Profiled 10thousandgirls

10TG piot group loans

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
Activity: Manufacturing
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
Activity: Farming
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

Want to do the 10thousandgirl 6 Step Challenge? Sign up 

Regret Nothing interviews 10thousandgirl Founder Zoe Lamont about all thing entrepreneurial as part of Global Entrepreneurship Week 2012

Zoe Lamont is most well known for her work developing 10thousandgi Girl, a financial literacy program designed to empower women in both rural and metropolitan regions across Australia.  She has also been behind a number of other social ventures including a project to assist Burmese illegal migrant children along the Thai-Burmese border, Senator Online an internet based political party, and her newest start up Future Map which is a financial literacy program designed for the workplace.  She has traveled the globe to 47 different countries and has also had experience as a panelist and speaker and is passionate about progression and making a social impact.

Zoe shares her her story of an entrepreneur below in this inspiring interview.

“Success is if you set out to do something, and you do it….action is a catalyst for progression in society.”

” Anyone who is an entrepreneur or is interested in the entrepreneurial world, knows that no day is the same.”

You can find out more about Zoe’s ventures here and here

Bio: Alison Gallagher is a ‘creative communicator’ and Program Coordinator for Regret Nothing, a financial engagement program for young people aimed at making finance fun! She is also an actor and meditation teacher and enjoys inspiring others to help make the world a better place.

Name: Arienne Gorlach
Attended: Life Planning Workshop & GIG
I’ve done a few! I think my first as a participant was in early 2010. Then I sat in and participated in a couple as I was learning to facilitate. It was amazing to see my progress and to also notice how my focus and priorities changed from session to session. If you get the chance to do another one I would strongly recommend it. We so rarely take time out in our everyday lives to focus on ourselves that this is a great opportunity to do so.

I then ran workshops as a facilitator and it was absolutely amazing to help people gain insights and to look at and plan their personal and financial futures. I have some really wonderful memories of people’s AHA moments and learning.

I also participated in the first round of Girl Investment Groups doing the original Personal Finance Program (part of it has now been modified to the Link Up events) and it was a highlight each month as I would connect with the other (awesome, inspiring, fantastic) gals, hear about their experiences and make incremental improvements to my personal money set up.

My greatest achievements so far are…?
Overcoming some difficult personal times and coming out the other side a better person
Topping Geography in Year 12 (I know it was a while ago and only at my school but I’m still nerdily proud of this)
I’m sure there’s more, but I can’t think of them right now!

What is your background?
I had a very nomadic upbringing during my childhood. We moved countries/cities about every 18 months. While it was hard sometimes, from it I have friends around the world, learnt flexibility and tolerance and have a slight addiction to hard to find international foods. I also speak English and Australian.

I got my degree in commerce with a marketing major and have worked in small business, education and non-profit (hello 10thousandgirl!).

Behind me at the moment is the kitchen.

What have you done that others are in awe over?
I think the major thing was leaving the security of a family business to go out into the big wide world to create my own path. There have been trials and errors but I’m forging forward to building a life of my own which includes being my own boss (gosh she’s nice). I sometimes miss the security of having a job, but this is the right choice for me.

I joined 10thousandgirl because…?
A girlfriend of mine shot around an email about someone she knew that had written a book for women about personal finance. That book was Flirting with Finance by our 10thousandgirl ambassador Anneli Knight. I got in touch with Anneli about my interest in helping women and she put me in touch with Zoe Lamont. Needless to say we hit it off and I’ve been involved ever since!

My personal goals for the next 12 months are…
Planning an intimate, low-budget, creative wedding that screams me and the boy
Launch new biz and a couple of smaller income-generating projects
Simplify my house, declutter and give or sell all that stuff that accumulates (yep, that’s why I’m on ebay a lot…)
Maintain a great health regime
Write draft of book (and have someone else edit my punctuation and grammar)

My financial goals for the next 12 months are…
To rebuild savings
To understand more about tax
To find a wonderful, educational accountant
To get all that paperwork out of boxes and into manageable order

In 3-5 years I’ll be…
Ecstatically and excitingly married
With kids (yikes, when did that happen?)
Running my business joyfully and expanding it
Writing (another) book

And financially, in 3-5 years I’ll be…
Still building my savings (can’t stop now can we?)
Have 5 streams of passive income
Starting money pots for the kiddies’ futures
Having an income that comfortably supports my family and needs
Buying a home

It’s my birthday in the year 2022 and I…
Personal side
I am very happily 41 years of age, just with a few more greys and fabulous laugh lines. I am surrounded by my amazing husband, children, furbabies, the extended family and friends that I could call at 2am.

I got me some vibrant health (hello core strength and tranquil mind) so I’m all glow-ey and shiny from the inside out (nice, huh?!).

The dream home (not huge – who needs 27 bedrooms?) is being designed and built.

I’m making a difference for women (and perhaps men, children, animals and the environment??) by empowering them through my work of light-hearted self-discovery, lifestyle design and action implementation. I receive and give in a positively endless cycle.

I travel, I read, I see, I learn. Always (well…travel maybe only sometimes…). I still do crazy dances.

Financial side
I bless my lucky stars (and that thing called sweat and working smarter) for the financial freedom and independence I have. That means that I can look after myself and my family and do pretty much what I want, when I want (okay – within reason, I might not get a private jet, own island or be able to give what I’d love to to each citizen of the planet…).  For me, it’s all about having options and the freedom to choose those options based on best-fit rather than scarcity and fear.

I’ve built passive income streams that are the result of helping people and giving value; I’m getting a great income from the business I’ve built; I’ve made good property and investment decisions that are building my asset base for the future; I have a good amount in superannuation so that I can live my older life without worrying myself into the grave and I’ve got all the appropriate insurances and emergency funds in place just in case!

Overall, I’m happy – the real type of happy that gets you through the tougher times. And that’s all from being me, learning from the mistakes, celebrating what I have and making life what I want it to be.

The very first steps I’m going to take right now are…
Updating and rewriting these goals in the INSPIRE framework

What do you want others to know – what is a tip or advice to give them?
The biggest, hugest, most ginormous thing is to live your life as you as much as you can. After all, you’re with yourself 24/7 (friends, family and society aren’t in there with you) so make sure you’re making the decisions and doing the things that make you happy. Ultimately, this will make the people around you happier.

The other thing is to make that decision (whatever that big one is in your life right now). Stop staying in the same place and fearing failure or a ‘bad’ decision. By choosing something, you can see if it is right or wrong. If it is right – yippee! If it is wrong, then you might have lost some time, energy or money but at least you know and can move forward and stop wondering those (sometime in the future, regret-creating, painful) words “what if I had…”.

This is where you can find more about me:
I am scattered around the place! I have a blog at, you can read some of my articles on the 10thousandgirl blog or see my new venture launching November 2012 (yay for stationery/planner fiends) at

As part of this month’s (August 2012) focus on all things property related, we have women from the 10thousandgirl community sharing their property journeys. Here is our first one!

Name: Jo
Do I have to?

Tell us a little about yourself (personal, professional, fun, family) so we can get to know you a little better!
I’m a self-employed PR and communication import from the UK, a Hello Kitty enthusiast. Love exercising outdoors.

When did you buy?
My first, July 2009, my second, May 2011.

Did you buy alone or with someone else?
By myself – very happily. I read articles about whether girls should buy alone or not, such nonsense, of course they should, every wants/needs a home and everyone needs financial security at any point in their life, if they can afford it.

When did you first think you wanted to buy?
Like most people, I had lofty ideas of self-employment, first property and marriage by 30. Ha, try telling your life how your life is going to pan out…

How did you know property was for you?
I’m a relentless researcher, I put exactly the time it takes to find what I want. So, when I do, it’s usually the right side of perfect based on research, realigning according to needs, wants and price.

I’d been looking longer than most, probably eight or nine months, so when I found it, it was an easy & quick sales process, and most importantly, it felt like home when the minute I walked in to the viewing. It was a top floor sunny haven that when I closed the door, the rest of the world disappeared. Also useful was that I could go to viewings in office hours when many can’t, that way, I got to move quickly and secure the deal.

I’d come from renting a great property in terms of location, price and size – right on Bondi Beach, but it was ground floor and dark. I’d had a peeping Tom and I didn’t realise how much I appreciated moving into a sunny top floor safe haven. I still appreciate it three years on, and have that nice feeling of ‘home’ every time I walk in.

When did you get serious and start taking the steps to buy?
As an import, with no family or experience of buying in Australia, let alone Sydney’s unique, expensive and competitive Eastern Suburbs, I attended a one day course on first-time property buying through the Eastern Suburbs Community College. It turns out to have been the best $130 odd dollars I’ve ever spent as far as wealth management and creating a home are concerned.

Who did you talk to during the buying process (professionals/family/friends)?
I asked the guy taking the course, Scott Durrant of Successful Ways (property coach, buyer’s agent, mortgage broker, and other financial/property services) what else he did beyond teaching – that’s what was great, he imparted his knowledge without selling his other services. There was instant trust there as a result.

What questions did you ask?
Subtly, reason for the sale, how many in the block, planned works, owner/tenant occupation, strata fees, company title vs strata, how long it had been on the market.

I worked with Scott as my property coach, I’d go and trawl every Saturday and report back. People who are in property love talking about it, they don’t get tired of the questions. He’d help me with the next set of questions to ask the agent and filter the good properties from the bad.

What other research did you do?
Pavement pounding – I went and looked at everything in my price range and certain specifications, just to be sure, it helps narrow the criteria for what you will and won’t compromise on.

How did you save for the deposit?
It’s kind of a weirdly bad story with a good outcome. I went through a really tough few years in my personal life, I’d quit a very well-paid job to start a business in a completely new area, my boyfriend dumped me shortly after, a parent (in the UK) had cancer, a sibling (here in Aus) went through quite a serious situation so I threw the new business idea aside, focused on family and keeping myself sane, started freelancing and eventually grew a good set of clients. During the three or so years, I was quite isolated as a result and this pot of money kind of grew itself. Almost accidentally. Good things do come from bad!

Also, somehow, I’ve never had a credit card and have been debt-free since paying off my student loan in my late 20s so I was lucky not to have the mental drain that I understand debt can be.

It’s daunting but just get saving, sooner rather than later, and establish a budget and plans. I’d allocate myself a certain amount of cash each week, no card payment allowed. When you realise how much you fork out on rent and socialising along the way, it’s sickening.

Did you buy as a home or for an investment?
Both – always as home to live in for a few years, and always with the intention it would be a good investment in the longer-term.

Where did you buy?
Bellevue Hill, near Bondi in Sydney’s East.

What was the most difficult or challenging thing during the process?
Wondering if the deposit pot was ever going to reach the magic number!

Giving up those gorgeous Saturday mornings to do the mad dash between apartment showing times for eight or nine months, have your hopes raised and dashed when somehow, they weren’t quite right. You start wondering where you need to compromise.

What was the most fun or rewarding thing during the process?
Always the potential of what I was going to discover …but the most rewarding thing was that I found a beautiful home with great rental and sale potential, at what could almost be described as a bargain (for Eastern Suburbs prices).

What was the most important thing when looking at the mortgage?
Take advice, shop around, consider offsets, consider whether you’re cautious or risky to decide on fixed vs variable.

Who or what was the most helpful?
I keep saying it, but seriously, Scott Durrant at Successful Ways was invaluable & patient. I’d research the properties, go and view, report back, and he would help me evaluate each one, and how to negotiate with the agent. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend doing a course, or working with him.

What has it been like after the purchase?
So painless that I did it again! Scott helped me work out that there was enough equity in my property to buy again. I went through the process a lot quicker this time, probably helped by the fact that I wasn’t going to live in it so could make an impartial good decision. That said, it’s great and I would consider living in it if I ever had to! It’s a one bedder with sunroom, study, terrace, lock-up garage in a small block just back from the beach in Bronte. It’s rented out, I cover some of the mortgage each month, which with my existing mortgage is something not everyone could manage I guess but I’m doing the hard yards now for the future.

Do you have any other property related goals?
Well, I’m currently looking to buy my third actually for a business idea, and ultimately would like property in New York and London in the not too distant future, also part of a business & property strategy I’m currently looking at.

I’m essentially using well-bought property as part of my superannuation / retirement strategy.

Any tips you would give other 10thousandgirls who are thinking about buying?
-Work out what you will and won’t compromise on, garage, balcony, light, two rooms etc – I compromised on the location, I had my heart set on Bondi but realistically, the quality, and the quality vs price quality just wasn’t there. Especially when you’re competing with couples and their dual income, and often rich couples with parental backing.

I knew that without the beach on my doorstep, I needed a balcony. I also personally prefer the art deco blocks vs the new builds, because they’re better quality and won’t crack in ten years.

-Check on the hidden costs and don’t pretend they’re not there – sinking funds, insurances etc, strata fees. Older blocks don’t tend to have as high strata fees to cover lifts, pools, concierge etc. do the reports, get the advice.

-It took me a long time to get my head out of Bondi and look at surrounding suburbs. Best thing I did. I almost bought a lemon right on Bondi Beach, thankfully, Scott and his team had done the research to show that insurances for the awnings over tourist cafes hadn’t been paid for a while, so if anything happened to them, I and other owners would have been liable.

-Buy with head and heart, not just heart. It’s easy to say but only by spending a good period of time researching will you come to a happy medium.

Thanks Jo for sharing your story and your tips!

Written by a 10thousandgirl who wished to remain anonymous – thank you for sharing your financial story and how you’ve created a fantastic savings system!

I have notoriously been an average money-manager throughout my life.  Even before I started earning an income, I remember being 16 years old and given access to $10,000 that my parents had saved for me.  I blew that all on food, drinks, clothes and smokes.  In my early 20s, I tried to find some resources to help learn more about money.  Short of reading very technical books about investment and attending ‘wealth creation’ seminars, there wasn’t much out there that was straightforward and understandable to use.  I received an inheritance from Grandad when I was 23 and asked someone else to invest it for me.  I had no idea where to start and my investment strategy of getting someone else to do it never eventuated.

‘Phase 1’ of my financial (self) education came when I turned 25 and moved out of home with no concrete job.  I truly learnt the value of $1 because I knew I had to earn (and save) $150 each week to at least cover my rent.  To manage this, I set up two bank accounts with different banks – one of which any income would be paid into, and the other was linked to a card.

This system meant that I had to plan ahead if I wanted to withdraw money due to there being a 2 day clearance between external bank transfers.  I would withdraw $150 each week to cover my rent and I kept it in a sock in my drawer (I understand this isn’t ideal but it worked for me because I could physically see my rent).  Any money left over I spent on groceries, bills and a social life.  I didn’t have a regular income at the time and was only just covering my expenses.

Two years later I landed myself a stable job with a regular income.  I had nailed being able to cover my expenses and curbing impulse purchases but realised I had to step up and learn to save.  It was time to implement ‘phase 2’!

I realised that one of my two banks had quite a good netbanking system set up so I decided to move all operations across to that particular bank.  I kept my other bank account open in case I needed it.  I found out my bank didn’t charge me fees on my accounts so I opened six of them and labelled them:  Income, Spendings, Savings, Rent, Recurring Bills and Rainy Day.

I started budgeting by ‘preallocating’ money each fortnight to each of these accounts.  I figured out how much my bills cost each month and then saved half each fortnight.  For example, my phone bill is $99 per months, so I put aside $45 each pay into my Recurring Bills account.  My rent us $587 a month, so I put aside $290 each pay into my Rent account.  I have a whole system that covers major expenses, recurring expenses and money for a rainy day.

By doing this, not only does paying my bills feel more manageable, but it also means that what I do have left over, I can feel comfortable saving knowing that my main expenses are covered.

I was quite proud of myself when, with the help of the 10thousandgirl goal setting worksheet, I was able to save $5,000 in 5 months which was roughly a third of my income.

I expect that ‘phase 3’ of my financial education will be around managing loans and debts – as I have not yet had the experience of a credit card, car loan or mortgage!!

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Name: Garmisch P A. Riley

Attended: Canberra Life Planning Workshop, 10 May 2011

I wanted to become a 10thousandgirl because… frankly, I was sick of trying out different roles just to be completely strung out and constantly looking for the eject button. I wanted something to be passionate and excited about.

Half way through 2010 I quit my full time job of three years in a University, started my masters, realised I just wasn’t into it and went head first into a part time NGO job. After that I landed a three month contract in the Public Service. I was a bit of a floater, and with each new experience I realised all the different things I enjoy working on while at the same time, deep down, I knew I didn’t want to do it forever. So, I just couldn’t figure out what I was actually passionate about and what I wanted to pursue. The 10thousandgirl workshop was perfect timing for me. I came home that day inspired, and I realised I was in some sort transition period in my life (and still am). And it was actually okay! I graduated at 20, got married at 23 and at 25 I was kind of floating about trying to decide what to do and determined (stubbornly so) to do something!

In May 2011, I had one month left of my contract with no idea what to do next. I applied for a couple of volunteering roles and had to wait months for the result. And the thing with me is I love planning and organising, so it sort of threw me that I was going to be jobless, hobbyless and studyless come July.

Doing the exercises at the workshop reignited my will to just do! I write lists and make vague plans but I have this problem of not following through. One of the biggest things I got from the workshop is to simply go for it, you won’t know until you try!

And here I am, 10 months later, looking out onto the park across our street, filled with coconut trees, roosters, goats and kids playing basketball. Because, I did in fact get the volunteering role and four months ago hubby and I packed up our lives in Australia and are now living in the Philippines.

My greatest achievements so far are… let’s face it, all have to do with organising, cause I’m a bit of a nut for that.

Moneywise – I’m secretly so proud of the fact that we were able to plan and pay for our entire wedding! Every detail from the decorations on the cake to moving three van loads of guests from the city to the country. Everything was organised to a tee, everything was beautiful, and I honestly loved the whole process of it it all. In the same year, we also bought a two bedroom apartment in Canberra within walking distance to the City. The combination of my parents teaching me about finances, my grandmother telling me endless stories of her business endeavours in the Philippines and of course years of saving allowed me to do the things I do and have the things I have.

Workwise – I took a chance and quit my full time, well paid and secure job to go into a whirlwind of unknown. It was my choice, it was my well-being at stake and I was just at the point where if I didn’t leave I would stay and eventually resent being there. It was one of the best decisions I have made. It opened up door after door of different opportunities. This time last year I was working on the online campaign to Fight Negative Body Image for the Centenary of International Women’s Day. Reading stories and listening to inspiring people made me want to go out there and help.

Studywise – I graduated from Digital Arts in 2006, the same year I met my now hubby. I chose the degree mainly because it combined all the little things I was interested in. Being able to study what you love to do as a hobby is such a gem. Since then I’ve tried studying a couple of different masters, and one of the lessons I learnt from that is I like doing more than theory. I finished a Cert IV in Project Management and, even in the provinces of the Philippines, I can adapt what I learnt to day to day situations.

My greatest achievements since I joined 10thousandgirl… is to appreciate “me time” for what it is.

Time – My contract ended in July 2011 and I had no job lined up. I was going to go travelling for a couple of weeks and after that, I was just going to see how things panned out. At first I was looking forward to having a bit of down time, but it got boring quickly. I got restless and impatient. It was hard to keep motivated when there wasn’t anything I felt like I was working towards. I’m the kind of girl who multi-tasks (sometimes too much), enjoys organising (anything) and just has to be busy (all the time). So after re-organising our apartment, my parents’ house and scanning pages of documents in an attempt to go paperless, I still wanted to do something useful with my time. It just wasn’t satisfying sitting at home all day watching non stop TV shows. So I started blogging, taking photos and generally documenting my day to day activities, for an audience that was mainly just me. I was doing it for myself.

Foodies – When I went to the 10thousandgirl workshop, hubby and I just started the paleo diet (basically no carbs or sugar but lots of meat, vege and nuts). I won’t deny it, I struggled at first big time because I love my sweets, chips and baking all things sugary. But I was also too stubborn and didn’t want to give up easily, so a friend told me about a bunch of gluten free or paleo recipes. And so my obsession of baking healthy snacks began. I tried different recipes, found my favourites and used any excuse to bring a plate of healthy sweet snacks to any occasion. Going paleo makes me less cranky, lifted my energy (and mood) and it just makes me feel good!

Moving – In August last year, I received an email saying I was successful in getting an eight month volunteering position in the Philippines. I was over the moon and totally wasn’t expecting it! Three months later, hubby and I said goodbye to Canberra and moved to a small provincial town called Talisay City, in Negros Occidental. The volunteer role was practically made for me :) They wanted someone with a digital media, training and marketing background. It was perfect! The actual location itself was the same city where my dad grew up and both my grandparents taught at the local College and Elementary schools. Another bonus is that the allowance I receive for volunteering actually covers our living expenses while we’re here. This totally appealed to me because I love being self sufficient and contributing to the kitty! It’s been exciting, terrifying, exhausting, enjoyable, sad, rewarding and about a million other emotions, but overall it’s been pretty darn good!

My personal goals for the next 12 months are to…

  • reach the goal for my bamboo hut fundraiser
  • teach kids English, hopefully somewhere awesome, new and different
  • learn more about my heritage, the Filipino culture and Tagalog
  • travel through Europe
  • spend more time with family and friends
  • keep up with my yoga, meditation and Zumba, regardless of where I am

My financial goals for the next 12 months are to…

  • save for a two month European adventure
  • save to move overseas (again) towards the second half of 2013 (to teach, live and play)
  • keep topping up the home loan
  • continue my minimalist cheapskate spending habits

In 3-5 years I’ll be…

  • back in Canberra
  • wanting to start a family, because being here (in the Philippines), you are surrounded by so many cute kiddies, I can’t help but be clucky
  • having short mini weekend getaway trips with hubby (and kiddies)
  • continuing to take photos, write blogs and giggle about something random
  • starting my own paleo sweets cafe (an idea I just came up with about last month!)

And financially, in 3-5 years I’ll be…

  • living comfortably and still be able to travel
  • running my own cafe, that’d be cool
  • hopefully getting into property investment

It’s my birthday in the year 2020 and I… will be 34. I will probably be in Canberra, with a couple of kiddies in my grown up house having the latest tech-y stuff (thanks to my beautiful geeky husband). I will have a few properties up my sleeve and have a booming paleo sweets cafe. Perhaps by 2020, we can take the kiddies on a trip here to the Philippines. Anything is possible!

The very first steps I’m going to take right now… is actually living, working and playing in the very place my dad grew up, which has been an awesome experience. I’m working in a bamboo hut, surrounded by an organic farm, where I get given freshly harvested eggplant every other week. I’ve become a big fan of fresh air, being outdoors and just taking it easy. I’ve learnt so much already and have met such gorgeous people who, despite enduring hardships, are the most inspirational and positive people I have ever met. I have a new appreciation for life, my time and to just let things be.

I’m currently half way through an online TEFL course, which will allow me to teach overseas when the time is right. By having this qualification, I will be able to work in the next country we move to. This also means that we can once again live off my salary for day to day expenses, and save the rest for travelling, investing and the future.

I’m also taking a lot of time out for myself right now. This has been one of the hardest things that I’m learning to be okay with. I’ve always been a big believer of plans, sticking to them and being busy. But in some situations it’s just not possible! And so I am learning how to stop, take a breath and just let things be. So far so good, and it’s made me enjoy everything a lot more! Because it is okay to change plans. Right now I’m sure I’m up to plan G (in terms of what I can do for work here), but I’m okay with that, because it’s too hard to be stubborn and try to make something work when it clearly won’t. Ultimately, when you stop to take a breath, just sit and watch, you notice all the little beautiful things that you would otherwise miss.

This is where you can find more about me

If you’d like to share your story and help others get inspired (there is no story too big or too small) please email Arienne ( who is patiently waiting by her email for you to contact her…Unfortunately she is not in a bamboo hut though she would love to be sitting next to Garmisch.

Name: Teisha

Attended: Sydney, May 2011

I wanted to become a 10thousandgirl because…? I have a friend who is involved and it has inspired her which in turn inspired me

My greatest achievements so far are… I have a degree and a great career that I love, I have worked hard and travelled. Together with my husband have purchased a great home. And through life’s challenges I have become a content, pretty happy person

My greatest achievements since I joined 10thousandgirl… Buying the home we wanted and just being content in where I am in my life right now

My personal goals for the next 12 months are… become a lot fitter and healthier

My financial goals for the next 12 months are… Pay off as much of the mortgage as we can

In 3-5 years I’ll be… Running after little one’s :)

And financially, in 3-5 years I’ll be… Still paying off the Mortgage but happy with that

It’s my birthday in the year 2020 and I… will be sitting on my balcony having a vino and thinking about how lucky I am to have what I have. Fabulous family and friends and a rewarding career

The very first steps I’m going to take right now are… stop those evening vino’s and head to the gym or on a nice walk instead

If you’d like to share your story and help others get inspired (there is no story too big or too small) please email Arienne ( who is patiently waiting by her email for you to contact her…

Name: Tori Edwards
Attended: Sydney Life Planning Workshop, May 2010

I wanted to become a 10thousandgirl because…? I thought that the 10thousandgirl mission sounded fantastic. I liked the idea of being in a room with other women motivated to talk about setting goals, getting their finances in shape and thinking big.

My greatest achievements so far are…? Fulfilling my long-term goal of working in the social justice field. Being brave enough to step away from work for a period without really knowing what was coming next (no mean feat for a ‘planner’ like me!) And on a personal level, running a marathon on 2010.

My greatest achievements since I joined 10thousandgirl… Following the workshop, I have achieved my goal of saving for a year’s career break in which I have travelled around the world and spent several months doing a language course in Paris, a long-held dream.

My personal goals for the next 12 months are… To settle back in to life in Sydney. To seek out new people and opportunities to be inspired – these include doing a writing course.To sink my teeth back into work and look for new ways to grow my role there.

My financial goals for the next 12 months are… To readjust my budget to account for living in the flat I purchased in 2009 on my own for the first time. To research some investment options, and perhaps join a GIG! To build some savings back up (these are vastly depleted after an amazing year of travelling!)

In 3-5 years I’ll be… somewhere in the world, perhaps in Sydney. Professionally I hope to still be working in a social justice field, and involved more broadly in writing and campaigning on the human rights issues about which I am passionate. I will still be travelling regularly, and seeking out people and places that inspire me. Personally, I would love to be on the way to having a family of my own, whatever that might look like.

And financially, in 3-5 years I’ll be… Earning a good wage for my sector, and well-set up with investments across multiple areas (property, shares etc).

It’s my birthday in the year 2020 and I… Happy and healthy in my late thirties. Hopefully with a family of my own, and still surrounded by fantastic friends. Working in a field that I am passionate about, and with the financial freedom to involve myself in different professional opportunities, continue to travel and donate to charities that mean a lot to me. Above all – still learning new things and being challenged.

The very first steps I’m going to take right now are… my first step has been to book my flight home! When I am back, to draw up a new budget and to revisit the goal setting exercises from the Life Planning Workshop. I also want to look in to doing a writing course to develop my skills in this area, a professional and personal goal I’ve been thinking about lately.

Name: Monika Dzioba
Attended: Life Planning Workshop Sydney, May 2011

I wanted to become a 10thousandgirl because…? I’m always looking for ways to improve my life. I was hoping to learn something new and to see things from a different perspective. I thought that the workshop would be a safe environment, full of like-minded young women sharing their experiences and learning from each other.

My greatest achievements so far are…?
Graduating from University
Buying my own apartment
Travelling on my own through Europe and America
Finding a job that I enjoy and can see myself doing for a long time

My greatest achievements since I joined 10thousandgirl…
Re-assessing life priorities and deciding to move back to Melbourne to be closer to my family

My personal goals for the next 12 months are…

Re-establishing a new life in a new place. Having been in Sydney for the last three years, I will need to find a new place to live, make new friends, start a new job…It’s a daunting prospect.

My financial goals for the next 12 months are…
To get on top of my tax. Renting out my apartment in Sydney will turn it into an investment property, which will have a lot of tax implications. I want to make sure that it becomes a financially positive decision and that I am claiming and deducting everything that I can.

In 3-5 years I’ll be…
Hopefully, busy with a family of my own…and happy.

And financially, in 3-5 years I’ll be…
Earning a good wage and have a solid investment plan across multiple assets – property and shares.

It’s my birthday in the year 2020 and I… am surrounded by a whole lot of family and friends. I own a great house and have the freedom to make decisions about how much I want to work and how I spend my leisure time. I have investment properties and shares which bring me additional income and allow me to take an amazing overseas holiday once a year.

The very first steps I’m going to take right now are…
To make sure I find out as much as I can about managing investment property. Hopefully, moving to Melbourne will mean a decreased cost of living, freeing up money to save and invest for my goals.

Name: Chloe Chapman
Attended: Sydney Life Planning Workshop, May 2011

I wanted to become a 10thousandgirl because…
1. I was in need of some support/guidance with my finances (to encourage me to begin a budget and ultimately a saving plan!
2. I had 10thousand ideas flying around in my mind in relation to a new project / potential business, so needed a kick start in developing some achievable goals/ plans to move my ideas forward  into ‘reality’

My greatest achievements so far are…
Since the course I have set up a budget for myself and my partner (have cut back massively on our spending once we broke it down and realised how ridiculous some of our spending habits were) We now have a savings account set up, with a fair amount already saved and regular deposits being made.  We are aiming to reach a certain figure within approx a year’s time, for a deposit for a house.

I have attended two different furniture restoration/refurbishment courses and have a clearer idea of the direction I want to take with my “dream furniture business” We have purchased several pieces of furniture to renovate and have had two successful sales! Not a bad start.

My greatest achievements since I joined 10thousandgirl…
My greatest achievement, aside from the above, has been my positive change in my frame of mind and having the confidence to start the ball rolling and making things happen!

My day job (which is NOT my dream career) has become literally that, a “day job” and I have been able to continue on working towards everything that will hopefully bring me long term happiness and fulfil my dreams.

My attitude towards my current job has changed dramatically.  I work hard, but do not bring my work home with me, which has allowed me to clear my mind and focus on moving forward with the furniture.

My personal goals for the next 12 months are…
Obtain my permanent residency in Australia
Attend two further courses (1 in upholstery and 1 other in either starting up a business or another furniture related course)
We’ve sold a total a further 12 pieces of furniture, (averaging sales of $150 and $250)
Become “planning manager” in order to help achieve my financial/saving goal
Register the business! 
To increase my level of fitness, general health and wellbeing.  Be 55kgs, slim and bouncing with energy (with flawless skin!)

My financial goals for the next 12 months are…
I am debt free by my birthday Jan 2012
To have at least $15,000 saved (enough for half a deposit for a home)

In 3-5 years I’ll…
Own a property (location yet to be decided- 2 would be better!)
Have at least one child (2 would also be better)!
Have the furniture business set up and running (with potentially a small shop, offering a service to “funk up furniture”)
Be fit, healthy with a fantastic work-life balance

And financially, in 3-5 years I’ll be…
The only debt I will have will be a mortgage
Earning enough from the business (possibly part time work) coupled with my partner’s income to support a family (comfortably) ?  Not sure on an exact figure?!!
Savings to allow yearly holidays for the family

The very first steps I’m going to take right now are…
–    Book 1st course this weekend
–    Read up on all info for permanent residency (which a friend has just passed over to me and get things started) I am going on holiday in 2 weeks, so want to have the initial application started before I leave
–    Myself and partner are calling a “business meeting” this weekend to discuss the plans going forwards, ie. A set of goals to aim to complete x no. Of pieces of furniture by a certain date and also to discuss what action/research needs to be done in order to start up a small business.

This is where you can find more about me
Check out Seller “cherry-life” for latest funked up masterpieces
The first 2….

My extra bit
Would highly recommend this workshop  to ANYONE that just needs a kick start with anything.  I can honestly say that without thinking too much about it, I can slowly see everything that I set out as personal/financial goals beginning to happen and dreams slowly becoming true.  Once you have ironed everything out on paper and visually the rest is easy. Thank you 10thousandgirls ten thousand times over for helping me believe in myself. 

Kaye Waterhouse discusses Letting Go in this video sharing her experiences with her own finances and her struggles with juggling university and careers and feeling like she had to do it without help. She tells her story with boldness, rawness and light. Get inspired Girls!

NAME: Sarah Power
ATTENDED: Life Planning Workshop Canberra June 2010

I have always been a daydreamer.  Ever since I was little I would spend hours day dreaming about my future and about who I would be when I grew up.  At the time I attended the Canberra Life Planning Workshop in June 2010 I had just turned 30 and despite amassing 30 years of day dreams I realised that I hadn’t actually achieved any of my dreams or even knew which ones I wanted to achieve.  As for how to start achieving, no clue!!  I kept waiting for things to fall into place, the perfect job at the perfect time, skills magically appearing to start a new hobby (and be the best rock star ever discovered), buying my dream home, starting my perfect lifestyle and obviously winning lotto to make all of this happen.

It has now been just over 12 months since I attended the Life Planning Workshop and guess what, I won lotto!  Nope, telling lies, I didn’t win lotto.  I did however learn to make realistic goals and that there is nothing wrong with a little bit of planning!  The beauty of the workshop, and what 10thousandgirl is about, is how to identify what is important in your life, how to create goals to align with these aspects and then how to make finance work for you to support your goals.  

Creating a life plan was an epiphany for me, along with the realisation that making plans and putting words/dreams into action isn’t all that hard if you view it as part of your journey.  So I decided to stop waiting for things to happen for me and to start making things happen!  

And to prove it’s all not talk, I actually ticked off a lot of little actions and ended up ticking off a pretty big goal.  I created and launched my own range of organic bed linen that is unique and a heartfelt part of me. commenced operation in April this year and have had a tremendous response to the concept.  Oh Mabel may not take over the world in terms of retail or the bed linen industry, however I hope that by starting and achieving this goal, that the result will set me up to continue enjoying a life that I have created as opposed to continuing a life where I felt I was just following the well trodden line.  

I feel that so much is now possible, and that is due to the tools I learnt from 10thousandgirl and their amazing Girls (thanks Zoe!) and from what I have learnt from starting Oh Mabel, is that there’s never any point in saying ‘Nope too hard’.

I am now excited about the prospect of the next 10 years and am determined to keep dreaming so that I can live them out instead of wishing.  Thanks 10thousandgirl!

Thank you Sarah and your wonderful enterprise Oh Mabel looks fabulous – we all want to jump into that bed in the field :)

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