Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Life lessons for a recent graduate

1. Your University degree will make you a living, it won't make you rich. Your University degree  doesn't guarantee you a good retirement either.
2. Self education will make you rich.
3. Climbing up the corporate ladder, social ladder and getting what you want in life come from self education. So, invest in self education, continuously improve yourself in all aspects of life: money management, financial literacy, relationships skills, people skills, etc.
4. Don't upgrade your expenses as you increase your salary. Don't start going to fine dining restaurants every weekend. Maintain a modest lifestyle.
5. Continuously invest to grow your assets: shares, properties, etc.
6. Minimise tax legally, but don't cheat (evade) tax. If in a tax audit or a tax review case, you are found to have done a mistake (honest or intentional) and as tgevresult of the mistake was a tax shortfall, you could be held liable for a shortfall penalty (ranged from 25% to 75% of tax shortfall) plus a 20% uplift and plus an interest charges accrued on the shortfalls plus the penalties (shortfall and uplift). Is this consequence worth cheating for? I don't think so. There are many legal ways to minimize tax - look up
7. Continue Investing in properties that pays itself. (You can have as many properties as you want - you can own more than 2 properties. Investing in properties is still one of the way people use to grow their wealth.) By now, after your graduation from University, you would have grown more mature and by now, you will have more options in renting out your property investment, to name a few: you can be a host parent for home stay students, be a guardian for international students under the age of eighteen, and you can rent out your rooms to these students, and in return, you will get higher than normal rental incomes. You will need to provide extra benefits to them, but the return can make it worthwhile.
8. Keep your career options open. Maintain a good professional reputation and good professional relationships. This way, if your employer doesn't provide good professional career paths, you can move on quickly by using your professional connections.
You must also increase your income by at least 5% per annum in your current company. If you don't,  it's time to say goodbye to your employer.
9. Continue investing in shares with dividends reinvested. Don't cash out. Your income, whilst you are working, must come from your salary. Dividends are for growing your wealth only.
10. Look into your superannuation  (401k) now. Explore tax efficient super co-contributions and superannuation salary sacrifice. Ensure your superannuation provider charge reasonable fees, look into income protection insurance, death and total permanent disability criteria and benefits cover provided in your superannuation, ensure your superannuation returns are on par with the benchmark  (look at APRA benchmark). Consolidate your Superannuation.
11. Continue saving for wedding, children and their education, and retirement.
12. Have sufficient emergency fund - It should be around 6 months worth of living expenses including mortgage repayments.
13. Don't accrue debts, buy everything  (if possible, properties) with cash whilst using tax minimization strategy and structure.
14. Invest your Tax Refund

©™ Kaizen Money Smartt

Life lessons for 20 something

  1. Work part time whilst studying. Not just for the money, but also for the precious skills. Because in working life, you won'the get promoted just because you complete cases well, but because of who you know, because of your people management skills, etc. Where to work? Work for someone who will invest in your development. Work in a place where you can gain skills that allows you to move up the career ladder. Work in a place where someone is willing to mentor you - to develop you, personally. Work in a place where you can gain a proper graduate placement once you obtain your qualification.
  2. Save your money. The cost of living once you graduated will be high. Think in terms of cost of purchasing a house, cost of wedding and (sooner than you will realise) cost of family (wife, parents and child, and later, children's education cost).
  3. Invest in shares. And reinvest the dividends.
  4. If you have a bit more money, invest in property. Buy an investment property that will pay its own mortgage. Buy a house close to university, rent out to students room by room with facilities  (bills paid, including internet). Buy a 1 or 2 bedroom close to the city (the offices) apartment that has low body corporate fees, rent it out to young professionals. Buy a house in a suburb that is close to the suburb that has gone up in price (the next one to go - due to the ripple effect).
  5. Get a cadetship, an internship and a graduate job. In some companies or organizations, ex cadets, ex interns and ex graduates who have passed the test to become full time employees  are not allowed to be retrenched. And they also are placed on fast track management path.
  6. Some cadets are offered tuition fees (university fees) paid, try to score those.
  7. Get good marks. Get into the Dean's list. This will put you ahead - distinguishing you from many other applicants.
  8. Have good professional relationships with your tutors, lecturers, assistant professors and professors. Their recommendations and their abilities to give you a job opportunity after graduation is priceless.
  9. Learn life skills. If you were sheltered when you were in school, learn to develop life skills, social skills, communication skills, people management skills, self management skills, project management skills, time management skills and any other skills. Learn hot to plan and to enact your plan, in order to get what you want. These skills are the ones that will propel you up in life and in your climbing up the corporate ladder.
  10. Make good friends as many as possible. They will become your life long friends.
  11. Have fun.
  12. Learn.

©™ Kaizen Money Smartt

Tuesday, 26 January 2016

How to stick to your budget

How to Stick to Budget.png

1. Know exactly all of your expenses.

List all of your expenses - write all of them down to the specific and exact details. Know exactly the following detail about your expenses:

i). What are they?

Gas bill, electricity bill, water bill,  hot water bill, food or grocery bill, home phone & internet bill,  mobile phone bill, private health insurance bill, public transport tickets, fuel costs, car insurance bill, home insurance bills (building & content insurance, or renter's insurance), rent or mortgage payment, council rates, body corporate rates, socialising and  entertainment expenses, etc.

ii). Know when are they due, to the exact date or if not possible, to the exact period.

For example, I know exactly that my mobile phone will be due on every 25th of the month, my private health insurance will be due on exactly every 1st of the month. For my annual home insurance bill, annual car registration cost and annual landlord's insurance bills, I know that they will be due exactly every December. So I know, in December I need to have $xxxx for car rego & those insurance expenses.

iii). Know exactly how much exactly is payable or if not possible, estimate to the closest dollars.

It is difficult to estimate exact dollar amount for the next utilities  (gas, electricity, water and hot water). But if everything stays the same  (same weather, same number of people using electrictricity/gas/water/hot water, with similar consumption pattern) you can estimate your next utility bill to a high degree. The rest of the bills,  such as food, socialising/entertainment and mobile phone expenses, should stay the same from month to month.

2. Put the expense list on calendar

I put my expense list in my calendar - a monthly calendar.

I created a financial calendar with green tab (green colour like the colour of the U$ dollar) set it with monthly view.

This way, in a glance I know exactly what expenses are payable now and also in the future (short term, medium term and long term).

In my calendar, I repeat/recur recurring expenses on its due date (or just before it's due date).

By doing the steps above, on budgeting day (normally on payday), I only spent a glance (a very quick look on my calendar) and I know exactly what expenses I need to pay in the period.

The purpose of listing the expenses & putting the list on a monthly financial calendar:

1). If u miss a bill, your current saving budget will be skewed. Because this means you might need to fork out extra $$ from your saving. This means less saving than budgeted (aka planned).

2). And if you don't have enough savings, you might need to wait until your next paycheck  (salary and/or client'side payments) to pay for the bill. And by doing this you might incur a late payment fee - that means even more less money saved than budgeted (or planned).

Psychological purposes of writing and listing budget down:

3). A high percentage of those who have written goals and to do list, nailed their goals (achieved their goals).

4). By writing down your goals (budgeted expenses, in this case) you know what you need to do (to achieve your goal which is to stick to the budget).

Writing down goal (or budget in this case) is like following a road map that is proven to be the most efficient and effective way to get you to your destination.

5). Writing goal (budget) is effectively helping your brain to subconsciously break down the steps to achieve the end goal.

This is the part that actually makes you nail (achieve) your goal (stick to your budget).

3. Make a decision

Make a decision that you will stick to your budget - a resolute decision that you won't undo.

Simply make a decision in your mind (a resolute decision) and the rest of you will automatically follow your mind's decision.

4. Make sure everything in your life support your decision

If your dependents  (wife, children or parents) want to live lavishly.

And you suddenly decided not to (live lavishly and want to stick to your budget to save money), you are more likely than not, not able to stick to your budget.

If you feel envious and always want to keep up with the Joneses, you are more likely than not, not to be able to stick to your budget.

Everything in you and your life must support your decision.

5. Discipline

Know what you must do to achieve your goal, at the time you must do it and do it well, regardless of the challenges.

I know that I can only spend $50 per week on entertainment, so I will stop paying for entertainment once I spent $50 in a particular week.

6. Discipline alone won't cut it, your burning desire will

You must know your extreme deep innate driver that makes you want to achieve your goal - Your burning desire.

At the time of facing difficult challenges, the only thing that will keep you going (that is, to stick to your budget) is your burning desire.

What is your burning desire?

To accumulate enough $ so that you won't have to put up with office politics (aka early retirement).

To accumulate enough $$ so that you can provide a good living for your parents, wife, or children.

This burning desire makes you stick to your budget.

When you are facing very difficult challenges, your burning desire is the one that makes you stick to your budget. You won't go out of budget if you know that you must save $xxxx amount per week in order to provide for your loved ones, or in order to have retirement.

©™ Kaizen Money Smartt

Thursday, 21 January 2016

350+++ ways on How to save money - Part 15 ( clothes & shopping)

How to save money at Shopping time
(Normal) People will definitely judge you based on how you look, and how you dress.

If you want to move up the career ladder, you will definitely need to know how to dress the part. It cannot be ignored. It is just a fact of life. An IT geek will be dressing like a typical IT geek. A financier will definitely need to dress like a financier.

The cost of the clothes, is something you can control.

  1. Plan your shopping, need to know exactly what you need. And see if you can make do with what you already have at home.
  2. Consider: shop second hand clothes, re-assignment clothes, or swap clothes. Also, consider selling your very well taken care of pre-loved items, to fund your next purchases.
  3. Shop during year-end or mid-year. Shop around for staff’s discount, credit card reward, cash back reward. See if you can pay using gift card, normally gift card are sold @ discounted rate during year-end or mid-year.
  4. Buy good quality items on essentials such as running shoes, walking shoes, rain boots.
  5. Buy modest products on non essentials such as thermals, underwear, etc.
  6. Subscribe to mailing list as many mailing list as possible, so you get alerted on discounts and special deals for subscribers.
  7. Understand the discount pattern of the retailers, so you know instinctively when to buy from that particular retailer to snap big bargains.
  8. Plan your purchases, don’t buy everything in 1 year. This means, if you are planning to replace your coats (expensive items), that means you don’t buy glasses (another expensive items). Hold of buying 2 lots of expensive items in 1 year shopping.
  9. Learn to fix your own clothes.
  10. For Aussies, buying US brands from eBay US is much cheaper than buying US brands in Australia.
  11. Wait out and save for 1 whole year, and only shop at the end of the year.
  12. Consider buying factory second, secondhand or ex-display items.
  13. Buy what you need, not what you want.
  14. If you are uncertain, sleep on it.
  15. Classic style (think Audrey Hepburn’s LBD) will always last longer.
  16. Accessorise is a good way to liven up clothes.
  17. Use classic accessories, such as gold/diamond necklaces or bracelets instead of something cheaper. Why? Diamond and gold are expense! Diamond and gold hold their value. Cheaper bracelets and necklaces deteriorate in value over time.
  18. Invest in something that holds their value & take care of that stuffs, because if it is well taken care of, it may increase its value along with CPI.
  19. So, shop carefully! Buy only good items.
  20. Don’t buy clothes that need dry cleaning (coats are exception).
  21. Don’t buy clothes that are difficult to iron. For ladies, wear uniqlo non-iron tops underneath your suit will save you time & trouble of ironing. Make life sooo much easier!
  22. Buy clothes that have multiple functions. That you can wear to office and outside office.
  23. Wear streamlined clothes.
  24. Try to use cash not credit card or debit card. You will be more cautious about your spending if you can feel the money going out of your hands.
  25. Keep good staples in your wardrobe and take care of them. It will liven up your look @ a fraction of the price. And they will last for a long long long time. Good staples are, at the minimum, good trench coat, good winter coat, good jeans, good suits, good dress shoes and good dress pants or skirts.
  26. Before you go shopping, research where to shop. Don’t get overwhelmed by discounts and offers. Be armed with information.
  27. Don’t go shopping hungry and tired.
  28. Don’t go shopping with friends who will make you buy unnecessary items.
  29. Before you buy an item, know exactly what added value it is going to give you in your life. If you live in a limited storage home (an apartment for example), think about where and how to store the item. Cluttered living will result in a cluttered minds.
  30. Don’t buy just because of trend, or just because you like it, or peer pressure.
  31. If it’s the last item, or ex display item, bargain for discounts.
  32. Understand that shopping will not make you happy. Understand that your doing (achieving goals and getting better) will make you happy.
  33. Be surrounded by people who don’t judge you by how you look.

Where to shop
  4. Clothes: (Free delivery and free returns), (normally free delivery if about 50GBP),
  1. Cash back and cash rewards:
USA: ebates
Australia: pricepal, rewardscentral, cashrewards

©™ Kaizen Money Smartt
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