We had an interesting event happen in our house this week that prompted me to write a blog that was already on my mind, but is now written with renewed vigour! Left at home on their own with a fridge and pantry full of healthy food items, our 2 teenage sons decided a hassle free and tasty option would be to order UberEATS. I am by no means judging those that choose this service, as who wouldn’t delight in a freshly made burger prepared by someone else from your favourite boutique burger establishment, but it did prompt quite a lengthy discussion following this on whether one’s fortnightly income should be spent in its entirety on a purchase for which is there is arguably no positive long term benefit (this point could of course be argued!). No cash exchanged hands, no time spared apart from a momentary search on google and no effort wasted at least on the purchaser’s behalf.
In this age of information technology, we have incredible access to information and learning, however our brains are being rewired for instantaneous gratification. We are also more easily able to spend money without physically handling it. In previous generations this was just not possible. In our current culture, we have also experienced a general increase in wealth and affluence unlike any era before. Combine this with cashless access to funds, the ability to order/purchase online and in credit along with the recent use of ‘tap and pay’ technology - spending decisions are quickly made and an ensuing culture of debt and poor financial planning can result.
Despite many people earning literally millions of dollars over their lifetime, a number of people still live from one pay packet to the next.
Should I spend now or should I invest in the future?
Delayed gratification is a term not often used, nor is particularly popular, but needs to be taught from the early schooling years, and is in fact critical for life success. Of course we need to spend some money now, we do not need to live on baked beans for 20 years so we can holiday in 30. It is however worth thinking about (and teaching our children) how and on what are we spending; what plans are we making now that will lead to a more enriched and fulfilling future.
Our Advice: Understand your Current Financial Situation and Create a Plan
This can feel overwhelming, however the best way to start is with a small change.
Success is in the attitude – money is a tool for you to use to achieve your life goals. To do this you need to know how much money you have and where it is going to then create a plan to spend well and to save for the things that are important to you – children’s education, new house, travel, starting a new business, or whatever your goals and dreams may be. The key to implementation is to keep it simple.
5 Practical Tips
- Know your current financial situation – what assets you have, what debt you owe and what your earnings are.
- Look at what you are spending your money on (look through 3 months of your bank/credit card statements)
- List your current and future life goals and what financial back up you think you may need to support these.
- Consider the various savings/investments options available that best match your financials goals and available funds.
- Create a spending plan and keep track of this going forward using one of the many cost-effective online tools available, ASIC Money Smart website, cloud based accounting software, tools available in your internet banking app/website.
- We strongly encourage you to be proactive, to create an individual plan for your current situation and future life goals so you can enjoy the now but also plan for the future. This will help you to;
- Know where you stand
- Be in control
- Plan ahead
- Reap the rewards