If I could turn back time

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If I could turn back time

Financial advice to my younger self!

By Jo Violeta

If you could go back 10 years in time what money advice would you give yourself?…

We asked local mums this hypothetical question. Their answers were insightful, wise and at times quite funny.

What really stood out was the importance they placed on saving money, spending mindfully and entering the property market as soon as possible.

Although we can’t turn back time, we can use the lessons from our past to help us take action today and ensure a brighter financial future.

Spend Wisely

Every 3 minutes Australian Households spend approx. $3,500,000*.

The mums we spoke to would advise their younger selves to rein in their discretionary spending!

In the words of mum of two Therese O’Neil “Don’t spend like you’re a rock star!”

Action you can take today:

The first step is to consider whether a purchase is a need or a want.

“Stop buying so much ‘stuff’. Who needs it all anyway? Living simply is so much easier”, says local mum Miriam Doe.

We recommend tracking your spending. Write down everything that you spend money on for at least a week. This exercise will help you understand where your money goes, and where to adjust.

Mum of four Kacie Stephens motto is “Op-shop the lot”. In fact, one year she challenged herself to purchase her entire family’s Christmas presents from the Op-Shop.

“Many of the items at the Op-Shop were still brand new. The pre-loved items were in great condition” Kacie explains, “The kids loved their presents, we didn’t feel the financial stress that families often associate with Christmas, the money spent went to a good cause and buying second hand is environmentally sustainable.”

Start Saving

According to a poll conducted by MoneySmart, 43% of Australians don’t save.*

Many mums wish they had started saving money 10 years ago. If they could turn back time they would start saving consistently.

“Save money, don’t worry about take away food and start putting money aside earlier” advises local mum Gina Stillwell.

Action you can take today:

Don’t wait another 10 years, start saving today. The key is to be consistent. Even small amounts saved regularly can grow very quickly.

Start by calculating a realistic amount that you can save regularly. Then set up a direct debit, and pay your savings into a high-interest savings account automatically from every pay.

Get On The Property Ladder

Over the past 10 years the median house price in Melbourne has more than doubled.

For many of the mums we spoke to, their biggest wish is that they had entered the property market earlier.

Mum of two Georgina Ablett would advise her younger self, “As soon as you have any paid work – start saving for a house deposit and get in the market ASAP! Freedom of choice comes sooner if you set yourself up to save funds as soon as you get disposable income and is far easier before you have to parent and adult!”

Action you can take today:

If you are already a homeowner, consider entering the property investment market. We recommend consulting with your Financial Planner, Accountant and Mortgage Broker to help plan your first investment property purchase.

For first home buyers start by creating a plan:

  • Research suburbs you would like to buy in
  • Calculate your borrowing power. An online calculator such as the MFAA Mortgage Calculator will give you a ball-park figure, for a more specific number seek professional advice from a Mortgage Broker
  • Create a budget factoring in potential mortgage repayments
  • Use your maximum borrowing power and your potential mortgage repayments to help set your Home-Loan Deposit savings goal.
  • They say that hindsight is 20/20 and this certainly is the case when it comes to money and finances. If you start working towards achieving your financial dreams and making smarter money decisions today, imagine what life could be like in 10 years’ time…

*ABS Household Expenditure Survey 2009-10


Jo and Carl Violeta are self-confessed numbers nerds, parents of an energetic toddler and a super switched-on teenager, and co-founders of the award-winning business, Violeta Finance. They are a husband and wife team who are passionate about empowering their community with financial education, love the odd glass of wine, and get a kick out of helping families achieve their homeownership and financial dreams.

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