Hairy Audacious Goal
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For inspiration on these cold winter days I have been reading a few finance books, as you do.
Kurt, a Happy Saver, has an excellent library of finance books and has kindly lent me some of his. Some of them come with dog eared pages and highlighted sections, which I like because it helps me narrow in on the interesting points. A ripping good yarn is “The Millionaire Next Door” by Stanley and Danko (first published last century in 1996) and closer to home “Get Rich, Stay Rich” (2003) by our very own Martin Hawes and Joan Baker.
I have no qualms about reading older books because, well, money has been around for quite some time and people trying to maximise their wealth is not a new concept. Lets not try to reinvent the wheel here and think that only new books provide the answers you might be looking for. With every book (or blog) I read I take a little from it and collectively this makes up my money personality and helps me plan the future for my family.
Books date pretty quickly (Martin, how good would it be to buy a family home for $220,000 right now?! Bring back 2003!) But the gist of planning for the future remains the same, just the advice on how to do it alters a bit and the people they refer to in their case studies. Why are most of the women in The Millionaire Next Door housewives while their husbands are go getters? Hopefully if I picked up a book written today there would be a lot more gender and ethnic diversity.
What I took from these two books is that if you want to get ahead you need to keep coming back to:
Simply wishing to be wealthy and financially secure will not get you there, you actually have to put some structure and numbers around it. Set goals.
Frugality pays dividends
To get ahead you have to live well below your means so you can invest the money that is left over.
Maximise your earnings
Earn as much as you can in the job you have (or be prepared to get a better one), create income on the side where you can and create big opportunities that return you cash.
Don’t keep up with the Joneses
In my experience they are probably broke anyway. Walk your own path and if that means driving a fifteen year old car or sitting on a second hand sofa then so what?
Keep doing all of the above over a long period of time. Don’t give up after six months and book an all expenses holiday to reward your frugal efforts. Always be looking for ways to be efficient with your money and your time.
Reading these books made me realise I can’t be as ruthless as Get Rich Stay Rich prescribes, I’m growing my net worth too slowly, but I can tick off a lot of the other points that both books talk about. Steadily and consistently increasing our net worth often has me concerned that I’m missing something, doing something wrong or doing it too slowly so it is time I set myself (and my family) a new short term goal. Neither of us plan on waiting till we are 65 to retire and the government super is not factored in to my plan (yet) so we really need to maximise our investing right now - particularly after having a quick read of the Massey University retirement study that is doing the rounds of social media this week! I don’t want the ‘no frills’ retirement, I want the one with ‘choices’ please. Lots of choices.
Here is a link to an article about it: www.stuff.co.nz
I have always been better at tracking the past, but predicting the future I’m not so good at, therefore I have always found it hard to set goals. But reading these books helps me firm up in my mind how much we are going to need to retire with and how much income our investments are going to need to generate to enable us to do this. And we are not there yet. Maybe its because its mid winter and for the first time in years we are not heading away somewhere warm (while all of our friends are), but I think I need a boost and a goal to head towards.
That’s why this week I sidled up to my husband and suggested we set ourselves a HAIRY AND AUDACIOUS GOAL to save $15,000 by Christmas. The amount of money I have invested is tantalisingly close to a particular six digit number that I want to reach and an additional $15,000 in the words of Sir Edmund Hillary will “knock the bastard off”. We are already good savers and on average save 30% of our income each month which we then invest but this is a bit of a stretch goal.
HOW are we going to do this?
- Work more at our current jobs. This is particularly doable for Mr Happy Saver.
- Keep building my side hustle (as this is new income) and keep looking for new opportunities.
- Continue investing into areas with the highest returns (no more gold!) Money makes money.
- Over this period I’m expecting a term deposit to mature and to receive dividends, these will immediately be reinvested.
- Claim anything owing to us - I have receipts that I really should claim back from my health insurer. It is also time to put in our tax returns but we both put off collating the paperwork. I always thought I might give filing my own return a go but yeah/nah, that is not going to happen. Off to the accountant it goes.
So, there you have it. The goal has been set and it feels like a stretch but is still attainable and it is nice to be doing something productive with my time. This should be a bit of fun for the next few months and will at least take my mind off the fact that all of our friends are currently enjoying a winter holiday somewhere warm.
And one last thing. While writing this I have been fending off one small 10 week old puppy which is desperately trying to get my attention. It’s only for the next couple of weeks while his own family is off somewhere warm. Not finance related in any way, but who can resist this…