With my thirtieth birthday approaching I was very conscious that I needed to take control and become educated on my finances – no one else was going to for me! I’d tried to take steps a couple of times during my twenties including reaching out to financial planners and feeling embarrassed when they responded with ‘we work with high wealth clients’ – I definitely didn’t meet the client brief! I’d done lots of reading on money websites and found there were plenty of articles on getting out of debt and buying property but not much for those all-important stages in between so I was really excited to find the 10thousandgirl website.
My GIG group were an amazing group of women all from different backgrounds and industries. We were all nervous at the first meeting though some funny circumstances helped break the ice…we’d booked a room at the State Library and realised belatedly we couldn’t take anything in with us – including water and the muffins one of the girls had baked. There was someone rehearsing what sounded like a dramatic Shakespeare monologue in the room next door and we were constantly interrupted by loud announcements that ‘the library will be closing in 45 min, 30 min, 15 min…’. Fortunately one of the girls was able to arrange for us to use her company’s boardroom so for the rest of the meetings we had access to a quiet, private room with internet and took turns to bring along a bottle or wine and some cheese – you might as well be civilised whilst discussing money! We worked through many of the sections ourselves though made note of any questions we weren’t sure about to ask the ‘mentors’ that we arranged to come to a couple of meetings.
I wanted to be really open and honest about where I was financially and for me this was the biggest challenge during the first few sessions – I wasn’t used to talking about money. One of the real benefits I took from the program is that I now feel comfortable asking for advice and knowing the types of questions I need to be asking.
A couple of my key learnings included:
- Switching my super to a high-growth account with a new company – and ensuring I’m not paying exorbitant fees for services I’m not using. I also scheduled an extra $100 to be added to my super each pay cycle.
- Identifying some money mentors – I’ve found some friends I’m comfortable talking to about money and asking for their advice.
- Saved an emergency buffer – it’s very comforting knowing there are some funds ticking away and earning interest in case I need them!
- Created a financial plan – I used to be very overwhelmed about the thought of long-term plans preferring to ‘live for the moment’. I now know that within five years I want to purchase my first property and have some other investments. I’m still a long way off though importantly I know the steps I need to take to get there and that if I stick to them I can achieve my goals.
Since finishing the program my life has changed in several ways – I’ve bought a car, resigned from my job and starting freelance work. I also am about to embark on a journey through India and Nepal. The only reason I’ve been able to make these changes is because I’m now in control of my finances rather than letting them control me. A very nice feeling!
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