efforts will only be short lived. If you really love to buy yourself a little treat at the end of the week or month, maybe instead of cutting it out completely, simply look to downgrade it a little – maybe limit the treat to one item rather than five. Or, instead of weekly, make it a monthly occasion. Oh, and budget for it too, along with all your other budget lines! Set the money aside for it. This way you are far more likely to stick to your other long term saving goals.
10. Find something else to do!
There is a whole world out there! Find something else to do that doesn’t involve being at the shops. Get together with friends and have a picnic at the beach, go for a swim, go walking, read, cook, write that novel you’ve been concocting in your mind, get that blog up and running, paint that picture, take some photos, play, start a movement. Whatever it is, do that. Replace the thrill of acquiring new bits and bobs with something far more exciting.
Doing your own taxes can save you money and help you feel confident that you’re in charge of your own financial planning. The process will also shed a lot of light on where your money is going. You’ll come out of it much more aware of how it all works.
Are you ready to do your own?
If you have a straightforward situation, you’re a good candidate to do your own taxes. If your income comes from salary and wages, bank interest, dividends and government payments, the ATO’s MyTax program is made for you. If you have other types of income, or have lots of deductions, you still may be able to file yourself via the ATO site, using their more detailed eTax option
When to pay someone:
If things are more complicated, you might do better to seek out a professional tax preparer. They’ll make sure you don’t miss any deductions and potential savings. And they’ll ensure everything is done correctly and on time. Most importantly, they can take a lot of stress out of the situation for you.
What are some signs that you might have a more complicated situation on your hands?
If you’ve made major changes in the past year like starting a business or an overseas move, that can be a sign that a tax professional should be helping you. Or if you have lots of investments or multiple sources of income. Or if you’re really short of time. Your return is due on October 31! Taxes are something that should never be done in a rush.
SO you’re ready to take the plunge and prepare your own return? Here’s what you need:
You will need a little time and some patience to prepare your tax return.
It’s important to organise yourself first – gather your summary of income from your employer, along with any tax invoices or other documentation. Be sure you check the ATO website to know what expenses are deductible – they have an easy-to-use checklist . Set aside at least a couple of hours on a quiet afternoon or evening and be prepared to work through it one step at a time.
One last tip:
To do your own taxes, it does help if you’re comfortable using online programs and have a little comfort with basic maths.
Rest assured, you don’t need a higher level maths degree, just the basics and the patience to check your work. You should also feel confident doing basic research on the ATO website should you have questions. Not to worry, it’s all in plain english, with plenty of online resources for help. If you’re willing to give it a go, check out the ATOs MyTax service and take control this tax season!
Everyone likes making money but when it comes to investing some people are more comfortable taking risk to earn a higher return than others.
If you’re a member of a super fund, you’re an investor. The money in your super account is invested with the aim of growing your balance.
All investing involves risk. Typically, the higher the expected return an investment could earn, the higher the potential risk. Just like some people enjoy living on the edge — going skydiving or bungee jumping — some people are more comfortable taking investment risk.
Before you invest, understanding your goals can help you choose the investment strategy that best suits your needs. Deciding how comfortable you are risking the money you plan to invest, how long you want to invest for and the return you’re targeting will help you make an investment choice.
An investor aiming for higher returns over the long-term might choose a more aggressive investment strategy. They’re generally less worried about short-term changes in the value of their investments because they’re focused on achieving growth over the long term (10 years). An investor more focused on protecting their money as they could need it soon — rather than earning a higher return — may adopt a more cautious investment strategy.
Find out if you’re super is on track to meet your goals, using the Government’s MoneySmart Superannuation Calculator
Issued by H.E.S.T. Australia Ltd ABN 66 006 818 695 AFSL 235249, the Trustee of Health Employees Superannuation Trust Australia (HESTA) ABN 64 971 749 321. This information is of a general nature. It does not take into account your objectives, financial situation or specific needs so you should look at your own financial position and requirements before making a decision. You may wish to consult an adviser when doing this. Third-party services are provided by parties other than H.E.S.T. Australia Ltd and terms and conditions apply. H.E.S.T. Australia Ltd does not recommend, endorse or accept any responsibility for the products and services offered by third parties or any liability for any loss or damage incurred as a result of services provided by third parties. You should exercise your own judgment about the products and services being offered.
Did you know that from 1 July, you will be able to do this using the newly launched myGov online service?
Once you set up an account with myGov, you essentially gain access to a secure online inbox. Here you will be able to receive online letters, statements as well as other important information from various government bodies such as:
- Veterans’ Affairs
- eHealth Resources
- National Disability Insurance Scheme
- Child Support
The ATO’s Steve Vesperman said “You’ll be able to update personal information, keep track of your superannuation, pay any tax debts and keep tabs on the processing of your tax return…you can be confident that your personal information and records are secure.”
Here’s three things to review when choosing to invest in a stock.
First of all, what is a share? What are you paying for, and what are you getting in return when purchasing a “stock”? How does one determine which stocks to invest in?
When one buys a company’s stock, they actually become a part owner of the company. The “share” or “stock” is called such because all share-holders are investing their money to buy a piece of ownership in the company; and in return believe that the company will use the invested money effectively to perform well in it’s particular industry. Depending on how a company allocates the money brought in by investors, and many other variables, the company’s value will either increase or decrease. As a company’s value increases or decreases, so will the value of its shares. As a stock appreciates in value, one can choose to sell their stock for a profit (known as stock appreciation). A second way to profit from investing in a stock is the issuance of dividends. Dividends are simply the sharing of profits by a company to its investors.
With that being said, there are a few key things to look at when choosing a stock to invest in.
1. Performance history of the stock
With today’s technology, information on every publicly traded company is readily available. There are years of information on stocks traded today which will help in deciding which are good investments and those which are not. Looking at a stocks trading price over time can be indicative of its future performance, especially when compared to the market overall.
2. Stock volatility
For example, if a particular stock has consistently outperformed the market by decreasing less than, or even increasing, when the market average price is decreasing, odds are that the stock will continue to outperform the market in the future. The measure of how drastically a stock’s price changes up or down, especially when compared to the market as a whole, is known as volatility. A safer investment is in a stock with less volatility.
3. P/E ratios
The standard measurement of a stocks value is the P/E ratio, which stands for price to earnings. To calculate this ratio, one must take the price of the stock and divide it by the company’s annual net income. For example, a company with a stock price of $100 and net income per share of $5 will have a P/E ratio of $20; which is the recent average market P/E of United States stocks and slightly higher than the long-term average of Australian stocks.
Typically, stocks with a higher P/E ratio than the market average are considered expensive, while the stocks with a lower ratio are considered cheap. Either type can be considered a “good investment”, depending on how a person prefers to invest. The stocks considered expensive could be a company with a high stock price and low earnings, but may be growing very rapidly and will be increasing in value in the future. Conversely, a stock that may appear cheap because of a lower price or higher earnings per share could appear as such because many believe that a company’s future earnings will be less than they presently are; making what appears to be a good investment what is known as a value trap.
The cardinal rule for investing is to make the best decision with the information one has at the time. Through stock information now available online and the use of financial ratios, especially the P/E ratio, everyone is capable of investing intelligently in today’s markets.
10thousandgirl would like to thank Aaron Cunningham, for writing this article.
Budget at a glance
Infographic: Thanks to theconversation.com
Personally I’d like to see less spending on defence and welfare and more on education – since one would think the latter decreases the need for the former, however…
Here’s some other resources to help get your head around it:
- Official papers : http://www.budget.gov.au/2014-15/index.htm
- Summary & transcript : http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/may/13/budget-2014-joe-hockey-speech-live
- Fan of these changes : http://www.smh.com.au/business/federal-budget/federal-budget-2014-young-to-wait-until-25-to-get-dole-20140513-388di.html
- ABC take : http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-05-12/budget-2014-what-we-know/5439838
Watch out for:
- Family Payments : http://www.budget.gov.au/2014-15/content/glossy/welfare/html/welfare_08.htm
- First Home Savers Account abolished: https://www.ato.gov.au/Individuals/First-home-saver-account/
Actually two women’s lives.
Last night a group of 30 inspiring women around Australia gave two micro loans. These 30 women came from all walks of life – a mum from a farm in north west NSW, an artist from Melbourne, a mining consultant from central Queensland…
Over the last 6 weeks this powerful group of women completed the 6 Step Challenge, 10thousandgirl’s new ‘Michelle Bridges’ style online personal finance program. And they blitzed it!!
They documented their life plans, tracked their spending, worked out their net worth, negotiated rates on home loans, high interest savers and utility bills. They reviewed their insurance, consolidated super. They discussed investment principles and the behaviour of cash, property and shares. They opened super letters for the first time and made calls to their super fund to change their investment mix to fit with their age and stage. In week 4 they documented their personal investing plans, asking themselves:
- What are my #1 financial goals?
- How much money do I need for each goal?
- When do I need it? What’s my timeframe?
- What investment options suit that goal and timeframe?
- What are my next steps?
And last night they wrapped up by mapping out their personal and professional support networks. They discussed the different professional support roles, how to find trusted advisors and learnt good questions to ask when approaching and engaging an adviser.
Then they wrapped up with an INSPIRATION FEST. Discussing what inspires them, who do they inspire? How do they stay inspired?
Well, wonderful women. You certainly inspired me. Thank you for your Ripple Effect. May it be felt across your life, among your family and friends lives, in your work and community life and as part of your program fee, you each donated $10 into a pool and were able to donate two micro loans, one to Merelita Marama and one to Linita Ponitini.
So thank you for your globally felt Ripple Effect…
Merelita Marama, Nasautoka Fiji
Loan Use: Sewing
Term: 26 Week
Some people are born with a natural talent. Merelita Marama (47) is one of them. She loves sewing for the people in her village and is a skilled seamstress. Merelita has built a steady client base among her friends, neighbours, office workers and church members. With her loan, she intends to buy more sewing equipment to help expand her business. Merelita is certain she will make greater profits, which will improve the lives of her four children.
Linita Ponitini, Tonga
Loan Use: Farm produce
Term: 52 Week
Linita Ponitini has three children under twelve. Her goal is to build a house for her family. She and her husband grow a range of crops, which Linita sells in the local market. But their profits are insufficient to cover both family and business expenses. So Linita is seeking a loan to buy seeds and seedlings to increase the farm’s production and yield.
Want to provide micro loans? Sign up http://www.goodreturn.org
Want to do the 10thousandgirl 6 Step Challenge? Sign up http://www.10thousandgirl.com
Just read a blog on the MoneySoft site that made me go ‘yeah, that’s me too!’ Have you hit that age or stage where dreams of marrying a prince are slipping away and you’re finding yourself thinking about money??
Here’s Amy’s story… ‘Before I was a mum, I was a woman who enjoyed shopping for myself, being out with friends and family, paying for Foxtel to make sure I was update with every show and movie available on this planet. I enjoyed manicures, pedicures, facials, dinner parties, brunches, shopping online, spending summer days at the beach and having a quick drink before heading home. I drove everywhere, not really stressing about the cost of parking meters, or parking stations. Late nights splurging on food and drinks was not an issue as I could most probably sleep in the next day and if not have a quick nap before meeting up with friends for dinner. Everything seemed simple. Life was simple. What I wanted I did with no care in the world.
Something happened between my twenty’s and my thirties. I would always put it down to “well that’s what happens when you start having kids”…but in actual fact it’s just that my priorities shifted. I woke up one day thinking hang on (and that’s a PG version of what I was really thinking) why has everything changed? At what point did I become so money conscious and when did I start loosing sleep over this matter?
I can’t tell you exactly when or why but it happened. I found myself regretting a lot of my decisions from my younger days. What if I didn’t live paycheck to pay check, what if I saved a bit here and there, maybe just maybe I wouldn’t be in the predicament that I’m in now. When friends were all putting deposits on their investment properties I was that hippy saying “Enjoy life, life is short, we have plenty of time to work our a$$’ off and worry about money” then I would laugh and go home and think how I have got it so down packed this thing called life…. Just quietly I think those friends are now laughing.
Something had to be done it was getting ridiculous, having twins, a husband and all the pressures of life I no longer craved the ‘what I wanted I did with no care in the world’ kind of approach. My husband who is equally if not more a little ‘whatever’ with our finances came up with a great idea, pretend like we don’t have money. The first few months was great, we set up separate accounts to which our income was assigned to and another account for all our bills to come out of. We did the whole take food from home for lunch, put our left over coins in a jar at the end of the day, started selling a few bits and pieces online for some extra income, but slowly slowly our spending demons started resurfacing and scratching through the few months of hard work we had put in. In the end we looked at each other and..’ READ FULL ARTICLE >>
There’s a new money tool for women just launched. I’ve been loving their blog the last few months and now they have a comparison site.
Here’s an excerpt from their last newsletter with links to a few great blogs:
Tax expert, Jasmine Kidd, shares seven tax deductions commonly missed by landlords. For those of you working and paying a packet for childcare, Tracey Sharah helps you get the most relief from childcare allowances.
And with winter coming, Veronica Foale suggests how to you stay warm without burning money.
So if you’re looking to compare super funds, health insurers, home loans or savings accounts, add this one to your list of fun comparison sites: http://moneycircle.com