This website is a hobby, something I enjoyed doing so isn’t updated regularly. I have been sharing bits and pieces of our multicultural blended family, cultural obligations and turning $2 into $1,000,000.
With 4 kids here, one overseas and other family in Vanuatu, cultural expectations and obligations, health issues along with all the needs of everyone, life has thrown some big lessons our way.
Realistically, some of these lessons I had learned before but apparently needed a refresher.
Here are 9 lessons we learned blending cultures, health issues, kids and everything else.
1. Set Clear Goals Using Systems and Adapt as Needed
The goals we don’t achieve are the ones we don’t have systems for and aren’t 100% clear on. Without a proper plan and system in place, nothing will happen. At that point, goals are just a wish.
When we started this site, we anticipated achieving quite a few things faster than we have. However, not everything had a system created to ensure its success.
On top of that, pregnancy, studies, interstate moves, kids and obligations overseas change everything.
Most of the advice I’ve seen about achieving goals, sticking to things no matter what etc has been from Caucasian men who have wives at home or staff taking care of everything. It’s easier to stick to everything when you don’t have to take care of kids or manage everything in a household.
With 4 kids here, life did not always go as planned.
This means, sometimes goals and systems need to be adapted to work with things around the kids. Or more correctly, my goals have to be as the mother because I am the one with them all the time.
Pregnancies, birth, childcare, healing, school, medical issues, appointments, sports, jobs, all the things kids need fall on me.
Systems had to be changed, timelines for goals extended etc. But overall, the general goals remained and these were discussed with the teenagers so we were all on board.
2. Know Your Values
For us, life is about family, the kids, and ensuring a good lifestyle, amazing memories and that our kids grow up to be strong, independent, confident, successful and healthy.
Leading by example, I live a life where they know they are a priority, as are family experiences, travel, working out, eating well, being honest etc.
When you know what your values are and the life you want, everything else is much easier. Making decisions about what to do, how to spend your time and money become simple because they need to align with your values.
Not living your values is a recipe for disaster and will leave everyone feeling stressed, unfulfilled, disappointed and lost.
Know yourself. Know your values. Know the values of the members of your family. Create a lifestyle where it all works together.
Read this article on working out your values for more information.
3. Learn to Say No
Growing up in a religious home where sacrifice was praised, women were meant to be stay-at-home mums and I was babysitting for free from the age of 12 for single women in the church, I learnt my needs come last.
Living this way cost me dearly and set us up for failure. Constantly saying yes when I felt no, taking on too much, putting everyone else before myself and pushing myself past my breaking point was atrocious for all of us.
Even though I knew I needed to say no, for some reason, with the new babies and everything else that was going on in our lives and the world, I stopped saying it. I took on everything and it ruined me.
Saying no to my kids has been hard but if I didn’t, I would never have healed from my pregnancies or had the time to work.
Cutting toxic people out of my life and putting in clear boundaries has helped my kids and I have a healthier, happier life.
No is a complete sentence. Use it.
4. Cultural Expectations Don’t Need to Dictate Your Life
Australia is a wealthy country, our wages much higher than our family in Vanuatu and as such, expectations have grown significantly.
However, just because they expect something, doesn’t mean we have to provide it. Needing a residency visa, setting up a home, doing the dive course, buying a car, getting dental and other medical work done has all been expensive.
If you have cultural expectations like we do, it’s ok to say I need more time or to say no. Setting up your foundations first is crucial. Constantly giving and supporting them before setting up your own foundations is a recipe for disaster.
We had a lot of pressure, did what we could but I eventually had to re-evaluate things and say no more right now. It did not go down well at first, however, it had to be done.
It’s your life so it’s your choice. My kids come first and our needs here had to be met before I could do any more over there. I wasn’t saying no forever, I was saying not right now.
Doing that, making my boundaries clear, was a game changer and enabled me to focus on my family, my health and goals here in Australia.
5. Australia is Incredibly Wealthy
Despite the numerous interest rate rises, extremely high inflation this year and general cost of living crisis, it is still incredibly wealthy compared to where our family lives.
We knew this before but it has really been drummed into us the past few years with different natural disasters, the ease at which we can access things here in Australia and the cost of things over there.
Anything they need costs them more than it costs us in Australia, yet our wages are significantly higher. Rent, childcare and a few other things cost more here but overall, Australia has much more wealth and it is easier to get wealthy here.
That means, it is difficult at times to navigate the expectations from family overseas and reinforce our boundaries around money.
When we visit, we bring what we can that they request. We send money when we can, pay for Mr Aspiring Millionaire’s daughter to have a private education there that is based on the Australian curriculum etc.
While we are obligated to help in Vanuatu, build things there etc. Overall, we know it is Australia and things here that are going to push us forward in terms of wealth.
6. There are Opportunities to Make Money Everywhere
Yet, despite the wealth in Australia, there are opportunities everywhere. The key is to be prepared. Have your finances and life in order so that when an opportunity arises, you can jump on it.
Recently, my 14 year old had an incredible opportunity that aligned with a few other things we had planned. I can’t share too much but if it does work out how we are hoping, it will completely change our lives.
It was an unexpected opportunity that seemed to come from out of nowhere but we were prepared to act fast.
Similar has happened with property, business and other investments. Keep your eyes open, network, learn, save, be smart with your money and life because you never know what might happen.
7. You can Always Make More Money
Be smart with your money but don’t be a Scrooge. Our view is you can only cut back so far but you can always make more money.
Know where your money is going, cut back on anything you can so you can have a lifestyle you enjoy that is below your means and then focus on making more.
Look at ways to increase your income without much effort such as investing, knowing tax laws, getting a pay rise etc. Check out 9 ways to increase your income for some ideas.
Often the only limit to our earning potential is the one we put on ourselves.
8. Time and Experiences Matter More Than Money
Travel, Friday Family Fun Night, road trips, dinner as a family, going overseas to see family, weekends full of fishing, beach activities, camping, cooking over the fire etc. All of these things matter more to us than money.
Yes, we need money to live and for the lifestyle we have but if it is a choice between sacrificing everything else just to save a few bucks or spending what we can afford to have a great experience with the kids, I am likely to spend.
We have a plan, we invest, we know what we want. Making sure we are connected as a family, teaching our kids, there to support them and living life our way is important too.
When you get to the end of your life, how much money you made won’t matter so much. How you spent your life will.
Some people will argue you need to keep making more to have a happy life. The research shows that simply isn’t true. You need your life needs met, you need to be in control of your money and wise with it. But it is how we spend our time and the relationships in our lives that matter most.
Mr Aspiring Millionaire grew up in one of the least developed countries in the world. We met in a country where a good wage was $5,000 AUD a year. 50 cents an hour was the minimum wage only 2 years ago.
So when we say experiences, relationships and time mean more, it comes from that background, not a wealthy one.
9. Prioritise Health
Over the years, I have faced various health issues. Most recently, the pregnancies were extremely complicated and healing after them has not been easy.
I also didn’t make it a priority. With so much else on from the visa and Mr Aspriing Millionaire being in another state for his course, then his job and then me having another baby plus moving interstate, I put myself last.
Other than going for walks with the babies or time at the beach with all 4 kids, I didn’t seem to have the strength or commitment to do what I needed to heal and get healthy.
As a result, my mental health suffered as well.
Make your health a priority. Dedicate time to exercise, healing, eating right and taking care of your body. You only get one so do everything you can to make it a good one.