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From survival tactics to building a better future: How money training changed one woman’s habits

 

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TomorrowMoney’s publisher, the First Nations Foundation, runs Financial Self-Care training to help women form better money habits. One of our recent participants shared these insights about how it helped her. 

1. If you are comfortable, can you please tell us a bit about yourself – age, job title/industry and whether you are comfortable for your name to be used.

I work full-time and am 30-years-old.

2. Did you engage with FNF program as an individual or as part of your work?

As an individual, for the Meanjin Financial Self-Care day in 2022.

3. Has First Nations Foundation’s Financial Wellness Training helped you start good money habits? If yes, are you comfortable in sharing what these are?

Absolutely – they definitely have. Since I did the session a couple of months ago, at the time I had a whole bunch of debt and had zero savings, and I had no money splits or anything like that. Since the session, I have saved just over $1000 and I have all of my different accounts set up for like fun, savings and all of my rego and stuff like that.

I bank with a bank that allows me to automatically split my pay by percentages and fixed amounts and put them into those accounts. So, that is probably the most beneficial things that’s come from that.

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4. What was your understanding of money prior to undergoing the training?

For a large portion of my adult life, I was very much operating on a survival basis. That really came from having poor money habits and a poor understanding of value for money.

I viewed it more as a fluid currency rather than setting myself up for success. And I really was just so used to operating in a pay-to-pay schedule, and constantly ‘robbing Peter to pay Paul’.

That was my understanding before, but now it is very different.  

5. What is your understanding today of money?

While it’s still obviously a currency, now the way I view it is: it is a currency for stability and freedom and success, rather than survival.

6. What was your biggest takeaway from the training?

The importance of balance, and the importance of stability. Those were the biggest things that I learnt, and the impact of those learnings had on me really made my ‘Why’ very different. Because my ‘Why’ was so much stronger, it became very clear to me that I needed to change the way that I was doing things financially. That’s why I was able to implement things so quickly and have success with that. So, I think it really changed my thinking around money, it changed my purpose around money as well.

7. Do you have an example of how you used the training in your life?

I created savings and automated banking. One of the other really good tips from the session was about free financial counselling, which has been insanely beneficial for me. I was in a domestic violence relationship where there was a lot of financial abuse, and my ex-partner has racked up over $5000 in tolls, and even though I had had my name taken off the lease there was still some stuff that was following me from that as well.

The financial counselling team basically gave me a script to go to the toll place and also Origin energy for my electricity, because everything was still under my name, but I was not living in the house. And they waived everything. They also helped me with shady fees that my creditors were charging, so I got $300 back from one creditor. Invaluable!

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8. Can you tell us a little bit about your experience with money growing up, what you were taught?

Between the ages of 12-18, my Mum managed my money. Even though Mum had the very best of intentions, I never had to learn anything about money, so there was no value about money for me. I was just like “it comes, and it goes” and that is how my survival tactics started coming in because I was just living paycheque-to-paycheque.

9. Anything else you’d like to add?

Just, thank you! I’m just, like, I’m blown away that these sorts of things exist. And I think that’s probably one of the biggest gaps and misconceptions for our people is that they don’t even know that these things exist.

The training absolutely changed how I think about the value of things; the value of materialistic things. ‘If I buy this, what effects is this going to have on my finances? Or if I spend all of my ‘fun’ money and then I start dipping into my savings what effect is that going to have on my goal for my savings in the next three months?’ That did not exist in my brain before I went to the session. My most, wholehearted gratitude and thanks! You guys do incredible work, so thank you!

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