Many of us assume there is a silver bullet formula to attain happiness in our pursuit of personal growth and a higher quality of life. Better education, our career advancement, improved family harmony, more money, material assets and healthier etc.
However the paradox is that happiness in itself is not in having these ingredients of happiness but in fact the pursuit of these ingredients we have the opportunity to experience the lasting satisfaction if done authentically.
For example. We all know having more money does not mean you are happier. Money is needed to fund a level of quality of life, however beyond this, studies confirm the amount of happiness attained is a diminishing return on effort.
Those who continue to pursue excessive wealth often find themselves with less health (mental, emotional, spiritual and physical), greater worries, and finding less and less fulfilment even when they have achieved herculean levels of greater wealth.
The same applies to studies, our careers, health and any other ingredient of our lives that we feel compelled to need to have in order for us to experience more happiness.
Well friends, 2019 is now dry cement.
However before we embark on our plans for 2020 I’d like to share the ups and downs, successes and failures of the 2019 that was.
I do this to keep myself accountable and inspired on this journey called life. As a reference point click the 2017 Benchmarking Success link here.
The past maybe dry cement, but I believe it’s also important to also celebrate how far we’ve come, reflect on where we could have done better and put myself out there publicly as a form of motivation to do the work I need to do in making my plans a reality.
I hope that you find my wins, stumbles, and insights help you on your own journey to getting the most out of your life.
Each year I ask and I answer three basic questions.
- What went well?
- What didn’t go well?
- What to do better?
Feel free to apply a similar format and use for your own journal.
What went well in 2019?
As I like to begin on a positive let’s cover the wins of 2019. Here’s what went well in the year that was.
If you read the media and industry headlines, you'll read that thousands of financial advisers are currently running for the door.
Over regulation, increasing costs, loss of income, increased education standards and ongoing negative sentiment headwinds from the wider public and media.
Let’s not sugar coat the facts.
Now is a very difficult time for the financial planning industry.
I regularly hear stories of advisers who have taken their own lives, lost their homes, their livelihood's and families; at the same time of their career many others would consider thinking of retirement rather than going back to university or a change of career.
Indeed the industry is at a turning point.
The question we all need to be asking ourselves is, "What do we all i.e. consumers, regulators, suppliers (financial product manufacturers) and advisers, want from our financial service providers and how much are we prepared to pay for it?"
Maybe this tongue in cheek approach is the answer?
Our services are Good, Fast, & Cheap......Please pick two.
All bad jokes aside, I continue to see the following universal law of money being applied i.e. Money always flows to where it’s most valued.
Call me a sadomasochist, crazy or simply plain arse dumb for choosing this path however I believe the outcome will result in something better for us all as the financial planning community and industry transitions into a profession.
So as for me, I’m not quitting. In fact I’m very excited and looking forward to sticking around.
So without further ado the following are my top ten reasons I’m sticking around as a financial planner for the long term.
As a financial planner for the last 20 years, planning is now well and truly part of my DNA.
And between you and me, once you know the core fundamentals about money planning; working with numbers, projections, legislations and financial product features all day can at times get a bit dry and dull.
So given that today is a Friday, I’m in Cairns and the weekend is just ahead, I thought I’d take a break from the daily grind (while still firmly in my roll of planning) and research the following juicy question.
How to take more time off and still be paid for it?
What I discovered is that with a bit of planning, getting your holiday requests in early (before other staff) and a flexible boss. You can easily extend your 20 days annual leave all the way out to 52 days a year, or a 260% increase in leisure time.
The following maximising you leave and holidays is based on for Queensland Australia public holidays.If you are in another state please check your relevant state holidays there as they may differ slightly i.e. different Labour Day, Queens Birthday, Show Day dates.
Note. For completeness calculations begin from 1st Jan 2020 which is a Tuesday however if you drew on annual leave on the 31st December the first holiday would extend an additional 3 days for a total of 9 instead of 6.
Additional note. If you also took Friday the 27th December off (leave without pay) this could extend the Christmas break length of holidays from 6 days to 9 days (inclusive of weekends, two days annual leave and a day leave without pay).
So let’s begin!
First let’s be clear. We do not live on tins of baked beans or substitute gravel for toilet paper. Ouch!
Secondly the $50,000 in additional savings we are accumulating is not from any increase in income or side gigs.
Our savings are purely from implementing smarter ways and choices to legally keep more money in our pockets instead of others.
Thirdly, we’re not special.
We have the same amount of time and days in a week to do everything we need to do just like you.
Lastly we also each have average incomes. Disclosure we pay ourselves $73,060 (after tax) or $100,000 gross annually.
So how did we do it? How have we found these additional $50,000 in savings annually without cutting back on our necessities and quality of life?
More importantly, can you too achieve these levels of savings or more?
The short answer is “Yes you can".
You simply need to decide on what you want, identify the price, and decide if you are willing to pay and if so pay the price. Then get on with it.
It's common knowledge that debt and financial problems are the number one cause for stress and worry in our lives.
Recently I met with "Frank and Ernest" who had amassed combined total debts of $127,000 across their credit cards, home loan and personal loans.
Frank told me that they expected to be debt free in fifteen years (based on his mortgage etc).
"How does being debt free within the next five years sound?' I asked.
Part of my day to day routine is meeting with BDM’s (business development managers). As you can imagine like any meetings some are zzzzz! and some are great.
One of the best questions a BDM has ever asked me was, “If You Were a Listed on the Share Market, Would You Buy Your Stock?”
I remember staring back blankly as I began imagining a bunch of long faced sceptical analysists pouring over my life, benchmarking me as a business, my personal and financial growth, pulling out a slide rule to measure my routines, efficiencies, asking about my life’s back up plans, satisfaction and plans for growth.
“Sure I would” I replied but the question was so great that I continued to ponder it throughout the rest of the meeting.
I owe, I owe. So it's off to work I go.
Have you ever wondered how to get a better deal from your bank?
In this blog we discover some simple and easy ways to both save bank fees and get a lower interest rate on your personal, home and investment loans.
Twenty one years, three months and a few days ago I looked up into a star filled night sky and I was overcome by feelings of regret, fear, loss and embarrassment.
I didn’t like where I was, what I had become and what the future would hold if I was to continue down the same path I was on. I also remember thinking massive change only comes from massive action.
And so on my 25th birthday I decided, committed and began down my own "road less travelled".
Today I'm a few decades further down my road as I continue on life's journey and with the luxury of hindsight and experiences can now reflect back upon and share with you what worked what didn’t and the “one-two thing” to do every day.
Only Three Ingredients Needed for Your Success
Just like when my personal computers freeze because I have too many programs open so to my decision making freezes when I have so many competing important matters in my life.
This got me thinking about how to solve life’s problems from the perspective of an IT help desk.
Life has taught me when I choose to neglect a problem so too does my probability of an epic crash increase. When talking with others about my problems I’ve also found that most of us share similar if not the same problems and fears. Most importantly our problems are not unsolvable.
Often I've experienced many of my life’s problems solved simply by updating an old program or as I call it my daily routine. If this update doesn’t work then I research better programs to do the job and install this new program i.e. daily routine into my life.
This blog is not based on new theories, new ideas or new philosophies; it‘s simply a collection of experiences, insights and discoveries on a journey to financial independence over the last twenty years. As such the blog hasn’t just happened it’s evolved.
On the journey to financial independence we've read a lot of financial books and information. Most of such assumes financial success determines our quality of life and experiences. While on the surface this sounds logical, real life experience has taught us otherwise.
For example our decision to either save, borrow, buy, invest or sell is not in fact to make more money; but to experience an emotionally inspired feeling and certainty of security, freedom, choice, independence, deeper relationships, increased stature and happiness. All which directly enhance our quality of life.
Early into this journey of financial independence I (Peter) found myself quickly out of my depth and questioning my own abilities be them emotionally, financially and my courage to commit.
Making better financial choices is the key to unlocking higher returns.
So why is creating wealth counter intuitive?
Simply because the more we touch our money, the less it grows.
The following are five age old and proven ways to help you accelerate our wealth, keep it longer and enjoy it more.
“The middle is messy but that’s where the magic happens” Brene Brown
I love ice cream any time of the day and I especially love an ice-cream on a hot summer day.
Today is one of those days, 31c with 95% humidity, so it feels very hot.
As I sit back and enjoying this simple pleasure of eating an ice-cream my mind wanders back to happy childhood memories and dreaming about what I wanted to be when I grew up. I remember liking trucks; wanting to be rich and become someone important.
Like most people I had no idea what this meant or what I really wanted to do.
We all make choices, but in the end our choices make us
Or put another way;
Our success is dependent on our decision to choose the activities that will propel us towards our goals compared to those that will hinder us.
When I first began savings I set myself a challenge to have a money free weekend once a month. In fact I found the challenge so addictive and fun I'm still doing it twenty two years later.
Remember the media, marketers and advertises all want one thing. Our money! They do this by selling the perception that you buying what they’re selling will equal’s happiness for you.
The following is a list of activities that require no money to participate in; however they all provide the foundation to experience a higher quality of life; for you and those important to you.
$10,000 Money Saving Ideas:
- Instead of buying books join a library. Libraries today are more than books; they have DVD’s, newspapers, free internet, books of course. Free. Savings estimated $250 pa+
- Make lunch with from previous dinner and bring to work. Savings estimated $2,500 pa+
- If you live close enough to walk/run/ride to work or public transport, only use the car on weekends or alternatively car share. Savings estimated $1,000 pa+
- Ensure bank accounts, credit cards have no annual fees or ATM withdrawal fees, only withdraw from Banks ATM or affiliates so not to attract transaction fees. Savings estimated $250 pa+
- If possible choose public transport over taxi. Savings estimated $500 pa+
- Wash own car & iron clothes instead of car wash or cleaner. Savings estimated $500 pa+
- Review/shop insurance premiums annually for savings. Savings estimated $500 pa+
- Meal coupons, shows, vouchers etc... (dining out regularly). Savings estimated $2,500 pa+
- Hold off expensive purchase/gifts until sale time and/or shop at outlet or online so to minimise risk of overspending and of unnecessary compulsive purchases Savings estimated $1,000 pa+
- Buy in bulk cleaning, personal care, staple goods when on sale. Savings estimated $1,000 pa+
$10,000+ Money Making Ideas
- If you don’t mind branding your car as a moving billboard you can earn approx $5,000 pa
- In your spare time become a mystery shopper/write product reviews/research market group earn approx $2,500 annually in addition to receiving free products.
- Start a business aligned to your passion online/markets etc...It’s a great way to meet people of similar interests, make some extra cash, potential tax deductions and learn about biz.
- While it’s not a guarantee becoming more qualified in your profession. Higher earnings have research to be linked to higher qualification of approx 15%-25%+ more than unskilled roles.
- Consider ways to maximize your rental return if you have an investment property. Properties furnished white good properties can increase weekly rentals by an additional $50 pw or $2,500 pa and are deductible items for tax.
- Become an extra for movies, television, commercials and earn up to $500-$1,000 per day.
21 Free Positive Experiences & Activities Challenge
- Get creative. Write poem, a short story, a song, your memoir, blog, a diary, draw etc
- Learn a new & interesting skill. An entertaining magic trick, a new language, astronomy etc...
- Walking tour around your city, learning history and famous historical landmarks and markets
- Visit parks, forests, gardens, beach get out doors... maybe have a picnic there too.
- Exercise. Getting fit doesn’t require a gym. Go for a run, bike ride, free weights, yoga etc.
- Spring clean and sort/donate your old clothes/items. One part chore another you will feel great and de-clutter you environment.
- Maintain your stuff. Sharpen your knives, weed garden, wash vehicles and fix small things etc before they become bigger problems. Feel great and proud you take care of your things.
- Get sexy. Candles, flower petals, bath, massage with a partner...
- Sort your old photo album and label where, when and your feeling at the time.
- Try solving a crossword puzzle, Sudoku, What’s different in these two pictures? etc...
- Visit the library, an art gallery, museum in your city. Most, if not all are free entry.
- Find an inspiring interesting book at the library you would like to read and read it.
- Grow something from seed. Feel great that with your care, you are encouraging life to grow!
- Volunteer for a cause you are passionate about or offer to help out a friend or neighbor. Meet other like minded people, do something nice for someone else and feel great.
- Get your finances in order, accounts, check correct payments, receipts for tax, write a will, do some goals planning you will fill more confident and have greater peace of mind.
- Attend a free community class, or concert, a free intro offer class, or religious service.
- Play a game with family and/or friends, Sherade’s (sounds like?), hangman or a board game/card you have.
- Catch up with family or old friends for a chat, if they are far away write a letter, card or email
- Have a nap. Life can get hectic so remember to take care of yourself too, i.e. rest & recovery
- Mentor someone and be mentored by someone. We stop growing we go backwards in life.
- Schedule your life and stick to it. Allocating me time (reflection), exercise time, relationship time, career time, self development time, home chores, preparation for next day, and fun experience time. This will help you stay on track with self accountability and the small goal you achieve for yourself will build your confidence to take on bigger goals.
If you are stuck in a funk or you’re lost in a cloud of complexity feel free to contact me. Most often in life we just need someone to talk things through and to lighten our load a little. The following article may also be of help.
Are you in the way of your own success?
Financial independence made simple
From little tings big things grow
The story of 4 horses
Live your ideal life without financial concern
This post was written by Peter Horsfield, as such they are his personal views.
About Peter Horsfield
Peter Horsfield in an Authorised Representative and Investsure Holdings Pty Ltd ABN 16 050 286 630 as trustee for Horsfield Family Trust ABN 55 609 068 513 is a Corporate Authorised Representative of Infocus Securities Australia Pty Ltd ABN 47 097 797 049 AFSL and Australian Credit Licence No. 236523.
Successful people have this over their rivals; they know why, where and how to reach their goals sooner.
- Are you on track?
- How much do you need?
- How long will it take?
- What are my risks?
Because action beats intention every time!
Venue: In Person or online
Duration: 60 minutes.
Our Guarantee: If you don't experience greater clarity, confidence & certainty about your money and what to do, you wont pay us a cent.
Our first encounter was at was at a training event. In truth a non-event would have been a better description.
Our second encounter was in an elevator. And my unplanned elevator pitch “Do you work here?” was to become my one liner, because by the time we were outside the building I had discovered this goddess standing in front of me had recently returned from overseas, was also a financial planner, just moved to Kirribilli and like me also loved to travel.
Jump forward 3 months on a semi daily basis we were working together i.e. I was a junior adviser and she a senior advisor. Meaning in the hierarchy of banking, I was to refer larger investing customers to a more senior staff
Twelve months later we were married and jumping forward another ten years I'm now running my own financial planning business and in need of a qualified, committed employee whom I could whole heartedly trust, Who could fill such a position and expectations? I know.... my wife.
Many of you would advise me against my decision, along with giving me many valid reasons. Others would congratulate both my wife and I, while in the same breath ask us “how on earth we do it?” Our answer always the same “You just do!”
If you have your own business you're already well aware of the many risks and benefits of working with your spouse.
With this in mind and with the clarity of hindsight (approaching twenty years of marriage and eight years working together) the following is my Good, Bad and Ugly list of what us brave souls who work with their spouses will most probably experience.
The good news is…..
- You’re in this together. Meaning that together you will live and breathe your goals, your hopes, struggles and success together, in both life and business. Just as in marriage you are in business together. For richer, poorer, in sickness and in health, you are not alone, your spouse will be right there beside you. For anyone in business just knowing you have this level of support is often what gets you through the dark times.
It’s interesting to note that successful business also have exactly the same ingredients and characteristics as successful marriages. They have trust, appreciation, acknowledgement, pleasant surprises and the sacrificing of ones ego for the benefit of the other. Implement these ingredients in business and so too will your relationships by their very nature be enhanced along with experiencing something more enriching than just tasting success on its own.
- Your business is transparent. The truth is results always require action. “An inch of action always goes further than a mile of good intentions”. The good news is working with your spouse will be held accountable to your actions, in business and at home 24/7 and 365 days a year. You each have a very good idea of what each other is doing, or not doing.and by knowing so you will be more motivated to do the work required i.e. action!
Strengths, weaknesses, outstanding and completed tasks quickly become apparent and allow each spouse to contribute to the solution and again by doing so, deliver a better outcome for all. As we both like to say “so nothing falls through the cracks”. It is this doing, reviewing, doing again and holding each other accountable along the way that we have come to have greater confidence to achieve both our businesses and personal goals, on time, on budget while staying on track.
The bad news is……
We’ve all heard the saying “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it!” however this doesn’t mean “don’t take care of what you have”.
Most of us understand the importance of maintaining our vehicles, our homes, investing time in our children and doing regular health checks. We do this because we see the value of a small cost outweighing the bigger financial impact of not doing so.
Unfortunately for most people the same cannot be said about our finances.
In fact researchers have found over 50% of Australians live in constant financial stress and 85% say this is stress is effecting their wellbeing.
While this is unacceptable, it is completely understandable.
Why? Well simply because life gets in the way.
The following is a list of major life events I have considered we face throughout of lifetimes
- New job/ business
- Job loss
- New long term relationship (marriage)
- End long term relationship (divorce)
- Big holiday experiences
- Vehicle sale & purchase
- New dependent (own/adopt)
- Saving for home deposit
- New home finance
- Home renovations finance
- New school funding
- Dealing with health issues impacting employment
- Empty nest syndrome
- Financial assistance children (university/home/marriage)
- Elders care (relatives)
- Inheritance or financial windfall
- Sale of home/ downsizing
- Retirement/ relocation
- Loss of partner
- Self-funding lifestyle/ social security assistance
- Estate planning
- Add more ……
Compounding this list is the probability of times these events will occur and impact us throughout our life
But that’s not all folk’s.
Shut up.... and make me money!
Making money is simple, but not easy.
However if the process has slipped your mind, the following is a quick refresher.
- Save and invest first i.e. don’t spend then save.
- Invest and reinvest earnings in growth assets for the long term
- Keep fees and taxes to a minimum.
- Invest for the long term (life expectancy)
Sadly many become so obsessed with making more and more money, they lose their “life” along the way.
“Man. Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money.
Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health.
And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present;
The result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived.” Dalai Lama
In the same crusade of seeking more... many view financial planning as a zero sum game, Framed by basic questions of more money, rather than seeking the greater intangible benefits and improvements to ones quality of life.
For example the question is framed as
- How much money does it cost?
- How much money did it make?
And by doing so, we unwittingly place financial goal roadblocks in the way of our relationships, personal growth and the legacy we would like to leave rather than the opportunity to experience a higher quality of life.
Instead we should be framing our question as
- What's important to me & why?
- How much is too much?
- How would we like to be remembered by those important to us?
But it's also not all our fault.
Industry bodies, product manufactures, shareholders and advisers have also sold the dream of saving more and investing all to achieve financial Nirvana, while they have been found to put sales and profits first before the individual in their own desire for more. As we have seen laid bare and their undoing on the journey towards making financial planning an aspired profession.
My journey of a 1000 miles and financial independence began with a single step on my 25th birthday.
Twenty plus years later and 20,000+ hours of studies, certification & professional experience to this day, I still continue to learn new things, invest in new opportunities and also help others along their journey too.
I've learnt that simply earning more money is not the only ingredient required to become wealthy.
True financial independence requires the blend of simplification, organisation, implementation, perspiration and being held accountable every step along the way.
Action ultimately the DNA of one's success. "An inch of action will always deliver you more results than endless miles of intentions"
However prior to a ¼ century crisis (25th birthday) I was not all that together or focused. In fact I was in a word “lost”.
After finishing high school I was encouraged by my parents to study teaching (they said I had always been comfortable around kids). The truth is my grades were average and teaching had a low university entrance mark. I studied early childhood for 2 ½ years then I flunked out.
As a university dropout, I was left to pick up odd jobs (so not to move back home and acknowledge failure to myself ). I catered, I taught swimming lessson, and labored, and did anything that paid me $$$$ so I could survive day to day and continue living in my ingnorance and arrogance that I was in my eyes "the best"
It was at that time I read about being a camp counselor at CAMP America.
Money is a really powerful thing – it has the power to help us destroy, or to massively improve the world, depending on how we handle it.
And business success (to me) is my enabler to walking my talk and help many others to live their ideal life worry free too.
I'm so passionate about this.
And believe if we all get better at managing our money while aligning financial choices to our unique and core values not only we, but the bigger world will be a much better place for us all.
In this new year we are often bombarded with motivational quotes like....
"Whether you think you can or you can't, your right" Henry Ford
"Do more of what makes you happy"
When most people first hear of the F.I.R.E. (Financial Independence Retire Early) movement it’s natural to assume the movement is all about money and being free, however we would be wrong.
In truth the F.I.R.E. movement is about self-discovery, our authenticity, experiences and our journey towards personal mastery. The mastery of being able to better define, develop and live our own authenticity and to add value to others.
I don’t know who came up with F.I.R.E. as an acronym, if it was Peter, Vicki or a general consensus, however, the acronym resonates with more than just the goal in itself,
F.I.R.E is the distilled aspiration of the movement. Just as FIRE being an energy refines and purifies all things.
I also think it’s important to take a moment and dispel a broadly embraced belief about the F.I.R.E. movement.