What do you do when your Cultures Clash over Finances? What is Bride Price, Compensation and Custom Fees?
Mr Aspiring Millionaire comes from Vanuatu and Ms Aspiring Millionaire comes from Australia. They met in the Solomon Islands and Mr Aspiring Millionaire has a daughter there to his ex-wife. Ms Aspiring Millionaire has 2 daughters to her first marriage who are part Tongan and part Maori. That’s 5 cultures with financial differences to be taken into account and managed.
So how do we manage issues such as Bride Price which is extremely important in Vanuatu and Solomon Islander cultures but non-existent in Caucasian Australian culture? Or the fact children are expected to financially support their elders in his cultures while in her culture, the parents leave an inheritance and support the kids. What about the expectation we support the family in the islands because we are considered wealthy?
Here I’ll share some of our experience then tips to help you navigate cultural differences when it comes to finances.
The Rocky Road to Settling our Cultural Financial Differences
Juggling multiple cultures and needing to be respectful has caused a few issues. Ms Aspiring Millionaire was aware of some but not all. She was also unaware how important some were to Mr Aspiring Millionaire, such as Bride Price. To her, it was a dated practice about ownership which she had no interest in participating in. For him, it is about thanking the parents for raising the daughter well and showing he is capable of providing. Not paying Bride Price would be an insult to him and shameful to his family.
While Ms Aspiring Millionaire had some understanding of Islander culture (which does vary country to country and even from village to village in those countries). She was not fully prepared and some has been difficult to manage. On the other hand, for Mr Aspiring Millionaire, the attitude towards money in Australian culture took a bit to get used to and understand.
Numerous discussions about culture, goals and expectations took place before meeting kids and taking the next step in the relationship. That did not stop the various issues and blocks along the way.
Some of our Major Financial Differences
A few have been mentioned but there were 5 major cultural differences when it comes to finances we had to work through.
This was dismissed by Ms Aspiring Millionaire immediately as being Australian, she assumed it was not applicable. Mr Aspiring Millionaire didn’t say much because Ms Aspiring Millionaire had such a strong view on what she thought Bride Price was about.
She thought it was the man buying the woman (and in some cultures it is as well as some men assuming bride price means they own the women). However, in Vanuatu it is thanking the family for raising the woman. It was extremely important to him which only became clear the more serious marriage was discussed.
Because Ms Aspiring Millionaire also had no desire to remarry, so it wasn’t going to matter. Over time though, because Mr Aspiring Millionaire did want to marry, the discussions shifted.
Education and understanding was key for dealing with the differences around Bride Price.
Supporting the Parents and the rest of the Family
Ms Aspiring Millionaire had assumed some level of support would be required since the options for retirement are limited. There are no pensions, no welfare and hardly any retirement funding available in the islands. Children are expected to support their parents and family.
If you happen to get a good job or live in another country, you are also expected to send money home, pay for schooling and other things if you can. The expectations were more than Ms Aspiring Millionaire was aware of. In her culture, the parents supported and helped the kids. If she needed money, she could get an interest free loan from her parents. They also gifted money when they visited or would buy gifts, items for babies when born and help where possible.
This is not to say Mr Aspiring Millionaire’s family don’t do any of that. When in Vanuatu, his parents take care of everything, they got new furniture for the front two rooms so when we visit we have our own space. They let us use the car whenever we want, take us to the family-owned beaches and Mr Aspiring Millionaire has inherited nicely because of his family.
White Are Wealthy/Being Used For A Visa
This was a big issue for both sides. White people are assumed to be wealthy but usually assumed to be Beverly Hills wealthy. They are wealthier than Ni-Vanuatu and Solomon Islanders but not to the level assumed. On top of that, a relationship between someone from those countries and someone from Australia is usually assumed to be done for a visa, that the white person is being used and played.
We faced opposition from both sides of the family until they met us in person and saw how happy we were, how our relationship was much more loving and supportive than our previous marriages. Friends who were there when we met and had spent a lot of time with us already knew this but our families didn’t and they were cautious.
Given the history of both countries, the amount of people who have been used for a visa and the blackbirding trade (where Australia stole people from Vanuatu, Solomon Islands and many other nations to be slaves on plantations), the fear is understandable.
In the Solomon Islands and some other island nations, if you do something wrong, you have to pay compensation to the person you wronged. This was hard for Ms Aspiring Millionaire to understand, she was not in a position where she ever wronged someone and had to pay. But it did cause them to be careful in each country.
Females Do Not Inherit
This one took a lot for Ms Aspiring Millionaire to understand or be ok with. In Vanuatu and many parts of the Solomon Islands, only the men inherit. The women are expected to be taken care of by their husbands. They can own their own land if the work and buy it themselves but they will never inherit it.
Even if it was put in a will, the customs would override it and the lands taken. This is why a son was crucial for Mr Aspiring Millionaire. The family needed someone to inherit the family’s wealth, otherwise it would go to another family.
A compromise with this is the son will inherit the custom lands in Vanuatu, the daughters from Ms Aspiring Millionaire’s first marriage will inherit property and business in Australia. While the daughter in the Solomon Islands cannot inherit, options for her are still trying to be worked out so as not to offend either culture and not to be lost to other families. It’s way more complicated than most families.
How to Manage Financial Cultural Differences
Communication is key. Being clear about what is important, discussing it all with an open mind then deciding what is best for your family is essential to making this work. Financial issues are a leading cause for divorce. Throw in cultural differences and it becomes a million times harder. Here are some tips.
Determine The Lifestyle You Want
If you are clear on the life you want, you can create a plan to make that happen. When working this out, you need to include career goals, property, essentials for the families to be culturally sensitive, hobbies, who will stay home with the kids or if you both work and have a nanny, all of it.
Discuss your childhoods so you have a clear idea of what was normal for each other and what is within your comfort zone. Share your dreams and the lifestyle you want. Write it down and compare. Do this early, before kids, before marriage and before committing too much.
Once you are committed, if you haven’t had these discussions you might find yourselves on completely different paths and it is much harder to compromise at that point.
Decide together the lifestyle you want.
Be Clear About Your Cultural Expectations
As mentioned, Mr Aspiring Millionaire expects to pay Bride Price, he expects to support his family and participate in any cultural matters. Ms Aspiring Millionaire expected to provide for herself and her immediate family only, not everyone.
Boundaries had to be put in place around the cultural expectations and how much could be catered to so both were satisfied and respected. This could only happen once all expectations were put on the table to be discussed.
Work Out What The Deal Breakers Are
Some cultural expectations might be easy to let go of for one partner others might be total deal breakers. If there is a cultural expectation that is a deal breaker for you, be honest and state what it is and why it is a deal breaker for you.
Doing this early in the relationship enables you both to decide if it will work or if it is something you will fight about forever.
Communicate With An Open Mind
When discussing finances and culture, do so with an open mind. No one’s way is the right way. Each tradition or expectation has merit and cultural importance so don’t dismiss or belittle any of them. Discuss them all with an open mind, be understanding and if you don’t understand something, ask questions in a non judgmental way.
Being non judgmental makes it easier for the other partner to open up and share their culture, values and beliefs. If you are judging it, pushing your way or viewing your way as the only right way then communication won’t work.
Now you have a clear idea of the different cultural expectations, what the deal breakers are and the life you want, work out your compromises. You might be ok with accepting all of it or you may need boundaries in place.
A few examples of ours:
Bride Price: Ms Aspiring Millionaire’s parents are uncomfortable accepting money when they are so wealthy compared to Mr Aspiring Millionaire’s family. A compromise from them was the debt Ms Aspiring Millionaire owes them can be paid by Mr Aspiring Millionaire as the Bride Price.
Plus a piglet named Kevin. No joke! One of Ms Aspiring Millionaire’s sisters asked if that could be done at the Bride Price ceremony and Mr Aspiring Millionaire laughed but said that is easy, we can do that.
Money to Family: Mr and Ms Aspiring Millionaire pay child support to his ex-wife as agreed when they did child custody. Education is important so paying for a cousins degree, paying for the daughter to get a good education and budgeting for the nieces and nephews to attend school is all included.
Also, planning for businesses and growing them to support the family through retirement instead of simply sending money. This compromise grows wealth without being a handout.
Females do not inherit: as mentioned, the son will inherit custom lands but other property and wealth can and will be inherited by daughters.
How do you manage financial cultural differences? What are some considerations for your culture?
We Should All Be Millionaires is a Must-Read Book for Everyone
With BIPOC daughters, this hit home for us. We Should All Be Millionaires provides an incredible mix of statistics, history and advice. The world is changing and thank goodness it is. We are better positioned than ever before but too many women are underselling themselves, undervaluing themselves and still carry the bulk of the work in the home.
Here is what we learnt and loved about We Should All Be Millionaires by Rachel Rodgers.
Disclosure: this post may contain affiliate links.
Broke Ass Decisions vs Million Dollar Decisions
Every day we make multiple decisions. They might not seem like much but each one will either take us closer to millions or further away. What is a Broke Ass Decision (aka BAD)? Doing everything yourself instead of outsourcing. Choosing not to push for a pay rise, choosing not to negotiate your wage, putting others needs before your own, building your partners career instead of your own etc.
For years, women have been made to sit on the sidelines, do everything and taught they need to support their husbands/other people instead of focusing on themselves. Because of this, many of us feel uncomfortable or selfish for going after our own goals, building our own career or business and putting our needs first.
How many men do you know that stop to think, should I do this? Or who put their partners career and lifestyle before their own? They are few and far between. More often than not, the woman is juggling it all while trying to build her life. As a result, many of us make Broke Ass Decisions because we don’t see our value or we were taught being a stay at home mum/helping others/putting others first was more important.
You deserve to have a career and live a life you love. Whatever your goals and dreams are, you deserve to pursue them.
Struggling With Outsourcing?
Mr and Ms Aspiring Millionaire were both raised in heavily religious homes where the woman is supposed to have the babies and care for them. Constantly being told it is our responsibility to “multiply and replenish the earth” aka breed like crazy. As well as women should be stay at home mums, men are to provide etc. It made it hard for us to see a different way.
Interestingly, the idea of having a housegirl (someone to help) is common in Vanuatu. Mr Aspiring Millionaire grew up with that but the cost was tiny in Vanuatu and the Solomon Islands compared to Australia. For Ms Aspiring Millionaire, the pressure to be the one to raise the kids and be a stay at home mum was intense. She was single for a long time and the sole provider for her kids but still had the pressure to do it all and be there for them consistently.
Rachel Rodgers helps blow this out of the water. By outlining how expensive it is to do everything yourself, it was an eye-opener for Ms Aspiring Millionaire. While she has outsourced at times, she always felt guilty, especially when it came to the kids.
How to Outsource and Why You Should!
In We Should All Be Millionaires, Rachel Rodgers lists all the things most stay at home mums do or most women do around the home and the value. Most homes have an extremely uneven share of household responsibilities. When you are responsible for thinking about and doing everything from cooking and shopping through to all the appointments, managing anything that needs to be fixed as well as the cleaning etc. You end up emotionally, mentally and physically drained.
Being in that state does not allow room for growth. How can you do your best at work or in your business and grow the family finances if you are wiped out from doing everything.
Household manages get paid upwards of $100,000 a year. Where we live, a nanny would cost $30hr, more for overnight. Personal chefs, cleaners, gardeners all cost. This is the value of a stay at home parent (usually mum). But what if you flipped it?
Ms Aspiring Millionaire has a high earning capacity. Because of the pressure to be the stay at home mum and be there for the kids, she has never worked to her full potential. A few years ago, she did outsource and got help with childcare, cleaning and gardening. This help enabled her to run a company, increase her income, save and be able to provide.
Having that financial stability ensured the time spent with the kids was quality time.
Outsourcing frees up your time and mind. With more time, you can earn more and you can spend more fun time with the family. It isn’t selfish or stupid. It’s essential.
All wealthy families outsource what they can such as cleaning, gardening, some child care, ironing etc.
List the tasks you don’t want to do then start outsourcing them.
We loved the examples of self made millionaires. Having watched Madam CJ Walker’s story on Netflix, the Aspiring Millionaire kids were already motivated. We Should All Be Millionaires has more examples of self-made millionaires but especially ones who are people of colour.
There is no reason you cannot dream big and work towards it. If you are reading this, you were probably born in the USA, Australia or the UK. You were born into privilege and have more options available to you than most of the world. So use your privilege and improve your life. Dream big. You deserve it!
What we are Changing as a Result of We Should All Be Millionaires
Mr Aspiring Millionaire spent his first marriage working, doing the bulk of the cooking etc while fully supporting his wife’s career. Her career came before anything else and she was away for up to a year at a time studying and pursuing her goals. He is one of the rare ones in this sense.
Ms Aspiring Millionaire achieved great success as a single mother. Her first marriage was abusive, she was not allowed to have goals, dreams and grow. Upon leaving, she changes drastically. During the custody battle, which took 7.5 years, her ex husband used her career and success against her in court, causing her to shrink again.
Together, Mr and Ms Aspiring Millionaire have the same life goals. They each have their own careers they are pursuing and do what they can to enable each other to reach their goals within those careers. Housework such as cooking, cleaning etc is split fairly evenly but every now and then, too much falls onto Ms Aspiring Millionaire’s shoulders.
So here is what is changing as a result of this book.
Proper Work Time for Ms Aspiring Millionaire
Having always worked from home, the proper work hours were not always outlined. Instead, Ms Aspiring Millionaire squeezed her work in around everyone else. As a result, her income stalled. Now, set hours have been established and the kids have been informed not to disturb her.
A Nanny/Help Around the House
We are looking at hiring one in a few months. If we were in Vanuatu or the Solomon Islands, we’d have one already. Once Ms Aspiring Millionaire goes to full time work hours, child care options will be employed so she can work. Our youngest is only 5 months so we aren’t moving on this immediately but it is a definite and is being budgeted in.
A Google calendar was set up with the meals, who is cooking, date nights, family activities and everything else. This has reduced what Ms Aspiring Millionaire has to remember and reduced the amount of questions about who is doing what and when. All family members can see from their own devices when Mum is working, when different sports are happening, what family activities are planned and when friends might be able to come over.
More Defined Goals
Our goals are clear with some things such as the next step in careers, the dream home etc. However, some of it was wishy washy. Now, we have clearer goals for every member of the family and a more even split with responsibility for various tasks so we can all achieve our personal and family goals.
This is one of the best finance books we’ve read in a long time. It gave us the kick up the butt we needed to make changes, it educated our daughters and is a book we would recommend to everyone. Check out We Should All Be Millionaires and let us know what you think.
With luxury lifestyles pushed in our faces all the time, it is easy to assume the super wealthy have an incredible lifestyle and to crave it. Often, we blow a lot of money keeping up with others or producing and Insta perfect lifestyle.
We all know these lifestyles are mostly unrealistic but it doesn’t stop us striving for it or thinking it is what we want. So if a champagne lifestyle is what you want but feels out of your budget, here are some tips.
Disclosure: this post contains affiliate links to books we love.
Decide What You Really Want
What about that lifestyle do you want? Is it the clothes, the shoes, the bags, the cars, the travel, owning a boat or the freedom to spend on whatever you want whenever you want?
Often, when we look a bit deeper, the things we really want aren’t what everyone else has. But if you do really want those specific things, there are ways to make it happen. It’s easier if you are super clear on what you want though.
In the Aspiring Millionaire home, we want freedom. The freedom to travel when we want, go everywhere, own a boat and sail around the world, dive, hike and experience life. We want to spend this time with our family, create great memories and do the things we want.
Secondary to that, is a specific home we want and a few cars. Mostly, it is a fun lifestyle we want and live.
It’s not bad to want these things. All you need to do is create a plan to make it happen and go for it. We Should All Be Millionaires shows you how and why.
Look for Ways to get it for Free
Now you know what you want, how can you get it for free? Competitions are one way, provided you check they are legit. Lots of people have tried becoming influencers to get free stuff, without realising the work they’d need to do and how to be a good influencers.
Check for loyalty programs which might offer the products as a reward or enable you to get things for free. This applies especially to travel. With numerous credit cards offering travel points and other ways to travel hack, you can travel for free.
Since travel is a priority for us, I went into tourism marketing so we got paid to travel. Mr Aspiring Millionaire does photography so we can create packages for clients. We both dive, have kids and can provide unique perspectives because of our backgrounds.
Going out with our family and experiences are important so we have looked for free fun such as hiking and the beach, festivals and events that are in our area and make time for these.
How can you Make Money from it?
Whether you get it for free or not, why not think about how you can make money from it? Being an influencer is one way but not the only way. Freelance writing where you pitch articles to magazines and websites about it is one option.
I’ve travelled various parts of Asia, Europe and the South Pacific as a travel writer. Trips were all paid for and I made money from articles I wrote. Plus on most trips, I secured other clients and ongoing work which enabled me to make even more.
Another option is to rent out your place and car while you travel. Or even if you want to live in a specific area, can you do it in a group home or by renting out a room? With a specific type of car, you might be able to rent it out either through share programs or if it is top end to photographers and media for use in their images or video.
Learn Delayed Gratification
Right at this point, you have a limited income (but that can change) so you need to be realistic. Delayed gratification is how you do it. Decide what you want, learn about the law of attraction then put it out there. Instead of buying everything you want immediately or going into debt, you will acquire the lifestyle you want through other means.
Write everything you see that you want on a list. In 30 days, if you still want the things on that list then you can move them to your vision board or work out a way to afford them by budgeting for them. If not, remove them from the list.
Law of Attraction
I am a huge believer in the law of attraction but I don’t believe it is simply about thinking and hoping. You need to take some action, however, you’ll be surprised at what can come.
Most of the trips I wanted came through using the law of attraction. I healed from an abusive marriage and met my now partner through it. Smaller things such as getting paid to get my dive certification, go horse riding or winning awards as well.
I worked out what I wanted, created a vision board, put it out there and jumped on opportunities as they came up.
How do you use the Law of Attraction?
Firstly, learn about it. Unleash Your Inner Money Babe and Lucky Bitch are two great books to get you started. Both have great exercises you can do to open your mind about your options and use the law of attraction.
Facebook groups, podcasts, YouTube and Instagram are full of resources for the Law of Attraction. The more you learn and apply the easier it becomes and the more your life will shift from beer budget to champagne lifestyle.
For us, meditation, visualisation, a vision board and regular discussions with each other have helped. Mr Aspiring Millionaire and I spend time visiting land we want and picturing it. We discuss our dream home in Vanuatu (we have the property picked and the whole family talk about it as if it is already ours). These little habits and lifestyle tweaks have enabled us to be focused and have opportunities others don’t.
Find A Balance
Too often people completely deprive themselves for the future they want and completely miss living in the present. Or they go the other way, blowing everything right now as if they don’t need to save for tomorrow.
Once you decide what you want, create a plan to get there and a plan to live your life now. We could save and invest faster if we gave up certain things others view as luxuries such as occasional dinners out, family activities and travel.
However, our kids are only young once. Family members have passed away young. Life is for living. So find ways to do what you want within your budget or for free and do them. Live your life while saving and investing for your future.
How to do you live on a beer budget when you have champagne tastes?
What is the Best way to Become a Millionaire?
The best way is the one you can stick to. Only you know how comfortable you are with risky investments vs saving regularly into a high interest savings account. If high risk investments terrify you, then your path to financial freedom or millionaire status might take longer but you will feel better about it.
Can Anyone be a Millionaire or Financially Free?
The path to being a millionaire or being financially free is different for everyone. Honestly, while so many people say anyone can do it there is a huge difference between how easy it is and how possible it is depending on so many factors. Background, upbringing, education, knowledge, where you live, health, family considerations and more all impact your capacity to be financially free or become a millionaire.
Mr Aspiring Millionaire is Ni-Vanuatu (native to Vanuatu) and grew up there, surrounded by poverty. Ms Aspiring Millionaire is a Caucasian Australian from a relatively middle-class background but we had numerous wealthy friends and family, well above our level.
The reality is, financial freedom for Ms Aspiring Millionaire was always realistic and going to happen. Financial freedom to Mr Aspiring Millionaire seemed unrealistic because of his background but it was what he wanted.
Saving to be Financially Free or a Millionaire
One way to become a millionaire or financially free is through saving. Simply putting a specific amount aside each week or each time you get paid and putting it in a high interest account.
This is probably the safest but also the slowest and not the best investment as far as most people are concerned. Having $1,000,000 in cash might feel good but if that money isn’t making money then it’s not really the same as having a million in income generating assets. The interest made with this money sitting in the bank is minimal compared to how much you can make with it in other ways.
It is the lowest risk method though and for some, it feels best.
Investing in Shares to be Financially Free or a Millionaire
The preferred method for many in the FIRE (Financial Independence Retire Early) community or who follow that. Shares have statistically outperformed the property market and while it does go up and down, the value, especially with ‘blue-chip’ shares or indexed funds has been solid.
Warren Buffet made his wealth this way, as have many others. It requires less effort than running a business or property and still returns an income you can live off in later years if you invest enough.
A good way to experiment with shares to see if you like it is through micro-investing. Spaceship is one option where you can get a bonus $10 for signing up using the code S8518DLV20. You’ll get a feel for how comfortable you are with the ups and downs without having huge amounts invested.
However, if you want to invest more, there are other platforms which are better to invest through such as Vanguard.
Real Estate to Become Financially Free or a Millionaire
This was my original plan back when I was a teenager. I even tried to get my dad to go guarantor on a mortgage when I was 13. Not surprisingly, despite my thorough plan, he said no. He is more risk-averse than I am. If my 13-year-old came to me with a plan right now, I would consider it.
I owned a house in Sydney during my first marriage which was a rental for a few years. My tenants trashed it and while I had some good times with it, overall, it wasn’t a great experience. But I also hadn’t planned to be a landlord with that home.
Buying a property specifically as a rental is extremely different to buying for yourself. I’ll go into more detail in future articles.
Currently, my partner has a couple of properties overseas through inheritance. They are basic and rented to locals. Our future plans are to develop those plans, in the way the family had always wanted to but didn’t have the finances There are also 3 other properties we have rights to but we have not moved on those yet.
Real Estate Options
To become a millionaire through real estate you can become a landlord and grow your portfolio. Alternatively, there is flipping – where you buy an old home, fix it up and resell it. This was extremely popular for the past decade. Both options come with risks and real estate is not as liquid as shares should you need the cash for any reason.
Businesses for Financial Freedom or to be a Millioniare
This was how I had a net worth of $1,000,000 by the time I was 30. Due to a long, expensive custody battle, I had to sell off things and was no longer a millionaire.
Business is how most millionaires I know have done it. Either by founding a business themselves or buying one and growing it. Everything from building to pharmacies, wineries to tourism companies have been used to create this wealth.
Personally, I love business but I know it’s not for everyone. Our aim is to have a combination of savings, shares, real estate and businesses. It is what we have currently and will continue to grow.
What other options do you know of or are you pursuing for financial freedom and millionaire status?
Time is Money because Money can buy you Time
Most of us feel we are pulled in multiple directions all the time. Balancing work, family, health, finances and other commitments can seem almost impossible. We have a limited amount of time so how can we decide what is worth our time and how do we reject things that aren’t how we want to spend out time?
How to Put a Price on Your Time
Deciding what your time is worth is more than picking an hourly rate for work or your services. Everything you do takes away from something else so you need to use your time wisely. Do you really want to spend all your time chasing money and never seeing your family?
For us, family comes first. This means, I have passed on a lot of money at times because it was not worth my time. My time is valuable. I want to enjoy my life anf ensure I spend it doing what I love. So how do you put a price on your time?
How to Determine Work Value
If you work in a job, your salary is set by your boss usually. This does not mean you can’t negotiate though. Before you are hired negotiate for a higher rate if you believe you are worth it. Try for extra vacation time or other benefits if they won’t budge on the actual cash amount. There are numerous ways to get more for what you do.
As an employee, don’t wait for them to give you a pay rise, seek it out. Prove you are worth it and deserve a rise. No business will pay you more than they have to sooner than they have to. Look out for yourself and get the pay you deserve.
Also, discuss wages. Check your contract as more companies are putting clauses in employment contracts to ban the discussion of wages. Open discussion of wages ensures people get paid properly.
How to Determine Self Employment Value
Do not undersell or underprice yourself. Being self employed means you need to calculate in taxes, retirement, holiday and other leave, the cost of running business, your time and skills. Too many people undercharge because something is easy to them. People are hiring you and paying you because you have what they need. Your skills and knowledge are valuable.
For self employment, it is preferable to charge per project, not per hour. One of the reasons being as you get better, you get faster. If you’re charging per hour this will mean you are doing more work in a shorter time frame so making less money per project as you grow. This does not make sense!
But some like an hourly rate to use as a base to work out a per project rate. If you choose to do this, use the formula below but as you get faster at your work and better, double then triple your rates and keep moving up.
Formula for Self Employment Rates
1. Work out how much you want to earn a year. E.g. $100,000.
2. Add retirement, tax, business expenses such as site hosting, insurance, design, advertising, courses and events you want to participate in, self-care etc. This likely brings your $100,000 up to $150,000.
3. Work out how many days you will be working and it’s not 365. Start with the 365 days in a year. Remove weekends (104 days), public holidays (11 in Australia), holidays (20 days if going for the 4-week standard) and sick leave (10 days is standard, however, allow more if needed). This brings you down to 220 days.
4. Work out how many hours a day you can actually work. Most mums I know have school hours only, this means 5.5 hours max (after school drop off and pick up) or 1,210 hours a year for the 220 days they can work.
5. Divide $150,000 by 1,210 hours and you get $123.96 per hour. Let’s round that up to $125
6. Charge accordingly! If you charge $200 for an article that takes you 1 hour to write, you are in front and that is great. If you are charging $200 for an article that takes you 3 hours to write, you are behind. However, if your goal is less or you can work more hours this changes.
Time Vs Money
What do you want more of, time or money? In our family, we have specific goals both for time with family and activities we enjoy as well as the income we want for that lifestyle. Finding that balance can be tricky but it is worth it.
One thing that helped us, when we wanted to buy some random thing, we’d calculate how much time it would cost. Using the hourly rate about for our time or our hourly wage, it is easy to see how much something truly costs. For example, we went through a stage where we blew a lot of money on takeaway. When we added it up, it was hours of work wasted PLUS more than the cost of a weekly dive which we had not been doing because we didn’t feel we could afford it.
Our spending did not match our values or desire for life. Seeing how much time we wasted working to pay for that junk hit home. Next time you go to waste money, calculate how long you have to work to pay for it and what else it is taking away from.
How To Say No
No is a complete sentence. Too many people struggle to say no. Even if they do say no, they feel they need to provide reasons why. You don’t owe anyone a reason. It’s your life and if you don’t want to do it, don’t. Within reason of course. If you work and your boss tells you to do something you can’t really tell them no without a reason.
Stop doing everything for everyone. Stop saying yes to all the extra things you don’t want to do and take your life back.
Think About the Life you Want
One of the best things we did to help us change our habits and value time more was to truly think about the life we wanted. We have 4 kids and want them to have great memories. Diving, travel, hiking, experiences and fun are important to us. Every week we have a family activity and we do date night.
Our dream home in Vanuatu is chosen as are our businesses and other elements of our ideal life. Images of these specific things are on our devices and walls. Constant reminders of why we do what we do and what we want in life enable us to make better decisions.
For us, it is about living in the moment, enjoying family time and creating memories while establishing wealth to help our kids and all our family back in Vanuatu and the Solomon Islands.
What about you? Time vs Money, how do you manage it? What do you want your life to look like?
How we Increased our Net Worth by $7,441.22
We started tracking our net worth in April. After a rough year last year, we needed a focus to get back on track. Our net worth is separate from the challenge I am doing turning $2 into $1,000,000 by doubling my money.
You know those months where it seems you have high bills, then things break and you have to replace them so it feels like you are not making any headway financially. That was this month.
Devices needed repairing, some big birthdays and a few things for education cut into what we were able to put towards debt. But those things save us long term and the birthdays were worth it.
Disclosure: this post may contain affiliate links.
April 2021 we had a net worth of $649,071. This was comprised of a few debts reducing our net worth as well as property and some investments increasing our net worth.
Custody debt $8,225
Visa debt $5,225
Personal loan $11,407
Custody debt $8,075
Visa debt $5,075
Personal loan $6,831.78
You can see we are focused on the personal loan. This loan has interest, the others do not so it makes sense to clear it asap. However, while we are clearing it, there is a plan to redraw it for education later this year depending on how much we save or have elsewhere.
Business 1: $70,000
Business 2: ?
Business 3: $3,000
Business 1: $72,000
Business 2: $ ?
Business 3: $3,300
The value of our small businesses increased slightly. Our debt decreased as planned which was good and my millionaire project is continuing well.
Total Net Worth $656,512.22
This is an increase of $7,441.22 in the 2 months we have been tracking and more focused which we are ecstatic about. Also in that time, we sorted residency for my partner (which took all my time and effort for 1 month).
How we Increased our Assets
I was sick as were the kids for 2 weeks making it a little harder. However, the focus was on reselling items (learn how to do that here) and being consistent with business 1. We continued with crypto a little and you can get $10 FREE Bitcoin here. I don’t think my heart could handle large amounts in crypto yet but it has been interesting.
At the moment, we are using Spaceship. You can get a $10 bonus with the code S8518DLV20 here. We are doing micro-investing for now as we are focused on building our businesses and clearing debt. Mr Aspiring Millionaire has some courses to complete then will start working too.
Our retirement funds are proving harder to get sorted than I thought. Mr Aspiring Millionaire knew it would take ages as he has had to do so much with the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu before. So this is something we are still working on.
Property in Vanuatu has remained steady and right now we are not in a position to do much. In the future, we will be developing the properties more.
Doubling Money to be a Millionaire
One of the projects we have with our millionaire and financial freedom goal is doubling our money. If you start with $1 and double it 20 times, you reach over $1,000,000. If you start with $2 it is only 19 times you need to do it and the end result is over $1,600,000.
My first flip was a book for $2 and resold it for $8. Yesterday, I managed to snag another copy this time for 50cents so will be listing that today. It’s not part of the doubling challenge but when I find something that works, I am willing to do it again.
The second flip was a dress purchased for $7 and sold for $20. As there was a ‘spare’ $1 from the first flip, I used that to purchase 2 books and sold them for $5 each. Books are still doing ok for me as I usually get them for 50cents to $2 and can sell for $5 to $10. Most people buy more than one at a time too. Again, not including all the book sales in this challenge but I am going to continue flipping books.
With $30 to double, I became stumped. It seemed so much harder to find something worth $30 to buy and resell. Then I remember, the challenge wasn’t only about flipping, it was about finding ways to double my money. I share how I turned $30 into $60 here but the reality is, I won’t know exactly how much I made from that $30 until next month.
Plans for July
Mr Aspiring Millionaire will be enrolled in a course. The deposit will be paid next month which will likely mean our net worth goes backwards. It’s an investment in our future though.
With the kids on school holidays, I do not anticipate I will have much time to do things. However, my daughters are keen to focus on their businesses as well as their side hustles of reselling. Both make money from their art and have various opportunities I want to help them with.
Why you need to read Quit Like A Millionaire
Everyone I know has dreamt of winning the lotto, becoming a millionaire, quitting their job and living the life they want. Instead of dreaming about the lotto, why not make it happen for yourself? This is exactly what author, Kristy Shen did and she shares how in Quit Like A Millionaire.
Disclosure, this post may contain affiliate links.
General Thoughts On Quit Like A Millionaire
The basis is Kristy Shen’s life story mixed with finance tips. A poverty stricken background, emphasis on education, good career, extreme frugality and investing wisely are all outlined.
We quite enjoyed it but I suspect that is because the background was so familiar. Most of what Mrs Aspiring Millionaire has read and applied previously was all focused on the law of attraction and manifesting. Quit Like A Millionaire is the opposite of that. For her, it was an interesting take on scarcity mindset and how far that can get you.
Mr Aspiring Millionaire found it extremely relatable because of his background.
Quit Like A Millionaire Story
Mr Aspiring Millionaire comes from Vanuatu, which was one of the least developed countries in the world at the time. Kristy Shen grew up in China in absolute poverty. For Mrs Aspiring Millionaire, hearing Kristy’s backstory, the early years, the emphasis on a good education, not wasting anything and a frugal mindset explained a lot about Mr Aspiring Millionaire and his family.
Mrs Aspiring Millionaire grew up ‘white poor’ which is a far cry from the definition of poor in which Mr Aspiring Millionaire grew up in. In fact, one of our daughters (Mr Aspiring Millionaire’s daughter from his previous marriage) is growing up this way. She lives in the Solomon Islands, without electricity, running water (they go to the river for water), many neighbours live in dirt floor shacks etc.
Hearing about Kristy’s upbringing, the things she did to make money such as hunting through the tip to make toys and the huge emphasis on education is common in island nations too. They simply do not have the resources available to most in countries such as the USA, Australia and most of Europe.
With a background of poverty, you hold onto everything and live extremely frugally. Every small item matters and you mentally calculate how much an item e.g. a toy really costs. As in, that toy could pay for education back home. Kristy describes this and my partner’s family have done similar.
Education Is Key
Get the best education you can to secure the highest pay you can. The higher the pay, the more you can invest and the sooner you can retire. In countries such as China, Vanuatu and the Solomon Islands, getting a good education gives you options. You can get a visa to live elsewhere and send money home to help the family.
Education has a huge emphasis in these cultures. Not only education but specific careers. It’s not about following your passion. Earning a high income to provide is more important. If you earn well, invest wisely and live frugally, you can live how you want for the rest of your life instead of constantly grinding on the corporate ladder.
This part hit home as Mrs Aspiring Millionaire grew up with the luxury of being able to do pretty much whatever career she wanted. And change career or jobs as she pleased. Plus the capacity and opportunity to do various side hustles. As such, she quit school due to personal issues in year 11 and has done a variety of jobs but always made a good income.
Mr Aspiring Millionaire did not have the same opportunities and worked his butt off in shipping then diving. Both careers were taxing on his body and meant he was away from his family for long periods. Now, since the family is mostly in Australia, earning good money, assisting family back in Vanuatu to get educated is important.
All finances books focus on this. Growing up in China and being an immigrant family to the USA, Kristy outlined how strict this advice was. Avoiding debt is crucial to having the life you want. Going into debt is simply stealing from tomorrow to pay for today.
Instead of having money to invest, you are stuck in a cycle of borrowing and it costs you a lot more. In the USA student loans are excruciatingly expensive. Australia has a different system. However, many students go into debt in both countries for degrees they might not use or are not clear on. Or the “follow your passion” mantra is more important than career stability.
On top of the student loan debt, is the cost of living going through university and often a car loan. By the time most students finish their degree, they are starting life with extreme amounts of debt. Higher than other generations have ever faced.
Instead of going into debt, look for ways to pay for your education, work and start your career debt free.
Make your money work for you if you ever hope to retire. It’s not enough to simply live frugally, save and hope. The cost of living continues to rise plus, who doesn’t want free money?
While I won’t be following the investment advice she outlined, I did like the fact she shared what she did so others can follow or opt to learn more.
You can get Quit Like A Millionaire here.
What did you think of Quit Like A Millionaire?
How we Turned $30 into $60
Here on Aspiring Millionaire, we are doing a challenge to turn $2 into $1,000,000 by doubling our money. Meaning, find a way to turn $2 into $4 then $4 into $8 then $8 into $16 and so on. Eventually, it is over $1,000,000.
My first flip was buying a book for $2 and selling it for $8. Next, it was a dress and 2 books (the dress was $7 and books 50c each) sold for $30 total. This brings us to now, how I turned $30 into $60.
Disclosure: this post may include affiliate links for products and services we personally use.
Brainstorming Ideas to Double My Money
I was discussing with my sister how to turn $30 into $60. Most of the items I have flipped previously were small items e.g clothing and books around $2 to $5 or big items such as websites or cars ranging in price from $500 to $2,000.
This in-between amount had me stumped. As I thought about it more, I realised my challenge wasn’t necessarily only about buying and reselling. It was about doubling the money, which gave me a few ideas I plan to implement later.
Buying items to resell is one option which I have previously made over $10,000 in a month doing. However, creating products to sell on Etsy, books on Amazon and digital products are all options to double the money too. I quickly realised there are a lot of ways I can double this money.
A Bonus Offer with Referrals to Generate $60
While brainstorming, I got a few amazing offers that I knew I could use for this and it worked within 24 hours. I wrote this post sharing bonus offers worth over $500, including some straight-up cash. The post was free for me to write and used refer a friend links which anyone can do.
Then Facebook offered me a $30 credit if I spent $15 on ads. So I set one up using that post to promote the offer and aim for higher conversions. Some of the offers I won’t know if I made any money on them until next month but other offers were instant.
Within 24 hours, I had an extra $60 in bonus credit from the bank and yet I had only actually spent $3 at that point. The promotion is set to run for 1 week. I can’t wait to see how much is actually generated by it. Any extra will be going to investments and saving for a course.
Bonus Cash For You
What were the bonuses I promoted? I’ll share them all here as well as in the post I linked to above to make it easy for you.
$100 from ING
I’ve banked with ING for years and they’ve been great. Right now, they have a bonus $100 for new customers. Here is what you need to do:
- Open an everyday account and put the promo code CNW116 in the promo box
- Deposit $1,000 into the account
- Make 5 settled transactions
- Open a Savings Maximiser
- Make a deposit into the Savings Maximiser
Then you get your $100 the following month. You only have until July 31, 2021 to do it. And you MUST use the code CNW116 to get the $100.
$20 from 86 400 Instantly!
While $100 from ING is great, this is an instant $20 for you. 86 400 is an online only bank I started using last year to test it out. They are fee free, easy to use and great customer service. You can join for free in minutes and get $20 for doing it. Use the code S7VL6WF when you join free here.
$5 from Up
Another bank I have used in Australia and overseas which gives you an instant bonus. Get your $5 for joining in minutes and have fun with fee free banking with them too.
$10 BitCoin From CoinSpot
If you have ever been curious about cryptocurrency but too scared to test it out, sign up to CoinSpot for free and get $10 free BitCoin. You can see how it progresses, add a little e.g. $10 and watch your reactions to the ups and downs. Doing it this way is almost risk-free since you got $10 worth for free once you make your first deposit.
$10 Bonus to Invest with Spaceship
Spaceship is a great option for micro-investing to see how comfortable you are with it. Use the code S8518DLV20 here to get $10 free when you deposit $5 within 14 days. It is an easy way to test how you feel about investing in shares.
$5 Bonus to Invest with Raiz
Raiz is another micro-investing app but they charge a monthly fee. Get $5 free when you join free here and invest as little as $5. Personally, I use Spaceship more.
$20 Cash Back
Shopback and CashRewards are two of my favourite cash back apps/sites. Plus BOTH of them offer a $10 bonus. All you need to do is sign up to each of them, then use their cashback options when you are shopping online. Spend over $20 online and you get a bonus $10 cashback. Use both sites and get a total of $20.
How Did I Turn $30 Into $60 With These Offers?
As mentioned at the top of the post, this site uses affiliate links for products and services I use. This means, when I refer people I get a payment. Some of these match the offer I can give to others so we both make money. Because of the incentive from Facebook, I had the opportunity to promote these a lot with bonus money, resulting in a quick doubling of $30.
I spent $30 on ads and promoted refer a friend programs to get more than $60 in cash.
How Will I Turn $60 Into $120?
This is my next step and while I haven’t fully decided, I have some ideas. The whole way along in this challenge I will remain open to opportunities so won’t necessarily have it all planned out. If I find something I can flip quickly I will do that, otherwise, I might try one of the other options e.g. Etsy, Amazon or similar.
How to Achieve Financial Independence and Retire Early with a Large Family
Most things written about financial independence and retiring early is from white males. In more recent years, other voices have come through, often still single or double incomes before kids, or with only one kid.
In my experience, it is much easier to achieve financial goals without children but as someone with 4 kids, that isn’t the journey I’m taking. We have 2 daughters from my first marriage, my partner’s daughter from his first marriage and a son together. Aged 13, 12, 7 and less than 6 months.
My partner comes from Vanuatu and in his culture, it is expected you support the parents in their later years. Vanuatu does not have an aged pension, welfare or many of the things we have here. Incomes are extremely low so even with some retirement savings, it is impossible to live off, let alone aim for a large retirement nest egg.
Also, it is not uncommon for the wealthier family members or those in a better location to support nieces and nephews through school. His parents supported numerous cousins of his and still do. Since his sister has two children, it is possible we will have not only our kids but hers at some point too.
Our situation and FIRE goals are different to most.
Disclosure: this post may contain affiliate links.
What can you do to Achieve FIRE with a Large Family?
Knowing what you want, creating a plan of action and going for it are with commitment is how. You might not achieve it as fast as someone who doesn’t have kids or your expenses but that doesn’t mean it’s not possible.
Please remember to live life still! Don’t scrimp and save on everything, sacrificing fun memories with your kids in an effort to retire early. I see too many families cutting off everything, not really living in an effort to retire a year earlier or 5 years earlier. Your kids will remember their childhoods. If you are off working 24/7 or constantly side hustling and cutting corners so they never get to do anything, they will remember it.
A strong relationship with your kids is more important than retiring a few years earlier. Always aim for a balance between reaching your goal of retiring at a certain point with having great times as a family.
What we do for Family Fun
Having time with your family and lots of fun doesn’t have to cost a fortune. A few key things we do are:
- Friday Family Fun Night: an activity as a family, usually on a Friday night. Every week, we do an activity together. It might be watching a movie on Netflix with treats, going for a hike, the beach until midnight, any activity we enjoy. The point is, our kids know that every week we have a few hours doing something as a family and they look forward to it all week.
- Dinner Together: every night we have dinner as a family. We often cook these meals together too.
- Grateful and Compliments: at dinner we all list 3 things we are grateful for plus a compliment for each other. With the compliments, it is about catching each other doing something good and recognising it rather than superficial compliments.
- Family Travel: we are a family that loves travel. So much so, that we have side hustles based on it. Family travel doesn’t need to be expensive, most of ours is free but our kids have the best memories. Check out free campsites for weekends away, stay with friends and family interstate, go on a random road trip.
- Private Conversations: at any time, our kids can ask either one of us for a private conversation and the whole family will respect that and give us space to talk.
- One On One Time: I try to take the kids out individually, even if just for a walk on the beach together. Having that one on one time with me makes a huge difference to the relationship.
All of these things add up and have ensured our children are emotionally stable, confident and happy to work towards our goals. They aren’t constantly asking for new things and we don’t feel the need to buy them things because they get our time.
Find a balance between work, side hustles, reaching FIRE and the time with your family.
Sort Out Your Budget
Go over all your expenses, your income and plans. Create a proper spending plan to tell your money where to go before it lands in your account. Be sure to include regular savings and investing as part of your budget. Treat them as a bill instead of an afterthought. They should be paid first and work with the rest of your income for everything else.
Look at ways to cut back and as you do, transfer those extra amounts to savings or investments. If you are hopeless with money, try using the envelope system to begin with so you use cash and physically see the money go.
What is the Envelope System?
Multiple envelopes for different expenses are used. Take out the cash amount you set aside in your budget for each area e.g. groceries, petrol, bills and once you have spent the cash, it’s gone. For every purchase, put the receipt into the envelope so you can properly track where and how you spend your money.
For many people, seeing how much cash they spend and how much they waste is confronting. This alone is enough to make them change their spending habits.
Other people prefer to use separate accounts online and transfer the money between them. Try each method and do what works for you.
How we do Our Budget
Every Sunday we have an Abundance Meeting. We sit down together, go over all our income, investments and expenses to ensure we are on track. Our investments are set up to be automatic, as are most of our bills.
Each week we get our own ‘play’ money which is a specific amount we can do whatever we want with. The minimum aim is at least 10% to investments and 10% to savings. Right now, we are saving $30,000 fast to pay cash for Mr Aspiring Millionaire’s career progression. It will see a huge leap in income from his previous career stage.
Once we have paid for that and cleared our remaining consumer debt, all excess is going to investing. Right now, our current investments are 3 properties owned outright in Vanuatu, one business there, a business in Australia plus shares and crypto.
For shares, we’ve been doing small amounts through Spaceship (get $5 when you join here) and $10 of Bitcoin if you want to try crypto with Coinspot. You get the money once you make your first investment which can be as little as $20.
We use Kiva for donations and send money back to family in the islands. Plus, we like to support some charities in Vanuatu aimed at gender equality and helping women. Read how to know which not for profits to support to know more about what we do.
Maximise Your Money
Set your money up right and you can make or save thousands. Look at all the ways you can maximise your money. Some examples are below.
Free Interest and Bonuses
If you’re good with your money, credit cards can be used to acquire points to save money on travel and in other areas of your life. Many businesses have sign up bonuses, banks have account opening bonuses and other incentives. Look for the right products for your needs then get them set up. We have over $500 worth listed here.
Salary Sacrificing/Tax Benefits
Check to see if your employer or government offers bonuses or salary sacrificing to make your money go further. Different occupations and companies offer different salary sacrificing, retirement and bonus options.
Cash Back and Rebates
Look for rebates and cashback when you go shopping. Do what you can to ensure you are making the most of the money you have.
Check and Combine Retirement Accounts
Regularly check your retirement fund or funds to ensure your employer is paying into it. Next, check the fees and charges plus benefits of all of them to see which one is best then combine them. Often, as we change jobs, new accounts are set up. Paying fees for each is a waste of money.
Increase Your Income
Do what you can to increase your income and put all the extra into investments to enable you to reach financial independence and retire early. Get a promotion, increase your income, start a business or look at side hustles to make more money.
Some of the ways we make money include websites, freelance writing, crypto, shares, odd jobs and consulting.
Get a Promotion/Increase Your Wage
If you are working, one of the easiest ways to make more money can often come from your job. Look at promotions or ask for a raise if possible. Overtime is another option but it takes more time whereas a raise or promotion often means you make more money in the same amount of time.
Depending on your career, if a raise or promotion isn’t possible, it might be worth looking at other options, retraining or seeing what is necessary to get the wage you want.
As an example, Mr Aspiring Millionaire changed careers a couple of years before we met. However, in the islands, the wages are extremely low ($5,000AUD a year is not uncommon). And there is a limit on what he can do in that career or how far he could go.
Moving to Australia and doing a specific course means he has the potential to earn his old annual wage in a day. It takes training and dedication and is a risky job. When he first switched, even though it wasn’t an option in the islands to go all the way in this career, it was his dream. Now we are in a position to make it happen. Doing this accelerates our FIRE number massively.
Find ways to make money on the side. For over a decade I have been making money from home, both with a business which I will discuss more and with side gigs. Below are a few of my favourites and some of the most profitable. 99 Side Hustles for Aussies has 99 great ideas anyone can do, most are fine even if you aren’t Aussie.
Freelance Writing $150+ per article
This would absolutely be one of my favourites and most profitable. Writing is a passion of mine and has been since I was a child. Freelance writing has enabled us to travel, make money from anywhere and meet fun people.
To get started with freelance writing, create a few articles and get active. Meaning, you can set up your own blog or start writing on Medium or similar so you have examples of your work. Pitch yourself in Facebook groups, on work marketplaces or directly to businesses.
To be more professional, it helps if you have a website. Siteground is my preferred website host. You can get low monthly hosting, buy your domain name and set up WordPress or other platforms through them to set up your website. They walk you through it all making it easy.
Online Surveys $5,000 per year
No one makes big money with online surveys but an extra $5,000 a year to invest makes a difference. Especially when that $5,000 can be made while you’re waiting to pick up the kids from school, watching TV or similar.
Flipping Items over $10,000 a month
When I did this actively in Melbourne, I made over $10,000 a month while doing other projects too. My aim is to get back to that which is why I started this site. Flipping items can be one of the easiest ways to make money. Check out this guide on how to make over $10,000 a month buying things to resell.
To track my progress, what I am flipping, where and for how much, click here. I have outlined it all and update it as I go along. My eldest daughter has started doing this too and is learning what sells well, what to look for etc. She has bought and sold a dress, some Lego and is starting to do books too.
Start a Business
I’ve had a few businesses over the years: hairdressing and beauty, a marketing company, blogging, consulting and now a tourism business in Vanuatu. Some businesses can be started for under $100. It depends what you are doing and how big your start up costs are. If you don’t need stock on hand, you can easily get started for next to nothing.
Some businesses you can start for next to nothing include drop shipping, blogging, services such as virtual assistant, cleaning, babysitting etc.
Blogging as a Business
My favourite business has been a blog I bought in 2014. Within a week, I had made back the purchase price. In a few months, it was making a full time income. Now, it does most of it passively and I have been able to work on other projects while that runs itself.
Check out this full guide on how to set up a blog and make money blogging for more on this.
Reduce Your Expenses
There are only so many ways you can cut back which is why I focused on making money first. Spending less than you earn is the only way you will be able to save and invest anything to be able to retire though so it is crucial.
Most experts say to keep the cost of housing below 30% of your income. Given the rising costs of housing this can be difficult. If you have a mortgage, look at refinancing to see if it will save you money. Consider getting in a boarder if you have the room or renting out your garage if you don’t use it.
For renters, share housing is becoming more common since there are not many cheap rent options available.
When it comes to buying a home, truly think about what you need and want in a home. A room for each child plus a study might be a want but is it affordable? Be realistic with your home and reduce your housing costs to ease financial stress.
Meal planning, shopping with a list, buying items on sale or in bulk to save money all help. They might seem basic but it is the basics that can make the biggest difference if you get them right. Find ways to use up leftovers, eat what you have, eat in season and take advantage of special offers.
For example, get $90 off HelloFresh box here. $100 off Marley Spoon, split across your first 4 boxes, $60 off Dinnerly which is split across your first 3 boxes and up to $75 off your first box with EveryPlate. Use a different one each week or month to get the specials and save on groceries.
Combine errands, walk or ride your bike instead of driving and see if you have free public transport options in your area. Cars themselves are expensive from purchase price through to maintenance and daily running with the cost of petrol.
Look at ways to reduce the cost through using a fuel app to lock in or look for the cheapest fuel. Service your car regularly to prevent major issues and fix things as needed. Rotate your tyres, get a wheel alignment, keep it clean and keep a logbook.
Start saving to replace your car as well to prevent paying interest on a loan when the time comes to upgrade. Or look at your options such as salary sacrificing if that works out financially better.
Review All Your Expenses
The above are 3 of the biggest expenses for most households. Check all your expenses and look for ways to reduce them. Compare insurance providers, electricity, internet, phone, all of them. Be sure to never renew your insurance and instead, get a fresh quote each time.
Doing this has saved thousands. Now, I set aside time each year to go over all our expenses in an annual financial review. I look to see what deals there are and how we can change our habits to save more.
Reaching FIRE as a Large Family
It is doable but requires more work than a single person who can live for free in many ways and save a significant portion of their income. Having kids means you have more expenses but it doesn’t mean your goal is impossible. You just need to work around it a little more.
What tips do you have for a large family wanting to achieve financial independence and retire early?
What I Did to Lose $1,000,000
This is from Ms Aspiring Millionaire and happened before she met Mr Aspiring Millionaire. We all make mistakes, these are some of my big ones!
Back in 2014, I was a CEO and my net worth was over $1,000,000. Owning multiple websites, a marketing business and doing a lot of public speaking, consulting and charity work saw me achieving my goals and in a good financial position. So how did I lose it all and have to start over?
Divorce Crushes Your Finances
In 2013, I got divorced. Australian law means you have to be separated for 12 months and 1 day before you can apply. It was a messy divorce because of domestic abuse, so there was a protection order in place and a lot therapy needed for my daughters and I.
The divorce part was easier because I had a protection order, our daughters lived with me and the judge was satisfied with the arrangements. However, custody was not finalised at the time. Instead, I was advised to hold off on applying for that immediately as even with the abuse, 50/50 care was the most likely outcome.
In 2015, I needed passports and he wouldn’t grant them. Which meant, I had to apply for custody. This was just one part of a few bad decisions and circumstances.
Health Is Everything
In 2015, I became paralysed, had multiple surgeries and in the middle of it all, tested positive for cancer of the bladder. I had polyps removed (and have had a few surgeries for this since then) but all is ok. For 7 months, I had excruciating pain and paralysis on and off making life extremely difficult.
Much of my work was able to be done from home but it suffered. If I spoke at an event (using the prescribed pain killers and nerve blockers), I would be out for 3 days after because of pain and paralysis.
Ill health took a massive toll on my body, along with the expense of custody.
Moving and Trusting the Wrong People
At the end of 2015, my health was improving but my finances were in a terrible state. We moved to Melbourne as my then live in boyfriend got an amazing job. He had been unemployed throughout 2015 so this was huge for him.
He moved a few weeks before us, then right as I was meant to be moving and had sold off everything, made all the arrangements, he decided we couldn’t live with him. With severe mental health issues and addictions (which I was unaware of at the time), he kept changing his mind. I made other accommodation arrangements but we ended up back together.
Trusting him was possibly the stupidest thing I have done and it cost me a fortune. We had gone halves in a car but it was only in his name. He sold it and never gave me my half. Everything about his life was more important to him than the needs/wants of my kids and I.
Despite promises of things being even and him providing more since I had financially provided for us the whole of 2015, he didn’t. We called it quits later but it was a messy, co-dependent relationship. His addiction to alcohol, cocaine usage and anxiety issues were horrendous.
To be clear, he was nice in the beginning and seemed to have it together. He had a great job, nice friends, played sport etc. As time went on, his true personality came out but because I had left an abusive marriage a few years before and my kids were attached to him, I tried to make it work.
When we broke up, I was done with men. I was also financially devastated and still in the middle of the custody battle with my ex husband.
Child Custody is Expensive!
7.5 years after I left, I was finally granted full parental responsibility of my daughters. Meaning, I got full custody and he has no rights. The process has changed now but it was a nightmare. We started in Canberra, then I moved to Melbourne and had to go through it there. In Melbourne, my daughters were selected to go to China with their school (only 12 kids got to go). He still objected so it got more intense.
In the lower courts, a lot of lies were told by him and since we couldn’t subpoena evidence until later, our case was pushed to a higher court. He had my daughters put on the watch list once the courts made him sign for the passports so they still didn’t get to go to China.
I had to get a full psychiatric assessment because he claimed I had mental health issues. That cost thousands, on top of the lawyer fees. Then in the higher courts, I had to have a barrister too. I also had to pay for the court usage since I was the one who applied for custody. Not only did I have to pay for each day in court but all the preparations.
During all of this, he was harassing us again with multiple phone calls and threats. I had to get a new protection order as my daughters and I were scared. A 5 year, super strict protection order was granted. Our judge on the day was amazing. My ex didn’t show so it was granted and she gave us more than I asked for. We were hoping for 1 year.
Because it was now 2019 and I had left him in 2012 which is when the first report of his violence was made, it was classed as long term, ongoing abuse. So the judge gave the maximum protection she could.
Extra Legal Expenses
At this stage, I was emotionally and financially exhausted but things were progressing. We were finally able to subpoena evidence from police in multiple states, child protection, teachers, psychologists and other people who had made reports about my daughters against my ex-husband.
When it all came to the courthouse, a lawyer has to go up and go through it all. I had to pay for that time plus the rest of the preparation time. They had never seen so much evidence and it ALL matched exactly what I had said and the evidence I had outlining times, dates, organisations/people involved etc. During this process, his lawyer sent notice that he no longer represents my ex.
Since he never turned up and his lawyer dropped him, he didn’t have to pay for anything. The court made so many allowances for him then finally, in the higher court, we got a great judge who did not tolerate his games. When he didn’t turn up, the court called him, he said it was all too hard and the court ordered him to come to the next one. If he didn’t, a decision and order would be made without him.
Fortunately, he did not show up. The court appointed children’s lawyer agreed with me and the evidence so I was awarded everything we asked for.
But it cost me everything I had. In the end, I even sold off all my furniture and moved out of our house. We planned on travelling full time once court was done, so I didn’t mind doing this. I also had to borrow tens of thousands of dollars from my parents to complete it. Thankfully, my parents could afford to lend me money when I needed it.
Therapy After Abuse
From 2012, my daughters needed speech therapy which was expensive. But with everything else that happened then and over the next few years, they needed a lot of other therapy and help too. As did I.
At $200 a session for counselling/psychology and $90 a session for speech therapy, it added up fast. In 2013, I paid more a week in speech therapy and psychology than I paid in rent. It was worth it though.
My daughters and I are well adjusted. They are eternally grateful I got them out and got them help so they could process everything.
During the years of abuse and court, my daughters were triggered at times. This meant, with all their needs, I could not work full time in a job. I had to do side hustles or my own business but my time to do it was limited.
From CEO to Freelancer
I sold my company when I was in the bad relationship in Melbourne. He had managed to convince me he was better at everything than I was (despite me speaking internationally and winning awards). I lost all my confidence and had enough.
After that, because of the emotional strain of court, the bad relationship and other issues, I barely coped. Instead, I did what I could as a freelancer, did side hustles and focused on healing my daughters and myself.
What Changed and How I am Changing it with Mr Aspiring Millionaire
With all of that, you can see why I would not want to be in a relationship again. I decided to go for financial independence, travel and have a fun lifestyle with my kids instead. It was fun and my kids loved it. We did it like this for quite some time. Deep down, they both told me they wanted me to be with someone and be happy after they grew up. I was not ready though.
But when Mr Aspiring Millionaire and I met at the end of 2018, the connection was instant and obvious to everyone. I was hesitant, yet despite being in different countries, we got to know each other and it worked.
My work took me back to the Solomon Islands where he was working a few times and after 10 months he quit so we could travel together. We have the same goals, same dreams from childhood regarding finances, investments and lifestyle. I don’t know any couple who matches so perfectly on the big things as we do.
With 4 kids between us, our goal is financial independence as a large family. Not only for us but also our family in Vanuatu and the Solomon Islands.
So basically, I lost my million dollar net worth because of bad decisions with men and ill health. Having the right life partner and being healthy makes a huge difference to mind, body, spirit AND finances. I am so happy to now have a partner who wants the same things in life as I do and is supportive.
In the time we’ve been together, we’ve managed to travel a few countries and a large portion of Australia. We’ve faced bushfires, a cyclone, lock down in another country, repatriation, setting up a new home twice (once overseas and once here). Plus buying a car, visa applications, residency applications and so much more.
Yet, we are currently in a better financial position than either of us could have imagined and have learnt from our mistakes.
What Big Financial Mistakes Have You Made?