5 Simple Ways to Give Your Brain a Boost

5 Simple Ways to Boost Your Brain Power

Boost Your Brain Power

In this busy world of ours, there’s a willingness to forgo learning to focus on what’s “essential” (which is subjective, of course). But, if you want to thrive in life, you must embrace a life-long-learning philosophy. 

I believe for a truly healthy mind, we must keep evolving, learning, and developing, so you gain the knowledge you need to make better decisions that improve your life.   

Is it time you gave your brain a power-boost? Here are a few ways you can:

“Knowledge itself, is power.”

– Sir Francis Bacon.

 

1. Attend Business / Industry Networks

Do your research and seek out valuable, like-minded, inspired communities. Learning in a social environment is much more fun than sitting on your own after work each night watching webinars! Look for interesting and relevant workshops and meet ups that you’ll gain value from, and add value to (don’t forget to give back!). 

 

2. Become a Mentor / Mentee 

Whether you’re a mentor or mentee, there is so much value to be gained from these relationships. As a mentee, partner with a career coach, life coach, business coach – or, someone you admire for getting their life where you wish to be and learn from their experiences.  

As a mentor – you’ll solidify your knowledge and develop new relationships and opportunities by opening up your life experiences to someone else. Learn what you teach. 

 

3. Enrol in A Formal Training Course (Free or Paid) 

Have an interest in photography? Fashion? Creative writing? Knitting? Why not study a course to upskill? 

If there’s something missing in your career and you’re thinking of a change, there are many low-cost and free courses available through YouTube, Udemy, and EdX to get you going. If you enjoy the content and you want to develop your knowledge further, then TAFE or University might be the direction for you.  

Education doesn’t need to be expensive and your finances shouldn’t be a barrier to your learning. The Australian Government provides financial assistance to Australian tertiary students through their Higher Education Loan Program (HELP) – remove those potential up-front cost barriers that might be holding you back.  

 

4. Join A Book Club 

Committing to a regular reading habit, like joining a book club, will open your mind up to creativity, new thinking, and enjoyment in living. Who doesn’t love being absorbed in a well-crafted plot? Or, being inspired by a practical guide to better business, relationships, finances, and creativity? 

 

“I don’t think much of a man who is not wiser today than he was yesterday.”

– Abraham Lincoln 

 

5. Keep a To-Learn List 

You know how I feel about goal-setting. What are some learning goals you aim to achieve in the next 12 months? Maybe you want to learn a new language. Read 20 books. Complete a Cert IV in business management. Whatever you desire, put it on paper, include it in your goals, and add it to your budget (if it requires money).

 

Make time for learning so you can open yourself up to an enhanced life. You might find yourself embracing a new direction – which leads to a happier mind and more positive outlook. 

Make it official? Share what’s on your Learning To-Do list in the comments! 

6 Financial Tips to Help You Prepare for A Baby

Financial Tips To Help You Prepare For a Baby

And baby makes three

If you’ve been thinking about growing your family to 3 (or, perhaps you have a tiny bun already on the way!), you want to prepare yourselves accordingly. Babies are an exciting part of your life, but, they can also be expensive! 

Recent research suggests it can cost an average $144 a week to raise a child between zero and four. Sadly, that doesn’t include childcare. So, what can you do to ensure you’re financially prepared?  

Upfront Costs to Consider 

The costs of having a baby kick in before you’ve even had it. In addition to out-of-pocket medical costs, private health insurance, tests, and birthing classes, there are a few other costs that will add up quickly: 

  • Maternity clothes 
  • Baby clothes 
  • Nappies! 
  • Furniture; baby’s cot, change table, mattress & linen 
  • Transportation; car seat and pram 
  • Bottles, pumping machines, formula.  

First 12 Months’ Costs to Consider 

It doesn’t end once the baby’s born, either: 

  • Time off work. Although not technically an expense – it will put a dint in your cash flow. 
  • Child care – depending how soon you’ll be returning to work. 
  • More clothes! 
  • Food 
  • Medicine and health care. 

 It’s a list that keeps on giving. Although it may seem overwhelming at first, there are a few things you can do to financially prepare and set you and your family up for a more financially secure future. 

6 Financial Tips to Help You Prepare for a Baby

 

1. Work out your pre-baby and post-baby budget

Having a baby usually means a loss of household income. It’s important you don’t get caught out by known expenses by putting a realistic budget together before you take the time off work. The earlier you can start preparing and putting money away, the better your financial health will be once bub arrives. Do a fact check on employer entitlements and factor this into your budget, too.
Having a budget in place is also great because it stops you from buying everything all at once (as exciting as it is!), you will have at least 9 months to prepare so instead of having a large some of money come out all at once, your budget will help you spread the costs out.

 

2. Reduce Your Bad Debts

I talk about bad debts a lot – but, it’s only because they really are that bad for you. Personal loans and credit card fees drag you down. Lighten up your financial load, and focus on clearing debts first. I can help you consolidate your debts and regain control. 

 

3. Build a Healthy Emergency Fund

Make sure you save enough money for an emergency fund to cover you for unexpected life events! While you’re on a reduced income – you don’t want to be caught out with no emergency cash available to get you through. Aim for 6 – 8 months of general living expenses to cover you.

 

4. Create a Baby Fund

In addition to your household emergency fund, you should also create a baby fund. There will always be unknown expenses associated with children – you want to be financially secure and assured you can cover all costs. Caesareans, emergency hospital care, medicines – even just to cover the additional general costs like clothes, nappies, and food when times get tough. 

 

5. Buy Second-Hand 

How much of what you need can be borrowed or bought second hand? You might not be keen on second hand rompers, but, you can get some great second-hand furniture in top nick at a fraction of retail price. Ask around with friends and family first, and get savvy with your online shopping for super discounts. 

 

6. Consider a Minimalist Approach

The thing with babies is, as soon as you have one, you’re lumped with a lot of parent’s (mostly mother’s) guilt. If Jane down the street just bought the top of the range Bug-a-Boo doesn’t mean you need it too. There’s a temptation to buy all this ‘stuff’. Only buy what you really need. And, try not to buy new if it can be avoided. 

 

Start Preparing Now 

Start putting money away for your emergency fund and baby fund as soon as possible to allow enough time to build up your safety net. Once you have your budget in place, and you know how much you need and by when, you can work backwards to start your savings plan.  

Talk to me if you need help setting up a realistic budget. 

Your Guide To The First Home Super Saver Scheme

Your Guide To The First Home Super Saver Scheme To SaveAre you a first home buyer trying to get your foot in the door of Australia’s near unobtainable property market? Whether you’re trying to invest or buy your forever home, today’s property prices are holding us back. 

But, it’s not all doom and gloom and missed opportunity. If the Australian Government has its way, they’ll soon introduce a First Home Super Saver Scheme to help desperate first home buyers get a leg up.

Here’s what you need to know. 

What is the FHSSS? 

The government market it as a scheme to fast-track savings for your house deposit. Essentially, you contribute extra money to a dedicated superannuation account, and with the benefit of lower tax / tax deductions for the money you contribute – meet your savings goal sooner.

It still needs to be officially passed – consultations closed on 4 August so we should hear an announcement soon.

How does it work? 

From 1 July 2017, you can start making voluntary contributions to your superannuation account, up to $15,000 each year. Then, from 1 July 2018, you’ll be able to apply to withdraw your voluntary contributions for your first home deposit. Users of the scheme can only save up to $30,000 total as part of the scheme. 

Now, this isn’t the compulsory amount your employer makes! This is money you either salary sacrifice (pre-tax earnings) or that you personally contribute to your super (after tax).  

What You Can Do 

Should the scheme be passed by parliament, the ATO will administer it. You’ll need to opt in and determine your eligibility to use the scheme (and make sure you can withdraw your money when you want it!). 

Your accountant or financial planner should be able to give you more information on the scheme and the benefits (and limitations) for your individual earnings and financial position. Like every government initiative, there are pros and cons depending on individual circumstances. So, it’s best practice to get qualified advice before you begin. 

While we wait for an outcome – I  can explore other strategies with you to enhance your financial position with a budget and savings plan that gets you to your goal, sooner. 

If you have a self-managed super fund – please get in touch and I’ll help you understand how you can use your fund to boost your house deposit savings.

Ride to work each day

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The battle between cyclist and motorist has been going on since the invention of the motor vehicle, and will continue into our future. However, as a money saving and health gaining exercise, cycling has many positives:

  • you get fit while you commute;
  • you get to work quicker each day and don’t stuck in traffic – (your boss will be happy and you may even get that job promotion);
  • you get to enjoy the outdoors and everything Australia has to offer;
  • you will stay trim, taut and terrific – just think how good your suit or dress will look like on you now;
  • you will be helping the environment and leaving less of a carbon footprint; and
  • you will save money – more money to go towards something special, could be a beach holiday or a new dress? Better than spending it on your car.

With all of these benefits, why wouldn’t you start today? Ask your employer if you have facilities at your work to support your cycling (such as bike racks, showers etc), or visit your local city council to find out if you have a local cycling center that offers showers and security for your bike. Put together a cycling group with your work colleges.

 

How To Get A Pay Rise Without Asking Your Boss?

 

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How To Get A Pay Rise Without Asking Your Boss?

Sounds great, but that’s not possible you say. Well did you realize that over $4billion dollars every year is paid to banks, brokers, insurance agents and financial planners?

But how does this get me a pay rise? Well most financial products in Australia have either a commission or a fee that is being paid into the pockets of somebody other than you. Even worse in most cases you may have never even meet the person who receives those commissions. It’s like taking money each week out of your pay packet and giving it to a stranger on the street.

Sounds crazy? Why would you do this? More than likely before today you didn’t even know that these fees existed. This is the reason I started Bright Future Financial, as I have seen people struggle each week to pay bills, and even put food on the table for there family. I wanted to help Australians understand what hidden fees they are paying, and help get this money back into their own pockets.

But I’m in an industry fund, so I don’t pay commissions. Well this is correct but fees are also being paid on your life insurance, your income protection, your car insurance, your house insurance and even your home loan, and the list goes on.

This is the pay rise you deserve – stop funding other people’s lifestyle. I want this money to be yours, to help you pay your bills, or even take your family on that holiday you have always wished. Bright Future Financial has an administration service does this for you a minimum cost, without fuss and paid into your bank monthly. Call us on 1800 457 647 or visit our website www.brightfuturefinancial.com.au.

The Wedding Planner; not just about the Vows

 

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The Wedding Planner; not just about the Vows

Wedding planning can become a stressful time for a lot of newly engaged couples. When discussing a wedding idea, often a wedding budget is placed out of mind until it is to late. Running into debt for your wedding is definitely not advised when starting a new chapter of your life – so let us help you!

Set yourself a budget as soon as you begin to think of your wedding. Although this doesn’t sound the least bit romantic, it will reduce the stress when viewing wedding venues. Laying down an amount will allow you both to be realistic – many places will lure you in with “cheap” costs, but upon reading the fine print, you will find that there are hidden costs which can clock up to $3000 extra!

Decide upon what elements of your wedding are the most important. What is something you wouldn’t mind splurging on, and what is another that you could cut back. This may even be as simple as reducing the amount of decorations or flowers on the day – or being a tad “cut throat” and drastically reducing the invite list.

Whatever it is, the day will be great – whatever you choose. However keep in mind that when you break the bank on the wedding, that debt will still be there, be mindful and reasonable. While planning – take time to reconsider monetary costs, and don’t be afraid to look around, or ask for a better value. After all, it is your day!

The Silly Season – Decoded

The Silly Season – Decoded.

reindeer-baubles


As the year begins to end, and the amount of events and parties begin to multiply, the next few months can be overwhelming. Whether you are planning the events or just attending them, there is a cost that comes with this time of year –if you aren’t careful, this price tag can be hefty.

Plan Ahead; Know what is coming up and plan for it. For a lot of workplaces, Secret Santa gifts can be a great way to reduce the amount of spending. This doesn’t have to be limited to workplaces either – it works great for family gatherings!

Begin looking now for gifts that may be suitable for family and friends, the earlier you get in, the easier it can be to budget spending – rather than having spending occur all in the one week, or day!

If you are planning an event look into the difference in cost between a Price Per Head, or a bar tab. Depending on the size of the party – it can work out cheaper to have a bar tab – rather than allowing the venue to determine the average amount of drinks, and charging you for it.

Resist the sales – and try to take a step back. The advertisements will be on almost every corner soon, and the ever present “sale” signs will be riddled through television. Stick to what you need, and separate it from what you want. There is a fine line we often cross, finding ourselves over our heads in items that we generally wouldn’t purchase, had the sale not been on. With that said, sometimes a little nudge is needed for purchases, however just stay mindful that spending is promoted through retail at this time of year . . . keep on the lookout.

Makeup, makes up for a lot of costs.

makeup woman

Makeup, makes up for a lot of costs.

When we look at everyday expenses – often we overlook the process of getting ready. For a lot of women, makeup can be a costly everyday expense, and although it pays itself of over use.

Retail stores can draw up the price for regular items – simply by stocking it in their stores. We often fall victim to convenience, and more often than not we are the ones that suffer.

For example the retail asking price for a Clinique foundation is around $60, however when looking online at makeup superstores, you can find the exact same item for $30. We don’t have to necessarily skimp on quality just to save money – often we mistake saving for sacrificing. It is correct that you may have to reduce purchasing certain items in order to save – but quality shouldn’t be something that you have to reduce, if it’s not necessary.

Have a look around online, and don’t be afraid to ask for a better price. Depending on what makeup brand you use, you may be able to find your products for cheaper in stores such as Kmart and Target. Keep an eye out for discounts and deals – stores such as Myer or David Jones choose to offer “freebies” linked in with purchases. These “gift with purchases” can save you money on items you may have needed to purchase in the coming months. Unlike a lot of deals, these gifts with purchase are designed to reward you, rather than entice you into spending more on items that you do not need.

Babysitting, Dog Walking & More – Not just child’s play!

A man walking with a dog. Illustration.

Babysitting, Dog Walking & More – Not just child’s play!

A lot of us can remember nights spent babysitting – and earning a few extra dollars for the magazine or sweets we were saving for. Times are changing, and so are the rules of the game.

For a lot of university students working a part time job can be hard – university can hold irregular hours and as studies pick up, work is often the first thing that needs to drop. Casual work holds irregular hours, filled with often-awkward conversations with managers as you try to work out schedules to fit study and class while still maintaining enough hours.

Babysitting is not just a spare change job any longer- websites such as “findababysitter.com” offer an opportunity for those interested in Nannying to join with a family that offers a position that suits their needs. Many offer flexible hours and offering rates such as $20-$30 for an hourly rate, they offer a very appealing opportunity.

With the rostered hours often posted on the website – this can offer an easy selection process to ensure that the hours work for you – allowing for regular work!

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