The Money Myth That Trips Everyone Up
Money can be an intimidating topic. Most people tend to avoid talking about it. And lets not forget, education around money is a crucial life hack, yet it is not a subject necessarily taught from a young age. Our parent’s, majority being baby boomers, never taught us and as the cycle goes they were never taught themselves. The conversation is almost ‘taboo’— dismal and awkward.
Many of us presume the more money you earn, the easier it is to get ahead. However, those who enjoy higher incomes come to realise income levels and financial progress do not go hand in hand.
I have included some life hacks around saving which will make you wiser and less intimidated by money. It shows how it is possible to save for your first home on a Graduate’s salary of $40,000 p/a.
Hack 1: Bump your KiwiSaver up to 8%!
KiwiSaver is a voluntary, work-based savings initiative which is primary for your first home or retirement. Minimum contributions are 4% of your wages. Bump this up to 8% and you’ll be in your first home before you know. And guess what? You won’t miss the money because that extra 4% you never see in your account. The great thing about KS is the money goes directly from your employer to your scheme provider. Want to update your contributions to 8%? Complete this form with your employer: link here. If buying a property isn’t on your radar, put the extra 4% into a untouchable savings account.
Hack 2: Save 10% minimum of each pay cheque - if not more
Jump onto your phone and check — maybe not on a Sunday if you’ve had a regretful spend last night. No anxiety here please. If you’ve got 10% sitting in your account, you’ve nailed hack two. If not, there is no denying it, you are simply spending too much.
How to secure your 10% minimum — set up an automatic payment which links with your payday. Set this up into a new account which you have no access to online! Then name this account - DO NOT TOUCH. One blanket rule here team, simply don’t touch it. It will take time to build it up, but every little bit extra helps. All combined your savings, your KiwiSaver and Home-Start Grant (more to come), will provide a great platform to kickstart you into home ownership.
10% is the least amount to save. I know for a fact that many of you are capable of greater whether that be up to 50% of your pay. For this to work, goal setting is key: Often I will set myself half yearly or annual goals. I then break this down to weekly, fortnightly or monthly amounts whatever aligns with my pay. Follow my progress on my current savings goal - how I am going to save $10,000 in six months.
Hack 3: Account Structure:
Mentioned above, but a simple and effective way to set up your bank accounts is to have three.
Account 1 - Everyday Spending Account: with a cash balance that reflects your weekly spending allowance. To calculate this allowance: Net Pay minus your savings percentage for the week minus non negotiable bills e.g. petrol, rent, phone. - see spending planner below
Account 2 - Emergency Account: This account has a constant balance of a comfortable amount. Everyone's is different but I like to have a balance of $2,000 for things that can pop up. Usually unexpected flights or car bills. This account is not for an unexpected ball dress or a big night on the pokies, that needs to be included in your weekly budget.
Account 3 - Serious Saver Account: These types of accounts earn you interest if you don’t withdraw for the month. This is your future fund, whether that's your home, travel or family. It's the one you don't want to touch. A crucial hack is to set up an automatic payment each pay day. The amount should reflect your savings goal and it should hit this account.
Hack 4: Pay yourself.
Simple: Net Pay minus your savings percentage for the week minus non negotiable bills e.g. petrol, rent, phone.
To get detailed write up a spending planner and allow yourself “spending money”. Take this out in cash form as cash has a transparent feel, compared to that credit card which is highly convenient, and if it’s not paid off in full, it can turn nasty (more to come later). Once you’ve spent that hard earned cash, it's time to nestle down for the remainder of the week and do some fun, free activities. This is a quick and easy way to budget, which will result in ongoing positive effects on your pocket- you’ll most definitely need a budget once you have your first home.
Spending Planner Template: Download Here
Hack 5: Already have debt?
Let’s get rid of this or at least consolidate it. If you have any spare cash, this needs to go straight to your short-term debt. Your money is precious and we don’t want any unnecessary interest costs. Alternatively, look to consolidate your debt (perhaps with another bank) for a lower interest rate. Beware, the aim of this is to reduce your debt, and not to get sucked into a bigger loan with no or lower interest.
There are many savings hacks out there, but these are five of my non-negotiables. Whether it’s saving for your first home, second home, or you are wanting to save for the big OE, these hacks are your 101 for getting on track.
- How to increase my Kiwisaver: Link Here
- What’s my weekly budget: Link here
- With your budget in mind, create your savings goal. Break your savings goal up into weekly, fortnightly, monthly - whatever aligns with your pay
- Log into your online banking and have your three accounts set up - Everyday, Emergency Account, Long Term Savings
- Set up your automatic payment to align with your pay date. This should be from Everyday account to your Long Term Savings.
If this isn’t cutting the mustard head to my next post: “It’s time to cut the bull Sh**”