My story: It’s never too late to start

I just need to know about:

Like a lot of our mob, I don’t come from a family where money was in abundance.

Both of my parents worked full time, long hours to give my siblings and I every opportunity available. Coming from a small country town of 500 people, most opportunities with sport and education were at least an hour away.

The focus was on just getting by. I had no real knowledge of financial responsibility or management until much later in life. We never went without the essentials, we went to good schools, but it certainly wasn’t a life of excess.

When I left school and started in the workforce, I certainly lived beyond my means. I enjoyed being an 18/19 year old with not a care in the world. Often my fortnightly pay would be gone in a week, usually on going out, buying clothes or the most unnecessary items you could think of. It put more stress on my parents to bail me out, which was the last thing I wanted to do.

From that point on, I always made sure I was in front of my bill payments (rent, car payment, phone etc.), but I still ran into the same problem of not having any money left to save. I also didn’t have the discipline to not touch the extra money sitting in my account, on the rare occasion there was some.

Credit cards, loans and spending

The continued problem of living beyond my means (“champagne taste, beer budget”) spiralled in to getting credit cards with ridiculous interest rates, applying excessively for personal loans and impulse purchases without doing any real shopping around or research (G’day tuned up ute that cost me $4k to fix a month after buying it… that was heaps of fun).

It is in my nature to be generous. If someone needs money or time, I enjoy the feeling that giving to others gives me. But often I have done this to my own detriment and it has only been in the past year that I have learnt to say no. It still doesn’t come easy to me, but I now realise the importance of being able to look after myself at times as well.

Working towards owning a home

Seeing how much my parents struggled with a mortgage and raising a family, home ownership was never something that really appealed to me. It has always felt out of reach as I have rarely ever had substantial savings and always wanted those around me to succeed first.

At the age of 29 that has changed. With the help of my partner, I have the goal of purchasing my first home at the end of the year.

In my career and sport, I have always been very much goal orientated. Now it’s time to carry that over to the financial aspect of my life. There’s no doubt it has been an adjustment in mindset – and habits – but with the support of those closest to you, it makes it a lot easier to ride the wave and make sustainable changes.

Being able to access the My Money Dream program has been a huge benefit in being able to identify spending leaks and the big impact that small leaks have over a period of a year.

For someone like me that has had a pretty careless attitude toward spending (after bills are paid), it has been a confronting and frustrating. But it’s also been a really pivotal aspect of changing my mindset.

Its never too late to start and I intend to make up for lost time!


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