Uncensored Money Season Five: Money Chats with MFAP Alumni: Jodie
Melissa Browne: Ex-Accountant, Ex-Financial Advisor, Ex-Working Till I Drop, Now Serial Entrepreneur & Author, Financial Wellness Advocate, Living a Life by Design | 22/01/2024
Wish you could listen in as someone just like you chatted about money? That’s what our Money Chats are all about.
In this episode, Mel is chatting with My Financial Adulting Plan alumni Jodie who is a fifty-something single mum. Jodie talks about where she was at a year ago and the changes she’s made over the last 12 months. Listen and be inspired to take charge of your own finances.
Books and resources mentioned in this episode
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Mel: Hey everyone. I'm Mel Brown. I'm an ex-accountant and ex-financial advisor, so I have the theory, but I also have the life experience. I'm now financially independent in my own right after coming back from less than nothing in my early thirties. I want this podcast to be like a chat with your girlfriends about money. My aim is to help you discover why you're behaving the way you are with money, to suggest new ways you might behave that are a better fit for you, and to increase your financial literacy and financial confidence. I hope it inspires challenges, educates and empowers you with how you do money. So let's get into it. Welcome to Uncensored Money.
Mel: Inside the My Financial Adulting plan, which is my signature eight week course. We've had over 3,300 people as of January 24 come through the doors and everyone is different.
Mel: The youngest, I think is a teenager, the oldest is in their eighties. We've had divorce, married, consciously uncoupling, living together, single ex-co of a billion dollar company. Nurses, teachers, uni students just starting again, business owners like name it. And we've got it heavily in debt. No debt, mortgage. No mortgage, has houses, wants to buy a house, not interested in buying a house. And what I want to do is start sharing their stories because some of them are huge success stories. Some of them have had initial success and now have stumbled. Some of them have been surprised by what they've learned. I'm so thrilled that these women and some blokes have decided to come on and share their stories. And over these months, I want to gradually bring once a month a story of an alumni to you. I hope that you enjoy. Jodie, thank you so much for joining me today. Tell me a little about you. Let's just put money aside for the moment. Tell me your story.
Jodie: My story. Okay. I'm a mom of two. I'm pretty independent. I'll probably have a go at most things and learned to sort of be self-sufficient as a single mom as well. Changing washes and <laugh>, fixing things around the house. Become pretty good at that sort of stuff.
Mel: Wow, and my husband's not even good with that stuff. That's impressive. <Laugh>. I'm not good with that stuff.
Jodie: Oh, plus it's like teaching the kids that you can have a go and you can teach yourself how to do things and that saves money. Sorry that money slipped in there. But
Mel: No, I love that.
Jodie: It kind of does. So I'm a bit of a competition freak <laugh>. Ooh. I've entered competitions since I was about 10 years old and I've won a lot of things over the years, so..
Mel: What's the biggest thing you've won?
Jodie: Biggest thing I've won was a wedding package from the Women's Weekly, which was $10,000.
Mel: Oh wow.
Jodie: A few years ago now. Long time ago now, but yeah.
Mel: That's impressive.
Jodie: It was very good. Very handy. Came in very handy.
Mel: Yeah. Oh gosh. That's a money spinner that I hadn't thought about. <Laugh> during competitions. I love it. Well let's talk about money. Tell me about your money story growing up. Which is something that we spend week one in the My financial adulting plan on.
Jodie: Yeah. Well money wasn't talked about in my household growing up as a kid, which is probably pretty common for most people. We didn't get taught anything about money, didn't really know how much things cost. I mean you don't really as a kid anyway, we heard a lot as kids growing up was like, oh no, we can't afford that. You know, if we wanted something it was like, oh, we can't afford that. Dunno whether we couldn't. But that was pretty much the sum of it. We weren't allowed to ask questions. I remember asking how much my parents earned one time. It was like, can't ask that question. You can't ask that question. That's rude. Yeah, that was rude. Yeah, that was rude. Kind of didn't really learn anything I guess, but didn't know anything different either.
Mel: Yeah. So your money story really was, this is something that you don't talk about. Very hush. Yeah. As I said, what money story is one of the things we look at. So tell me, what did you reject from that and what did you keep or what did you rewrite your money story to?
Jodie: Well, I've done, since doing the course with you two years ago, I talked to my kids now about money all the time because I want them to have a different future than what I had. And they're starting now. So I mean they're 19 and 25, so they're not little kids, they're young adults. But I started late but they're starting a lot earlier than I did.
Mel: Yeah, I love that. Yeah. Was it weird at first to start talking about it?
Jodie: A little bit I guess because they're like, oh yeah, whatever <laugh>. Mm-Hmm. But they're investing in shares now and I'm doing it mostly for them. It's in their name. They've got their own Pearler accounts. Mm-Hmm. <Affirmative>. And they like to check in and see what they've got and how it's growing and start small. But this is compound, compound interests that we are talking about and that's what I'm teaching you about. The length of time that that stays there is gonna be for their future. Oh
Mel: That's such a gift. And just you casually saying, oh yes, I'm investing for them. And we talk about compound interest and they look and ask questions. That's massive. Like genuinely gives me chills. I can't emphasize the importance of that for someone that's a teenager to understand about investing and to understand about compound interest. That's massive.
Jodie: Yeah. It's a very different future for them and starting off now than I had. That's my biggest joy I suppose, that I've been able to give that to them through doing this for me. So it's had that knock on effect for me and my kids, which is just awesome.
Mel: Yeah, I love that. In week two we look at your money type. What is your money type and how has knowing that impacted how you behave with your money?
Jodie: My money type came out as a worker, so that didn't really surprise me too much.
Mel: Yeah. And especially you saying like I do washers and I get in there and roll up my hands. I mean that's yes <laugh>, I roll up my sleeves, not my hands. <Laugh> oh my god.
Jodie: Roll up too.
Mel: Exactly. <laugh>,
Jodie: I was always taught to work hard for your money, you know, you work hard, get a good job, that sort of thing. But now I've learnt that it's not so much about me working hard for money, it's making the money that I earn and get paid work for me. And that was a real slip around <laugh> for me. Something completely different.
Mel: Yeah. And I mean as for a worker to not just work and to have that mindset shift, as you say, that is massive. because That's often your achilles heel as a worker is that you'll just work and work and work and not invest and look after that for yourself.
Jodie: Yeah. You can only do so much with that money if you're not making it work for you as I've learnt <laugh>.
Mel: Yeah, exactly. I love that you've learnt that <laugh>. So tell me, it was a couple of years ago that you did the program. Yeah. Tell me a bit about where you were financially before you joined and why you joined. Cause I know people joined for all sorts of different reasons. Yeah,
Jodie: Well I was 54, 54 and a half I suppose. And I was living kind of like pay to pay. You get paid, you pay the bills, you pay the expenses, it's just the money gotta pay and then whatever's left over, which wasn't a great deal. And I don't have a lot in super at that stage of my life because I had two kids and I had my own business many years ago for about five years. And I didn't even think about putting into super.
Mel: It's so common
Jodie: So when I had that. So yeah, I just was in that stage of my life where I was heading towards retirement and I just thought, am I gonna be able to retire? I'm certainly not gonna have enough that it's not gonna last. I'll be on the pension and I don't want that. Yeah. And I'm just like, I don't know what to do. I don't know how to fix this.
Jodie: And then I was listening to you on Instagram and you said something about you can't eat your house. It was like a mind blown thing for me because I thought, oh yeah, I'm good. I've got the house. But that doesn't generate an income for me. Yeah. If I stop working, I don't have an income.
Mel: Mm-Hmm. <Affirmative>
Jodie: I've only got what I've got and this is not enough.
Mel: Yeah. And so many people are in that mindset of buy a house, pay it off and just blinker it and I'll be okay. But as you said, you can't eat your house. No. So if you are not looking at super, if you're not building other assets or income streams, then when you get to retirement you have that awful choice of okay, do I have to sell and downsize? Which it's nice to have that option or do I bring in a boarder or I want people to have more options than just I have to sell or bring in someone to live with me.
Jodie: Yeah, a hundred percent. And I don't want to sell my house <laugh>.
Mel: No, and I don't want to live with anyone!
Jodie: That too!
Mel: Where are you now with why you joined? So at the time you had, you were looking at, I've got my house and oh no, I can't eat that. What about today?
Jodie: Today, now I'm looking more towards the future of what else I can invest in. So I'm investing in shares now. I've got a good buffer, I've got savings happening, I know what my expenses are. I know what I pay for this insurance or I know what I pay for that and I know what my electricity costs me. So when you're shopping around and trying to get better deals, I know all of those numbers <laugh>.
Jodie: Now so I've got a better handle on where I'm at and what I've got. And now it's looking at multiple streams of income as something else to invest in.
Mel: I love that. I love that you just roll these terms off so casually now I'm like, yeah, she is <laugh>. But you really grabbed with two hands the challenge that we did in the course.
Jodie: Oh yes. <Laugh>.
Mel: So one of the challenges there's three challenges and the second challenge is to find $833 in 30 days. Because if you can do that every 30 days, you'll have 10 grand in a year. Yeah. And you just went, right, let's do it. Let's go worker money type on <laugh>. Let's just go with that. So tell me about that. Because you were amazing with that.
Jodie: Yeah, look at first I thought, wow, $833 to find in a month is, that seemed almost impossible. But you had the 50 ways of doing things. So it was like checking, revising insurances and things that you pay, getting better deals and saving money there. So everything I did when I revised and saved money on things, I put that extra money into the 10 K account that I created.
Mel: Mm-Hmm. <Affirmative>.
Jodie: So I created an account specifically for it and I put that in there. And then I did surveys and then I earned some gift cards for different things. I did mystery shopping. Whenever I got a gift card for something, whether it was something from work or whatever, I would use that to buy groceries. But then I'd take my grocery budget and put into the 10 K account. So yeah,
Mel: I love it.
Jodie: It wasn't like, oh I get a gift card. Great. That's extra spend. It's like I need to turn this into cash to take it from my budget. Yep. That was how I did it. So many different things. I had to go at a lot of different things. Because you said one or two things probably isn't gonna do it. Yeah. You have to try lots of different things because you might make a little with some things. Doing paid surveys, not a huge amount of money. Mystery shopping, again, not a huge amount of money. Some of the things can be, but a lot of little things add up over time. Just like compound interest <laugh>.
Mel: Yes, exactly. And how much did they add up to and how long did it take you that first year?
Jodie: I did the course in February/end of March. So I started in March. Mm-Hmm. <Affirmative>. So I did 10 months and it was just over 11,500. That's
Mel: So good.
Jodie: That included my tax return in there as well. So that was a decent chunk. Yeah. But any extra money went into that, all went into there into that account.
Mel: Yeah. And too much of that extra money, as you said with the gift card, you just spend it, it's extra spending. Actually that could be my groceries now and I'll use this and shuffle around. That's the smarts in that that I love hearing most successful mystery mystery shopping site? Most successful survey site? Do you think?
Jodie: I really like Octopus Group for surveys. Yeah. I tried pure profile.
Mel: That comes up a lot in the group.
Jodie: But yeah, it didn't really work for me. But, but mean everybody's different. But Octopus Group I really like, they also run a little app called Field Agent. So that's run by the same group, which is just little small things, but it's just like when you're doing your shopping and you might get paid for checking a barcode or something in a, in a supermarket might be a couple of dollars or buy and try. They have different things that you can buy and try and you get reimbursed for the product and you might get paid $5 for giving a bit of a review. It's a like mystery shopping on a little smaller scale.
Mel: Yeah, I like that. That's really neat. Yeah.
Jodie: Again, not a big money earner, but it's a fun thing to do. You might get to try some new products and yeah, again, it's something different. If it adds a extra, a couple of bucks.
Mel: If it was only $2 a week, there's a hundred bucks. Like it's just, yeah. That's, that's so good. Yeah. <laugh>, What do you think was the most surprising thing that you learned through the My Financial Adulting Plan
Jodie: Shares were a bit of a mystery I suppose. And bit little bit scary. Didn't really know a lot about shares. It's like how do you pick them? Blah, blah blah. So share investing at at the end it's not as daunting as I first thought and now I invest regularly and it's like, oh yeah, look at this. <Laugh> in it goes, it just goes in without a thought. I don't look at as, as often as I used to.
Mel: Which is great.
Jodie: Yeah. So I check in maybe a couple of times a month, but that's a lot less. I think it did a tally of how many times you checked in on Pearler. They give you some stats. Oh, hilarious. It's like 30 something times in a month
Mel: <Laugh>. But I think when you first start it's like, Ooh, I want to see what they're doing all the time.. But it's good and bad.
Jodie: Yeah. It takes time to grow. So it's, you know, now it's just a habit. I think it's a very good habit.
Mel: Great habit.
Jodie: And it's, it's good to just know that this is gonna compound, this is my outside of super plan.
Jodie: For the next 10 to 15 years. Yeah.
Mel: So smart.
Mel: It's a New Year, you've decided you want to do financially better this year, but the problem is your habits and situationships with money aren't going to change once the clock struck midnight on January one. The truth is, to get where you really want to be financially in 2024, you need a plan tailored to your unique situation. But that's not gonna happen all at once. To reach those money goals, you need to take one step at a time, and that's exactly why I am running free training in January that can be the catalyst to your new beginning. No matter where you are financially. It doesn't matter whether you are dealing with massive debt, whether you're good with money, but you want to learn more about investing, whether you're holding on and just trying to stay afloat or you don't know about money and finances at all. This training is for you called your Financial Fresh Start. It's been designed to be exactly that. It's happening from Monday, the 22nd for two weeks. Head to the link in the show notes and make sure you register so that you are doing something different so that you get a different result this year.
Mel: How far did you get with the strategic plan? Because the giant spreadsheet, and that's because some people get really stuck on it and some people absolutely geek out on it. Where did you fit in that continuum?
Jodie: I love spreadsheets. I love Excel. So Excellent. It was pretty cool. I really liked the spreadsheet. It was an eyeopener the very beginning, putting all your figures in and just going, oh okay. Right. Yeah. And I looked at all my statements and I plugged in years worth of expenses and I went, oh my God, I'm wasting money on takeaways. I'm wasting money on this and that. Yeah. So it was a big shift but very worthwhile. I didn't set my long-term goals. I set just short-term goals.
Mel: Just 12 Month goals?
Jodie: Yeah. 12 month goals and then I'd thought I'll just stick to this. Yeah. And we'll work through that. And then repeated that for the second year. Mm-Hmm. Which was last year. Now this year is I'm in a better spot than what I was and now I'm ready to look at that sort of slightly longer term, three to five years.
Mel: I really like that because I think it can be really daunting to look long-term sometimes, but looking 12 months is really, if that's achievable. Yeah. And sometimes that's the only step you can see for the moment while you're trying to figure out what's right for you.
Jodie: Yeah, I was looking just to get started as the basics. I didn't even know what I wanted in five years time <laugh>. So yeah, once you start and you've got some investing habits, I think it's getting those habits is a really important thing and then worked for me anyway, so then now I'm ready to look long-term, I've got a bit better of an idea of what I'm saving on a year to year basis.
Mel: So what were a couple of your short-term goals, if you don't mind sharing and what are your, a couple of your long-term ones now?
Jodie: Short-Term goals was I just, I wanted to have some savings, some like some good savings. Just like having a thousand dollars in the bank account and having the buffer. That was the really big thing. Having that buffer for emergencies because there's been times in the past where I had to find money in a hurry and then you whack it on the credit card and then you don't always get to pay that off in time. And then you're sort of like fighting an uphill battle then. Yeah.
Mel: And we were talking before you came on where you've just had flooding up in Queensland and all sorts of stuff. So having that buffer account was key. <Laugh>.
Jodie: Absolutely <laugh>. I could fix my box gutter in my roof, because insurance doesn't cover that. But if I didn't have the buffer, I'd be wondering where am I gonna get the few thousand dollars from? I don't like taking it out the buffer.
Mel: No, of course.
Jodie: Once you've got it there. But it's definitely peace of mind knowing that it's there and it's like, okay, I'm good. I can fix this. I don't have to try and patch things and yes. That sort of thing. So I'm gonna have the best roof <laugh>. Yay. <Laugh>.
Mel: What about you? Long-Term goals? You said you've been doing some with that, what are they?
Jodie: Yeah, look long-term goals now this year's a big year, I just want to save and invest and add to the buffer as much as I can. I've sort of been tracking it the last two years and this year I'm aiming, it's a big goal, it's scary, but aiming to save 50% of my income.
Mel: Oh wow. That's a big goal. I like it
Jodie: Yes. I've been more frugal over the last two years and mm-Hmm. <Affirmative> not only with that, I realize that at this stage of my life I don't really need a lot of stuff and yes. Yeah. I don't need things. I've cut out a lot of expenses through doing this spreadsheet and I think last year I got to 35% of my income saved and invested.
Mel: And is that so that you can have more choice to stop working or to choose how you retire or what's the thinking behind that?
Jodie: Yeah, look, to be honest, I thought I'd be working till I was 65, maybe even 67, which wasn't really appealing. Yeah. And it's grown less appealing <laugh>.
Jodie: Since doing the course <laugh>, whether I can retire earlier than 65 would be wonderful. That's why I thought a big bush this year and probably next year.
Jodie: Will also allow me to increase the buffer that I have sitting in my mortgage offset and reducing that interest significantly as well. Buffer, I normally don't have that much sitting in a buffer. Mm-Hmm. But splitting it sort of between investing and having in that buffer. Because It's gonna work in my best interest on the mortgage that way. Yeah.
Mel: I just love hearing you talking about the, I'm gonna do this and try this and this is why I think that's really important. It's not just, oh I think that I should do it, it's actually no because I think I want to have some choice so I need to be going hard for the next two years.
Mel: I think that's what I love hearing the most. It's actually I'm gonna to try some things because I want to have choice, not just 'cause someone's told me I should do it or I think I should do it. This is actually what I want now.
Mel: Which is very cool. <Laugh> What are you most proud of that you've done with your money since in the last couple of years?
Jodie: I'm really proud that my kids are investing. Yeah. That just is amazing to me and they're saving as well. But they're investing, which is for the long term term and I just know what their future is gonna be when they have this nest egg that's just growing and yeah, by the time they're 30 40, they're gonna have way more choices. And that's what I've said to them. You may not have to work <laugh>, keep working until you're 60, 65. So you'll have that choice. So that's pretty cool. Otherwise, my favorite's the 10 K challenge because yeah, I thought it was unattainable honestly at the beginning and I just, oh, I'm gonna just see if I can really do this <laugh> and let's just give it a go. Not just for one month. I just thought, if you're gonna do this, you're gonna, I'm gonna do this all in and just let's see if I can make 10 grand or put away 10 grand in 12 months, which was, yeah. Ended up being a little bit less than that. But I'll be doing that again this year as part of that. So cover off some expenses. That means more of my income can go into saving and investing. So it's just a good thing to, it's a good habit. Get's just a good thing to, to do. Yeah. I think the biggest thing is consciously having a plan.
Mel: Yes. Yeah.
Jodie: And checking in on that. Not 30 times in a month, but <laugh>
Jodie: Just checking in and keeping yourself accountable. It's like anything that you do that any form of habit, whether it's eating healthy or exercising or whatever, it just doesn't happen for a month and then you forget about it. You've gotta check in on yourself, make yourself accountable and track where you're going. I mean, not to the nth degree but just have, be that conscious awareness I think, of being in control of your finances so that you are the one that is in control and making your money work for you.
Mel: Agree. Jodie, when it comes to exercise I am, I feel like I'm in a continue loop of I really got this, ugh, I hate it and I'm just doing it 'cause I have to, I've completely fallen off the wagon, I've got this <laugh> and I think that happens with our money. Like it's not linear. We don't just go, oh we are good now and we just sail into the sunset and it's perfect. Where would you say your in with that continuum when it comes to money at the moment I've got this, it's a little bit rocky. I'm kind of doing it and it's a bit ugh. But I know what I have to do
Jodie: Actually now it excites me. It really does.
Mel: I don't feel like that about exercise. <Laugh>. I love that you feel like that about money.
Jodie: Me neither. If I could only translate that to exercise <laugh>
Jodie: It'd be good, wouldn't it? It's exciting now because I have a completely different outlook on my life. I know my life now looks completely different than what it did two years ago. And it wasn't without challenges and it wasn't without sort of having to make that, yeah. Have to make a committed effort and it doesn't always go to plan. You can get complacent. I got a little bit complacent last year and I went, oh, maybe I don't need to put that amount of money into share investing. And it's like, I'll spend a little bit of money and stuff, you know? But it's like anything, if you want to achieve the goal, you've gotta follow the action steps to do it. So now it's like the more I automate, the easier it becomes.
Mel: Yes. Oh gosh. Automating is so key. I mean when we pay our mortgage, the bank doesn't go, yeah, pay this whenever you want. I feel like the more we automate, the easier it just is because we're acting like the bank manager for us.
Jodie: Yeah. because you just, my pay goes in, it's like this goes here, this goes there, this goes there and it's all allocated. Yeah. Straight away. And what I've got left is what I've got left. Because everything else is either invested towards my fixed expenses or towards what I've allocated for the year. I've always got the money there, which is another key thing. And it's not living pay to pay. You know, I've worked out what it is for the 12 months. Split that up, put that aside. I get paid monthly. So that was a bit of an adjustment last year. Switching to a job that paid monthly. But I don't mind it actually, again, probably because I automate things and that does make it a lot easier. Mm. Whether you get paid fortnightly or monthly. If you've got a plan and you've got the money there, it's easier.
Mel: And that's something that we have inside the plan is showing you once you put your figures in, this is how much you can put in your bills or your holiday account or, or your everyday account or your buffer or savings. So it's a key thing that we push. So I love hearing you do that and get that. I have loved our conversation so much. I wan to finish with one question and that is that, where do you want to be at the end of 2024 and what's the one thing you need to do to get you there? So we're beginning of 2024. So if we are having a chat next year, same time, what do you want to tell me that you're seeing and what's the one thing you need to do?
Jodie: Like I said, my goal this year is to save 50% of my income. It's a year of discipline I'd say, but I've kind of got my mind really set on achieving that goal.
Jodie: So discipline is maybe not really discipline. It's 'cause I want it <laugh>. Yeah. I want it really badly. Yep. So it's kind of like there's something that you do in the course, which is the no spend month. Yep. I was doing four of those a year. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>. So now I'm looking, well I've started with January so I'm kind of doing maybe every second month <laugh>. Okay. Just to keep me on track. Because you know, little things like you said can creep in and you can just get a bit complacent. So if I can hit that goal at the end of this year, it's working towards my future for me. So it's a small bit of discipline now I guess. But the benefits long-term might mean then that I can retire earlier than I had thought I probably could.
Mel: I have no doubt that when we have a chat early next year at some point that you'll say, oh yeah, I did that <laugh> wasn't easy, but I did that. That Jodie, one last question. I dunno if I said that was the last question, but this is really the last question. <Laugh>. If someone was listening and maybe they're in their fifties, maybe they're a single mom, but they're in that situation where they're like, oh, I resonate so much with what you're saying. What's the one thing you would say to them if they're feeling like it's a little bit hopeless or they don't know what they could be doing with their finances just to give them some hope?
Jodie: Look, I was in a place where I didn't really know what to do. Came across you, had followed you for a few months and then I just went, you know what? I have to do something. I don't know what to do, but you really resonated with me when you said you can't eat your house. It stuck in my brain for about four weeks <laugh>. And then I just went, bugger this <laugh>. I'm just gonna find the money and I'm just gonna sign up and I'm gonna do it. And honest to God, with my hand on my heart, it is the single best thing that I could have ever done for myself and as a flow on what it has done for my kids in the conversations that I've had with them and will continue to have with them and just how they're setting themselves up for their future and best thing ever. Hands down.
Mel: Thank you so much, Jodie. I could seriously talk to you about this for so long. <Laugh>, I love hearing you going from that money story of we weren't allowed to talk about money or it just wasn't something that we talked about in our house through to you and your kids just having natural conversations and you now having an action plan where you know you're gonna have choice. Thank you so much for sharing with me today and I can't wait to see what you do next.
Jodie: It's my pleasure. Thanks Mel. Thanks for having me on.
Mel: If you enjoyed this episode, we would love it if you subscribed and give us a review, then make sure you come and play with me on Insta. I'm at @melbrowne.money Remember there's an E on the end of Browne. I'm one of those fancy brownes, and don't forget to check out the show notes for even more ways you can work with me to transform your finances.