Uncensored Money Season Five: Money Chats with MFAP Alumni: Chloe
Melissa Browne: Ex-Accountant, Ex-Financial Advisor, Ex-Working Till I Drop, Now Serial Entrepreneur & Author, Financial Wellness Advocate, Living a Life by Design | 29/01/2024
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 Chloe, a Melbourne mum of two. Chloe talks about taking the course in mid 2023, and the impact and changes that she and her husband have made since. 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.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 wanna 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 wanna gradually bring once a month a story of an alumni to you. I hope that you enjoy.
Mel: Chloe, thank you so much for coming and chatting to me today. Tell me a little bit about you. So not money yet, we'll ease into this. Just tell me about you.
Chloe: Yeah, so I am 36. I live in Melbourne, Victoria with my husband and my two young children. They're two and four. We've got a dog. I work in event management and I have done for the past 12 or 13 years. I like to do lots of outdoorsy things, you know, like to do a bit of paddle boarding and things like that. Catching up with friends, travel, all those usual things that people often say. Yeah, I think that's pretty much me unless there's anything else I've missed out.
Mel: No, I love that. Don't worry peop not everyone says they like doing standup paddle boarding for me that's outside. So that's not something I would say. <Laugh>.
Chloe: Yeah, <laugh>.
Mel: Well let's dive into money. So in week one in the My financial adulting plan, we look at your money story. Tell me what your money story was growing up.
Chloe: My money story growing up was I lived in Melbourne with my mum and dad, my younger brother. I never thought we were rich. I never thought we were poor mum and dad, just they were really good at either sort of setting boundaries and rewarding us for certain things that we did or pocket money, those sort of things. But I think as we went through life, I sort of have found out that there were times that they struggled and things like that, but they sort of were able to hide that quite well. They're probably a bit more open now, but at the time we were, we seemed fine. And I think when you're a kid you don't really know much better.
Mel: Yeah. So your money story would've been very much everything's okay and it just happens and mum and dad provide.
Chloe: Yes, that's it. They provided we got pocket money, that was great. I was happy with that. But yeah, a happy, good upbringing. Yeah.
Mel: What did you reject from that and what did you keep, like what's your money story that you've rewritten for yourself as an adult?
Chloe: I think as I've gotten older, I've spoken to mum and dad about their money and how they've their money and they will use credit cards and things like that to get by. And I think I probably learned the hard way that I'm not to be trusted with credit cards. <Laugh>, <laugh>
Mel: Like so many people including me.
Chloe: Yeah <Laugh> I learned that the hard way. And I think I didn't want to fall into that trap of owing lots of money on credit cards and things like that. So I was able to sort of make some life changes and just get rid of credit cards, not use them. I think in terms of probably now I look back and we weren't able to do certain things that maybe other people were able to do. And I think now with me and my family, I would like to be able to provide everything I can and more. I just want to be conscious of the money that I'm bringing in but also what we're spending and what we're saving. And that was really a big part of doing this course. I just wanted to educate myself and my family on what the possibilities were.
Mel: Yeah, I love that you kind of went through the childhood, it was very unconscious, it just happened behind the scenes to as an adult you're like, no, I want this to be a conscious thing.
Mel: I don't wanna just, yeah, be pulled along by credit card debt or what have you. It's, I wanna make conscious choices. I love that. What about your money type? So that's something that we look at in week two. What was your money type and how has knowing that impacted how you behave with money? And it's totally okay if it doesn't. because Lawsie says knowing hers hasn't impacted her <laugh>.
Chloe: Oh, it was really interesting doing this module and this exercise in the course. I am a creator through and through.
Chloe: I'm very much and I always have been. If I believe that I can do something then I'll make it happen. Or–
Mel: Just manifested,
Chloe: –I'll learn, I'll do whatever it takes to sort of get to that. And when I was reading all about the different sort of money types, I was just like, it just hit the nail on the head For me, even just sort of thinking of side hustles like the last 10 years and things like that, it's just, I'm like, oh my gosh, this is me. Like I'm just reading all the different points <laugh>. So that was pretty interesting. And even talking to my husband about what he is, which I can't actually remember right now. Sorry, I was more focused on me. <Laugh>
Mel: As a creator often is <laugh>.
Chloe: That's right. That's right. So yeah, look, I love doing that. So yeah, it was really interesting finding it a bit more about me and my habits and spending.
Mel: And I love though that you went to your husband and talked to him about it. Because Then that gives you a language around hey, here's something curious to talk about versus let's discuss a budget or something that maybe isn't quite as comfortable talking about.
Chloe: Exactly. That's right. I mean the conversations that we had during the course were so interesting and meaningful and it's not just where has all our money gone this week or it was sort of the reasoning or the why, which was so interesting. And yeah, I definitely learned a lot and he learned a lot at the same time, which was great.
Mel: How involved was he? Was he kind of your going to him telling him about stuff or did he do some of it as well?
Chloe: I probably more just went to him and talked to him about it or I said, oh this is so interesting. And just sort of talked his ear off. But not so much. The exercises and things and the spreadsheet, that was very much my bag. I sort of was doing all of that. But definitely kept him involved at arm's length.
Mel: Along the way.
Mel: And there's such a mix with couples. Sometimes the couples will jump in together. Sometimes one will be leading it and doing like what you are doing and just having those conversations. Like they're such a gamut. And I'm always curious to hear how involved partners are.
Mel: Tell me a bit about where you were financially before you joined the my financial blah blah. I can't even say the name. The My Financial Adulting Plan and why you joined and how long ago it was?
Chloe: I actually joined in May, 2023. And I was just so interested in understanding a bit more about money, our, our options and just sort of making some more conscious decisions in our life about money. And as I mentioned, I had credit card debt in the past. Afterpay accounts and those sort
Mel: Of things. The devil. Yeah, <laugh>
Chloe: The Devil, exactly. And I was just sort of sick of, especially with interest rate rises and things, I was sick of just being at a standstill with money and just chasing our tail, not getting ahead. And I thought, no, something's gotta change. Probably was about saving more money and investing and things like that. But very much just, yeah, how to get ahead and not just be sort of stuck in this limbo I guess.
Mel: Yeah. And I think so many people would resonate with that. I feel like a lot of people are pressing pause Because they're waiting to see, well what else is happening with interest rates? What's happening with property prices? What's happening with shares? But actually it's really important to keep taking steps Because none of us has a crystal ball and know what's gonna happen.
Mel: I know you said that the spreadsheet was the thing that you did Because it was your bag, which for a creator, often the creators will look at the spreadsheet and go, Ugh, <laugh>. So the giant spreadsheet, be honest, how did you find it? And tell me about the goals you popped in there.
Chloe: It's so funny, isn't it? I think because I'm in event management, I work in spreadsheets a fair bit
Mel: Ahh, of course!
Chloe: So I was quite blown away by all the formulas and things. To be honest, I haven't opened the spreadsheet probably until like, I opened it obviously throughout the course and was using it throughout the course, but then it sort of went on the back burner while sort of other things with life came up. But I loved being able to put in all our different income and then everything that was going out of our bank account and then where we wanted to be in life in three or five or 10 years time. Some big things for me was putting more into investments such as shares and possibly also property. I did put some of those goals in for sort of more, actually I think I did put in the three years to have X amount invested in shares. Mm-Hmm. Which I'm happy to say that I have taken the leap and done that. Yay. And it's been great. Like I think some of the platforms that you suggested in the course, I've used a couple of different ones. One in particular Sharesies.
Mel: Yep. Because we have a comparison table where we compare different platforms. Yeah, yeah. Yes,
Chloe: I've taken the leap there and I feel really good that I've done that, you know, and I think just keeping an eye on things there, but that's something that I just want to continue to grow. And then property is another one, probably five or so years. No movement there yet, but I will keep you posted. And then just building that buffer account. And again, that's something that we will continue to work on. And I guess over this period I haven't made a huge impact on that or growth on that. But that's something that definitely, that's sort of a key part of that spreadsheet that I'd like to see grow.
Mel: Yeah, I love that.
Mel: I don't know about you, but sometimes I wish there was an easy way, a silver bullet, a magical unicorn, a fairy godmother ready to grant me three wishes. I mean, think of all the miracle diets, fitness fads, promising a six pack in six weeks, or finance bros promising riches by following this easy formula. Do you believe a word of it?
Mel: Well, the part that longs for a quick fix might be taken in, but you are smarter than that. Personally, what I believe in is consistency, educating myself, finding an expert to help me, surrounding myself with a community who are going to motivate me to keep going and make me feel like I can do it because they're doing it too or are further down the road than I am. That's exactly what we've created inside the My Financial Adulting Plan. If you feel like you're on top of your finances, you have a plan for this year that you're super comfortable with and have everything you need to make that happen, then just ignore this ad. But for the rest of you, make sure you check out my life-changing 12 week course or for less than the price of a cup of coffee a day. Head to the show notes to join the wait list for the next round. Or you might be lucky enough to find that the doors are open and you can join. Now, what was the biggest takeaway with everything you learned, whether it was investing or the plan or learning about who you are?
Chloe: Honestly, I think you and Lawsie, but I think more so you, Mel, you said a lot that we have choices. It's just about educating ourselves and being able to make decisions. And based on, because you have educated yourself, you then can make it the right decision for you and your family. I think that was a really big one because often you can just feel stuck because of your job or because of you are used to buying that coffee every day and therefore you have to, when really that's a habit that you do, but you don't necessarily have to do that. So it might be a want, not a need. I think those sort of things early on in the course was really interesting. Like even doing the detox, which I know you said that you do that I'm
Mel: About to start it again.
Chloe: Yeah. And I honestly, that detox, like it was amazing to see the difference in my bank account just from doing that detox. There was a lot that I took away, but that was definitely the standout. Those little things that you can change in your life that can have a big impact.
Mel: Yeah. What do you think was the hardest thing?
Chloe: Ooh, the hardest thing? I think probably probably the hard truths about your spending habits and things. So even just looking, and this was something I think you said early on, looking at your bank statements and seeing everything that's going out. I think in reality, just looking at some of those and being like, wow, our grocery bills, for example, actually have gone up by X amount over the past six months or whatever it is. I think those hard truths definitely. But honestly, I think, and now I'm going back to one of the positives, sorry. But
Mel: No, I love that.
Chloe: I think just the handholding and the supportive group we were in, it just made it a lot easier to be able to navigate it all because you're constantly being able to speak to other people. Yeah. Who were going through similar things. But yeah, it's always, I think a bit of an eye looking at the money that comes in versus the money that goes out. Oh
Mel: Yeah, yeah, yeah. And we're so used to tapping and paying like we don't consciously. And I love that that conscious word keeps coming up, which is what you said at the very beginning with your money story. We just aren't conscious with a lot of that. So we then don't realize, oh my gosh, this is how much I spend. And then I quite literally poop it all away. Yeah. <Laugh>. It's just insane.
Chloe: That's right. That's right.
Mel: We talk about food and exercise and money a lot. And how, I don't believe anything lives in a silo. And how often how we're operating with one mirrors, how we're operating in the other. And for me, exercise and food, they're almost like they shine a light on how I'm behaving with my finances. So exercise, I am in this loop of I'm doing it, yes. I feel really good about it to, ugh, this sucks. It's just hard. I'm only doing it because I know I have to through to, oh, screw it, I'm just gonna stop it for a week. Which ends up in being four or five weeks and then I have to start it again <laugh>.
Mel: And it's hard it when I restart, I'm like, oooh, it's just why? And then that cycle starts again. And I think it's the same with our money. It's never linear. You know, sometimes we're doing well, sometimes we're struggling, sometimes we're in between. Where would you say you are at on that continuum and what's happened for you to be there? Because sometimes when we do a course or a conference, it's a high and then we leave and we come back to real life.
Chloe: <Laugh>. Yes, I hear you on all of that. I was definitely on a high doing the course and at the end of the course I was very energised. And I think after the course I was doing really well, to be honest, for a few months. But then leading into Christmas and just, I think, I know we spoke about this in the course, but things like your car Rego and things like that that just come up, or an expensive mechanic bill or things like that, that just life happens. That sort of has put me off track a little bit. Not necessarily back to where I was, which again, wasn't a bad place, but I just feel like I need to go back in probably do a detox again. And really,
Mel: I was gonna suggest that <laugh>.
Mel: Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>.
Chloe: And just sort of remind myself of how far I did come. Yes. And it's still there. It's still within arm's reach. I just need to, and I'm saying that word again, be conscious
Chloe: Of the spending. Because honestly, somehow we've got five streaming platforms again.
Mel: Yes. I love you so much for talking about this. Because I think too often we think you just wave a wad. We do a course that momentum can take you on for a while, but then life happens, or Christmas happens, or as you said, a car happens. And then sometimes those little things just creep up. And as you said, you are not where you were, but you know, you could be like, it would be a slippery slope to keep going. And I think it's really important that people realize that that happens and that now though, you have the toolkit, which you already said to go, I probably should do that financial detox. Because now it's about almost resetting you.
Mel: I watch, there's an amazing, which I shouldn't say it because it's a streaming service, but an Apple TV show called Shrinking.
Chloe: Oh. And I don't have that streaming service.
Mel: Oh, sign up for a free 30 day trial and then cancel it. That's my favorite hack. And then do that with multiple emails. And then you've got lots of 30 days.
Chloe: Love that. Yeah.
Mel: But in that, there's a whole bunch of psychologists and they talk about having to interrupt patterns and it's almost like that, boop, what am I gonna do to, and he actually says boop as he does the thing. But for you it's you've just come through Christmas, you've just done all that. It's almost like we now need to interrupt that pattern. And then put you back on that conscious path again.
Chloe: Yes. Yeah.
Mel: And I think the financial detox, which I'm about to do again, and it's why I do it in January. Because I feel like the silly season almost exists to financially derail us. For me, all of the emotion around that time financially derails me or can. So it's a beautiful time to reset.
Chloe: Yes, I agree. I think right now, and you mentioned the financial, you get derailed and fitness. Yeah. And food way off as well. So that's it. Like Christmas, I mean, goodness me, it just.
Chloe: You just throw a spanner in the works,
Mel: <Laugh> And everything just Yeah. And we don't live in silos. Yeah. So it's like, okay, how can I regroup? And money's the one of the things that we wanna regroup over.
Mel: So we've said maybe the financial detox is maybe your one thing. Where do you wanna be at the end of 2024, 2023. You really had that beautiful momentum. Where do you wanna be at the end of this year and what's one thing you need to do this year to get you there?
Chloe: Such a good question. So I think especially over this Christmas period as well, I've found myself look at your life and look at what you're doing and your finances and your health and everything. And one thing that I really want to do as a creator as well is side hustles. Yes. I've been, honestly, I've been looking at everything from digital products to domain flipping and all of those sort of handy sort of suggestions that you threw out during the course. Mm-Hmm. <Affirmative>. And that's something that I just think I do think that I could do. And I think I have the time to do it, whether it's in the evenings or on weekends. That's definitely something I need to do, I would like to do. And I think to get there, I'm doing a lot of research at the moment. On how to get started, I guess. And really sort of start my own business or businesses and yeah, I mean really I just need to keep on that manifest it. <Laugh>. Yeah. And really just make it happen. I think it's on me, honestly. Come back to me in December, Mel. I think I'll be there.
Mel: Yeah, I love that. So what I wanna suggest is that we start with the financial detox. You get the side hustles happening and maybe open a separate bank account called 10 K and make your aim. What can I make $833 a month with my side hustles? Yes. And then move it into that. Because That way you've got something tangible to work towards as well. It's that figure. And I mean you might smash that figure out in the park, but at least you've got a starting figure. And the third one I would say is automate. Whether it's investing, whether it's saving, whether it's your buffer account, if that's dropped off a little bit as well, maybe kick that back in into
Chloe: Yeah, I like that. I think automate, that's a great word. And a really good thing that I should be setting up with investing and just savings. Because to be honest, I haven't done that. It's more a bit ad hoc. Yes. Great. I love that. Thank you.
Mel: No, we've got a, we've had a little coaching session as well, <laugh>, <laugh>. I think it's really easy when you're in that position to go, Ugh, I need to do this and this. But what are you most proud of that you have done?
Chloe: To be honest, I think just signing up to the course and educating myself, I'm really proud of that because the amount of people or friends or family that I've spoken to about the course and they're like, oh wow, what made you do that? And it actually surprises me how many people maybe haven't even thought to do something like this. So I think even just signing up and doing the course and then sticking with it, I'm really proud of that. And then also just trying to get others on board because I do think it's life changing and I think we all need to understand our money a bit better than we probably do. And I know I've just done a bit of a blanket sort of putting everyone in that group. But definitely the people I hang around, like I think my friends, they could really learn a lot from it. So yeah, I'm proud of doing the course.
Mel: Yeah. And Because you now have a toolkit to go to pull out to go, great, I know who I am and I know what I can do this year. Because When I said to you, what are you gonna do this year? You didn't just say, I'm just gonna manifest it. You are like, I'm gonna do side hustles and yes, I'll use my manifesting power of a creator in those side hustles, but I'm not just gonna go, oh, I'll just manifest it and it will come.
Chloe: Yeah, yeah, exactly. I'm gonna make it happen.
Mel: Yeah, I love that. Chloe, let's just say, this is my final question. So there's a woman that's listening today that's also a mum in a job with a couple of kids, maybe she's got some credit card debt sitting there as well. And she's had a big Christmas too where she's going, oh, it's just a hard start. What would you say to her? How would you give her some hope?
Chloe: I would just say take the leap, sign up and do the course because you're educating yourself. It's all step by step. And like I said before, you are working with others and you're talking to others who are in similar positions. And even having the Facebook community, you know, you're seeing people on there every day with either worse problems or they're in better positions or you know, there's just such a range of people in the course and I think it also, you feel better from talking to others, helping others. I think it's just a really nice community. So you learn a lot along the way. So I think don't think about it anymore, just do it.
Mel: <Laugh>. I love that. Thank you so much for chatting to me. I know you have not done anything like this before and I also know it's super vulnerable to talk about money, so I really appreciate you coming on and talking to me today.
Chloe: Thanks for having me, Mel, and thanks for making it all so easy. So thank you.
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.