Uncensored Money Season Four: What to Think About at Different Stages in Life

Melissa Browne: Ex-Accountant, Ex-Financial Advisor, Ex-Working Till I Drop, Now Serial Entrepreneur & Author, Financial Wellness Advocate, Living a Life by Design | 25/07/2023


Show Notes

It’s time to bust the notion that there are certain things you ‘should’ be doing based on your age when it comes to finances. Instead in this episode Mel and Lawsie share a set of questions for you to consider based on your stage in life (rather than your age).

If you know you need more help with your finances make sure you join the waitlist for the My Financial Adulting Plan 

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 Mel: I was on a podcast recently and I was asked the question, what advice would you give someone in your twenties? so I suggested what they should do, giving general advice only obviously. And then the podcast host went on to ask about, what would you suggest for someone in their thirties and then their forties and then their fifties?

And it made me realise afterwards that I truly believe that was the wrong question. Particularly for now, and that's because once upon a time there was a well-worn path that everyone defaulted to; go to school, get a job, get married, have kids for the wife to move part-time or stay at home at least until the kids are at school, while the husband worked for the same company. Cause obviously it's a heterosexual couple, where the husband received a gold watch and went on the age pension. As I said, a well-worn path. My grandparents, even my parents, very much trod this. Now all of that has completely busted apart, and as someone who has made the choice to be child-free, I am so glad it has, but it also means that the usual questions around what should be you should be doing in your twenties, thirties, forties, fifties, sixties, seventies, etc etc, are really kind of irrelevant. And that's because, as I said, there are a far better set of questions that are all around the life choices we've made. And that's what I wanna chat with Lawsie about today.

I wanna preface it by saying this is absolutely not advice. It's simply things to consider based on your life stages. So you are not going to hear an age here whatsoever. You are going to hear life stages, which is a far nicer way of talking about it, I think, Law Dog.

Lawsie: But it's also because life stages don't have to be attached to an age either.

Mel: I mean, the first one is part-time job and study. How many women in their forties are part-time work and study? Or you could be a teenager or you could be in your twenties and if you try and attach these to an age, it is impossible. So I'll go first. I think for part-time job and study, something to think about is it really depends on your age and your goals.

So if you were 19 and you're part-time and studying your part-time job might only be paying for your life. And that's okay. You don't need to be putting money away or investing or anything like that at that point. However, I also know of people that have had a part-time job. They studied and they were able to put money away because of the part-time job. So this is going to be very much on what you should be thinking about really depends on your age and your goals, because the younger you are, the less priority there is to quickly shovel money aside. And your goals might be, you know what? I can barely the money I've got coming in is gonna pay for my uni.

And that's it. And that's okay. So I think it's being aware that with all of these life stages, that sometimes there's seasonality to it and to relax into that and enjoy it.

Lawsie: Yeah, definitely. And I think as part of that, it's still practicing good financial hygiene, if you like. Yes, you might have a lower income but don't then fall into the trap of buy now, pay later, and credit card debt and personal loans if you can avoid it. Yes, you might go, I don't have much income, but if you can still be savvy and live within the means of the income that you've got coming in, then it does mean that you're still setting yourself up financially better for down the track when you are earning more money, where you go, great, now I've got this extra money, I can use that for investing. I can put money into super retirement funds or whatever it is that you wanna do, buy a house, blah, blah, blah, whatever. Without having to first thing go, oh great, I've gotta clear that debt that I accrued because I was also having a good time while I was studying and only working part-time.

So yes, you may not have the spare dollars to invest or you're just scraping by and living on your two-minute noodles and not necessarily living your best life. But also don't set yourself up by going backwards, by using, credit if you can avoid it.

Mel: And we have seen so many cases of people that did that. Whether it's Afterpay, whether it's credit cards, oh my gosh, I did that store card when I was younger because you could, and it felt so grown up and it instantly went up to its limit. I think it was Grace Bros store card or whatever it was back in the day. And I instantly knew that was problematic cause I think it was 700 bucks. I was on 12 grand a year, like I was screwed. So this is not how you wanna start off.

Lawsie: Just to add to that too, if you do have some spare dollars and you're going, I'm not sure that what I wanna do with it or something, don't underestimate the power of being able to put a small amount extra into your retirement funds or into some form of investment, particularly now when there are so many different ways to be able to invest as well. Don't go, oh, I'm working part-time and studying, and using that almost as an excuse not to set yourself up financially if you've got a few spare dollars. Like even being able to put 20 bucks a week away or something like that is still ultimately gonna have so much. Makes so much difference for you in the long term.

Mel: Yeah, absolutely. The second one is your first full-time job, and this might be coming back to a full-time job after kids, or it might be your very first full-time job after school or uni. And I'm gonna share a mistake. So what I wanna say is don't make the mistake of enjoying your earnings and blink and a year has gone past. And I remember I did this when I got my first full-time job, I said to my sister, cause we grew up shopping at St. Vincent De Paul's, really not having anything new. And I said to my sister, I'm gonna take my whole paycheck and I'm gonna go to stores and I'm gonna buy clothes. It's gonna be the best day ever. So she came with me to Parramatta Westfield. And I think I could buy three things cause as I said, I was on no income and we went to some cheap stores. It was like the Dottie and it would be the Zara equivalent. That's all I could afford back in the time, to be honest. Thrift stores would've been better. The problem with that is cause I realised how far that money didn't go, I did it again the next week and the next week and I got into this habit of doing it, and it took about six months before I broke that.

But what we don't want is to that fall into that trap of enjoying earning and blink and a year has gone and you really have nothing to show for it. Absolutely have your times that you enjoy it and or even a percentage that you enjoy it or a dollar figure. But do that for a season. Do that for a moment, be really clear on it, and then start those great habits of different bank accounts, goals, and automating.

Lawsie: Super important. Look at you, living up large and spending.

Mel: Living up large on my 12 grand a year, which would've been such a teeny tiny paycheck.

Lawsie: No, but I couldn't agree more. I think it's, we could all do it suddenly wow, I've got all of these dollars. And especially if you're someone, if we go back to our first example of part-time job and study, where you're so used to living hopefully within really leanly. And so within your means, it's suddenly like this is amazing. And it's like the kid that's never allowed to have lollies and they go into a lolly store, like it's just insane.

Mel: I feel like every day as an adult. Yeah.

Lawsie: There's just that temptation. So I think it is working out what is that thing that you can do to celebrate that milestone or to enjoy being back full-time working or whatever it is. But then also to have some boundaries and limits around it and putting in your great habits.

Mel: So what's yours?

Lawsie: I think the other thing too is if it is your first full-time job, we're gonna assume here that you might be younger. Not to say that you are, but if you are, then it is just remembering that time is your superpower. So you don't look at it and go, I can't do anything or buying into that story that you'll never be able to buy a home or doing anything like that. It's about just getting yourself into those great habits. Whether it’s that you start regularly saving, that you start investing, or that you put a little bit extra into your retirement funds. Or a combo of all of those. There's no, you can only do one or the other with any of this, but just to start getting into those great habits, so to our point of not just blowing it continually, cause you're like, I feel myself rolling around in cash. But to then get those habits in place to go, right? Or even if you're not sure what you're wanting to do in the future, it might take you a bit of time to go, do I really want a house? Where do I wanna invest? Anything like that. Still squirrelling that money away so that you've got options and choices when you're a bit clear on what it is that you want to do.

And no, we're not saying that you have to live as leanly as you did when you were part-time work and studying potentially, or whatever the circumstances are, but also, don't blow it and just remember that the more time that you've got to put the smaller amounts of money, that you need to be able to invest in whatever shape or form that you like, to really see that big benefit down the track. It’s so much easier to be saving 20 bucks a day when you're in your twenties as opposed to a hundred bucks a day or whatever it might be if you're suddenly wanting to play catch up when you're in your fifties. And that’s not to say that you can't do that when you are older. But if you can do those smaller amounts now while you're younger and potentially won't miss the dollars as much cause let's be honest, if it's your first full-time job, you haven't had them, before unless your part-time job was amazing. But it's just then making sure that you are doing all of those things and putting in the strategies in place that are gonna work for you. But yeah, the earlier you can start, the easier it'll be financially if that's something that you're able to do.

Mel: Definitely. And to give an example, 20 bucks a day for 30 years invested is a million bucks. So it sounds like 20 bucks. Is that even worth it? Absofreakinglutely. And it means that you don't have to be putting more and more as you go, and if you started to do that from 25, then at 55 I've got a million bucks and then can let that keep compounding and suddenly I've got a beautiful asset there. So yeah your time is your superpower.

Number three is receiving a commission or a raise. And this can happen at any age or in any experience. And I think, lifestyle creep is real and it's really important to understand that lifestyle creep simply means, when I was on that $12,000 on my first job, there are some things that I paid myself, I think it was $5 a week or something like that to spend it was the most basic, ridiculous income. Didn't go out to eat. Like there were expectations of what we could and could not afford. Whereas now, what I think is a basic necessity is very different from what I would back then. And it's what you get used to. It's like that frog in a pot. And in Australia, I think we just think it's normal for there to be three TVs in a house and for every child to have their own room. And two cars and there's these things that are actually luxuries that we think are basics. So it's just questioning what you actually need and not increasing your lifestyle so that before you know it, you don't have any money left over for investing because you've lifted your expenses to that income.

Lawsie: Yeah. Oh, absolutely. And I think it's super important with that too. When you are looking at your finances and wanting to figure out what you're gonna do and how much you wanna invest in all of those things, you need to be able to do that based on what your normal wages as well and not be reliant on the bonus.

Mel: yeah.

Lawsie: Cause if you're reliant on that, then of course then you've got that lifestyle creep and what happens if you don't get that commission and you don't get that bonus or that raise or whatever the thing is. So super important that when you are looking at your funds, do it based on the guaranteed income. Cause I know we hear people say sometimes, oh, but I always get a commission and I always get a raise. But there are no certainties with that. We're not wishing this upon you, but who's not to say that you don't get made redundant or the company goes through a really hard time and it's not in a position to pay commissions and give raises? And so if you've been relying on that, then you've set yourself up to fail or you're gonna have a really big reality check or have to dive into your savings if you've got them to be able to see you through. So super important to make sure you are managing that as well.

Mel: And we know that in Australia, certainly with ASX-listed companies or other public companies a lot of the profit projections are that they are not gonna have the profits there that they have had in previous years. So if you are reliant on commissions or bonuses, that actually may not be there because the companies that you're working for aren't as profitable as say that it has been but again, it's making a plan and hiding it before you receive it. So when we work with people inside the My Financial Adulting Plan, we say to them, don't include it. As you said, Lawsie, don't include it in your projections or in the money that you are using, but then make a plan for it before it comes in. So I'm going to organise my everyday life on my ordinary income, but then when I get that bonus or commission or raise, I already know in my head, 80% of it is gonna go towards investing or the mortgage or an investment property or super. And the rest, I'm absolutely gonna enjoy guilt free. It's having that plan before you receive it and hiding it from yourself if you don't have a plan.

Lawsie: Yeah.

Mel: So that you can make a plan.

Lawsie: Yes, definitely. And I think being flexible with your plan cause as we were saying before, in different ages and stages, there could be different things that you need to use that money for. So if you're someone that's in debt, and you wanna get rid of that debt, if it's credit card debt or Afterpay or whatever, it's making sure you go, yeah, my plan is that all of your bonus and commission and everything is going directly to that debt. But once that's goal has been achieved, then going, all right, now what do I wanna do? And that's where you might go, all right, I wanna keep 10%, 20% for me to go on holidays or just have a great night out or whatever it is that makes you tick and then be really strategic with the rest. So just flagging you can shift your plan as in when you need. It doesn't have to be this set in stone and go, oh, I heard this podcast and Mel said I to make a plan and therefore I'm stuck to that forever.

Mel: What do you mean it's not set in stone? Who are you? Who is this? On the other end of the podcast?

Lawsie: Such flexibility.

Mel: Good lord.

Lawsie: But you're not allowed to change a plan just cause you get tempted and go, I know I was putting it on my debt and now I'm gonna keep all of it for me cause I really wanna have a great time. Only allowed to change a plan when the goal's been achieved.

Mel: So funny. Therein ends the lesson from Lawsie.

Number four, as we said. We're just gonna give a couple of suggestions for each one. Number four is taking a career break or radically dropping your earnings. So you might have a sabbatical, you might decide to go back to study. You might decide to have kids or start a family. These are times when you are having a career break or radically dropping earnings. You might decide to start a business. So you've got a couple of years where your earnings are substantially reduced. First up, please be aware of the compounding effect of not paying super. It's just so important to understand that. So let's take having kids, the number of heterosexual couples that would come into my office when I was a financial advisor and say childcare's not worth it because it takes up 80% of her wage. At which point I would say, how interesting? I thought it was both of your children. What percentage is it of both of your wages? And they'd be taken aback. And then I would go on to say, and of course you've thought about super, haven't you? And they had never thought about super. No one, not a single person. Never mind the compounding effect of super, which can be hundreds and hundreds of thousands of dollars, which every time we've modelled it is more than childcare.

So it's not to say, don't have choices. Choose to have your kids at home. That's a beautiful choice. And we want you to have that if that's something that's important to you. But it's having that conversation with your partner around how can we make sure that super's still being paid for me?

And that could be as simple as choosing to super split your partner's super. And before you come at me and say, but I will get it in the divorce anyway. No, you won't necessarily. I've seen way too many examples where that's just not true. And if your partner uses that argument with you, you could say that could be the same for your wage. That could be the same with everything. Why wouldn't you just do it now? Like it just seems like the most obvious suggestion or they could pay into your super using rebates, or co-contribution. There are so many different ways to do it, but please think about that cost.

And if you're starting a business again, it would be paying super as soon as the business could afford it and doing that catch-up as well.

Lawsie: Yeah. I think the other thing, just to add to that, if you are looking at taking a career break or reducing your earnings is to also make sure that you're prepared for that. If you are gonna be dipping into your savings, if it's gonna mean that you're gonna have to change the way that you live if you don't have enough savings to back you up with what your current lifestyle spend is and anything else like that, I would just encourage you to really be prepared for that. cause the last thing you wanna do is go, great. I'm gonna go and take a career break and I'm having this sabbatical or something, and

Mel: But I don't wanna change how I’m living. Yeah.

Lawsie: I can't afford it. Like nothing will bring you back to reality quite as quickly as that.

So I think while it can be absolutely great if you've got the savings behind you or to do it, it's just making sure that you are actually prepared for that. So you've got the dollars to support whatever it is you're doing and it will most likely be a combo of having to change the way that you live and being prepared to dip into your savings that you've been squirreling away. All of those things for just making sure that you do have a plan, that you know how long your funds are gonna last, you've adjusted your expectations of how you can live during that time. And then just take a step back before you do it and make sure that you're really comfortable with that as well. cause I think we could all be tempted to go, oh, wouldn't it be great to have a sabbatical or any of those things, and then it's not until you realise what the dollar implications are that you might go, that might be nice, but I'm not prepared to wanna change the way that I'm living. Or there are things that are non-negotiable to me. So therefore, that has to also come into part of your decision-making around choosing to enter into that career break or taking a sabbatical or whatever the circumstances are.

Mel: Yeah. I love that. That's so important.

The next one is one that we see a lot and particularly inside the My Financial Accounting Plan, we see a lot like this. So it's starting again after life's unexpected curve balls, whether that's illness and divorce, or redundancy or whatever that curve ball is for you.

And there are a number of things that you need to do. And I'm gonna chock two together. The reason I'm gonna touch on this is because don't try and keep up with the lifestyle before the event. It's essentially what Lawsie said about taking a career break. If you were living large with your previous partner, and you are now single and you cannot afford to do that and to build from where you're at, then you need to have a reality check and really decide what's important to me. And don't try and keep up with that cause I've seen way too many women who try to do that, particularly when shame is involved in a comparison culture. And what will my friends think? If they are truly your friends they won't try and make you keep up. So avoiding that comparison culture is really important. But then I think it's really important to understand what are you prepared to suffer for? And that might be that for 12 months I'm going to mind houses, or it might be that I'm going to do a house swap and live overseas, or it might be that I actually have to go back to work. It's deciding what am I going to do in order to move me from where I am now in this curve ball to the next step? And I just wanna really say that we see a lot of people Lawsie in this circumstance feeling really stuck, like they're option less. And I really wanna say that there are options to be had but you may not like some of the options, but there are absolutely options to be had.

And the number of women, for example, in their fifties, that have thrown that curve ball, that say to us, I'll never be able to afford a home or I'll never be able to do this. There's rentvesting. There are still bargains to be had depending on where you are prepared to live. Or even in the inner city, there are still examples of apartments that are bargains. So it is that, what are you prepared to suffer for? But it's understanding that you might need to change your mindset and not keep up with the Joneses and really re-evaluate what's important to me and what's the next steps.

Lawsie: Yeah, and I think just to add to that is, I'm sure we've all heard stories, particularly when people have gone through like a life-threatening illness or health scare and things like that, people often come to the end of that. And when they're bouncing back and looking to the future. Now they have that reality check around, wow. The way I was living was so by default, and now I feel like I've been given that second chance. And how do I actually wanna live? And what do I really wanna do? And I think that we all see it and we all hear it, and I don't think we all necessarily absorb it and act on it. But I think even for this circumstance, or even just for all of us in general, it is about having that take on what is it that we actually want cause so many of us will be just doing the default path or feeling you've lived a great life in a particular suburb with your partner and you've had all those things, and then you have this curve ball, and then it's like stepping back from that when appreciate, you're not gonna be doing this in the midst of it, but stepping back when you're coming through the other side of that and almost use it as that fresh start and to do all the things that you've said around, you don't necessarily have to keep up with them and you're going to have to make decisions that you won't necessarily like and balancing all of those things. But if you can put it in a bit of a reframe to go, okay, it's a new age, it's a new season, what do I actually want? Try and look at it from that adventure, which obviously is my spin, but adventure or fresh opportunity to be able to look at it in a different light. One, it hopefully will make your mindset feel a little more positive and optimistic about things when you might still be reeling from what's happened to you in the past, but also then it's okay, great! What do I actually want and what can I do to achieve that? And embrace some of the different opportunities that may actually come your way that you wouldn't have had as if you hadn't been through whatever that circumstance is or situation that you've been through.

Mel: No, I agree. The next one is DINKS. So double income, no kids, of which you and I are one. And I think there are a couple of things with this. Most definitely don't even have a fur baby. One that I see often, especially with DINKS that are earning fairly decent money and gay couples especially, is they have a having a great time really enjoying life because you know that you don't have responsibilities necessarily. You don't have to find expensive school fees next year, or need to contribute to something that's costly, ie your children, but there is a level of cost that we simply don't have because of our choice. But what we can be in danger of is lifting our spending and not looking after our future selves and leaving that run too late. So what I wanna really emphasise is to make sure you have a choice and aren't just spending and having adventures and going overseas and having a fabulous time. But future you has to drink cast rose and wear crocs cause that's all you can afford. And all you can afford is camping, which makes me cry. So make sure you're investing, putting that suffering in as well for yourself where you are reducing your income. You may be not going on doing all of the things that you can do at the moment, but still choose the ones that are important to you and it might only be one or two. And then invest. Because you might choose that you don't wanna leave money to anyone in which case maybe don't need as much money as the person with children who wants to leave that inheritance to kids, but you're still gonna need something particularly if you wanna continue that lifestyle that you are currently enjoying. So it's understanding what that figure looks like for you and then starting to invest.

Lawsie: Amen. Very important.

Mel: Really passionate about that.

Lawsie: No, I think it is something that is super important. And I think too, when you are looking at this as well, and this isn't just for DINKS, I think this is for all relationships as well, but when you're looking at your financial future, be future proofing and protecting yourself for if things happen. Like I know we mentioned before, if a divorce or a separation comes along, or if you lose your partner or things like that, making sure that the choices and the financial decisions that you're making look after you if you suddenly ended up just as you, rather than as a couple, as well.

Mel: Which is good for couples with families as well.

Lawsie: I think it's actually important for everyone that's in a relationship cause there are no certainties despite what we all might think. And because it obviously costs more to have two adults living separately than it does to have the two adults living together under one roof where you are able to share some of those costs. So just keep that in the back of your mind as well, that you can still go and have your great time. But when you are looking and doing that future planning. What do you need for your future selves? Then also look at it for future self as well, just err on the side of caution and worst case. Worst case? Best case? I don't know which way you wanna play that. If nothing happens, which is what we obviously all hope for relationships that will awesome.

Mel: You've got a great financial situation.

Lawsie: You've got even more money than what you would've otherwise had. But if not, then at least you are not then reeling and going, oh, well now what? Because my future that I'd predicted of X amount is now greatly reduced by the time we've split assets or whatever.

Mel: Yeah. The next one is singles and again with singles, something that I see is that you might wanna press pause. And either think, I can't do this on my own. So you're pressing pause cause of fear or you're pressing pause because I'm waiting for that partner and I wanna do it with them. And what we know is that there are more singles than ever before and this is a growing trend in the Western world. So you wanna make sure that you are financially independent. And to your point, Lawsie with DINKS is, if a partner comes along, brilliant, but let them come because of who they are, not because of what they have. And then you can continue to build together. So if you're pressing pause because of fear, it's understanding that you can be creative about investing. That might be investing with a girlfriend who's also single. It might be investing with a family member. It might be rentvesting, as we've talked to before, where you live somewhere that is far more affordable, but you purchase an investment, have someone else rent out, or it's also looking at micro-investing.

There are so many ways to invest, so I wanna really really push into this concept of you do not need a partner to invest. You do not need a partner to own your own home or property. That's a fallacy. You and I were told a story recently by a buyer's agent that I was surprised that there was an apartment for $500,000 going within 18km of the CBD. I was shooketh by that, and yet these things still exist. We just think that they don't because that's what the media have sold to us. Or we look at median house prices and therefore we think that's what every house price is. And yet there are expensive ones and there are cheap ones on either end of that. And it's finding those ones that are right for you, and maybe using a buyer's agent if you have that lower budget that can actually help you find the gold nugget that you're looking for and working with a great mortgage broker, etc. But don't press pause out of fear and don't press pause thinking that you are waiting for a partner.

Lawsie: Oh, definitely. And I think like for all of these things, it's making sure that you've got the right habits and everything else in play because it doesn't matter if it's you, if it's a family, if it's a partner, like whatever it is. The same rules are gonna apply in the fact that you need to be mindful of the income that's coming in and setting yourself up to make sure that you're not spending every dollar that you can, and where possible be putting some money aside for buying a house or investing or just looking after future you. Like you said, and then if it is something and you go, I actually would like a partner cause I also appreciate there's plenty that go, hell no, I don't want that drama in my life. But if that person comes along like you said, then it's awesome bonza, then you can be doing that. But not everybody will have great finances like you do. So then it's also something where you can then be educating that person and helping them with their finances, so then jointly together, you're in a much stronger position as well.

Mel: And financial education for a single, I almost think is more important than any other, because you need to make this work and it can be tougher for a single cause you're on that one wage. So making sure you have that financial education early so that you are not operating from fear or from, ugh, I just don't know this is possible, but you're making really smart choices cause you don't have the two incomes to help you get out of whatever hole that you've created. So we wanna have fewer issues and more positives for you.

The next one is families. And I think it's really important if you're in a family to put on your own oxygen mask cause I see way too many women, particularly that if they have that part-time job or they have an income or they have a business, they're not paying super for themselves. They're not trying to invest for themselves. It's being spent almost entirely on the kids. And it's making sure you have your own financial oxygen mask on first, because if you don't, then and I hate that we continue to bring up the worst case, but if something happens to your partner, if you split etc, then that's gonna be super problematic. But I don't think it's teaching your kids great finances if you are not modelling that it's actually really important for both parents to have great finances, for both parents to be involved, for both parents to be involved in investing and more.

Because otherwise it's that story that your kids have, that I had, that one of the partners has nothing to do with the finances and actually is doled out money. Very infantilising. And I grew up going, oh, I never wanna be that. So putting your own oxygen mask on first, I think it's really important.

Lawsie: Definitely. And I think it's like you said as well, you wanna be careful of the messages that you're passing down to your kids as well because and we see it so many times where people, they just think, oh, the kids don't understand it. They're only four and five. But if they're seeing you constantly fighting over money or someone questioning someone else around, what was this charge on the credit card? And even the positive stories of around, oh great, we made this money from our investments, they're picking up on the vibes of that and what that means, and forming their own stories and ideas and everything else. So as families, I think you really need to make sure that, you don't have to be investing in all exactly the same things, but you still at least need to be on the same page with the finances. So then at least you're communicating that. And you know, a "nice", inverted commas, financial message to your kids so they can start to look at it and view money as a tool, that it's not something that should be causing you stress, that it's not something that should just be fritted around willy-nilly and used to provide for them for everything that they need. I think you've gotta be super mindful of that because it doesn't matter how young they are, they're picking up on stuff whether you want them to or not. They are.

Mel: Yeah, absolutely. And part of that new financial story can be that you do money together as a family and what a gift to pass on financial literacy to your kids, which means you then have to become financially literate. This means doing something like the My Financial Adulting Plan or one of our other courses and then sitting down with your kids and saying let's talk about investing or investing for your kids, knowing that you understand timeframes and risk profiles and products, etc which is all that those stories and oxygen masks.

The final one is and again, this doesn't matter in life when this happens, but when you might think about stopping work. And you that for you might be 20 as part of the FIRE movement. Financial independence, retire early.

Lawsie: Even retiring when I was 20, I was like, no.

Mel: What does that mean? Or it might be you're at 60 going, oh $hit, I need to sort this out. So something that I think you need to look at very at the minute you start thinking about this is how much is enough? Because if you don't know that figure, then that's problematic. And not the figure bandied around by the media that everyone talks about, a million bucks. It's what's your number? Because the retirement I want might be very different from the retirement you want. The value of my home and whether I'm prepared to sell that or not might be very different to yours and whether you are prepared to sell it or not, or whether you even have one. It might depend on what you've got in super or retirement funds. What assets you've got outside and more.

So understanding how much is enough is so important. And again, we've got a worksheet inside the My Financial Adulting Plan that helps you figure that out because it's so important that you actually do, and that can either give you confidence or it can make shake you up to go I need to get moving.

Lawsie: Yeah, super important. And I think even if it seems like it's such a long time away, why not at least spend the time to think and entertain that idea? Even if you are 20, have a look at it because I think we've moved away from that scenario that you set up at the beginning of the podcast episode with around school, job, get married, have kids, blah, blah, blah. All of those things. And so there is no reason why you have to follow that life of going, I'm working till I'm 60 or I'm 65. You may well want to. You may wanna go through until your 80 and that's amazing. But it is just almost about tempting yourself with the idea of what could be possible cause if you look at it and go, actually I'd really like the idea to be able to stop working 10 years. But there are absolutely people out there that have had that discipline to be able to go I can actually retire now at age 30. Yes, it's probably living a very different life to what you may be living, but it is just being aware that is possible.

So I think at any point, this is actually a really good exercise to do, even if it's just like literally will feel like it's playing with numbers. Particularly if you're 20 and going, oh, I'm just gonna have a crack at this and see what it is. But you might be surprised by what's possible or the opportunities that can open up to you if you can look at what you are spending versus investing and those kinds of things at that point in time and go, all right. That is actually cool. Like I could potentially stop when I'm 40 and how do I feel about that? Not to say that you will, but there's something really then with the power of choice and the options that would give you. So yeah, huge fan of actually looking about and thinking about when you might wanna stop working.

Mel: So chances are you saw yourself in more than one of those ages and stages. cause that absolutely could be the case. But what we want you to take away is one or two things that you are gonna go away and think about or do that you are not doing already. And what we really want you to hear in this chat today is it's not too early. In fact, the earlier you start the better. But just as importantly, it's not too late. It's just about starting.

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