Uncensored Money Season Four: Don't Have Enough Time, Money or Knowledge to Deal With Your Finances?
Melissa Browne: Ex-Accountant, Ex-Financial Advisor, Ex-Working Till I Drop, Now Serial Entrepreneur & Author, Financial Wellness Advocate, Living a Life by Design | 16/08/2023
When it comes to sorting out your finances, there are 3 big reasons given about why people don’t engage with their finances; time, money, and knowledge. So in this episode, Mel and Lawsie discuss these and share practical tips you can do to start addressing them so they don’t hold you back from having financial choice.
Books and resources mentioned in this episode:
If you know you need more help with your finances make sure you join the waitlist for the My Financial Adulting Plan.
If you're not already, come play over at insta at MelBrowne.Money and make sure you are signed up to Mel's Money Musings and Monday Money Moments (yep, we love us some alliteration) for more tips, tricks and ideas on how to best work with your money.
Finally, if you love this episode please make sure you subscribe and leave us a review.
Mel: When it comes to sorting out your finances, we hear three big reasons all the time around why people don't engage with their finances. I don't have enough time. I don't have enough money, I don't have enough knowledge, and I'm not just talking about a few people telling us these. Every time we launch the My Financial Adulting Plan, we ask this question around what's holding you back? And consistently, these are the three common themes that appear.
That's why today, Lawsie and I are gonna address them because they're real and we know so many of you hold them. So we wanna share our thoughts as well as practical ways you can start to address those reasons so they don't hold you back from having financial choice. Because I promise you that pressing pause is absofreakinglutely costing you financially. So we wanna help you become a little unstuck today and help move you along.
So Lawsie, I thought we would address them one at a time. 'cause you know, we love lists
Lawsie: We do love lists.
Mel: And we'll start with, I don't have enough time.
And this is, I reckon this is the biggest. I'm gonna say this about all of them, but this is huge one that we hear. And we get it, like we're busy. But I think it's really important to understand a few things. One is busy versus productive because I can be super busy all day in my inbox. I can be super busy inside social media, but is that the most productive use of my time? And the answer's no.
Mel: But I also wanna add that I think this with exercise all the time. Every week I go, oh, I don't have enough time 'cause my thing is I want to work out three to four times a week and I wanna move most days. I will consistently move or do exercise on four days, but I will not consistently do three exercises and moving every day.
So there's consistent movement. It's not always as much as I want it to be, and so I get that I don't have enough time. 'cause every week I feel like I finish the week and go, ugh. I wanted to do more, and that's why I really, really understand this reason. And what I wanna say is, for me, what it comes back to is because I can't get excited about exercise. I know other people love it, and I know some people just can't get excited about money. So for me, it is simply just a means to an end. One, I have a very large wardrobe and I wanna stay in it, but more than that, I understand the health benefits. I understand that the older you get, the more you have to be doing strength training.
I know that I use lose muscle mass every single year, and I wanna live to a hundred and get my telegram from the King. So, therefore, exercise is simply a necessary evil.
Lawsie: I love it. That link of getting a telegram with exercise. Perfect.
Mel: But it, for me, I can't get excited about it in the same way I know some people just can't get excited about their finances, so I wanna start by acknowledging that and personally, I simply put habits in place so that I do it.
So I use my diary so I put the time I'm gonna exercise in my diary, so it's like an appointment with myself. I habit stack so this is James Clear's Atomic Habits. So on a Monday, because I wanna start the week well, I put exercise gear on and I hate wearing exercise gear. Hate it. And my thing is I'm not allowed to get out of that exercise gear until I exercise and I don't have a shower. And the other thing is I love having a shower in the morning. So get up my manky self, put on my exercise gear, and I'm not allowed out of it till I exercise. So I'm motivated through a habit stack to do it, and I just do it consistently every Monday. So one thing I absolutely know is I'll at least start the week exercising. I'll always put one in the bank early, so even if the rest of the week fades away, that one's in. So there are a couple of tips for me when it comes to not having enough time for things that I do to get round it. What about you? Because you are a Queen Discipline.
Lawsie: I feel like you are much nicer and much more empathetic to the needs of the people.
Mel: That's 'cause I get this one. Yeah.
Lawsie: And probably the needs of a lot of people that are listening to this. And I think like it's one of those ones where I feel like in the same way that people will go, how are you? And the default response is, I'm so busy. There's that line and there's the 'I don't have enough time' line that just, I have to say, really grates on my soul, that’s a little harsh because I do get that there is different seasons and stages where you genuinely are gonna be under the pump and you won't have the time. But I think people aren't necessarily making the time, and I feel really mean diving into this. But if you were to pick up your phone, look into the analytics on your phone, how much time you spend scrolling, Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, Snapchat, I don't know whatever other platforms there are that I don't use. But if you were to look at that, I think one, you'd probably be horrified at how much time you spend on them, but two, I would then challenge you and go, has all of that been a productive use of your time and could you use some of that time to dedicate to your finances or for you, for your fitness or whatever it is? I think, as cliche as it is, we've all got the same 24 hours in a day. If prime ministers and the presidents of the world...
Lawsie: Beyonce, TayTay, all of them are all getting exactly the same number of hours, but it's how we're choosing to spend our time that is different. And I know that for some people, you could absolutely be going through a really rough, rough time. And you have so many things that are pulling at you. And so at this point in time, again, I feel like we're overusing that word. You genuinely may not have the time. There could be so many things that are pulling at you. But I think if you take a step back and go, all right. This month is nuts so I'm working overtime. I've got family commitments, I've got all of these things. That's okay. We don't all have to work on our finances every single day, every week, every month. But it's then going, okay, I know that I can't do anything this month, but I'm gonna start making some plans for what I can do in the following month.
So it's not just this, I've forgotten about it or you've done it for a little while and fallen off the bandwagon, which we can all do, absolutely, can all do. And I think it's also reframing how much time you need as well. We run the My Financial Adulting Plan and then we have a membership off the back of that, and part of the inclusions with that is the monthly accountability sessions that I run. And there was a woman last month and, I reckon it's been going on three or four months every month, she's like, yep, I need to still do this thing and she still hasn't done it. And this is someone that has made the time and worked on their finances, is in a great financial position, but still has these financial admin things that she needs to do. And has been putting it off. In the end, I was like, can you just find 30 minutes? 30 minutes a week to put it in your diary, and make an appointment with yourself. It's non-negotiable, and cannot be moved. And then last night she's like, I know it wasn't profound, but that was such a big thing for me because she's like, yes, I haven't completed that task, and it is a big thing that she's trying to navigate through. But she said, I've consistently been doing the half hour each week, so I've at least made progress towards it in the last month compared to the other previous months where she just kept pushing it back and pushing it back and pushing it back. So I just think sometimes we need to challenge how we're spending our time.
Instagram and reels can be amazing, but I probably don't need to spend as much time on there as a lot of us are prone to do. And can we redirect some of that time to something that's gonna benefit us now and in the future is our finances. But also to just be kind to yourself and be flexible with what your schedules are.
Mel: You said the F word. Wow. How'd that feel coming out? Your mouth?
Lawsie: But then, it’s blocking in, even if it's 10 minutes. We all can find some time in the grand scheme of things. Noting of course that there can be those exceptions for particular reasons and stages and whatever that you can't do it. But overall, I think we can find the time. It's just about to your point around wanting it to be a priority and therefore making it important, so then we will find the time to do it.
Mel: Absolutely. So I hope you've been challenged. Put the time in your diary, and figure out how much you're gonna spend each week. Maybe it's half an hour, maybe it's an hour, maybe it's half a day each month. Maybe it's two hours a month, like whatever's gonna work best for you. Put it in your diary, stick to it, and think about the habit stacks that you can create so that. And habit stacks simply for me, it's that you get up in the morning on Monday and you put your exercise gear on. For you, it might be I make my coffee and I then sit down and look at my finances. Or on a Monday night, as soon as I finish dinner, that's when I get out my finances. So stack it up to something that you are already doing so that it becomes that habit. I do not struggle as much with the other two, so I'll be more Lawsie-like in the next two.
I have really struggled with number two before, and that is, I don't have enough money. And what I wanna say is, I absofreakinglutely know this one.
I'm a western suburbs chick. I absolutely did not grow up with money. And when I was 33, as I've told the story many times, I gave my entire divorce proceeds and all the dollars in my business and personal bank account to charity as a result of a throwaway line that my ex-husband made, which meant I did not have enough money. And I think for me what was really important is to look at it and work out where the gap was. So for me, I had an asset gap in that I donated all my assets. Stupid, but that's okay. And I had an income gap because I was earning an income in my business, but it was tiny. It was teeny, I had a, I had an okay revenue. I think my revenue was probably 200 and maybe barely 200,000. Had a couple of staff, and I think I was taking home maybe 30 grand or 40 grand, like it was tiny. So my gap around 'I didn't have enough money' was I needed to increase my income. I then started to learn about business. I put myself into an accountant's group that Rob Nixon ran, which was all about helping me learn how to increase the income in my business.
And at the same time, I started to learn about investing 'cause I realised that those were the twin things that I simply had to do. Nowadays, I think it's even easier in so far as it's so much easier to find more cash. It's so much easier to find more income, but also you can start and invest with nothing. So things like Cash Rewards and Shop Back weren't available back when I had less than nothing. So there are so many ways you can find more cash now. And I think there's a misnomer that I'll start once I clear my debt or I'll start once I earn more income, or I'll start when the kids start school or when I start earning again. And it's really important to understand that you can start now with what you have. If you find $20 a day to invest, within 30 years, you'll have almost a million bucks, like from 20 bucks a day. Like it's simply about starting with small amounts. So 'I don't have enough money', I think is no longer an excuse or not even an excuse 'cause that's not fair. But it's not a reason why not to start.
Lawsie: And I almost think if you don't have enough money, it's a stronger reason to start. If you were someone that's listening to this going, well, I don't have the money to even start thinking about my finances, I'd be saying to you, you have to start thinking about your finances, because yes, a lot of us might think of saving and investing, but finances also includes debt, and you need to have an action plan for your debt. The longer you don't face your debt and work out an action plan on how you're going to manage it and overcome that, you're gonna constantly be set in this cycle. And of course, you're still gonna be always believing this thing if you don't have enough money and chances are that you don't, clearly, there's a reason why you are in debt for whatever reason, either directly within your control or outside of that. And I think regardless of the amount of money you do or don't have, you need to be spending this time to be looking at your finances, and working out a plan. You and I have seen that through the course with people that it's taken them six months, 12 months, two years, or longer to get on top of their debt.
But once they have, they get to that point and they go, thank God I've actually put the time in, that I've become more educated around this, so I've been able to get on top of it and prove to myself that I can. And then they can go on to do the other awesome things that we all need to be doing with our finances in terms of saving up so we've got a buffer for emergencies and starting to invest and looking after future us. And so I think if you are looking at it and thinking 'but I don't have enough money', you still have to be facing this 'cause if otherwise, you're never going to have enough money.
And it's so important to actually take that plunge and to look at it, face the fears, acknowledge what it is, that deep breath or five, however many you need. And then to start really being proactive with it to go well, how can I get this under control? And how can I really start transforming my finances?
Mel: And we've seen some incredible results of people that either had very little income or just had an average income, and because they knew what to do, then they were able and because they realised that with the limited income they had, they needed to be really smart with it, they were able to do incredible things, but I also wanna address this I also talk to people regularly where they say, 'I don't have enough money', and yet their ' I don't have enough money' is like ' I earn 300 grand as a family and we don't have enough money'. In which case there's a level of 'come on' when it comes to this as well around lifestyle creep and expectations. Too many people have enough money, they just don't realise it. And it’s because of the choices that they're making, they don't have enough. But it's actually about being aware of those choices and taking back control.
Lawsie: And I think the same sort of lessons can apply between money and time. Like they're all a resource. And so it's all about how we choose to use our time or choose to use our dollars. Because we've seen it with people that say that they're struggling and you go through the figures and you look and you go, oh wow. Your perception of struggling is very different to my perception. With your level of income that is coming in compared to others that I would argue that are earning quite a low or modest income and they're doing amazing things. But again, it's because of the decisions that they've made and how they're choosing to allocate their dollars and to do those things.
Mel: So the takeaway is that you do potentially have enough, it just might be about choices or it might be understanding how to find more income or understanding that you can invest even without touching the income that you're earning. But it is about learning to do that, which comes to our third point, which is, 'I don't have enough knowledge' and this is the one where I will become you in 'I don't have enough time' because I wanna start by saying that there's a big difference between knowledge and understanding. A huge difference. So I see people spruiking stuff online all the time. And probably one of the things that make me cranky is the number of heretics or one size fits all approaches that get spruiked, like the 50/30/20 rule, of 50% on your needs, 30% on your wants, 20% on your savings. That is just so wrong for about 80% of us. And yet people see that and go, oh, cool, I can do that. Or, oh my gosh, I can't do that, so I'm gonna opt out. Or they download an app and start investing without being aware of the consequences, and so many people have said to me, oh, my buffer's in there. Or I downloaded Blue Map and my buffer's sitting in there. Now I'm like, oh no, that's not cash. No, we don't want it in there. Or I'm saving my house deposit in there. Or I didn't realise that I couldn't transfer that to another app 'cause I don't have ownership, they've got custodial ownership, or I didn't realise there was a monthly fee.
So it's that difference between knowledge and understanding. And we can Google anything, every time something happens that I have, I am Dr. Google, like I am the queen of Googling everything and my husband always says, the bald sexy man will go, do not Google this, whenever he finds out that I have something, I'm like, oh 'cause the itch just to find out more is just overwhelming. But of course that can then become overwhelming.
So I see when it comes to finances, we weren't taught about it at school, which is fundamentally the problem. Often it's not talked about in our homes. So it is figuring out how can I develop not just knowledge, but understanding.
And that's exactly why we created our course and why we do what we do, 'cause we saw such a big gap there and the only people filling it with financial advisors and too many people can't afford them. Or they don't just wanna hand over all their agency to a financial advisor.
Lawsie: Absolutely. I think the other thing, and I'll be softer here...
Mel: Good job. We're swapping caps.
Lawsie: The thing to add to this is the very powerful three little words of 'yet'. That you don't have enough knowledge yet because like none of this came out into the world going, woo-hoo, I'm a financial genius. It’s all stuff that we have had to learn.
And I know some people would look at it and go, oh, it's all right for you two. Like you were accountants or financial advisors you just get this stuff. And I'm like, let me tell you, when I was doing my accounting degree, we did not look at personal finances by any stretch of the imagination.
We looked at how to create a personal tax return and suddenly I then spent years with you doing lots of tax returns. But I came in going, I don't really know how to fill this in. It’s one of those things that yes, we're experts in it now, but we've learned that over time, and it's not to say that you or anyone listening has to become an expert in it, but you can't rely on that excuse of, 'I don't have enough knowledge'. And I think if you can change that for yourself and be able to go, I don't have enough knowledge yet, then you're actually opening yourself to opportunities to go, all right, I know that I don't have enough knowledge and now I've tried going down the Google wormhole just like you do to diagnose any medical issue you've ever had or could have.
Lawsie: So it is going, what can I be doing today to start to really go, all right, I wanna learn a little bit more about this. Or Mel's spoken about a buffer account. What is that? And to start looking at those things or to be tuning into podcasts. There are so many resources out there, to your point that it's all Googleable. But just to actually start taking an interest, to go back to our first point around, make this a priority. Find some time, even if it's on your commute. You listen to one finance podcast a week, and the rest can all be your true crime thrillers and anything else that you wanna listen to. Start to take an interest in this because if you can and do spend the time and allocate some of your financial resources, ie, your money and start to gain that knowledge. Yes, you might think it's boring, but we all know that money and finances are ultimately the tool that is gonna let you live the life that you want to live. So you need to take control of this and start to take an interest. Even if you go, I hate maths and this, that, and the other. We've heard every excuse around it. But if you can reframe that for yourself, to go, all right, leave all of my old stories behind. I don't have enough knowledge yet. I'm gonna make the time. I wanted to take better control of my finances and the money that I do or don't have, and start to educate myself. Like you cannot underestimate what a change that will actually make.
Mel: And I feel like this one's really tied into time because people don't have the knowledge, so then they're thinking, I don't actually have time to figure it out, so, therefore, I'm gonna opt out. So that knowledge and time are really intrinsically linked. But I wanna ask you the question because you were not always a share investor. You were far more familiar with property and just when we are thinking about, I don't have knowledge. And I absolutely agree when we were accountants, we weren't taught about any of this. I'm a self-taught investor, and then when I became a financial advisor, it was just compounding what I already knew, but for you, how did you get comfortable? How did you gain that knowledge to go from I haven't invested to investing?
Lawsie: I think that it was absolutely a comfortability of we were doing people’s tax returns.
Mel: So you were seeing it.
Lawsie: The reason we were doing all of their tax returns is 'cause they weren't just a basic, I go to work and I go home type thing. So it was I think just getting that exposure to it and realising how many people actually invest and going, oh, all these smart people are investing. So that was definitely something where you go. Yeah, this is all right. It kind of dispelled that myth where I would've ordinarily looked at it and gone, oh, it's a bit like gambling. And then I think it's just taking an interest in it and figuring out the different types of investments that are out there. Understanding your, and I know this is gonna be very financially jargony, but understanding your risk profile and are you prepared to take on a lot of risk or are you much more conservative? And understanding that, and then just starting slowly, like ripping the bandaid off and going, all right. I'm comfortable with that company. I'm gonna try that. Or I think originally I Invested in a couple of managed funds just to get the feel for it. And then over time, I think you just keep learning and figuring it out. and I think ultimately for me, because I want flexibility and choice, it made sense to become more comfortable and familiar with share investing and to really lean into that because I'm someone that just wants the adventure and I want all the options in the world for things that I wanna be able to do. So it's much easier to sell off some shares if I'm not working, for example, and living my dream life than it is to sell the chimney off my house. Obviously can't do that. So that for me was also a catalyst 'cause to come back to your point around when you've got time and wanting to make sure that you've got a goal that you are working towards. Ultimately, for me, the goal was I don't wanna always have to work. If I'm enjoying what I'm doing, great. And if I'm not, and I wanna be going and travelling the world and backpacking my life through some remote mountain range in the middle of who knows where awesome.
But I wanna be able to do that. And so being able to do that, shares were more of a natural fit for me in that scenario. Not saying that everyone wants to do that, obviously. Whereas property I'm like, oh there's so much more to it. It doesn't give me that same level of flexibility. Because of that, then naturally I'm leaning more and more into this and looking at all of my different options to be able to go, yeah, actually this is what feels really comfortable. Having tried all the different types of share investing to ultimately go, this is what I'm gonna be doing for most of it
Mel: And I love that it’s the exposure and then realising through that, huh, all these people are doing it and none of them are the risky type. And risk profile, if anyone's listening and is confused by that. Again, this is something we pop inside the My Financial Adulting Plan, but you can actually do a quiz to figure out what risk profile you are. That risk profile can change over time as you become more comfortable with different types of investing, but it just suggests to you how you may want to invest. So, for example, the lowest is very conservative. The highest, and I hate that it used to be called this, 'very aggressive'. You can see that men were very involved in the creation of these. More and more, that's being called 'high growth' now rather than 'very aggressive' and everything in between. 'Balanced' is the middle one. So depending on how risky you are, would be how you would invest. But again, that's part of that knowledge.
Lawsie: And just your timeframes and there is other stuff that goes into it. So I guess to your point around the difference between knowledge and understanding, but I think you need to actually start acquiring some knowledge and then moving to understand it, so then you can apply it with your finances.
Mel: So if you as someone that has been thinking that, I hope that we've given you enough tips around time. It's about habit stacking, prioritising, and popping it in your diary and making it something that you stick to. If it's money, it's realising that if you think you don't have enough, that's even more of a reason to do it. But also understanding is the gap in income and how can I invest by finding other money. And again, we'll put a link to a free webinar called 50 Plus Ways to Find 10K in 12 Months that will help you with that. And then finally, I don't have enough knowledge, we hope you've realise that sometimes listening to a whole stack of stuff or reading a whole stack of stuff can make you even more confused. And do you actually need that one place with two financial experts where you can actually have that deep understanding and create that financial plan that's right for you and figure out all these things that we are talking about today? And if that is you, the doors for the My Financial Adulting Plan open at beginning of September.
We'll put a link to the wait list in the show notes, or we are holding free training the first week of September called My Money HIIT sessions. And again, we'll put a link to that so that you can come along and start to get that boost to really deliver some oomph to your finances.