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Budget like a Boss with Victoria Devine

May 26, 2020  ·  62 min read

Improving financial literacy is at the heart of everything we do at Up. In this UpSkill recording, we partner with Victoria Devine - founder of the She's on the Money podcast - to bring you some of her best practical financial insights.

This livestream and recording is part of the the UpSkill series. Learn more about the series and sign up to be told about future sessions.

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Transcript

Transcript begins at 6 minutes and 22 seconds.

Vic: Because I'm a financial advisor, we get to do this really exciting thing together at the very start, and that is the general advice disclaimer. And I have to vocally say it because I am actually an authorized financial rep. So, before we begin, the advice that we're going to talk about today, whilst it's not about investment and it is quite general, I need to stipulate that it is general in nature and that "She's on the Money" exists purely for educational purposes only and should not be relied upon to make any kind of financial or investment decision without you going and looking into it.

Of course, I am an authorized representative of Australia Pacific Mortgage Fund. And if you'd like to seek financial advice from a financial advisor, or a mortgage broker, or any kind of financial professional, you can always reach out to the "She's on the Money" team because I have heard they are pretty good. So, first things first on, Dom, you know how obsessed I am with money stories. And if anybody has actually listened to my podcast, you guys would know that I am actually crazy about it. It's one of those things that, for me, is the defining point of financial advice, and budgeting, and finance, and actually creating financial freedom for yourself because everybody's got a story. And it sounds a little bit fluffy. And it sounds a little bit, you know, airy-fairy sometimes. But it absolutely is not. Money stories that these subconscious and conscious beliefs and values that we hold about money and prosperity that we develop really early in life. And whether we like it or not, they actually contribute to how we feel financially and they dictate our behavior.

So if we grew up in a family that was quite frugal, and money was always a point of contention, you might get like a knot in your stomach when you start to talk about budgeting and finance, and you might be a little bit evasive around it whereas if you grew up in a wealthy family, you might not have any issue talking about money at all, but you also might not see the value of money as well as you might want to. So I think it's really important to put yourself in a position where you feel like you understand your money story, where you're starting from, and where you want to go before we actually start. So, in my mind, one of the most empowering uses of money is as a way to transform our lives and the lives of others because money, after all, is a tool that we actually need to live comfortably. Like, at the end of the day, we exchange money for goods and services to continue our lives. And as much as it's intended for spending, and sharing, and investing, it's actually a really highly emotional tool that, whether we like it or not, it's going to impact how we think and feel and make decisions.

So, to me, that's the foundation. And if I've spoken about it, I don't want to like rant on too much, Dom, about this because I totally could it all day. But I want to make sure that we leave enough time at the end for questions. But if everyone who is watching can just maybe have a little bit of a think about what's the first thing that came to mind when you guys were thinking about money stories and what I was explaining, just pick that up and have a think about it. It's something to take away after this session, "Oh, I wonder why I felt like that when Victoria says, you know, feeling anxious about money," because it might resonate with people. You might want to look a little bit further into that.

Dom: Vic, I will just jump in from time to time.

Vic: Yeah. I want you too. I don't want to be just poking at you. That's boring. So [inaudible 00:10:01].

Dom: Is there anything that maybe you would...say, for example, what's the number one thing that you would say to yourself, like your younger self? If you could go back, you know, for all the people listening, what would be the one thing that you would want to say, "Hey, this is what you should have a think about," or sort of some learning that you've got as you've been advising others and as you learn through your career, what will be the one thing [inaudible 00:10:25]...?

Vic: One thing, not put on the spot. That's fine. I don't know. I find it really interesting because I think often when we look back at ourselves, we sometimes do so with judgment. So we always say things like, "Oh, Victoria, I wish I knew that earlier. Like, I'm so silly for the mistakes I used to make," when, in actual fact, I don't think that that's true. I think that we vary...I think as individuals, we use the tools and resources that are available to us to make decisions based on kind of the available information we have. And the more financially literate we are, the, you know, better decisions that we can make. So I think it's really important that if we're going to talk about this, we're not, like, actually judging ourselves on past mistakes. But there are a lot of them that I have made. One of them would have been not listening to my dad when he said, from the very get-go when I started my first job at 14 years and 9 months and marched down to the ice cream shop to get a job, and he always said, "Pay yourself first," and he always said, "Make sure that you're paying yourself first, then taking 5% or 10% of the money you earn and putting it in a savings account and not touching it. You'll thank yourself later." I was like, "Yeah. Okay. Dad. That's cool," and then I didn't do it.

So I think that would be the thing that I wish I'd done. I mean, there are lots of things that I wish I'd done differently. For example, I took out, when I was in university, a personal loan. And I took that personal loan out so I could go and travel overseas to study abroad. And I got this opportunity. I've been given a scholarship at a university in France, which sounds really, really fancy, but I promise you, it's not nearly as fancy as it sounds. But I got given this opportunity. And whilst the tuition was paid, I couldn't afford the rest of it without borrowing some money. And I knew that, you know, maybe I shouldn't have been doing it at the time, but I did it anyway. But at the end of the day, I made that decision because I wanted to go because all my friends were going when in actual fact, had I just deferred that decision for 12 months, I could have not gone into personal debt, saved for it, etc., etc. But do I judge myself on those? No. It's kind of helped me get to where I am financially now and, you know, being the person I am, but were they mistakes? Probably.

Dom: Yeah. Awesome. My mom actually just told me something similar. And so, I still, to this day, have a savings account. And I've named it, "Because mom said so." So it's just called "Mom said so."

Vic: I wish I had done that. You were smarter than me. At least you'd listened to your parents.

Dom: Okay, continue. Sorry.

Vic: Sorry, sorry, sorry. So, we've spoken about money stories, and the next thing that we really want to speak about...well, I would really want to speak about, because you guys have actually given me free rein so good on you, is values and beliefs. And those two things are not the same. So values and beliefs I think are really important for us to personally understand. And I know you guys have all tuned in because you're probably, "Victoria, tell us how to budget." And the reason you're currently not budgeting properly is because you don't understand this stuff well enough. So listen up, and then we'll get to the budget part soon. So beliefs are assumptions that we actually hold to be true personally. When we use our beliefs to make decisions, we're actually assuming the causal relationship of the past is going to dictate the future. And that's what's kind of led to that belief. So, you know, you could use an example here of, you know, do you believe money is good or bad, or do you just tell yourself that it's an unnecessary evil, or do you think that money should be spent or saved? And we've all got different values, or we've all got different beliefs of what this means. And some people say, "This is a luxury purchase," and someone else might say, "Well, actually, I don't think that that's a luxury purchase." So beliefs are really personal. And I can't tell you what your beliefs are. But it's really important for you to understand what those beliefs are.

But more important than that, it's important for you to understand where they come from because often our beliefs are things that have been gifted to us by our families and our upbringing. So that could be that money shouldn't be handled by women. It could be that, you know, the man of the house needs to pay all the bills. It could be that, you know, spending lots of money is selfish, or it could be that, you know, having big flashy cars is not something that you need, or it could be the opposite, that you actually need a big flashy car to be someone. So I think it's really important that we understand what our beliefs are around money because they actually end up dictating how we live our lives. In opposition to that...I feel like I'm just talking all the time, so I do apologize because I'm just really excited about these, are values. So your money values are different to your money beliefs. Values are not based on information from the past, and they aren't actually contextual. Values are universal. And they actually transcend context because they are based on what is important to us. It is not based on what is important to you, Dom. It's actually based on what is important to me. So, you know, I love cats. Dom, you might not love cats. You love lightsabers and having [inaudible 00:15:30].

Dom: I'm allergic to cats, but yeah.

Vic: Exactly. So like I said, a value of mine is to have a cat as a pet. And if you guys know me, in my "She's on the Money" community, you would know that I've just got another cat because that's how I live my life whereas, Dom, that's not a value of yours. You know, you are absolutely lightsaber crazy, and that doesn't actually resonate with me. And I think that's an important point.

Dom: It's a really important point because like, for us, for example, when we're building software to help with money, we're very non-judgmental because circumstances are different and everybody's beliefs and values are different. So, it's actually an area where we completely agree. And it's something that drives us when we're actually building tools and building software to help people sort of get back in control of their money. It's not to be judgmental about the way that they want to do that. If they want to spend their money on a particular item, a luxury good or maybe, you know, sort of, you know, spend some money on gambling or some alcohol or whatever it is, it's totally up to them.

Vic: Like a lightsaber. Yeah.

Dom: Yeah. You could say that. It's not our job to sort of judge them because everybody has a different attachment and a different value with money. And I think [inaudible 00:16:36].

Vic: A hundred percent. And I talk about that all the time. And I'm consistently saying that I actually do not care what you spend your money on. Like, whilst I'm a financial advisor, and, you know, I want everyone to have really good values, and really good budgets, and I really want them to understand what's going on, at the end of the day, if you want to spend all your money on shoes, who am I to judge? What I will want you to do, though, is to be really aware of your financial situation. So that is an active decision you're making, not a passive decision that you are making because you've got some money in your account, and I may as well just spend it. So for me, it's more about being educated and understanding where our money is going, not necessarily caring about what that money is allocated to because that's nobody else's business but your own.

Dom: Speaking of shoes, is there a sort of a particular thing that you like to splurge on? Do you have like [inaudible 00:17:30]?

Vic: I'm pretty sure you've been into my office enough to know that it is shoes. [inaudible 00:17:36] that that was targeted. I do feel attached. But that is okay. I spend my money on shoes. What else do I spend my money on? Coffee, literally coffee every single day. I walk down to the cafe in the mornings. And, you know, we're all at home, working from home at the moment, and that, to me, is my one thing that I treasure and, you know, I look forward to every morning, getting out of the house. So for me, it's that.

Dom: I don't drink coffee. But I would say for me going to the movies and watching movies on Apple TV, or Netflix or, whatever. We spend more money, we found out, about two and a half times as much money on movies as I do on bread.

Vic: Oh, impressive. I'm gluten-free. So like I could probably say that I spend a hundred percent more.

Dom: Probably. There you go. For me, that's sort of I guess my vices. I like to spend money on cinema.

Vic: I love that though. And I think it's really important to be aware of the things that make you happy because that's one of the things that if we're going to start talking about budgeting is really, really important to remember. And that's if you create yourself a budget that is actually just really unreasonable and doesn't give you the joy that you want out of life, you're not going to stick to it. Like, if I said to you, "Hey, Dom, we're going to cut out all of the things that you like, like movies. So that's not aligned to my value. So, as a financial advisor, I'm going to cut that from your budget," like, you're not going to enjoy life as much as you would have had you been allowed your movies. Like, yeah, you might have some extra savings, but, like, it's not actually about the destination. It's also about the journey. And as much as we're all working towards, and I talk about this a lot and we can touch on it at the end, that we're all working towards financial freedom. So that's a point in life where we don't actually have to rely on going to work every day or retirement, but at the same time, like, age is a privilege that is denied to so many people, and I want everybody to live their lives well and enjoy it. And I think that that's really important as well.

So it's something that, you know, you need to have your budget that is aligned to your goals and your values and the things that you want to achieve. And sometimes, that's actually really hard, especially if we're young because we base our values on the values of our friends, and our peers, and what the people around us are doing. So like you might see your friends saying, "Oh, Dom, I'm gonna go to Europe for six months." "Oh, you know, I've never been interested in Europe, but I don't really want to miss out. Maybe I should start saving for that too." But in the background, you really wanted to go do this fancy art course and, like, you couldn't put it on HELP debt. But, you know, you needed to pay for it outright. But, you know, you're sacrificing one of your actual goals for a goal that you've picked up from a friend. And whilst I'm not saying that that's something you shouldn't do, I think we just really need to be aware of how we pick up these goals and how we actually create our values and the things that we are trying to achieve because otherwise, we end up not actually working towards something that we're really passionate about.

So I won't harp on about goals, and values, and beliefs anymore. I will switch to what is the budget. So this often seems really simple, but it's not. A budget, to me, is probably something different to what a lot of other people would categorize it as. Some people think it's like these handcuffs that they have that stops them from spending money. And we always hear that friend that's like, "Sorry. I'm on a budget. I can't do that." And like, that's okay, as long as that's aligned with their values. But we actually need clarity on when, where, and how we spend our money because without this, we can't create the life we want and we can't create financial freedom. So for us to have a budget, to me, a budget is actually just a really good view of where every single dollar you earn goes. It is not, you know, this set of rules that you have to follow and, "This month, I budgeted $50 for something. And so if it's $52, I've gone over budget, and I've ruined it."

So I think it's really important to, you know, actually categorize a budget in a way that makes sense to you, not in a way that makes sense to society, or, you know, other people. It's more, what money have you got coming in, and how do you allocate that out? And when you allocate that out, are you actually allocating it in line with your values and the things you want to achieve, or you're just spending it willy-nilly and not really thinking about it and actually not working towards anything? So I think it's really important to take a step back and, you know, really look at what you're working with because it's also really important to make sure that that aligns to the things you're, you know, working towards. But then also, you know, I look at budgets every single day. Like, Dom, you know, I do these hours of power with people and I sit them down and figure out, "Let me see how you budget. You tell me what you're doing." And then when we go, "All right, let's work together on your values." And someone might say, "Victoria, my biggest value, it's saving for a house and it's travel." "Wow, that is so good. Why are you spending the most of your budget on cigarettes?"

So I think then flipping it around and going, "All right, the one thing that you spend the most money on each and every single month, that's your values. Your budget, to me, is a reflection of the things that you value, whether you like it or not." So if you are in a position where you are spending all your money on clothes, and shoes, and fashion, and going out, those are your values. And so, if you tell me then, "Victoria, my value is deciding to travel," well, actually it's not because you're not putting any energy into it. And I often say money...and this is again me being a bit airy-fairy, which, you know, "She's on the Money" community and knowing that I am, but I think it's really important to talk about, money is energy. And you can allocate it towards things to achieve goals. And you can allocate it towards other things to achieve other things and create things. And, you know, it can create food. It can create experiences. It can create shelter. It can create everything for you. You just need to allocate that energy efficiently. So, for me, a budget is about having clarity and understanding where you are standing and where you are going. And that's actually really hard. So I'll skip to the next slide.

Dom: I do have some questions for you. Do you find that a lot of people don't know what they're spending? Like, where it's going? It seems to me to be quite a common sort of thread is that people just don't know. And certainly, for us, when we were looking at how do you visualize people spending, and the categories, and the merchants, and all that stuff, it was actually, again, it was a really important thing is that we don't help people with budgeting. But what we try to do is provide meaningful insights and sort of insights that are relevant so that when they come to someone like you, like an advisor, they're actually able to lay it out and say, "Well, have a look at all the things that I'm spending my money on," and then you can quickly identify because a lot of people just simply don't know.

Vic: Yeah. And I actually love that. And I've told you that before because I feel like budgeting is different for everybody. Like, some people might really want to sit down and write out with a pen and paper, you know, their whole budget. And they might want to print their bank statements or have them on a laptop and go through it that way. I've got other clients who are using apps like Pocketbook is an app that's really, really popular and now on "She's on the Money" community. I've got absolutely no affiliation with them. I just hear about them day in and day out from users. That allocates budget and that's quite cool. And then I have clients who use the spreadsheet that I've created and absolutely love it. In the "She's on the Money" community, some people use that. So I think that there's so many different ways of budgeting. It's just, well, what actually resonates with you. And I know that on smartmoney.gov.au...I think it's .gov.au, has a budget that you can download and use as well, as well as ASIK [SP]. They've got a pretty good budget if you want to start with something really [inaudible 00:25:30] and straightforward and government-approved.

So I think that there's so many different ways. But there's no one right way. The right way for me is actually just understanding where you're starting from, where you're going, and what you're actually working towards. And, Dom, that can be really, really daunting. And as you said, do you find that a lot of people don't know what they're spending money on? Yes, I do. And it's really interesting. On the next slide, there's actually an activity that I'll take you guys through, that you can do later for yourselves that will help you understand what you earn, what you spend, what you own, and what you owe. And those things sound really simple because I can just, like, reel off those four words. But it's one of those things that we actually often don't know what we're spending, and it just seems to disappear. And with so many clients, I'll sit down and I'll do their full budget with them. I often send it out before the meeting, "Fill in this budget just so I've got an understanding of, you know, where you allocate your funds. Now do it." Yep. Cool. And then we go through it together line by line, "All right. Are you sure that you're not spending anything on [inaudible 00:26:34]?" And they go, "Oh no. I missed that. I'm spending about $800." "Okay, no problems. Let's pop that in." So we create this budget. And the end of that I say, "All right, how did that go? Do you think that's accurate?" And they say, "Yeah."

And I go, "All right. Well, at the bottom of this, it says there's a surplus of $10,000. So that means to me that on an annual basis, you should be saving $10,000. Have you done that?" "Oh, no." "Okay, so our budget is not actually accurate." And then they're, "Oh, you know, I told you what I'm spending." I'm like, "Yeah. But if you're spending what you're saying you're spending, then this budget is correct. This budget says that there will be a surplus at the end of the year of $10,000. And you said that over the last 12 months, your income hasn't changed, and your spending habits haven't changed. So have you saved $10,000?" And they're often like, "[inaudible 00:27:21]." And that's because their banking system is actually not allowing them to be successful. That means, like, it's so easy to tap, like, especially now, I call it tap happy. Like, we've all got our cards, and it's so easy to, like, go down to the cafe. And I promise you, like, I will put you in contact with my barista, and they will say that every single morning, I'm, like, they're tapping my [inaudible 00:27:43] card. But it's so easy to be tap happy with a card and just not think about that purchase. And, you know, you kind of put it to the back of your mind. It's so easy to be like, "Oh, Dom, do you wanna grab a coffee? Oh, Dom, I'll grab your coffee," and things just add up over time. And whilst that's totally okay if we're not aware of that, it's kind of money that goes through the seams that we miss and it's opportunity and energy that we're not harnessing. So for me, yes, lots of people don't know what they're spending. That is why I'm so passionate about, you know, the bricks and mortar of financial advice, and that's budgeting and cash flow.

So back to my slide, where are you starting from? So, if you don't have the tools and resources to get somewhere, you don't actually know if that destination is even possible. So you might say, "Hey, Victoria, you know, we are going to go to Bora Bora." "I know. Sweet, Dom. I've got a car. Let's go." Like, that's the wrong tool. And we don't have the actual ability to get to Bora Bora if we've only got a car. So I think it's really, really important to put ourselves in a position where we have access to the tools and resources we need to know where we're going. And if you don't create a map, you might actually get lost or end up needing a detour along the way or ending up where you didn't want to be because you didn't know where you were starting because if I gave you a map of Australia and said, "Hey, Dom, we're going to Sydney," and you're like, "Yeah. Let's go, road trip," and then we end up in Canberra, like, we are not where we were meant to be, but we thought we were starting in Melbourne when we're actually starting in Queensland. So I think understanding exactly where you are right now, as well as where you want to go is really, really important. And as I said, that can actually be so daunting sometimes. Like, it can be... Sorry, our little Whatsapp group, Dom, with listener questions is going a bit wild. If you go, head up... Are we gonna wait, or we going to interrupt with them? I'm going to finish this and then we'll work it out.

Dom: Finish up what you're on and I'll maybe [inaudible 00:29:43].

Vic: So yeah, we need to know where we're going. But that can actually be really daunting. And as I was talking about before when you asked a question about, you know, what do I spend on, what do I regret," when someone starts to look at their budget and starts to go, "Oh my gosh, I earn X. I'm spending Y. This is all too much. This is so hard. It's so overwhelming," it can be really overwhelming because we're actually judging ourselves on the decisions the past us made. And for me, I think it's incredibly important to go, "No, line in the sand. This doesn't actually matter. It does not matter where I've come from. But it's very important for me to know where I came from. It's more important for me to know where I'm going. But to know where I'm going, I need to really understand where I've come from." But don't judge yourself on where you came from. You're in personal debt? Okay. No problem. Draw a line in the sand. Let's create a plan of how to get out of that debt. You're not where you want to be. That is also okay because you, as an individual, have the power to move from where you are to where you want to be. You just have to make the change and put the energy in it.

So, Dom, this is the slide I was telling you about, about what you earn, what you spend, what you own, and what you owe. And I know this makes absolutely no sense to anybody, but it is my favorite activity for people to do before they actually start budgeting. And the reason for that is so that they've got a point of reflection. And I also think that it is much easier to deal with four numbers in total than an entire arduous big budget. And we know, or I know, that it is really important over the long-term of your life to earn more than you are spending and own more than you owe. So those are the two goals out of these charts that we are trying to achieve. And it's one of those things that when you start doing it, it's pretty easy. Like, most of us know what we earn. It can be pretty confusing if you're a freelancer and you've got a whole heap of work. But that's another story. But once you work out what you earn, pop that in the earn box. And then what you spend. So that's just rough, like this is rough and dirty numbers at the moment. We're not talking about getting to the nitty-gritty of, "Oh, my car insurance is $800. Oh, actually, it's $880.80." Like, that's not what we're talking here. Like on average, what are we spending?

What do we own? And when I talk about what we own, for me, this isn't, "Oh, I own a $1 million property, Dom." That's how much of that property do you own. Have you only paid $200,000 off that mortgage? That's what you own because the rest of it goes into your owe. And when we calculate owe, for me and my values, I mean, you guys can do it however you want because there is actually no right or wrong with budgeting, it is all about just making sure you're educated. Owe is actually for me not including things like HELP-HECS debt. And the reason for that is because I don't see that as super negative debt. I see that as something that, you know, we pay off over our lifetime. It is the one debt that dies with us, Dom, which is crazy. So, I mean, that's pretty morbid, but like, throw them.

Dom: It is what it is.

Vic: Just throwing some facts in there. And it is the one debt that doesn't carry any interest. While it has CPI in line with each year that you are holding that debt, it actually sits off to the side. And it's one of those things that doesn't stop you from creating wealth. But it doesn't stop you from getting into your first home, or investing, or saving, or actually living life. So, for me, I don't include HECS debt. If you really want to, you are more than welcome to. But for me, I just don't pop it in there.

I've done a little example of my friend, Sam. Sam is 24 and earns a salary of $65,000 a year, which includes superannuation. And Sam has a HELP debt of $24,000 still. So I'm just letting you guys know because I have taken that $24,000 in HELP debt and super out of their own box. So this own box...I don't know, can you see my mouse? Is that a thing?

Dom: Yup.

Vic: Yeah, cool. So this own box actually includes every single dollar that goes into Sam's bank account each year. It's not including super kind of wipe that off to the side because it gets complex and also helped get wiped off to the side. So every single year, Sam has $47,000 that goes into their account. And rough and dirty numbers, Sam thinks they spend $45,000 each year including things like rent for their share house, travel, loan repayments, etc. They've put it all together, food, car budgets, etc. Sam doesn't own anything yet. And Sam owes $11,000 on Sam's car loan. So, that means that if Sam is currently spending more than Sam is earning, it puts Sam on this side of the graph. But Sam is currently owing more than Sam owns. So this map is like my little map that I give to most of my clients to map themselves where they currently are. And this is just a really good reflection point because I really like visuals. And it's something that, you know, it can help some people. Some people will be like, "Victoria, that doesn't help me at all, "but, you know, each to their own.

Ideally, Sam doesn't want to always be in that position. Sam wants to be up here. I mean... Oh, what have I done? That's all the secrets. Sam wants to be in a position where Sam is owning more than Sam owes and earning more than Sam is spending. So ideally, we're in the top right corner of this graph. But over our lifecycle, we actually move around this chart because we actually can't stay always in the top right corner because that doesn't make sense. Sometimes to generate wealth, we need to do things like take on investment loans or mortgages, which would then put us further down on the owe. But the ultimate goal, by the time that we retire, is to be working towards the own and earn top corner. And for me, that is just like the goal that we have all along. We're always working towards that. And I think it's really nice to sometimes just map ourselves and have a little bit of a check and say, "All right, Sam, you're currently here on the quadrant. It's because of this, but right now we're working on getting rid of that debt and working on, you know, owning some assets that can help create us wealth." Does that make sense?

Dom: It makes sense to me. [crosstalk 00:36:27.123]

Vic: [crosstalk 00:36:27.535].

Dom: While you were talking, I was putting down my amounts of money just mentally into those different categories. And I think it's really interesting, as you say, to make it visual. And again, that's something that we think about a lot. Even just the colors of things can have a subconscious impact on the way that you think about them. So if you put, say, for example, negative money in red, then people immediately think that's bad. But it's not necessarily. You might actually, like, you gave the example before where you're buying a house and you're paying it off, and so, some of it is negative, some of it is positive. And it's just a mental state, the way that you think about it. And so, I think that even the color and the visual representation can have a big impact and certainly something that we think about all the time when we're designing software to help people with money because you don't want people to feel bad about themselves. You want people just to think that it's a fact. This is me. This is what my spending looks like. This where my savings are, and it should be sort of more factual rather than emotional.

Vic: Absolutely. And for me, it's just about education. And I know that I harp on about this all the time. But if we can just understand where we are right now, it's sometimes not enough. We need to understand why as well because that helps us contextualize what our current position is. And it's often one of those things that I talk to people about this all the time, like, understand your own why, but don't compare your why to someone else's. And, you know, Sam might have a friend that is exactly the same age, but Sam's friend's parents gave them, you know, $100,000 for their first-time deposit. And so, Sam's friend is working towards a different goal and would be on a different part of the map. And Sam might be envious of that. But I think it's really important to not actually compare our journey to the journeys of other peoples for two reasons. The first, it just makes us feel pretty terrible and that's not a good thing. But it also really diminishes our own achievements. So once Sam's paid off that car loan, he might go, "Yeah, but my friend has X," whereas Sam should really be celebrating their own achievements. They shouldn't be, you know, worrying about the achievements of other people. So I think understanding where we are, knowing where we want to go, and the steps we need to achieve that are really important because it means that we can celebrate ourselves. And that gives us the confidence and the motivation to continue.

So this next slide is, like, the quadrants. And I talk to a lot of people about this. Four, we don't really want to be in four. But when we're in the fourth quadrant, which is this space here, so it's all of this you're spending more than you're earning, and you owe more than you own, you don't want to be down here. But...oh, I'm cheating again. Sorry. You don't want to be down here. But if you are, that's totally okay. What you're doing is just working to get to a three, then to a two, then to a one, eventually. That might take a year. It might take 30 years. That's okay, as long as we are working towards financial health and financial freedom. So I think it's nice to just see where we're going and have those steps. And, you know, I talk to clients quite often about categorizing, like, where on the money map are you now? Where do you want to be? And where is your money journey going to take you on the map? And a lot of clients go, "Oh you're right. I'm gonna slip back down to a four because I'm going to buy a house and be sitting down here. I've been sitting in two because I've been saving and doing a really good job and I own an investment property." But then maybe they slip all the way back down. But the thing here is to not worry about that. It's always just all right, well, that step backwards is actually helping you take another step forward in the future.

So I'll stop harping on about the map out your money. This is a budget. And as I said before, I've jumped ahead of myself. Actually, it doesn't matter what tool you use. This is a budgeting tool I've used in, or I use with my community in "She's on the Money" to budget. And the reason I put a screenshot of it here, it's not the full budget. We need to scroll down and show you guys the rest of it, is I actually put income, and personal spending, and bills and other expenses all separately. So I don't just put it like line, after line, after line because I really like, you know, if you're working with a partner to do budgeting, it will give you a total of what you as a couple bring in. If you're working as an individual, you can delete all of those lines, and it doesn't actually matter. But it gives you really good clarity by looking to the right side of the spreadsheet. It'd be, like, "Awesome. I earned this much." But then I really like having this section of personal spending, which I really break out. So for me, personal spending is my food, my fuel, and my fun. And I keep that all in one separate account because that's kind of like my mini-budget. And I'll explain that a little bit later. But these are the things that we have a lot of control over.

And that's why I separate them in my personal budget and the way that I do things. And I do this because of the control. Like, often we can't control our gas bill as much as we can control how much we spend on takeaway, as much as we can, you know, turn off the lights and do as much as we can. At the end of the day, we're going to have a gas bill. Our car registration is going to be what our car registration is. Our rent is often going to be what rent is. And as much as we can do things like finding a cheaper place to live or, you know, being a little bit savvy, there's only so much that we can do. But what we can really do is be in control of our own personal spending. So I break it up because I think that it's important to separate the things that we can be in a lot of control of versus the things that we are not in a lot of control of, but also view those things as something that we do need to review and make sure we try to do as well as we can. But, yes, everyone budgets differently.

And the next step here, once we're budgeting and once we've got this, it's important to obviously take into consideration all of the different things that you spend money on. Often, when I speak to people, they forget things like personal grooming, like how much haircuts cost, or how much glasses cost every two years because they're not buying it every single year, or they might forget how much they're spending on birthdays. And it's really easy to go through a budgeting, let's call it a spreadsheet for now. It's really easy to go through a budgeting spreadsheet and go, " [inaudible 00:43:04] I probably spent $500 a year on gifts. [inaudible 00:43:07]." So how much are you spending on people at Christmas? How many people do you buy for? And then at Easter, are you buying anything then? Are you spending money on birthday presents? Are you spending money on Mother's Day? Do you buy your mom flowers? How does all of this add up? And people go, "Wow. I completely forgot that." And, you know, what about the office party? Dom is leaving. He's not going to be a part of Up anymore. We're going to get him a going-away present. Everyone's putting $30 in. Is that in your budget? Is that something that happens in your office? I think it is so easy to forget things in your budget because they're once-off costs, which is why I often recommend, and I know it's really arduous, and it's not very fun, and it makes me feel a little bit sick even doing it myself, but if you can, go into your bank and get a copy of the last 12 months of spending and spend the evening going through it with two different colored highlighters.

One highlighter, I don't care what color it is, is going to go through and you're going to highlight all the non-negotiables. Those are your fixed costs, things you couldn't really change, or didn't have control over. And the second color highlighter, you're going to go through that budget and you're going to highlight the things that you have control over. That is extra takeaway lunches at work. That is the extra pair of shoes I bought, and I probably shouldn't have been walking past Nine West in between client meetings. It's things like that so that we can actually then look back at this piece of paper and go, "Wow, the color of all the things that are in my control is really outweighing all of my fixed costs." And if it's not, fantastic. But it's one of those things that, again, I'm a really visual person, and I know that most people are. So if you can see it, you're more likely to make tangible and sustainable change. I can see time is going away, so I'm going to speed up a little bit.

Cash flow is queen. I like to say queen because everyone says king, and like I definitely don't look like a king. But cash flow is the thing that is going to help you be successful with your budget. And it's actually the hardest thing to control. And that's why, Dom, and like it's not to promote a product at all. As I was saying to you before, I feel really weird about it because I use Up. And I think everybody knows I use Up. But I use Up and that's why I really like it because it like tells me what I'm doing. And I can always be really aware of what I'm spending, especially on my personal spending because my main account is my tap happy account. It's always like, "It's going down Victoria. Victoria, it's going down." So for me, cash flow is queen and you need to make it a priority. So that doesn't mean that you need to go in and earn more money. It doesn't mean that you need to, you know, really save every dollar. But what you do need to know is where every dollar in your cash flow is going and allocated efficiently.

What's holding you back from actually doing this? A lot or maybe not. Often, holding people back from actually putting budgeting and cash flow as a priority is the perception that their current income isn't enough. They'll say things like, "I'll do it next year when I'm earning more. I'm gonna change jobs in six months, and I'll have a better income. Oh, it doesn't matter. I only earn X." Like, to me, that's not good enough is not an excuse. Another thing holding people back is lifestyle creep. Dom, have you heard of lifestyle creep?

Dom: I have. Yeah.

Dom: Yeah. I'm good at it. I'm so, so good at it. But it's one of those things that actually creeps up on us. So, for those of you who don't know what lifestyle creep is, lifestyle creep is when your lifestyle increases in line with your salary increases. So the example I often give, I'm a female. Growing up, I used to buy all my makeup at the supermarket. I used to beg my mom to buy the Maybelline that was on sale. And then when I started going to uni, I started going to Priceline, and I was buying Priceline makeup. And that was pretty luxe. And then I started to get, you know, into actually the workforce and I had a full-time job. And I thought I was very worthy of going to the expensive cosmetic store mecca, and I would start buying products there. So I have gone from purchasing $10 makeup to purchasing $60 or $70 makeup just because I thought my lifestyle deserved it. Lifestyle creep is not a bad thing. Often when our lifestyles increase, it puts us in a position that we can, you know, afford things that we think we deserve and like. And that's a really good thing. But it is something to be aware of because if you're not aware of lifestyle creep, you start to just lose control of the money that is coming in. You're not harnessing it for those values and those things that you want to achieve. And again, it's not what you can earn. It's actually what you spend. And I've told lots of people this, but some of my wealthiest clients haven't got the biggest cash flows. They've just been really diligent about saving, and investing, and making sure that they are putting themselves first and paying themselves first.

So that leads into effective goal setting. I have the She's on the Money" goal-setting methodology. And I've left SMART methodology in there because I kind of ripped it off and didn't want to not give it credit. So, for me, that is just making sure that your goals are really well defined, really clear. Sit down and write them out. They need to be optimistic goals, so optimistic but within reach. So don't go, "I really want to be an astronaut," if that's absolutely not something that's going to happen or, "Victoria, I really want to buy a yacht and sail around the Mediterranean," when, you know, you're working your first job in an entry-level role. So I think it's about being realistic and relevant to your life purpose and your goals. Timely. It's really good to set a goal. But if you don't like to set a goal that actually helps you achieve it, like, when do you know you've achieved it, so setting a really clear start date, target date, and clearly defining that timeline, and potentially even working backwards. If you say to me, "Victoria, I want to save an extra $1,200 this year," okay, no problems. So, let's break that down. Can you save a hundred dollars per month? What does that look like for you? And if that's not achievable, we're not actually going to achieve the bigger goal. And then, also measurable. How do we know we're achieving our goal? And that's again, like I said, about breaking it down. That's a hundred dollars a month. You're able to check that. If you are saving a hundred dollars a month, are you on track? Yes, absolutely.

Save more and spend less is not as easy as people seem to think it is. So I've put together three cash flow tips, Dom, and I hope that they are helpful. And the first is going back to cash. So that is not going back to, you know, actually taking money out of the ATM. It's spending your own money. It is a debit card. It is making sure that when you are tapping, you're not tapping a credit card. Research shows us that when you spend on a credit card, you spend between 12% and 18% more than you would have if you used a debit card. So I think it's really important that we understand that. So potentially, pop your credit card to the side. I won't tell you to cut it up immediately. But, you know, I do love it when people put in our Facebook group pictures of them cutting up their credit cards.

Plan for success with a cash flow budget. So make sure that you are putting your income at the top of your budget and then allocating efficiently so that you know what is coming in, not just writing down a list of your expenses and going, "Cool. I did a budget. I wrote down my expenses." What are those expenses being paid with? What is your surplus? What are you actually working towards? And then just implement a system that automates it. So, for me, I actually...and I'll share with you in a second exactly how I manage my budget, I put a system in place that means that everything is automatic. Instead of making sure that, you know, I'm going in every single month and transferring X and transferring Y, I've set up those direct debits so that I can actually just pay them without thinking about when my salary comes in. I made this chart because...

Dom: Looking on that, what you said about being connected with your money, again, for us, that's one of our main...sort of part of our mission is to reconnect people with their money because sometimes when you talk about cash, and as you said it can be a debit card, or whatever it is, it can be convenient, and it can be digital, but it's about actually reconnecting so that you recognize not only where your money's going, but that emotional connection that you have with where it's going. And it actually then helps you with your budgeting. And when you ask those questions before that maybe people don't know the answer to, I think when you're more connected to your money, it's easier for you to answer those questions. And so, that's really part of our mission. It's part of what we do. So I really like that. I think also the way that you sort of, as you said, ripped off the SMART methodology, whether "She's on the Money," I think it's really...

Vic: I tried to be cool. I haven't tried to own it completely as mine. But maybe I will just drop the SMART one day. But I thought that "She's on the Money" methodology.

Dom: But I think it's really good for people to have something practical that they can implement. So, yeah, I really like that.

Vic: I think it's just about tracking it. And, like, it's very easy to be in a position where we set goals and, like, who hasn't set goals at the start of the year? Li, I am the queen of new year resolutions. I mean, I'm going to the gym every single day. But that's actually not something that is ever going to be achievable for me because I'm at work too often. And I don't actually want to go to the gym every single day. So in theory, it's like I can set a goal. Yes, that will work. But it actually doesn't work for me. So it's really important to be setting goals that actually work for you, not that maybe are aspirational and you want to do but you know you're not going to achieve because the easiest way to feel really disheartened and pretty flat about things, especially about your budget, is to set a goal that you're actually unable to achieve. And, you know, it makes you feel down. It actually sets the precedent that maybe next time you go to set a goal or go to save on [inaudible 00:53:05] terrible saving. The last time I tried to save it just didn't work. So I think it's one of those things that we just need to be aware of it.

Dom, I put this slide together because as, you know, I do love a good debit card, but not a credit card. And I put a list of all of the benefits of credit cards versus all of the cons of a credit card. So, like, with a credit card, you can get some points and flybuys points. I've calculated it with 0.005% per dollar. And that's it. Like, that's the benefits. But the cons of a credit card are that you will spend more than you earn, and it is really easy to tap happy. You'll end up having to pay it all back plus the interest that you've earned. On average, as I said, when I was talking about this slide before, you actually spend more. Like, it is science. It is not just me saying, "I think people spend more." Research tells us that if you give someone a credit card and they walk around a supermarket, they are far more likely to pick up your bags of chips and things that they just want, whereas, if you handed them a debit card and said, "Look, Dom, here's your debit card. There's $200 on it," they're going to be more conscious about their spending habits that they have. A credit card doesn't actually lean towards being conscious about your spending, and that's why I don't love it. I'm not saying that, you know, you should never, ever have credit cards. If it works for you, fantastic. But it's one of those things that, you know, there's actually no pain associated with a credit card because you don't have to pay for it at the time whereas I feel really guilty, and I don't know if guilty is the right word. I feel very conscious, Dom, when I use my debit card because I always get the notification to remind me of how much is left in my account. So it keeps me accountable. It keeps me conscious. It means that I know what's going on in my life.

Dom: [inaudible 00:54:49] control you.

Vic: What did you say?

Dom: Knowing your balance and knowing how much is your money...

Vic: It's empowering.

Dom: Definitely, it's empowering. It changes your mindset. There's this sort of subconscious bias that you have when it's not your money versus when it is your money.

Vic: Exactly. And it can impact your ability to create wealth. So, if you've got a credit card... And I know that that sounds silly, and, you know, when you read it, it's like, "What do you mean it can impact your ability to create wealth?" Dom, not one person has ever gone, "You know what? I'm going to get a credit card so I can go into massive amounts of consumer debt. That sounds good." Not one person. So no one ever gets a credit card with bad intentions. They always get a credit card because they say, "Look, I'm going overseas. I've got free travel insurance." By the way, don't do that, or, "Look, I've just got so many costs coming up I'm going to put it on a credit card," or, "I've got a wedding coming up. I'm going to put all of the expenses on the wedding, and I'll deal with it later." Nobody ever plans to get into consumer debt. But once you are in consumer debt, it stops you from saving. It stops you from investing and actually creating longer-term wealth. So it's one of those things that, you know, as much as there are... Some people who are really responsible with their credit cards. Like, I've got a friend who is brilliant with a credit card. She pays it off every single month to collect some points.

She's really great with it. But it's actually not for everybody. And most people are really irresponsible with them. I also want to slip in here a credit card tip because that, for me, is really important, because many people think it's really important but it's really American. And that is that you do not need a credit card to create a credit score. So, if your parents have said, "You probably should get a credit card or a personal loan to create good credit scores," it's absolutely not a thing that is applicable here in Australia. It is very American. If you want a good credit score, don't get into debt and pay all of your bills on time and you will be set. I made this as well, Dom. Do you like it?

Dom: Cool.

Vic: I also thought I was really sassy because it says you need to act your wage and like that. Yeah, that's really funny. So this is just an example of poor spending habits versus wealthy spending habits. And it's really one of those things that I think is worthy of, you know, consideration. And I've read a book and I know lots of other people have read this book. It's called "Rich Dad, Poor Dad." And he talks about the differences between the way wealthy people create wealth and pay themselves versus the way people who are, I guess, not so wealthy end up spending their money. And people who don't create the ultimate wealth, they take their income, they spend it on their lifestyle, and then there's actually nothing left over to save and invest, whereas wealthy people, they take their income, they pay themselves first. As I said, Dom, earlier today, I wish I'd taken my dad's advice and actually paid myself first and put that money aside into the bank account that you have, and they put their assets in their savings, or in an investment, or they're, you know, working towards wealth, and then they spend what is left over on their lifestyle.

Dom: I actually love that book too, "Rich Dad, Poor Dad."

Vic: [inaudible 00:58:02]

Vic: When I was young, you know, obviously, I hadn't...or not obviously, but I had a dad, and we were not a wealthy family. So he was sort of my poor dad. And my best mate's dad was actually very wealthy. And I learned a lot from my two different dads, whether it was life values, or whether it was money values. But you can learn a lot from different people in different circumstances. And they don't have to be literally your dad. Like, you don't have to take it that way. But, you know, they could be friends, or family, or, you know, relatives, or whatever. But I think that the book was very inspiring, certainly for me when I read it, and a lot of people refer to it. But I think it's more to the point is that you can learn a lot from different circumstances and different people. And you can treat money differently depending on your circumstances. And I think that is a really, really important message.

Vic: Hey, Dom, when I have my book come out, can you go on a webinar and tell everybody that it's like really inspiring? Would that be okay?

Dom: If it is.

Vic: Oh, Dom, I thought we were friends. All right. All right. I have one more slide and then we're done. And we can, like, do Q&A. All right. So, when I say automate your money, I really wanted to give you guys an example. And because I'm working with a bank, I have used an example of my clients. It's obviously been de-identified, who actually uses that bank. And this is how she manages her money. This is a cash flow that we did together. And she took this home and [inaudible 00:59:22]. And she's loving this plan. So each and every... Let's give her a name. Her name is Sarah. So each and every single week, or fortnight actually, Sarah has $1,400 coming to her account. And she then has her card, of which she spent $320 a week on her food, her fuel, and her fun. Now, she has the ability to be a little bit flexible on this. So, she wants to have a little bit more fun on the weekend to go out for brunch with their friends. She is a little bit more conscious when she's at the grocery store and, you know, buy her groceries each week. Maybe she's not buying as much meat, and maybe she's not buying as many luxury items that she used to, or maybe when she's having a bit more of a quiet week, she's spending more on groceries and not thinking of going out.

So this is what she controls every single week. And using the budgeting spreadsheet that I showed you guys earlier, we've worked that out together as to how much she can spend per week without getting in the way of her fortnightly expenses. So every single fortnight, she spends about $460 on her phone, utilities, rent, and Christmas presents, and stuff like that each and every single year. She then has set up her savers. So she has a holiday saver. She has an emergency saver. And she wants to start investing as one of her values, but she doesn't have enough money to invest just yet, so she has a future investment saver. And she's contributing as much as possible to this. But every single fortnight, she transferred $130 to this.

So this isn't like a guide for what everybody has to do. But I really wanted to show you an example of someone who's really taking charge of their cash flow and of their budget to be really conscious, so that she is actually allocating the amount that she needs every single fortnight to the goals so that she actually achieves those goals and knows that she's working towards something. I know she's got a holiday coming up. And so, her budget is $40 a fortnight towards that holiday. So that's what she's putting in there. And this is something that, you know, holidays for her was something she wanted to achieve, but it wasn't her massive goal. So she's saving for this holiday for two years, whereas investment and an emergency saver, to her that was more important. So more of her funds are allocated to that. Does that make sense?

Dom: Is there something that you're saving for personally? Like, for me, for example, we're saving up for a renovation. And so every space that we have, all the roundups. You know, we do boosts in the app and Alexa stuff. I mean, so I actually have a cyber setup for renovations. And we try and put all of our spare money in there. Is there something that you're personally saving up for that you're happy to share?

Vic: I've been pretty vocal about not owning property before and said, you know, it's not in line with my values, yet. It's not something I want to do. But it's really important for my partner. So he and I, together, have a saver set up for a home deposit. And we're nearly there. So hopefully, I can share that process with you guys at some point. But, yeah, I'm currently saving a deposit for our first time, which should be really exciting.

Dom: That's awesome. And the other thing I'll say is that sometimes it's the very small things that can add up. So when I was a little kid, we used to have a money box and we put our spare change in there all the time. And when I was, I think, I was 18 or 21, it was a ceramic box. I smashed it open and there was like 400 bucks, or 700 bucks, or some amount of money...

Vic: How good is that?

Dom: Right. And I'm very excited about that. But, like, we have roundups in Up. And it's the same thing where you can actually save small amounts of money over time. And even if, like you said, with Sarah, who is putting aside 40 bucks for a holiday or whatever it is, those small amounts over time, if you do them consistently and you create habits, then they can add up. So, for example, I said that we only launched in October of 2018 with Up. But we've actually helped Upsiders save more than $10 million just [inaudible 01:03:22].

Vic: I know. And it's so cool.

Dom: It's amazing. So I don't want people to take away that it has to be a big goal and a lot of money. Like, saving for a deposit on a house and saving for a renovation, they're both obviously big goals. But again...

Vic: They might be a big goal, but at the same time from little things a big thing grows. So, like mine is rounding up as well into my account and, like, we are consistently trying to just make sure that we know where every dollar is going. It's not to, you know, feel bad about those purchases. But, you know, a couple of dollars here and there over an entire year or over the time it takes to save the house deposit, that's really significant.

Dom: So do you want to maybe wrap up with action items for people on the call, and then we can jump into some questions?

Vic: That sounds good. It's like you knew this next slide was gonna say action plan. So, for me, it's actually four things that I want you guys to do to actually just get on top of your budget and cash flow and budget like a boss. And the first is identify your values and set goals based on these. Don't set goals based on the values of your friends. Set goals based on the values of the things that you personally want to achieve. Then I want you to go and complete a comprehensive budget. I don't care how you do that budget. Do it on an envelope, if that is what makes you happy. But make sure that you know where every dollar of your income is going so that you can actually harness that energy and make sure that it is working for you because your money should be working as hard for you as you do for it. The next is automate it. Make sure that if you need to set up a saver so that every single fortnight, or every single week, or every single month you're putting money into a holiday account, that actually happens. And the next thing is stop making excuses and actually start now. Start today. Like, there's literally no better time than today to begin. With that way, we're just done. Into the Q&A.

Dom: Do you want to turn off your...?

Vic: Yeah. I was gonna say, "Can we stop sharing so we're not teeny, teeny, tiny?" Hello, welcome back.

Dom: Much better. Awesome. So I've got all these questions here. If you'd like I can run through them.

Vic: I've got my phone, too. I've got a few on here that have come through. I'll let you read them.

Dom: So we'll start from the top. Laura had a question for you, which is that she said she's going to be moving out of the home soon and have you got any tips moving from almost all of her money going to a savers to having to pay for everything like rent and groceries and all that sort of stuff?

Vic: That is so hard. And it's such a shock when something like that happens because if you've been living at home and you haven't had to pay board or rent before, it's actually a pretty big shock to, you know, watching your savings account going up, which is why when people are living at home, make hay while the sun is shining. If you are living at home and you are lucky enough to be in a position where you don't have to pay rent or don't have to pay board and now you're going into a position where you have to pay rent, and bills, and groceries, it can be a bit of a shock. So save as much as you can while you can. But I think Laura just needs to make a really good budget. Like, how much you're going to have to spend on rent? What does that look like to your savings? You know, are you going to have to spend any of your savings, or are you going to be in a position where the income that you have coming in is going to cover those expenses, which would be ideal so you don't have to dip into them?

And then more on moving out, that is expensive. Like, I don't know if you remember moving out for the first time, Dom. But all of those little things add up. Like, you go to Kmart, and then it's like $150 is paid on containers that you probably didn't need. I think if you're going to go shopping for your new house, make a list. And make a list, and check it twice, and make sure that you are only buying things you actually need and actually spending money on the essentials because it is really easy to be, "Oh, but that container would look so cute in my new kitchen." Don't do it.

Dom: I left home quite young, but I went overseas. And so, that was doubly expensive, plus I didn't speak Korean at the time. So it was tricky. But when I came back...

Vic: That's all right.

Dom: When I came back to Australia, I moved in, and I lived with my brother for a while. I lived with my now wife. And by sharing an apartment, we were also able to share expenses. And I think that was at one point, we were able to cope with it. So there's quite a few questions, but I'll alternate...

Vic: There's so many.

Dom: There are some questions for you and some for me. But one of the questions we...

Vic: I'll read the ones that are for you, but I get to be the interviewer. All right. Are you going one for one, or are you just going with a few questions, and then I get a few questions. How's this gonna work?

Dom: One for one.

Vic: All right. All right. So, Dom, I have a question for you from Tina. And she says, "Has investing in ASX been the same as investing in Up?"

Dom: That's a good question. Up is not a public company. And we've taken no external investment at all. And the two companies that are involved, as I said before, Bendigo and Ferocia, Ferocia is a private company. And we have never taken investment, and then Bendigo is a public company. So it's not the same thing. But if you wanted to invest some money into the share market, I can't advise that, obviously, but Bendigo is...

Vic: [inaudible 01:08:26]

Dom: Bendigo is a public company. And so anything that Bendigo are doing is obviously, you know, reflected in their share price. So, yes, certainly, they are a public company, and if you wanted to invest in any of the banks, there are actually very good stocks to invest in over the long time, you know, over the long term. But there's also opportunities all the time. And so, right now, all of the banking stocks all around the world have suffered, you know, because of the global pandemic. And some of those businesses, some of those banks, including Bendigo, are really embedded in the community and are a really important part of our economy. So over time, those stocks often recover. So it's just good to keep an eye out on things like that. But yeah, certainly, Bendigo is a public company if you wanted to invest.

Vic: Well said. Your turn for a question, Dom.

Dom: I've got a question from Wena. And she says, "Do you, Vic, have any tips for prioritizing short and medium-term goals? After paying off debt, it's tempting to just take on more debt. And having options can be overwhelming, and long-term wealth-building can seem intangible. So have you got any tips to help with that sort of prioritization?"

Vic: I do. I'm gonna be, like, real crazy about this. I set goals and like I talked about, like the importance of like goal setting and making sure it's fine. But for me, I get, like, analysis paralysis, sometimes about, like, what's the most important. But then I also get overwhelmed with how many things I actually want to do. Like, I'm somebody who jumps from here to there, and you guys just watched the presentation from me. So, you know that I talk fast and get really excited about things. So it's not unlike me to be like, "Oh, I want that on my goal list." So I have given myself a limit of five goals. So I have two long-term goals, two short or two medium-term goals, and one... What am I saying? I have one really big long-term goal, two short-term goals, and two medium-term goals. And I do that because it's kind of, like, make my goals battle it out. Like, what are my short-term goals gonna be? And if I think of something that I really want to achieve, is it actually better than the goals that I have on my list? And I actually keep that list on a really dodgy Post-it note. It's in my wallet. Like, it's a legit thing, and it keeps me on track. Whatever works, honestly.

So for me, it's about just setting goals that are actually achievable, and understanding your cash flow, and knowing what's going on. It is so tempting to go back into debt, but debt doesn't help you create financial freedom. And when we say financial freedom, it feels like a million miles away. And I promise you, it is not. Like, talk to anybody who is about to retire and say, "Did this go quickly?" And they will say, "Ah, look, I wish that I had thought about this earlier." So it's one of those things that yes, it feels like you want to get back into debt. But you need to just set some really clean and clear goals that you can put your energy into. And what do you want to go into debt for? Is there a way that we can create a plan that you can save for those things, so you can still have those things, so we can be motivated in the short term and in the long term, as opposed to just going, "Oh, look, I'm just going to get a car loan?" Because debt puts you back. Debt is the thing that stands in the way of your financial freedom no matter what your income is.

Dom: And the second part of Wena's question was...

Vic: Oops, sorry.

Dom: It's fine. The second part was...no, I didn't say it yet. You're all good.

Vic: Oh, okay. I was like, "Oh, it's two parts."

Dom: We're having it in two parts. So, making those decisions, are you better to invest in cash, or make it for savings, or to make investments? Which one should you prioritize? Is it saving the first thing you should do, and then do investing, or investing the first thing you should do and then do saving?

Vic: Well, it actually depends on the timeframe of your goal. So, if you've got a goal that is more than 10 years away, then we would start to talk about, you know, the ability to invest for that. But if your goal, to me, is anything less than five years, you are saving for that goal because we can't predict the share market. If I could predict the share market, Dom, I would be so rich. Like, I wouldn't have to have a job. It'd be so great. Like, people would call me Warren Buffett, but they'd be like, "Victoria Devine," and they're going to be like, "Oh, investment wizard." And like, I aim for that, but it's never gonna happen. So it's one of those things that if you are saving for short-term goals, that's always in cash. It is not something that you should be putting your money in a situation where it is at risk. Mark this early on. If you're saving for a house deposit, that's probably going to take between 5 and 10 years, and you probably still want it in cash because I can't predict what the market is going to do. And the worst thing that could happen if you get yourself into a situation where you're so ready to achieve that goal and the market crashes, and you're not able to achieve that goal because by withdrawing your shares or whatever investment you have, you're actually crystallizing a lot of losses.

So for me, no, you're not investing unless it is for the long term. Should you be doing both? Absolutely. But it depends on what your goals are. And if your goals are to travel and to buy a house, and .you know, the share market isn't something you're interested in, you're just saving. You're not, you know, going and seeing a financial advisor and setting up a complex investment portfolio.

Dom: I think, also, the other thing is that it's obviously everyone makes circumstances.

Vic: Yeah, everybody's different.

Dom: But, you know, earlier we mentioned about that she's on the Money" Facebook group. The Facebook group is phenomenal because there's so many people with the same questions or the same queries. And, you know, you can provide almost like community support for each other. And just having someone to talk to sometimes is, like, really sort of part of that picture. So if you want to get obviously financial advice, you go to a financial advisor. But if you just want to talk to someone and you just want to, like, understand circumstances, maybe what they've done or what you've done or whatever, sometimes just jumping into a forum or getting online and having a chat with people is a really good way to sort of, I don't know, become comfortable with those sort of things in talking about money. A lot of people are worried to talk about money. Were there any more questions for me or they're all for you?

Vic: Oh, I've got one. This one is from Susie. And Susie has a question that I also have. And she says, "I have a question for Up. Will there be a joint account option soon, Dom?"

Dom: There will be very soon. It's under development at the moment. We have the Tree of Up, which is our public roadmap, which obviously has joint accounts on it. There's joint accounts. There's shared accounts. There's multiple accounts. There's all sorts of other things. We're taking a very different tact. And the reason why we're taking a bit longer than some people are happy with, I'll put it this way. It's our number one question. The number one thing that people are asking for is joint accounts. Now, the reason we're taking a bit longer is that we actually had been thinking about a lot in the context of the presentation that you took us through, for example, Vic, which is that understanding where your money flows, and then sharing that responsibility with a partner, we wanted to actually make it not like just a regular bank that launches a joint account. We're doing something we call multiplayer banking.

And we really want people to be able to share that experience of the control of money, and the access to money, and the flow of money and be able to share that together. So we're not just going to check on another user and check on another device, which is your typical sort of joint account. We're actually really building from the ground up a new way for couples, or for roommates, or for parents and children, or for anybody, you know, business partners to actually interact with their money. And we think that that's important. And we think it's important enough to take our time to get it right. So, we're definitely going to be launching it. It's under development right now. And we'll launch it soon, a little bit later this year.

Vic: Awesome. What else have you got? Any other fun questions?

Dom: I've got heaps of questions. So another one for you is probably a pretty common question around this time of year is that the end of the financial year is coming up. Are there any tax time tips?

Vic: I mean, I'm not an accountant, but you could [inaudible 01:16:12]. So, the biggest tax time tip for me is actually just keeping track of your expenses. Let's talk about budget. If you know what you're spending on your work-related expenses, it's going to be much easier to claim them. I have...and this is like more a personal tip. You can totally download the ATO app, which helps you keep track of receipts that you have incurred because of your job, or work-related expenses. But I actually have a folder on my phone. And I save photos of, like, receipts and documents and things that I know I need to claim. Given COVID is going on and it's a bit hectic and a bit crazy at the moment, definitely maybe look into your work-from-home claims because you have been or you might have been working from home and you can claim on that. So I won't go too much into it because I can't give tax advice.

Is it worth seeing an accountant? That's completely up to you. The [inaudible 01:17:08] portal is quite straightforward. But if you're not sure what you need to claim, it's always a good idea to speak to a professional. And the good thing here is that if you spend money on an accountant, it's actually tax-deductible the next year. So, you know that next year, you can claim something.

Dom: A lot of the questions that came in were things that you covered already proactively through the presentation. So I'm just going to skip over those ones. But I think like Douglas at ATL and Owl [SP], I think...

Vic: I haven't read through them because [inaudible 01:17:36].

Dom: But there's one from Sophie that I think was a really good one, which is on the automated money plan, it looks like the amounts that was being paid into her card were being kept separate. Is that possible to set that up in Up? So, I guess the first part of the question for you is to validate with the automated money plan how that was set up for Sarah. And then Sophie's question, whether or not you can do it in Up, I'm happy to answer that.

Vic: Do you want to answer the Up question?

Dom: Sure. So I think like with Up at the moment, we are focusing on spending and saving. And we're only focusing on Up products. So we have a philosophical aversion to people providing their authentication, their username password, to other third-party services. And so, we're going to be building the capability for you to interact with third-party services using the open banking standards. And so, you don't have to give away your username and password. So at the moment, in Up, the automation is limited to our products. So Up really has three products. We have a digital wallet, or, you know, lots of different digital wallets with Google, and Apple, and Alexa. We have transactional accounts. So you can go and spend money in-store, or overseas, or online. And then we have savers. So, really, the automation that we have available at the moment is that you can have money coming in or out of your transaction or your savings accounts, and you can also have a salary split. So when your salary comes in, you can split your salary.

We also have automatic detection of your upcoming bills. So it can actually help you plan for the future when you know what your upcoming bills are. So that's sort of...there might be some I've forgot. But they're the main automation capabilities that Up has today. But what we're about to announce, and you heard it here first, is that we're going to be releasing the Up API. And the API basically provides an electronic interface for you to get into Up and then get your data out. So we strongly believe that it's your data, it's not our data, and you have access to that data. And you'll be able to build tools and things on top of it. And you'll be able to use that data in whatever way you like. So, yeah, we've got some stuff now. And then there'll be more automation coming in the future and the ability for you to have your joint accounts, to export your data, and also to plug into your data. So, yeah, that's sort of some of the cool things that are coming soon.

Vic: Very cool. And I'll answer that question in relation to my...quite typical, Sarah, my client, Sarah. So at the moment, she's not direct debiting it. It's something that I work with my clients for. Like, this personal person doesn't actually trust direct debit. So she has a reminder in her calendar. And each and every single month, she goes in and transfers her money around. But we know exactly how much that will be. So that goes into her normal Up account. It goes into another saver. So she has it there. And her Up card is her spending card. So that was I think at $330 or $360 a week that she spends, and that's on her actual card.

Dom: So I reckon, looking at the questions, we've covered all the other ones. So I'm going to call it there. We've probably gone a little bit over time. But I love these sort of sessions. I'm really looking forward to your webinar series. And I think the bits where we can be interactive, and do questions, and everything is really awesome. So we're trying, you know, to do more of that sort of stuff. But we also thought that tonight, it was really important for everyone at home to be able to learn from you. And so, I really wanted to thank you for taking everyone through the presentation because it was just awesome.

Vic: Thank you for having me.

Dom: The other thing I wanted to say is that sometimes people think change is hard, and you know, switching to something new or trying something new sometimes is hard. But it's not hard. It's just a journey. So if you can take some of that advice from Vic, and then you can apply it to your own sort of circumstances, then it's just one step at a time. Left foot, right foot, just go for it. Now, when it comes to Up, actually, if you want to jump onto Up, it's really easy. The average sign-up time for Up is less than three minutes. So it's not like, "Oh my god, I gotta move banks. It's a nightmare." It's actually really, really simple to download the app from the Google Play Store, or the app store and just jump on. And what we've done is I've worked with Vic to put together an invite code. So, if anybody wants to jump on, if you download the Up app, when you're signing up, put in the invite code, She's on the Money, SOTM, just those four things, SOTM. If you put that in, you'll actually get 10 bucks, 10 bucks for nothing. It's on us so you can buy a coffee or something like that. You can sort of get started with your Up journey. And you can use those tools that were developed within Up to apply to your budgeting, and your connectedness, and your understanding of your money. So thank you, everybody. Thank you, Vic. It was really, really awesome.

Vic: Thank you for having me. It was really fun. I loved it.

Dom: And I look forward to catching up with everyone very shortly and yet, make sure you get along to our next Upskill and look out for that webinar series with "She's on the Money" with Vic, and myself, and Up. Thanks, guys.

Vic: See you.

Disclaimer

Please remember that Up does not provide financial advice, this is general advice. Up has not taken into account your personal objectives, financial situation or needs. You should consider the Up terms before making a decision to use Up. The information on this website is for general information only.

Dr Jo Mitchell from The Mind Room

Upskill with The Mind Room

In this recording of our first UpSkill webinar - co-founder of The Mind Room, Dr Jo Mitchell, will share with us key skills and strategies to care for our mental health and build wellbeing.

25 min read

Up