a picture my son drew of a wave on a beach

Mihamon ­Management

tagged with: #money #letter

Hello there H, You asked for some money advice. Let’s be clear I am no financial advisor. I am barely financially literate. It’s true however that I put my beloved R to sleep at night regaling her with my financial equivalent of a shortsighted Don Quixote attacking windmills. I do include management of my wages in my life plans and that is probably a step ahead some people. Everyone has different ideas of what to do with their money, their life and their time. All of which are deeply entwined. I would not recommend my crazy brains illogical and downright stupid ideas to anybody else. I guess what I am saying is don’t trust my nutty plans, work out your own crazy plans.

The painting of 'Don Quixote' by Daumier
Don Quixote in the original Specsavers ad

Making Plans

What you have been doing is great, assembling all your ingoing money and outgoing money; your assets and liabilities. Just make it a habit, keep doing it. Personally I do something similar. I have a folder on my computer called ‘Tax’ inside that folder I have folders for each tax year e.g. ‘2016-7’, ‘2017-8’, 2018-9’.

A damn interesting picture of my tax folder
A damn interesting picture of my tax folder

In each of these folders I have a few spreadsheets in which I work out my ins and outs and my assets and liabilities. I update them (irregularly) every 3-6 months. I also save any documents/reciepts that I might need come tax time. This all sounds slightly organised but it’s not really. I also have lots of tax related stuff sitting in my email and on websites (my broker, superannuation, nsw health, banks etc). Most of us are doing similar versions of this to lesser or greater degrees, just don’t stop doing it. You will work out your own system for organising all that information, probably better than my rag tag system. You will also begin to see where your own financial strengths and weaknesses are. Then you will be in a position to improve things.

What you Want is not always what you Need!

If you duckduckgo ‘personal balance sheet’ there is a ton of useful information like the ?Saudi Budget 101: How to Create a Personal Balance Sheet or this great thread on reddit and a bazillion others. I think just understanding what in your life are ins and outs and what are your assets and liabilities is a major step. Then when you look at your bank/credit card/mortgage/super statements you can decide what is a ‘need’ and what is a ‘want’.

Nerd wallet The Difference Between Wants and Needs Personal Finance: back to basics

Never Stop Learning

Reading stuff like the Barefoot Investor; following discussions on Reddit’s financial forums; and blogs like Mr Money Mustache have made me rethink my decisions. Just look out for the snake oil salespeople and the rich bastards showing off. I’m sure you have a bunch of resources too. Just make time to poke around some of the ideas and strategies people use. Ask questions, email, IM, talk to R or me about your ideas we can nut out stuff together.

Keep Saving

I don’t know about you but I’m crap at saving money. I remedy my crapness with a bunch of automatic transfers I set up on my bank account. Everytime I get paid most of it automatically dissappears the next day into the mortgage and house bills. Sometimes I reduce my savings to pay off debts but on the whole, like our worn out lawn mower, I try and keep it running.

Saving is not just about putting away your wages and not buying that overpriced daily chai latte. It’s about paying off debts. Look at your mortgage(s) can you roll it into a cheaper deal? Have you called your bank barefoot style?. Find a better mortgage with the help of ASICs MoneySmart. Get a variable rate. Credit cards are the gateway drug to modern day slavery, pay them off and fuck them off. Look up the Snowball method.

Own It

H, you’ll notice I did not use any of yours or my actual financial details to answer your questions. This is because nobody is more engaged in your financial status than you. If they are then I suspect their motives. This is one of the reasons I tend to not trust personal financial advisors. I have in the past and regretted it. That’s not to say they are all crooks but they do need to make a living and your money is it. Therefore I think it is important that you and I should engage in our financial situation, we should own it. Having said all that I will tell you what I would do in your situation - feel free to ignore me.

If your bank won’t flex consider a cheaper mortgage provider

  1. Rent a room to help pay the mortgage.
  2. Consider moving to a cheaper house.

Use the mortgage with the lowest interest rate to pay off all the other debts.

  • Be wary of fees
  • That means paying off your credit cards and then cancelling the account.
  • Cut up the credit cards and burn the pieces.
  • Replace your credit card habit with a bank account which you must always keep topped up. When you spend it save until it’s back to where you started.
  • Only have one mortgage. Aim to get rid of it.

Think really hard about your regular expenses are they needs or wants?

I am happy to chat to you about stuff and I expect you can offer just as much advice I can. Just like everyone else I have no idea what the future holds. Just remember to wear sunscreen.

Cheers, Ruben

p.s I like obscure words which is where the title of this post came from: Mihamon => Mammon => Money

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