If you reach financial independence in Australia you’re going to have some some weird and unexpected encounters with your fellow Aussies. A lot of it comes down to our culture, education and the value systems we grew up with. Here’s what to expect and how to navigate the oddities.
Why financial independence in Australia is totally weird
I’ve always been a black sheep of sorts. A contrarian thinker and do-er. So a little weirdness goes with my mojo. But if you’re an Australian working your way to financial independence, you many not be ready for what’s ahead.
Here’s a light-hearted journey through some of the oddness we’ve experienced since quitting well paying jobs to do more of what we want in life. 6 reasons FI in Australia is pretty damn weird:
1. You’re almost un-Australian
“So what do you do for a living?”
Work is a gigantic part of our identity and sense of self in Australia.
If you meet any Aussie in a social context expect to be asked what you do for a living. Usually, within the first 3 minutes.
If you’re financially independent, this can be a conversation killer.
Seriously, what do you say?
Expect raised eyebrows if you’re under 60 year old.
The truth is I’m not retired – I just do a different type of work. And besides, I’m not old enough yet to be retired.
“I’m financially independent…”
Cue… ‘Well, what exactly is that Ms hoity-toity high and mighty?‘
Get ready for glazed eyes and distant looks if you open your mouth to explain…
2. Ohh, you mean you’re a bludger…
It’s weird, but if you don’t have a job in Australia people assume that you’re poor or on the dole. A bludger in the local lingo. Unconscious bias or not, you might find that people look at you and treat you differently because of that.
Expect the judgy-mcjudge faces to come out.
IRL financial independence is the opposite of this. It’s you taking the ultimate responsibility for your own financial wellbeing, so the government doesn’t have to look after you. Financial independence flips on its head the widespread Australian cultural myth that it’s the government’s job to rescue us, many times from our own decisions and choices.
Forget trying to explain this around the backyard barbecue tho. Just ignore the furtive glances and dig into your free lamb chops. Yum.
3. You’re definitely less relatable
What proportion of the Australian population is financially independent? I’d love to know the answer. I don’t, sorry.
What I do know is that I’ve never met in person anyone else in my age bracket or social circles who is. I’m not saying they don’t exist. Just that they’re rare.
The reality is your ‘tribe’ becomes smaller when you make the transition to financial independence in Australia. You may just find that people don’t relate to you as easily because they don’t understand your lifestyle or your choices. Barbecue conversations centred on work gossip and industry chit chat become foreign territory.
Financial independence is a different way of thinking than the mainstream. It can be a chasm too far to cross around the barbie or other social situations.
4. General social life weirdness
Expect your social life to take some weird twists and turns once you exit the workforce.
Forming social connections outside of work takes work. There are no protocols in place, like after work drinks or birthday morning teas, to meet people, network and become friends. There’s no team bonding, ‘us against the world’ kind of culture. There’s no driver to network.
When work life is no longer your social life, how do you make friends and connect with people?
Not the questions you thought you’d be contemplating with your new found financial independence, but seriously have a think about it.
I’ve made a lot of friends chatting over the front fence of our new home in rural Tasmania. That was unexpected and it’s been kinda fun.
How are you going to build your social networks when you’re financially free?
5. Your calendar is wide open
It sounds simple until you really think about it. When you’re financially free and don’t have to work for someone else anymore, your entire day is up to you! There’s no-one telling you what to spend your day on.
While the thought of this drives a lot of people to want financial independence, the whole concept of filling your own day every day can be a bit bizarre at first. Especially if you’ve worked a job your whole adult life.
What’s also odd is that all of your existing mates or friends are at work! So you can’t rely on them to keep you amused.
What to do, what to do?
This honestly probably scares a lot of people out of quitting their jobs, even though they have the finances to do it.
But we are here to say the world is diverse and so are your interest! You just have to form them again! In a world where the majority of folks commit 70% of their daylight hours each week to work, it’s easy loose sight of our interests and personal pursuits.
Financial independence is weird because it makes you think differently about your day, your week and what the rest of your life will hold. Get creative!
6. The ‘tall poppy’ takedown
If you haven’t heard of this, Tall Poppy Syndrome is an unfortunate part of the Australian psyche.
Google defines it as “a perceived tendency to discredit or disparage those who have achieved notable wealth or prominence.” It’s generally a tendency to cut people down for your achievements.
It’s a weird part of our culture and massive backfire to our collective success down under, but we do it anyway.
If you’re financially independent, there are times you’ll be a target, from friends, family, randoms, and particularly trolls online. It’s a hole bunch of crazy, but we’ve certainly come across it. So you can understand it and be prepared – here’s an article about how to deal with tall poppy syndrome.
How to navigate the oddities of financial independence in Australia
Here’s what we’ve learned to help navigate the weirdness that comes with attaining financial independence. No one really shares this perspective, so we hope it helps with your transition when you do get there.
Get ready for the questions!
“So, what do you do for a living?”….You’re going to get this question so best prepare for it. Think of all of the random forms you need to fill out in your everyday life that ask you about your current employment. What are you going to say?
If you’re like me it’s hard, after a great career, to swallow the words ‘I don’t work’ or ‘I’m retired’. We Australians are simply pre-programmed to equate not working with failure. And it’s simply not true. I’m as busy today as I was on an average work day. I’m just busy doing things I want to do! I still create jobs, help grow the economy and pay my taxes. I’m still a useful member of society, just not in the way most people are used to.
Here are some suggestions that I use when people ask me what I do:
“We’re self employed”
“I quit the workforce to work for myself”
“We’re full time investors”
“I work online”
What answer is going to work for you, when you no longer work for someone else?
Revive your creative interests!
I’m a learner. I love learning anew and I love sharing what I’ve learned. I’ll talk your ear off about all of the cool things I’ve taught myself since reaching financial independence – things I never thought I could ever do!
I’ve plumbed a water tank. I’ve built a wood stack. I’ve built bookshelves and grown a garden full of fresh food. I’ve up-cycled numerous bits of furniture into beautiful new additions to our home.
I’ve built this website, from zero prior knowledge!
Write down everything you used to love as a child, when you were single, or before you had kids.
What jumps out at you?
Seek out ‘your people’
If your friends are at work 5 days a week, you might need to find a new tribe in alternative places. That’s ok!
So where can you look? Online!
Facebook groups can point you to local community pages where you’ll meet great people. You can also find other FI enthusiasts in these groups – you may find some of these are your people.
Twitter. We’ve found loads of people with similar interest on Twitter. We don’t meet up with them IRL but we do follow them and chit chat on the blue bird.
Forums. There are a tonne of online forums covering some whacky topics you wouldn’t even believe. Get on, join in, contribute.
Online communities. These pop up like parsley in our veggie garden on apps like Discord and Clubhouse. They are a great place to meet people and find your tribe.
Be open to new experiences
This sounds weird but when you get to financial independence, learn to say yes more than you say no.
I’m an introvert. Now I chit chat to random tourists who pull up at our front fence to take photos of our novelty letterbox and wild Tasmania views.
I’m a highly educated, multi-lingual, ex-diplomat, white collar professional. From time to time chew the cud with local farmers and wonder through neighbouring paddocks helping to stack hay.
Lay your biases to rest. Let go of any preconceived notions of who you are or who you think you need to be.
Instead, open your eyes to new world views and new kinds of people. Do different on purpose.
I promise this will enrich your life in ways you don’t expect.
Plan your purpose
While you build towards financial independence, think about what your purpose is in life. What drives you? Exactly what do you enjoy? What gets you excited to wake up in the morning. Is there a topic you inevitably stray to when talking to friends about over drinks at night? What do you want to contribute in life?
Work this out before you quit the rat race, and then write it down.
Not only will it help you make the leap to financial independence, but it will soften the landing when you do get there. It will help smooth out the weirdness, fill you calendar and give your new social life some direction.
The point of this post is to highlight the culture shock you’re going to feel when you reach financial independence in Australia, and spend a bit of time there. Life is just a bit different on this side of the fence. We hope this helps prepare you for the transition. And for those fearful to make the jump, we hope it can alleviate those fears. After all, time is your true wealth. When you work out what you want to do with yours, it’s all riches from there!
I once stood awestruck and alone at the the top of the incredible Gama valley in the Tibetan Himalayas. I was also slightly panicked that I may just be lost and about die in the Tibetan wilderness. “But what has this got to do with financial freedom quotes?” you ask.
Our values and beliefs, the decisions we make, and where they take us.
You see, what popped into my head in that moment with the trek into Mt Everest in front of me was “How did a 22 year old girl from Oz, come to be here in the Himalayas, doing this?”. (Figuratively speaking of course. I had been bouncing around in the back of early model Toyota troop carrier for days, across vast and dusty valleys with no roads to be seen…)
The answer? A combination of my values, beliefs and decisions I’d made, taken from everything I’d learned and experienced to that point.
The same question drifted into my head yesterday as I stood at the Cow Bar which rests on the back fence of my recent cash-purchased home. I contemplated the stunning Valley of Views that I now live in, and my new life. The answer this time was the same; 8 years worth of building new values and beliefs about wealth, and decisions taken from everything new I’d taught myself about money.
This is where the financial freedom quotes come in.
What are your beliefs about money?
If you think the wealthy are a bunch of greedy bottom feeders you’ll probably never be wealthy. Because what you think about money determines the role it plays in your life.
What if I told you that our beliefs about money are based on myths from another era and hold us back in life? Here are some examples:
Myth money mindsets
Millionaire money mindset
There is never enough money
There is always more money and more opportunities
You have to work really hard to make money
There are easier ways to make money
You can help people OR make money, but not both
Money gives people the opportunity to contribute to others and make a powerful impact.
Retirement is for when you’re old
Retirement is for when you want
The world is a zero sum game – if I get money I’m taking it from someone else
Remember, there is always more money (they’re printing it after all)
My advice on all of this is to explore your money mindset. And no, this is not not all rah, rah fairies and unicorns. Pay attention to the words that come out of your mouth when it comes to money. The things you say, like “Money doesn’t grow on trees you know”, reflect your values and beliefs about building wealth. Values and beliefs that can manifest and limit you to the status quo.
Write these things down. Then consciously challenge them.
One way to do this is to surround yourself with new values, new beliefs and different attitudes about money. Read books and quotes and re-educate yourself. The pay offs can be huge.
If you want to know more about how this works, ‘Chillpreneur” is a great, fun book to get your money mindset flowing.
14 financial freedom quotes to live a wealthy life
The list you’ve all been waiting for! Here are the money beliefs and values that have guided us over the last 8 years, expressed in our favourite financial freedom quotes of all time.
I hung them on the fridge door, put them into my screen saver, read them on my daily commute and remembered them whenever I found a financial opportunity or saw a fork in the road. And things began to change for us.
These 14 evocative quotes reveal what we believe it takes to build wealth and get to financial freedom. They have provided us direction and driven our financial decision making every day for 8 years. We hope they do the same for you.
1. Time is our most valuable asset
“Everyday is a bank account, and time is our currency. No one is rich, no one is poor, we’ve got 24 hours each.” –-Christopher Rice
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do.” —Mark Twain
Time is THE great leveller. We worked out 8 years ago that time is our most valuable asset. We were selling it so cheaply! So we went about putting our time to greatest use; spending it on building wealth to buy back our time in the future.
We also realised that each day what we did in the next 24 hours would determine the path of our future. The same for the day after that. Everyday we did SOMETHING that would help our financial future.
2. Life IS the goal
“The goal isn’t more money. The goal is living life on your terms.” –Chris Brogan
“Wealth is the ability to fully experience life.” –Henry David Thoreau
Our goal was born from a burning desire to take back control of our financial future after struggling to stay employed through an epic workforce slash and burn in 2012. We realised that life is the goal. And ours was passing us by in ways we were not happy with.
3. To build wealth, you have to invest in yourself first
“An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.” —Benjamin Franklin
“If you fail to plan you are planning to fail.” — Benjamin Franklin
So we began to learn about how to build and keep wealth. We read books, we attended training courses, we invested in our own financial literacy. We still do this today. We also came across the Financial Independence Retire Early (FIRE) movement and the crazy idea that working until you are 65 is, well… crazy!
We started to reprogram our brains. We learned all we could about FIRE, building passive income, tax effective investment structures, and how to build wealth. We learned do-it-yourself renovating, real estate investment, property styling, the share economy, blockchain technology, digital assets… We’re still learning.
4. Money comes in abundance if you just plant the seeds
“Someone’s sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago” — Warren Buffet
“If you approach the ocean with a with a cup you take away a cup full. If you approach the ocean with a bucket you take away a bucket full.” — Ramana Maharshi
In 2012 we started planting investment seeds that we could harvest the rest of our lives, and tending them with patience. We’re still planting…
5. Thinking like everyone else will get you where everyone else is
“Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.” —Steve Jobs
I’ve always been a contrarian and challenger of mainstream thinking so FIRE appealed to me. We started following the FIRE movement in earnest. I’ve also been in tech and innovation for much of my working career, and leveraged these skills to help build wealth.
We consciously kept thinking differently. We challenged mainstream investment advice and made up our own minds in our own heads.
6. Passive income comes from hard work and persistence, with little pay off at the start
“The only place where success comes before work is in the dictionary.” —Vidal Sassoon
We worked our butts off going to our full time wage earner jobs and then creating wealth building side hustles on weekends. We did this 7 days a week for a few years, with little reward. We stayed focussed on our goals and our new values and beliefs. We knew the wealth would come if we persisted.
7. No risk no reward
“the biggest risk of all is not taking one.“ — Mellody Hobson
We took financial risks. Sometimes we lost money. That didn’t stop us. Instead, we learned from it. We thought about how to do it better next time. We kept taking risks and slowly they began paying off. As did our hard work to build passive income streams.
8. Bring value that no-one else brings
“Help a million people and you’ll make a million dollars” – Matt and Liz Read
“What we really want to do is what we are really meant to do. When we do what we are meant to do, money comes to us, doors open for us, we feel useful, and the work we do feels like play to us.” —Julia Cameron
“If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got.” — Henry Ford
With passive income streams in place, it’s now time to reinvent ourselves again. Get some fresh blood flowing through our veins, new thoughts ticking in our brains.
Our new goal is to help a million people online. We’re going to do it by being round pegs in square holes and focussing on what we love.
We’ll know when we’ve got there using the analytics for our websites. We also know if we can do this, we’ll be wealth and financially free.
The Final Word – financial freedom is the feeling that you’ve made it
These financial freedom quotes may not resonate with you. But here’s the good news – you can go find your own!
Indeed, we hope this post inspires you to read some financial freedom books, plant some seeds, take some risks, help a million people. be trouble maker. Or even better – do your own version of all of these!
We promise, you won’t regret it. And it may just change your money mindset and your life.
It seems like everyone in crypto has a war story they like to tell about the time they lost a bunch of coins because of some rookie investment move. But I think the one about UK IT Engineer James Howells who dumped 7500 Bitcoin on a hard drive back in 2013 takes the cake. He lost a measly $361 million at today’s Bitcoin price. The moral of the story for the crypto uninitiated? Losing your coins is just one of the many crypto investing risks for new investors. So before you invest your hard earned into the space, we’re here to help you get informed on what it takes to invest successfully in crypto and get to financial freedom.
Hopefully you come out the other side of this article with the know how to bag a fat stack of coins and to keep them.
What do we mean by cryptocurrency investing?
As a new crypto investor, it’s likely you’ll start off with more straight forward types of crypto assets so we’ll focus on those. By crypto investing, we mean investing in cryptocurrency projects that have associated coins and tokens.
We also mean investing in Decentralised Finance products and services to earn interest on your cryptocurrency assets.
We are not talking about complex crypto day trading, margin trading, futures trading or options trading.
Is crypto risky?
Yes it is. It’s new technology and the market is largely unregulated. Crypto assets are also non-custodial. These features can heighten crypto investing risks for new investors if you don’t understand the investing landscape.
However, we would argue it’s also risky NOT to invest in crypto!
Cryptocurrency, in its decentralised and non custodial design, aims to be an alternative to the awful global monetary and financial policy we’ve suffered since the GFC. Crypto is also about more than the coins themselves. It’s about disruptive technology that is here to stay and that we think will shake out some large industries, with finance being just one.
The point we’re making in this post is that you can still invest and manage risk. That’s why we’re sharing everything we’ve learned and do to identify and manage our crypto investment risk exposure.
Know before you invest in crypto that you are in control and that’s the way the ecosystem is designed! No-one is responsible for actively managing your assets and your investing risks but you.
Is the risk worth it? It has been for us because it’s still early stages and we argue the technology development curve is yet to hit exponential growth. But you make up your own mind, hopefully after considering the risks and how to manage them.
Why do you need to know how to manage crypto investing risks?
Because cryptocurrency is non-custodial and decentralised. There are no middle men to transact for your or look after your assets. You need to do this yourself and if you don’t understand how to manage the risk of being custodian of your own money, then it’s likely you’ll fail at that important task.
Besides, there is little to no regulation to fall back on if something happens to your coins. There are no government bank guarantees and very few consumer protections in crypto. And that’s the way the industry likes it. It’s an asset class designed around non-intervention of governments and middle men. All of this means you have to know how to take care of your assets yourself. The way it should be!
If you are a first time cryptocurrency investor, you’re probably new to crypto market idiosyncrasies. Have a read of this post aboutwhat makes cryptocurrency prices rise and fall. If the concepts are new to you then it’s super important that you learn how to manage risks because your risk profile is high as a newbie investor.
Risk comes from not knowing what you’re doing.
You also need to know how to manage crypto investing risks because as an asset class crypto is potentially one of the greatest asymmetric investment opportunities out there right now. Asymmetric investments are when you risk a small amount of capital for the opportunity to earn much larger returns. This is entirely possible in crypto – we’ve seen it ourselves.
13 crypto investing risks for new investors and how to manage them
Here are our top 13 crypto investing risks for new investors and how to manage them:
Price volatility – price swings in the double digits daily
Illiquidity – you buy in to an asset but can’t sell it when you need to because trading is too thin
User complexity – technical complexity of blockchain transactions for new users
Crypto exchange crashes – platforms go down with your crypto on them
Project collapse – and the associated coin and token goes with it
Hard Forks – a project splits and so does the value of the coin or token
Smart contract failure or hack – hacks are rife and often unrecoverable (or at least uninsured)
Regulatory risk – risk of non-regulation and new regulation
Human error – goes with the technical complexity of crypto
Market manipulation – whales throwing their weight around causing prices to pump or dump
Theft or hack – physical or cyber, how do you protect yourself?
Scams – mostly online and completely insidious, millions have been lost this year alone
Rug pulls – DeFi fly by night operators absconding with your treasured coins
Now read on to learn about each risk and how you can protect your crypto assets….
1. Price volatility
The price volatility of crypto is enough to put hairs on your chest. But what is price volatility anyway?Investopedia sums it up as the range of price change a security experiences over a given period of time. Now check out this epic chart from the guys at Trading View showing Bitcoin volatility over two historic market periods – 2017 and 2021. Price corrections of between 20% and 50% are run of the mill for BTC.
It’s worth understanding in context that Bitcoin is less volatile than other small cap coins. So you get the picture – volatility is real in crypto with coins capable of moving hundreds of percent in a day. If you can’t take the heat stay outta the kitchen.
But what are the actual risks of price volatility for an investor? Good question right! The price may move up or down dramatically, but this can be as beneficial to investors as it is risky. It all depends on your entry and exit as well as your investment horizon. If you buy the dip, then price volatility can be totally fly. But if you buy the top it can crush you.
Here’s how to manage your risk
Learn how to read a price chart and charting indicators. Understand from the chart what part of the market cycle you are investing in. If you have a clear view of this, short term volatility is less draining emotionally. For example, if you’re riding a mark down phase (which would be dumb, but it happens) you’re going to be more worried about price volatility (compounding losses) than you would if you’re in a mark-up phase.
Set an investment plan before you invest. What is your aim and your timeframe? What is your break point?
Use trading tools like stop losses to avoid price crashes if you’re not investing for the long term.
If you’re an anxious investor, set your stop losses and don’t check your coins every other day! In crypto there’s ‘weak hands’ – investors that don’t have the conviction of their investment plan and sell out with price weakness, which is inevitably selling at the wrong time. There’s also ‘diamond hands’ – investors who are undeterred by large swings in price.
Which one are you?
Crypto has a low barrier to entry which means that new projects, with their own coins and tokens, are popping up all the time. Some crypto assets, particularly the new projects with micro or small market capitalisation, are traded very thinly. If you’re looking to invest in these projects there’s not a lot of volume. This all means it can be hard to find a buyer or someone to trade with if you want to sell or swap your investment. Particularly if you’re selling at a volatile time.
Here’s how to manage your risk
When you buy a crypto asset, ask yourself “Will i be able to sell when the time comes”? “What is my exit strategy?”
Buy assets that are well traded on exchanges with large volume. This may prevent you from buying some micro caps that are only available on smaller centralised or decentralised exchanges. But that’s the risk mitigation bit in force. If you do buy thinly traded crypto you should understand how to time your exit and sell in small amounts, such as by using bots, to offload your investment. This is also good practice if you have a bag full of the asset and you don’t want to tank the price as you sell down your holdings.
3. User complexity
Crypto is still an early adopter asset. The technology is nascent. This means it’s not necessarily user-friendly to transact with. I remember the first time I sent some crypto through cyberspace I was freaked out. I only sent $100 worth because I wasn’t sure I’d done it right and didn’t trust the technology. But the crypto arrived and the rest was history.
Seriously though, if you ask any crypto investor the first time they put money into a new product, service or protocol there is always that nervousness about how to make it work. Seeing your money disappear into cyberspace when you’re not completely sure it’s going to reappear where you want it to can be heart stopping.
The thing to understand is that crypto transacting is different to bank transacting. It uses different processes and technology and you have to get used to that. Banks have had years to perfect the simplicity of their services (and many still haven’t got it right). Crypto on the other hand has been around for a couple of decades and until 2020 has been the bastion of super brainy IT nerds and tech savvy gamers. There’s been no driver until now to make it user friendly and that means in most cases it’s still involves a learning curve.
Here’s how to manage your risk
The best way to overcome user complexity is by learning the technical and market basics.
Read up on the information we have posted about how to make money with cryptocurrency hereandhere. Follow these tips on managing risk as you learn the ecosystem:
Crypto investing – Use the financial service providers you do know – like Paypal – to start investing in larger cap crypto assets like Bitcoin. Paypal provides an ‘on-ramp’ to crypto that many people will recognise and be able to use easily on first attempt. If you do use these conventional on ramps to start your investing just know that you will be paying a premium on the exchange rate from fiat currency into crypto. Think of it as the price of convenience but once you learn how to navigate the ecosystem there cheaper ways to transact.
Making money with DeFi – start with Stablecoin interest earning products. These are simple to understand as they’re just like bank interest. The least complex way to do this to sign up for a Celsius account and download the app on your mobile phone. If you’re worried about where to buy Stablecoins like USDC and USDT, Celsius will let you buy them directly via credit card. They will charge 3.5% fee on the transaction, which is high in crypto terms. But they do offer 8.8% interest on your USDC and USDT once you have it.
Earning interest on Stablecoins means you’re not subject to the same price volatility as other crypto because these coins are pegged to the dollar. It’s just an easy to manage way to dip your toe in the water of crypto investing, but it’s not where the real money is made.
4. Crypto exchange crashes
Exchange crashes are rare but we’ve seen them happen at the most inopportune times. One very large crypto exchange went down right in the middle of a gigantic market dump in 2020 and all anyone could do was sit back and watch. Technical issues took them a couple of hours to fix but by the time the platform was up again the market meltdown had eased. It meant at the time that we were able to buy the dip on that exchange. Luckily we had other exchange accounts with some crypto in them that we could use to transact.
Here’s how to manage your risk
Keep your crypto hodl bag (the crypto you plan on holding for the long term) in a hardware wallet. If your assets are secure in your hardware wallet it means you have full control of them at all times. You can load them onto different exchanges at any time as you need to sell or swap.
Also, set up accounts on at least three different exchanges. Pick ones that are not all based in the same country (helps to manage regulatory risk). That way you have back up accounts to transact from when one exchange goes down.
We recommend that you set up separate accounts with Binance (largest volume, loads of coins), CoinsSpot (starter exchange for Australians), and Kucoin (micro and small cap coins).
5. Project collapse
When you invest on cryptocurrency you are investing in technology projects, run by teams of talented developers, cryptographers, programmers, and so on. Just like any project, crypto projects can collapse if teams implode or important personnel leave the project. Or maybe the project was based on a dumb idea, poor tokenomics or flawed code. This article from the Fool indicates more than 2000 cryptocurrencies have failed. If a project collapses, that’s usually the end of the associated coin or token.
Here’s how you manage your risk
This is a tough one to manage. You can of course keep your investments to well known projects with substantial funding and strong tokenomics. If you do want to invest in some true speculators then your risk management options are all about early exit. Keep your ear to the ground on Twitter. Follow the project and the crypto news. You’re aiming to get any adverse news about the project before it hits mainstream and tanks the price.
6. Hard forks
Many decentralised crypto projects use consensus models to govern project development. Coin or token holders can vote on key project decisions and consensus is sought. Hard forks can occur when there is no consensus on an important project decision.and the project literally forks in two different directions. Depending on their nature, hard forks can erode the value and adoption of a project’s coin or token, causing the coin’s price to decline.
Here’s how to manage your risk
Stay up to date with project developments on the project website. Understand any upcoming forks and their timing (they can take some time to play out) and make a conscious decision about whether you will divest, and when.
7. Smart contract failure or hack
Smart contracts are automated ways to handle value exchange between two parties, without involving a middleman, such as a bank. Because they are bits of code that execute in a decentralised way, they can be buggy and suffer from vulnerabilities like any other code.
According tothis articlefrom popular crypto exchange Coinbase, smart contract are susceptible to operational risk, implementation risk and even design risk.Poorly constructed smart contracts are also susceptible to theft by hacking.
One feature of the crypto ecosystem is that project teams offer bug bounties or rewards for tech savvy internet nomads to identify bugs within smart contracts so they can be fixed. Smart contracts can also be audited independently to try to identify vulnerabilities.
The real problem occurs when vulnerabilities are not identified and smart contracts with millions of dollars invested fail or are hacked.
Here’s how to manage your risk
Smart contract risk is an all or nothing deal, so the first rule is don’t put in what you can’t afford to lose. Be as safe as possible with your investment and due your own due diligence. Only put your money into smart contracts that have been audited and where the audit results have been made public. You can also get on reddit.com and see what other developers and programmers are saying about a particular protocol or smart contract. Some projects offer insurance on their smart contracts as a way to attract new investors, although insurance products like these are new to crypto and have not been put to the test.
8. Regulatory risk
Let’s face it, regulatory risk exists with every money making venture. You never quite know which direction government policy makers will pivot to next. But in crypto regulators are a quantum leap behind the 8 ball. In the US for example, government still hasn’t ruled on some of the most fundamental matters, such as whether crypto is a security or some other type of asset. This means the regulatory risk exposure is akin to highly speculative financial products. And it’s not just in the US. Around the globe there are crypto friendly governments, and some not so friendly. So how does all this present risk for your investments?
Firstly, rumours of regulatory action can cause FUD in crypto markets – Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt. FUD is market sentiment that can move the price action of a particular asset, mostly in a downward direction.
Real regulatory action can also move the market. Sometimes regulation moves the market up (if it’s crypto friendly) because having regulation in place provides certainty for investors. Sometimes regulation can cause a sell-off and move prices down if it’s perceived as punitive or as hampering development of the space
Here’s how to manage your risk
Keep up to date on crypto regulatory news from the US (as primary market) and from your home country in particular. If there is major regulatory change afoot you will hear about it on Twitter. Follow some crypto projects and personalities like Cameron Winklevoss, Michael Saylor or Mike Novogratz. Once you know about a potential regulatory change you can make your own mind up. Will it support crypto or will it hamper growth? This knowledge will help determine what you do with your investment.
9. Human error
This one goes hand in hand with the non-custodial nature of cryptocurrency. If you lose the private key you need to transact your crypto assets, you will need to have your recovery seed phrase at hand. If you have a particularly human moment and lose your seed recovery phrase, you’re done. That’s it. Drop the mic – your crypto is gone.
Here’s how to manage your risk
This one’s simple – do not lose your seed phrase!. Here’s how to go about it…
If you don’t have a hardware wallet or metal seed storage wallet then you’re exposing yourself to cyber hack. We recommend this site – cryptowalletreviewer.com to find the best hardware and metal crypto wallet. We personally have the Ledger Nano X and the Billfodl metal wallet to keep our crypto safe.
Treat both your hardware wallet and your metal seed phrase wallet as though they are little bars of pure gold. Store them securely in different locations (never together).
10. Market manipulation
Ever heard of crypto whales? Whales are large holders of particular assets, for example Bitcoin whales or Chainlink whales. Whales can and routinely do use their large holdings to manipulate price action in crypto markets. So how do they go about it?
Whales can place very large sell orders at a price below other sell positions in the market creating volatility following which prices can fall. The falling price can then cause a chain reaction as stop losses set by other traders are triggered.
That’s just one example of how whales might use their coin bags to manipulate price in the crypto market.
Here’s how to manage your risk
Cryptocurrency blockchains are publicly viewable which means if you know how to read the data you can work out whether ownership of the coin is concentrated in the hands of the few. Coins with concentrated ownership are ripe for the picking by manipulative whales.If you don’t want to go through the laborious task of doing this analysis yourself or are not technically inclined, you can use Glassnode or CryptoQuant – blockchain analytics services.
Or you can do absolutely nothing – accept this risk as a part of crypto price volatility and move on. That’s what we do, along with not putting too much of our money into a single crypto asset.
Diversification in crypto is a foundational risk management approach – use it! Diversify across assets, across DeFi protocols, across exchanges, and platforms. Divvy up your investments into smaller bags that you could afford to lose if something goes wrong.
11. Theft or hack
There are two types of theft you need to manage risk for in crypto
Cyber theft or hack – just as it sounds, this is the theft of your crypto on the internet. It can happen to your directly – where coins are stolen from your online wallet – or through a third party like a crypto exchange or DeFi protocol. Exchanges and protocols are hacked regularly, with the latest being a $600 million white hat hack of PolyNetwork.
Physical theft – you might be wondering how physical theft can occur in crypto if your coins are non-physical objects. Ever heard of the “$5 wrench attack”? It’s basically where someone steals your hardware wallet and with it the private keys to your cryptocurrency.
Here’s how to manage your risk
Good cyber hygiene –
keep your apps and operating systems up to date always.
Use a password service like LastPass to manage your passwords.
Make sure you have unique passwords on your home WiFi and modum.
Use 2 factor authentication on websites and apps associated with crypto.
Use hardware wallets and metal crypto wallets – you don’t have full control over your coins if they are on an exchange. The best way to avoid theft via an exchange or protocol is to transfer your coins to a hardware wallet. If anything happens to your hardware wallet you can recover your coins with the wallet’s recovery seed phrase. This is why you also need a metal crypto wallet as well as a hardware wallet. A metal crypto wallet is an indestructible and secure place to store the recovery phrase for your hardware wallet in case you need to restore your crypto nest egg.
Proper physical custodianship of your hardware wallet and metal crypto wallet – keep them secure and apart. If one is stolen with the other your coins are gone and unrecoverable.
Scams in crypto are rife and understandably this is very off-putting to new investors. According to the US Federal Trade Commission, the most common crypto scams are:
Giveaway scams – members of particular online crypto communities get free coins if by send their coins to a posted wallet address
Bogus websites – with scam investment opportunities offering block buster returns using fake testimonials
Impersonators – Elon Musk impersonators have duped unsuspecting coin holders out of $2 million collectively
Online dating apps – used to lure people into cryptocurrency investments (yeah I know I can’t believe it either…)
Here’s how to manage your risk
Scams are a problem that you can overcome by knowing what you’re investing in and by doing your own due diligence. If you come into crypto understanding that it’s designed to be decentralised and non-custodial, you’ll appreciate that you alone are responsible for the security of your assets. If you get this, you’ll do your own due diligence and only invest in crypto with demonstrated real world use cases. You’ll accept that investing in anything else is either highly speculative or you’re at risk of being scammed.
Here are some tips to avoid getting scammed if you’re new to crypto investing:
NEVER send your crypto to wallet addresses sent to you in unsolicited emails, social media, group chat apps like Telegram and WhatsApp.
If you come across an ‘investment opportunity’ that seems too good to be true then it just is.
Don’t respond to unsolicited offers. If someone reaches out to you to join a crypto community or promote a killer crypto investment opportunity over social media, via email, in Youtube comments or in any message group forums it is likely a scam.
Make sure you have the genuine website or app. Fake websites, apps, groups or project profiles are a big issue in crypto. Type the web address in every time and don’t use autofill. Link to the project app directly from the developers website and don’t search it on Google Play or The App Store.
13. Rug pulls
A ‘rug pull’ is a phenomenon specific to decentralised finance (DeFi). A DeFi rug pull is when a team of developers disappear with all of the liquidity added byusers to a particular DeFi Protocol liquidity pool. If you want to know more about DeFi lending and liquidity pools (and how to make money from them) check out our How to Invest in DeFi post.
How to manage your risk
Avoid new DeFi projects – early projects is where the serious money is made, but it’s also where authenticity and legitimacy are questionable. At a minimum avoid low initial liquidity projects. Just like in the fiat world, scammers find it tough to raise large bags of initial capital for new projects.
Make sure there is a project whitepaper and read it. Compare it to other legitimate white papers.
Watch out for social media campaigns on tokens with claims of benefits that are too good to be true. Fake hype on Telegram and Twitter is a telltale sign.
Research the project – is the developer team transparent and known in the crypto community? If not, do you really want to trust them with your assets?
Get on to Reddit and research the token and the project and any red flags raised by other developers.
Check that there is an audit of the protocol by an independent know auditor. Audits are expensive and having one helps legitimise the project.
Millennials are coming of age and changing the world as we know it. They’re about to be the most influential generation since the boomers. But they’re also facing strong headwinds. The pandemic has hit many young millennials in their peak earning years. Encumbered with historic public debt, rising home prices, stagnant wages and less money to spend, young millennials will need more financial nous earlier in life to get ahead. If you’re a young millennial and want to know how to be financially successful in your 20s, this post is written for you.
What does financial success look like in your 20s?
Success is all about achieving a desired outcome so let’s first establish what that outcome should be for your finances in your 20s. You can’t hit a target you don’t know exists right?
What success looks like for you will be personal. But at a minimum, you want to be doing better at wealth building than your millennial peers. In some areas of finance that really matter, you’ll want to be doing A LOT better. If you’re a high achiever, then financial success in your 20s is all about setting yourself up for financial freedom in your 30s, which leaves you half a century to do work you love and enjoy a beautiful life. Sound totally fly to you? Let’s get on with it then.
Whether your aims are for total financial freedom or to simply be more financially secure, by the end of this post you’ll have tangible and concrete goals and steps to help you on your way.
The millennial financial footprint
Gross generalisations are generally unfair 🙂 so we’re going to take a look at some annual research statistics about millennial finance. Since recent stats are hard to find, we’ve had to dig back to 2015 for some of our benchmarks which are from the US.
Income – average millennial income in 2015 was a tick over $56,000. That’s gross. Take home income would be a smidge less than $50,000.
Expenditure – on average is just north of $47,000/y.
Savings – this leaves implied savings of, well, diddly squat and explains why around half of millennials report living paycheck-to-paycheck.
Debt– younger millennials report having student debt of around $26,000 and credit card debt of around $4700. Of those with debt, 16 percent say they owe $50,000 or more.
This all paints a grim picture for many millennials and it’s likely things have gotten tougher since 2020. The good news is that with different money habits, you can be different. And the pandemic just might be a great opportunity to get ahead for financially savvy twenty something millennials.
Your twenty-something financial habits
Here are the financial habits you need to set in your 20s if you want to be successful with money:
Earn more than you spend
Avoid bad debt
Save like crazy – 30% + of your take home income
Start investing those savings in assets
It sounds easy but if it were, everyone would be doing it. So let’s break it down with 5 steps that you can start today if you want to be a financial success in your 20s.
5 steps to be financially successful in your 20s
Here’s 5 steps you should be taking in your 20’s to be financially successful. None of this is financial advice my millennial money masterminds. These are the 5 things we wish we’d known when we were in our 20s to win our financial freedom earlier.
Step 1 – Put your finances first
Literally no-one does this in their 20s, so if you can pull this off you’ll be well ahead of the pack.
Putting your finances first means becoming financially literate; learning about how to build and manage wealth and then starting to apply what you learn.
The first thing to know is that school doesn’t teach you anything useful about building wealth. All it does is teach you how to get a job, which is not going to translate to financial success or freedom. The other way people learn about wealth is from their parents. So if your parents are good money managers then you have a head start. If not, you’re starting from scratch. But that’s ok! Scratch is where we started and we got ourselves financially free in about 8 years.
Our tip is to focus on these things:
Learn about assets, liabilities, good debt, bad debt, cashflow and tax effective income and investment structures.
Here’s how to start today for under $100
Read our blog. We mean all of it. Start here and here And we’ve got a total bonus for you – its free!
Read these books on building wealth – sign up for Audible for less than $15 a month and get to it.
Watch this webinar featuring wealth educator Robert Kiyosaki about investing in assets and using good debt. It costs a buck.
We promise won’t regret the hundred dollars spent.
Investing in yourself and your financial knowledge is the one thing most likely to determine where you end up in the next few years.
The learning doesn’t end once you’ve nailed these concepts, but there’s enough information in these resources for you to start applying what you’ve learned. Steps 2 to 5 assume you have your head around these concepts and are ready to put them to work.
Step 2 – Get an internet side hustle
The problem with wage earner income
Wage earner income is generally the go to income source straight out of school for most of the population. But it’s also the most highly taxed and time consuming type of income. Having come through 2020, wage earner income is also looking a tad risky. Earning all of your income through the one source that is out of your control means you’ve got nothing to fall back on if that source is suddenly taken from you.
What we are saying is wage earner income is likely where you’ll start, but it is not where you want to put all of your effort. There are income streams that don’t trade time for money directly and you can set them up to be far more tax efficient than a job. Meaning you’ll get to keep more of what you earn. Earned income is not how the rich make their money, if you get my drift…
In your twenties, spend the extra time you’d spend at work to get a promotion on smarter ways to make your money from multiple sources.
These smarter ways take time to build up – so you need to start now!
To be financially successful in your 20s the aim is to build alternate income streams using the skills you already have as… well, a millennial.
Learn how to make money online
Millennials are the first digital native generation which is a killer advantage when it comes to making money from the internet, so go and get yourself at least one alternative internet income stream in your 20s.
Why internet income? Internet income is super powerful because it gives you leverage. Leverage is when you do something once with a fixed cost or time, and it pays you over and over. The internet is where you can use Google, algorithms, coding, bots and online marketing to make money multiple times from one piece of work.
Millennials are really the first generation in history born online. Your 20s is when you need to put this early mover advantage to work.
And the lockdowns of 2020 proved a watershed for internet commerce. More of the world moved online than ever before so its no surprise that we think that is where there’s money to be made.
If you want to know more about leveraged income options, check out this page as well as our Fat Stacks blog where we share tried and tested passive income ideas.
You will need leverage to build wealth and get to financial freedom faster because in your 20s you don’t have access to a lot of capital. Deploying capital (savings and borrowings) is the other primary way you can build wealth and get to financial freedom. If you were in your 30s, we’d look at ways to build wealth using capital.
Step 3 – Become a seriously savvy saver
We’re not talking here about curbing your avocado toast munching, latte-swilling habits (a stereotype I know but a fun one). You need to get serious about squirrelling away your disposable income to be financially successful in your 20s.
Why? Because your savings rate is inversely correlated with your working career. In other words, the more of your income you save, the less of your lifetime you’ll need to spend at work. In your 20s you should be smashing this savings gig out of the park.
Also, because if you want to leverage other peoples money to build wealth in your 30s, you’re going to need some of your own money behind you.
How much should you save?
To put this question in context, average savings rates in the US, UK and Australia are around 10 to 15% of take home income. This won’t make you financially successful in your 20s. It won’t get you to financial freedom. Ever.
You should be aiming to save at least 30% of take home income in your 20s. If you want to be financially free in your 30s, it needs to be more like 50%.
In Australia the averageweekly earnings before tax for a 21 to 34 year oldis $58,600 a year, or roughly $49,000/y post tax. That’s $942 income a week. If you save 30%, you’ll have $650 a week to live on. Now that’s not a lot, which is why 30% savings is already way better than most twenty somethings.
But, here’s the clincher. You’ll also be saving $14,600 a year.
And this is where compound investing and youth make magic together. $14,600 invested, with a regular investment of $280 a week (your savings) gets you to $255,000 after 10 years. That’s with an annual compound return of 8%, which is less than the long term stock market and real estate return in Australia. We’ll talk about what it means to invest and get 8% annualise returns below.
In the meantime, let me shout it from the rafters – saving is massive part of being financially successful in your 20s. If you want to start your 30s with a net worth of a quarter of a million bucks, we’ve just shown you how.
To master saving you need to learn how to budget and practice delayed gratification. This is tough, when it seems like your besties are out splurging all of their disposable income (because they probably are!). Saving is about trade offs. Every dollar adds up and everything you don’t buy now will get your closer to financial security and if you want it, financial freedom.
If you can’t afford to buy it outright, don’t buy it.
Budget your online streaming, food delivery and ride sharing expenses – young Aussie millennials are spending way more on these things than they realise.
Put your savings somewhere you can’t get to them easily.
If you have to use credit, pay it all off in the interest free period. No exceptions.
Use your online bank app to track income and expenses and manage your money.
Under no circumstances should you be tempted to upgrade your lifestyle as your income grows. Keep it humble,
If there was a silver lining to the whole damn lockdown situation it is that we’re saving a lot more of our money. If that’s you, don’t be tempted to spend up big when restrictions ease! Invest that money instead.
Step 4 – Start regular investing in real assets
If you’ve invested time in your financial education, then you should have an understanding by now about assets and liabilities and how to use them to build wealth.
Your mission, in the game of money, is to accumulate assets and avoid liabilities. The younger you start, the greater the compounding benefits you receive. Huzzah!
Investments are only assets if they put money in your pocket each month. These are not easy to find or build – if they were everyone would buy them. You have to be creative. Here’s some investment classes you might think about that can put money in your pocket each month depending on what and when you buy. Some will get you more than an 8% annualised return (with more risk), some less. The lower down the list, the more capital you’ll need to get started. You may get to property investing by the end of your 20s, if you’re super disciplined with saving and investing.
Bitcoin, Ethereum or other cryptocurrency with demonstrated real world use cases
Digital assets – building, buying, renovating selling them
Exchange Traded Funds
Consider dollar cost averaging in to your investments if you don’t have much in the way of savings to start. A regular investment will smooth out price bumps and also help you take full advantage of compounding over time.
When you get the capital behind you, think about buying an investment property before buying your own home. Also, think about buying a cheap home and doing it up while you live in it. These are all strategies we’ve used to build wealth and keep more of the money we make. If you want to know about our specific investment property strategy to build wealth and rental income, you can read all about it here.
Step 5 – Crush your credit score
Once you’ve built up enough capital you’ll probably want to leverage good debt to invest and build wealth, for example by buying investment properties. To do this, you’re going to need a good credit score.
Makes sense right? You need to demonstrate that you are financially responsible before lending institutions will lend to you. So what’s a good credit score and how do you go about getting one?
If you’re in the US, you’ll probably have aFICOscore. The Australian system uses similar ratings to FICO, which are:
800 and above — Excellent
740-799 — Very good
670-739 — Good
580-669 — Fair
Below 580 — Poor
To borrow money for investments, you’re aiming for a rating of ‘Good’ or above.
Credit score tips
Open a savings or checking account – most will already have this, but if not it’s way past time
Establish a steady income paid into your bank account
Put some bills in your name and pay those bills in full, on time.
Get a low limit, low interest credit card and pay it down each month
Don’t use all of the available credit on your credit card. Stick to less than 50%.
Check your credit history and credit score once a year.
The final word – here’s to your financial success twenty-somethings!
So here’s what we would do if we had our time again, to be financially successful in our 20s:
Become top 5% financially literate among peers
Build multiple income streams – get an internet side hustle
Save at least 30% of your income and don’t spend more as you make more
Dollar cost average invest your savings aiming for 8% compound returns at least
Pay your bills and your credit card each month and check your credit score annually
This my millennial co-conspirators in wealth is what financial success looks like in your 20s if you want to be financially secure in your 30s. If you want financial freedom, then your mission doesn’t end here. Take a look at this postto help you free your 30-something self. Here’s the good news for you – because you started in your 20s and are ahead of the game, skip straight to step 9. It’s time to put the pedal to the metal and win back your life.
Working too much was the biggest regret she had looking back at her life….
When I’m in my 80s, I don’t want to be this woman. I don’t want to feel like I missed out on my life because I slipped into the habit of working too much.
So I did some things to make sure this wasn’t going to be me and The Live Life Project was born.
But the sad truth is, more and more of us are Googling this very thing. And it’s a world wide phenomenon. We are literally going to Google en masse to search for answers. In a clear upward trend over the last 15 years, we as humans are searching for more.
Well in this post we’re going to give you some answers. We’re going to share 10 legitimate ways to avoid the 24/7 work trap, win back your life, and put a smile on the dial of your 80 year old self.
Working too much? You’re not alone
Here’s a scary picture – the 15 year trend of Google searches for the words “working too much’. See the pronounced upward trajectory? And the data doesn’t even include the impact of global work-from-home changes during 2020. People in the US, Canada, the Phillipines, the UK and good old Oz are feeling the most overworked.
How much of your life is spent at work?
Have you ever wondered how much of your life you’re going to end up spending at work?
Take a look at this table we’ve pulled together. Try not to completely flip your lid about how much of your adult life you’re going to spend at work if you keep on doing what you’ve always done.
The average work week is around about 40 hours which means the average person is going to spend 10 years straight at work, during their adult life. If you’re working 70 to 80 hours, then be prepared to spend a total of 18 to 21 years (solid) of your adult life at work.
LIFE SPENT WORKING
% OF ADULT LIFE
20 hours per week
30 hours per week
40 hours per week
50 hours per week
60 hours per week
70 hours per week
80 hours per week
Based on a 45 year career, 80 yr life expectancy
Why are you working too much?
Before we get to how to avoid the 24/7 work trap, here are 10 common reasons people work long hours:
You love your work – this can be a legit reason you’re working long hours, but if you’re googling ‘working too much’ its unlikely to be why you’re here.
Systemic expectation – we are part of a system that educates that we have to work to live. We learn to believe that the more and the harder we work, the better off we’ll be. We at The LLP we don’t buy it. There are other options!
Workplace culture – your workplace rewards long hours over outcomes. You’ve got to fit in.
Expanding lifestyle – you’ve got more and bigger bills to pay. Most of us experience lifestyle creep as our earning capacity increases. But it can be a total trap. The more you earn, the more you spend, the more you have to work. Until you’re 80 and full of regret that you missed your life.
Your examples in life – your parents taught you to get a good job and work hard. So you did.
Your own notions of success – equating working long hours with doing a good job is common but it’s rarely accurate.
Avoidance strategy – you’re spending more time at work to avoid your life, and whatever is going on it.
Upward management – you’re not that great at managing the never-ending expectations of your boss, or you’re covering for them.
Poor work from home boundaries – you feel compelled (or obligated) to stay at work, even though its home time, because your work is at home with you.
To make more money – you’re paid by the hour and you want to increase your income (irrespective of your lifestyle) so you work more hours.
But would we totally blow your mind if we said this:
The 40 hour work week is a relic of the industrial age.
Because that’s where it comes from. Things have changed since 1817. Technology, lifestyles and ways to make money have changed. So why hasn’t our thinking changed with it?
How to avoid working too much
If you stand back and take a look it, most of the 10 reasons we’ve listed above relate back to three things; values, education and finances.
So we’re going to tackle the issue at its root cause. We’re not going to tell you to get another job or go home earlier. Instead we’re going to offer you a different perspective and some more choices! If any of those 10 reasons above sound like you, here’s some ‘hopium’ that there is another way!
10 ways to stop working too much and avoid the 24/7 work trap:
1. Re-frame how you think about work
I totally understand how your personal beliefs about your self worth can be attached to what you do for work. Mine was. Our DNA is coded to think this way. We’re educated to think this way. We even introduce ourselves and socialise based on ‘what we do’.
But ponder it for just a second. Does working for 45 years so that you can live the life you want once you get to 65 even make sense to you? We’re here to encourage you to think your own thoughts. Tread your own path. Determine your own financial future.
2. Re-train your money brain (or at least read these books on your commute)
Money doesn’t have to come from a job. Only around 25% of our income is classed as ‘earned income”. So number 2 is about broadening your earning potential.That doesn’t mean heading back to university or doing a work sponsored training course. You need to swat up on your personal finance knowledge.
Learn the things about money that aren’t taught in school. Learn the things they don’t want you to know. Read these books. But be ready. These books will challenge what you think about work, life and money. They’ll also open doors to making money you couldn’t see before.
But if you are going to work from home so you can work less, you have to set and stick to boundaries. Turn off the computer at home time. Make sure your boss understands this.
4. Cut your living costs
If you cut your living costs, you can cut your working hours.
Start with a budget and look at all of your monthly costs. For every expense over the last month, ask yourself: “How many more hours will I have to work to pay for this?”. Take the cost of any expense and divide it by your hourly wage to work this out.
This process makes me think about whether I really need that item or not and helps me pair back and stick to my budget each month.
Is a straight-off-the-showroom-floor SUV worth the extra 250 hours you’re going to have to work to pay for it? Or can you make do with a demo model? Do you really need Netflix and Stan and Amazon Prime?
Cutting your living costs will give you some breathing room so you don’t feel like you need to work all the time just to pay your bills.
“Normal is getting dressed in clothes that you buy for work and driving through traffic in a car that you are still paying for – in order to get the job you need to pay for the clothes and the car, and the house you leave vacant all day so you can afford to live in it.”
5. Prioritise living life
Our time goes where our priorities are. When you’re about to ascend the Pearly Gates or whatever you believe, you’re probably not going to reflect at that moment on what a great work life you had. You’re more likely to think back on the richness of your life. Your family. Your friends. Your experiences. When you were happiest. So prioritise those things with your time!
“We have two lives and the second begins when we realise we only have one.”
6. Stop buying in to the “time for money” trade
Working more hours is not the only way to make more money. In fact, overtime may just be the hardest way to earn more money if you understand the rules of the money game. The more you trade your time for money, the more tax you’ll pay. It’s just how the system has been set up.
Instead of working more hours or getting a raise, think about starting your own side hustle. And don’t earn as an individual. There are more tax efficient ways if you want to keep more of the money you make. If this has piqued your interest, take a look at this post that explains how to make money so you get to keep more of it.
7. Diversify where your money comes from
If you only earn your income from your job, then it’s understandable you’d feel trapped into working more to earn more. But there are lots of different income streams other than earned income.
The freedom of multiple income streams gives you a greater sense of financial security and helps you set boundaries and say ‘no’ at work when the inevitable overtime expectations begin.
We have 5 different income streams that we’ve built up over time specifically because we don’t want to feel beholden to a job and an employer for our security.
It’s not something that you can do overnight, but if you never start you’ll never get there. For the traditionalists, dividend income and rental income are pretty common secondary income streams. But there’s a whole new world of making money online that is open for the taking. It’s not the ‘trading time for money’ kind of income you’re looking for. Instead, it’s income that pays you multiple times for the one piece of work. It’s called ‘leverage’, and if you want some more ideas about how to make money this way, check out our page about it here.
8. Divert your overtime hours into investing
If you’re tempted to work overtime for the extra money, spend this time on your next investment instead. I’ve refused opportunities for promotion at work because I knew they came with the expectation that I’d spend more of my time at work. Or they came with an ‘on call’ expectation. We say don’t give your time away so freely and easily – it’s the most precious thing you have! The one thing you can’t buy more of.
Instead of spending more time at work, spend it research investments and on investing. Use the knowledge you’ve learned from the books and resources we recommend here, and elsewhere. You don’t need to start with a fortune. But the sooner you do it the more you’ll benefit from the compound nature of investing.
Have you thought about joining an investment club or personal finance group? You can find them online and many are free. It may sound unrelated but if you’re surrounded by wage earners all working long hours, then maybe it’s catching. Just kidding. But it could be all you really see in front of you. Find some people who are doing things differently and hang out with them. Virtually or in real life. See how they make their money and what they do with their time. You might be inspired and you might find opportunities to work less that you could never have dreamt up yourself!
9. Resist the upsell on upsizing
Upsizing your lifestyle feels like the natural thing to do when you get a raise or a better job. The desire for more, for bigger for better – you earned it after all! It’s what your friends are doing; getting larger mortgages and fatter credit cards to buy bigger houses, better cars, more toys. But it’s also the very thing that is keeping a lot of high income earners working longer and longer hours. The question you might ask yourself if you’re working too much is: is bigger and flashier worth it?
“Desire is a contract you make with yourself to be unhappy until you get what you want.”
– Naval Ravikant
Every time you upgrade your life, you’re committing to working more.
The desire to upsize your life is the modern version of indentured servitude in our view. Except your servitude is not to the middleman recruiter, it’s to your bank!
Earning more but keeping your lifestyle at the same level means you’ll have money left over to save and invest. Over decades, you’ll save hundreds of thousands of dollars in mortgage and car loan interest. This is money you can use to invest in assets that put money in your pocket so in the future you can work less!
10. Make finance a family affair
Let’s face it, your children are not going to learn anything useful about money at school. They’re just going to learn that the way to make money is to get a job. So it’s all going to come from you! We’d say, teach your children about the rules of money as you learn them yourself. This is what the rich do! Make saving and investing a family affair. Get everyone involved. Practice delayed gratification in front of your children. Explain why you’re doing what you’re doing. You may just face less friction when it comes to applying these steps so you can escape the 24/7 work trap. And chances are the ‘working too much’ cycle that you probably learned from your parents may just stop with you.
Here’s the first of our updates on our personal assets, income and savings. Our big news for July? We bought a new home with cash!
So here we are in July 2021…we’ve pulled it off!
When we decided to sell up in Brisbane move to Tasmania in mid 2020 we had one thing on our mind. Financial freedom. We cooked up a plan during the lockdowns of 2020 to pimp our home with some clever DIY renovations and sell up. Our aim was to take our profit and our savings and buy a house for cash.
It’s a strategy called geo-arbitrage and you can use it to bring forward your financial freedom date, just like we have.
We worked out that Tasmania was a viable option for us to pull off some crafty geo-arbitrage. Tassie also provided the sustainable living, self-reliant lifestyle we were after. We wanted no neighbours, a spectacular view and some room to grow food. Most of all, we wanted to lower our living costs.
After three months of careful searching, we’ve pulled it off!
How geographic arbitrage smashed our housing costs
In many cases homes are not assets (an asset puts money in your pocket at the end of the month). This is generally dependent on the type and cost of housing. When we moved to Tasmania we wanted to buy a home that we could count as an asset. Let me explain how we’ve found exactly that.
Our cost of housing in Tasmania will be around $3500 per year.
Here’s the breakdown.
Typical housing costs
Our new home
$0 – owned outright
$0 – two tanks and pumped creek water
$0 – Septic
$0 – pumped grey water system
$1900 – grid but soon to have solar PV
Heat / cooling
$800 – daytime from solar + wood heater
The way we’ve wrangled it, as long as our home appreciates in value by >$3500 per year, we can count it as an asset. We figure that’s likely given the strapping pace of inflation, at least in the near term. We also calculated our Brisbane housing costs by way of comparison. Here’s what that looks like:
Heat / cooling
What this means for us is that we have to make $23,000 less in income each year to live in Tassie. And that’s just housing costs. It’s not living costs.
Geo-arbitrage is an underrated weapon in the arsenal of any financial freedom seeker because you can use it to cut one of your biggest living costs – housing.
Our net worth
As at July 2021, our net worth is north of $1.5M. Just goes to show you don’t need millions to be financially free! You just need to kick ass crafty about it. 🙂
Our good debt position
Our net worth is calculated after debt is deducted.
We hold (indirectly) good debt on our investment properties. I say indirectly because we have company and trust structures in place. So the debt is not on our personal balance sheet. These mortgages are paid by other people, through the property investment and management company we run. These investment properties are assets not liabilities because they put money in our pocket each week as you’ll see when we get to “Income’ down below.
Our bad debt
We have zero bad debt at the end of each month (bad debt takes money out of your pocket). That’s right. Zero. The only bad debt we carry is credit card debt, which is cleared in an auto sweep of the card. Every. Single. Month.
We do use our credit card to give us free stuff. We direct all of our expenses through the credit card to earn cash rewards, which we use to buy groceries. So far this year we’ve earned roughly 77,000 points or $350 worth of free food.
Credit cards can make you money if you use them the right way.
Our July income
About half our income this month was rental income. We worked 4 to 5 hours a week for this income. We’re still keen to save and invest so we had earned income in July as well. Our capital gains is mostly from shares we own. We also had a small bit of income from cryptocurrency. Our profit income covers things we like to do on the side – retail arbitrage (reselling), cash rewards, and other online income. We’re working on diversifying our income streams further in the medium term.
Our July savings rate
Our next asset investment?
A solar PV system.
We’re still a bit too heavy in cash so we are looking for new investments. (Cash is trash). We’ll likely buy a solar power system, which we expect will produce an ROI of 23% year-on-year, with a payback of 4.25 years. Not a bad outcome.
We’re also busy building digital assets that will pay us an income in the future. More about that later….
So, you’ve googled ‘how to achieve financial freedom’ and landed here. Huzzah! Our website is all about exactly what you want to know – how to become financially free and stay there. It can seem like an impossible task at first – overwhelming with no starting line in sight, let alone finish line. In this post we explain the key steps you need to know and take to get started on your financial freedom journey.
What does financial freedom mean – to you?
Technically, financial freedom is when your return on investments covers 100% of your expenses. But when you ask this question on a personal level most people have to think really hard because they just haven’t even contemplated what financial freedom would look like for them. So this is the first thing you should do.
Ask yourself, How would you spend your days if you didn’t have to work? Get comfortable with that. It’s where we are headed.
Financial independence means different things to different folks. For us, it’s the freedom to do what we want when we want. And that takes resources. Money for bills, food, water, power, health care and fun. So how do we solve for money, to get the rest of the equation? We’re all about keeping it simple and actionable. Here are the three things to focus on for financial freedom when you’re starting out:
What is financial independence?
In the interest of keeping it as simple as possible, we’ve broken down down financial independence into three primary steps:
Make sure your income is greater than your expenses
Invest the difference (your savings)
Maximise your assets so the income from them covers your expenses.
What is the ‘financial independence retire early’ movement?
Financial independence retire early (or FIRE) is about applying the three key concepts above… aggressively. The aim is to retire in your 30s or 40s instead of your 60s. So what’s the theory? Well, average personal saving rates are about 10 to 15 %. But that’s not enough for financial freedom. You just have to look at when Joe average retires (65) to know that. On the other hand, hard core FIRE starters aim for savings rates closer to 50 – 70% – either through frugality or by increasing their income. The FIRE movement proves that savings rates are critical to financial freedom.
FIRE investing is other big part of the FIRE journey. Actively making your money work for you. With inflation and negative interest rates one thing is for sure – sitting on your money will not get you to financial freedom any time soon. If you have your stash in cash it’s time to pick up your freedom game.
Your starting point and how aggressive you are with the three key concepts above will determine how quickly you get to freedom. That’s the beauty of FIRE – you can dial it up or down depending on where you’re at in life. You can also choose to focus on the income or the spending side of the equation, depending on what’s right for you. Although, take heed. There is a school of practice that says cutting your spending is way more powerful than upping your income because it has a tailing effect – it lowers the amount you need to live on every month for the rest of your life.
We at The Live Life Project are not here to argue one or the other. We do both, along with some clever independent wealth management strategies around the treatment of income, tax and debt. We’re certainly not about never eating out or holidaying again – life’s too short for that! We’re about finding ways to have fun and still make smart decisions every day in the right direction.
How to achieve financial freedom – knowing your numbers
If this sounds boring to a lot of people, that’s because it’s boring to a lot of people. I get it. Math was never my jam either. But with the same certainty as death and taxes I can say if you don’t know your numbers you’ll never be financially free.
Financial independence is where you control your money not the other way around. This starts with the numbers. Savings/assets, income, expenses, residual. Put these numbers in a spreadsheet or write them down. There’s also apps for this of course, but we’ll get to those later.
Next, check out this awesome calculator. Put in your numbers. Be honest. It’s not gospel, but I put in our numbers for the last few years and it’s a pretty accurate reflection.
So here comes the big reveal. This is what did to get to financial independence, without revealing all of the juicy details in one post…
We saved from 30% to 65% of our net income each year for the last 7 years
We invested everything but our buffer money, mostly in property
We kept saving and invested this in maximising our assets
We also changed the way we earned our income so that we got to keep more of it – we’ll cover this in a later post so stayed tuned
We’ve recently made big life choices specifically to reduce our cost of living
Our income from our assets cover our living costs 100%.
Once you’ve put in your numbers look again at your income and your expenses. Making your way to financial freedom is about jigging these numbers – income up, expenses down.
We have published a bunch of articles that step out the different pathways that you could take to financial freedom depending on where you are in life. Take a read and we hope you can learn something from our experience.
The final word – financial freedom is about how to eat an elephant (figuratively of course)
When something seems massive and unobtainable just break it down into bite sized chunks. You’re already on your way. Make sure you understand the 3 key steps to financial freedom and get to know your numbers. We know these things have worked for us. Stick with it. We know they can work for you too.