Putting the Super in Superannuation and other financial things I’ve learnt while getting my shit together

I’ve had to do some pretty hardcore adulting of late and I’ve got to say, it’s been fun – challenging – but fun. I can totally do this adult thing!

One adult event that I’ve never been wildly great at is finances. I’m great at saving, but outside of a bank account I’ve always been overwhelmed by the ‘financial things’ you’re meant to have by a certain age.

I’ve read a gazillion of those ‘must have in your ’30s articles’ and have had random chats with friends about health insurance deals. To be honest, I’m not sure if I’m bored senseless by the topic or it just overwhelms me blindly, but I just can’t seem to find the time to invest my brain in this information let alone my wallet.

But. This is adulting and the investment in the time now is an investment in the future (I sound like a guru already!)

Now that it’s just me and my jolly child, I’ve had to pull together a bit of a list of grown up financial things that I need to get sorted in order to get my shit together, not just for me but for my son. Because I couldn’t find a list of shit to do that suited me and my solo parent situation, I thought I’d put one together. Perhaps you can help me add to it?

One thing you need to know is that I’m not a money expert. I’m on a shoestring week-to-week. I work full time, I’m a single parent, I have kinder fees and I love my job in the arts because it is so bloody special and rewarding (not because it pays me the big bucks). I also have a financial advisor. A what??

Ok. Here’s what I’ve learnt:

Financial Advisor
These people are incredible. They are really excited by numbers, by spreadsheets and they can see into your financial future. A financial advisor helps you understand what all the numbers mean.
AND you can pay their fee out of your superannuation fund so it doesn’t affect your day-to-day account.

Superannuation
Do you know how much you have in your super account? It’s good to check this out and if you can, perhaps try and add a little bit extra each week. We are lucky that we can put aside a little fund that is untouchable until the day you decide to rest and go sailing. I’ve just set up a self managed super fund which means I have full control of my account, my coin and I also get to be made a director of my super fund (which is another great title for adulting). This is your golden egg for the years to come. Keep an eye on it and feel secure.

Insurance
If you own a house, I’m sure you have house insurance. Same goes for a car.
What happens though if you have a massive bike stack or fall off the playground and hit your head on a sharp pine cone and you can’t work for months? Life, health, disability, trauma… they are all massive words and they all come with insurance. Gah… it sounds like spending money that you just don’t have. But what happens if something happens? How do you keep food on the table, mortgage or rent payments up, bills paid? It’s a little bit of food for thought. Not that you want to think about bad things happening, but it’s good to have a plan.

Will
If you have some assets, get a will. If you cark it it’s good to know that your rad bike, transformer set, record collection, avocados or Yarraville house is going to be kept safe in the hands of the person of your choice. It costs a little bit to do, but then it’s done. You can change it as required… ie if you get a divorce or you buy a new bike or you have another kid.

Budget
Whether it’s a spreadsheet, back of the shopping list drawing or one of the many online tools, it’s so good to have one of these. Recently I wrote down everything I spent over the course of a week. I couldn’t believe how much I was spending on coffee or ‘quick trips’ to Coles New World. It all adds up and I have made some dramatic changes in my daily spending. It takes an hour or so and some brain space to start a budget, but once it’s down it gives you a pretty sweet look into your spending habits and where you can save that extra coin.

It’s all a bit grown up, but now that I’ve pulled this stuff together – all in my name – I feel like I’m in control of my life and I know where my money is going. I’ve started to take an interest in the topic, perhaps now because I’m on one wage and I want to know where every cent belongs. It gives me a great feeling of security. In my former life, I might have left a lot of the financial stuff up to my ex-husband because he was good at this stuff. However there’s something to be said about if you earn it, learn it.

If you’re looking for a good financial advisor, I use a local Yarraville dude, Andre Dirckze, and he is running workshops on getting your shit together. You can check them out here: https://www.wealtheffect.com.au/single-post/2017/05/03/Mindful-Money-Workshop-Series

This is not a sponsored post, I just really care about this stuff now.

Best of luck and happy saving!

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