Saturday, April 23, 2016

Does being a millionaire mean anything these days?

Do you think being a millionaire is really all it's cracked up to be now? 

For me, while I had the goal to be a millionaire by 30, the real goal was financial freedom. Becoming a millionaire was the clear cut, definite amount I wanted. I wanted to have $1,000,000 worth of cash and assets. How does it benefit you or change your life?

Since starting this blog I have connected with many millionaires, entrepreneurs and highly successful people. It's been interesting listening to their thoughts on the process and how it changes your life. Some were self made millionaires, others born into. The differences were interesting.

Self made millionaires
The self made millionaires I know are like everyone else. They live frugally, kept their lifestyle similar to what they had before becoming millionaires (with investments that continue to make them money and increase their wealth). On the surface, things looked no different. Dig a little deeper and here were the changes:

They all travel more. Some because they can afford it, other because they created businesses or jobs that incorporate travel. Travel is a passion and priority of mine. I love having both the financial freedom and the work opportunities which allow me to travel.

They give more and do more. Charity has always been part of my life. I grew up a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I gave away 10% of my income to the church and was actively involved in helping others from a young age - gardening for those who couldn't, babysitting for single mums, cleaning etc. I love helping others and often thrived on being able to do things to help.

As your income grows, so does your capacity to give. Charities need money to run. They need people helping to raise awareness, holding functions, arranging donations and volunteering. I selected my causes - homelessness and domestic violence, and set out to do what I could in those areas. Being financially stable enabled me to have more time to help along with connect with people who could contribute on a greater level.

With more money, you do less yourself. Outsourcing what you can to buy yourself time is one of the best things about increasing your income. Having the capacity to hire professionals or have other people do things while you spend your time on things you enjoy or things that will make you more money is a luxury not everyone can afford.

You cannot buy your health. If you have better income, you can afford better health care. For example, I know many who cannot afford to go to the dentist, need medical treatment they have to put off because they cannot afford it or they don't have the time to workout and take care of themselves. Their lifestyle and diet both leave a lot to be desired. Unhealthy foods are often cheap so that is what is bought.

Health should be a priority. With more money you can afford medical treatment, regular dental check ups, preventative health options such as massage, naturopathy, gym memberships (if desired. You can work out for free in other ways). Your stress levels often reduce when you are financially stable too.

Being a self made millionaire doesn't mean you can buy the flashiest car or go out every night. There is still the misconception that millionaire status equates to a flash lifestyle. If you are a millionaire, you won't stay one for long if you try to live a lifestyle like the 'rich and famous'.

Most keep quiet about their millionaire status and live as they always did. They had more freedom though.

Is being a millionaire that different to 'regular' life?
From what I have seen, yes and no. Millionaire status isn't what most assume it is with flashy cars, expensive clothes, luxury holidays etc. However, it does provide a better sense of security, reduces stress, provides more options and lets you have a comfortable lifestyle.

I think it is a great goal to aim for, if you are aiming at creating income producing assets and working on financial freedom. If your goal is purely to be a millionaire to spend like Kim or Kayne, you will be disappointed.

What do you think? 

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Change your lifestyle to reduce stress #sponsored

For citizens of "The Lucky Country", we are surprisingly stressed! A survey by Compare The Market found that 72% of Australians said stress effects their physical health and 62% of Australians said it effects their mental health.

Last year, I got so stressed I ended up extremely sick. I was paralysed and had a cancer scare. I needed assistance to do anything. If I walked or went to an event, I spent the next 3 or 4 days bedridden. I was in constant pain and ended up on high pain killers, nerve blockers and knocked out for large parts of everyday. It was not a life.

Now, I am much more relaxed, live in a place I love and have found a lifestyle I love. So how did I reduce my stress?

1.) De-clutter
How much stuff is in your home? How much do you use vs how much is stored? How much do you need?
Go through every item you own and get rid of anything broken, unused or unneeded. I sold off my entire home bar a few things that fit in my car and moved interstate. It was extreme yet freeing. 

2.) Move 
Do you live where you want to live? If not, why not?
I moved at the end of last year. I was living in a large 4 bedroom home with 2 bathrooms, 2 lounge rooms, 2 dining areas, huge front and back yard, chickens, a pool, double carport etc. It was my 2 daughters and I living there, sometimes with another friend or boarder. The house was way too big. I kept too much stuff. I couldn't maintain cleaning the entire thing, the yards, raising my daughters, my health and my company. Something had to give and it did - my health, the house and my company all suffered.

Now, I live in a 2 bedroom unit. I own almost nothing. It was furnished when we moved in. My kids share a room with a bunkbed and bookcase each. We have maximised the storage spaces and have all we need. We walk everywhere, so no need for a car. Our complex has a pool, gyms, a spa. saunas and everything we need is here. It is also extremely secure. 

3.) Learn to say NO!
No is a complete sentence. Say it - No.
You don't need to explain yourself, provide excuses or say yes to things you don't want to do. Say no. Or "No, thank you."
Stop taking on everything and doing everything for everyone. Put yourself first. Work out what you need, what you have time for and what you are willing to do. Then stick to your limits.
Don't feel guilty. Every time you say yes to something, you are saying no to something else and often it is no to yourself. 

4.) Get real time for yourself
I hear about 'mummy me time' all the time and it's usually things like '"take a bath, with candles and bath salts..." or "go to the salon and get your hair done."
Those are basics. Schedule them in and do it. Don't class it as 'me time'. You did it before kids, you did it when single, it was part of your life and seriously, a hair cut is basic.
Block out time every day for you. Whatever it is you want to do, do it. Don't say things which you should get to do and everyone does are 'me time'. Make real time for yourself. 

5.)  Eliminate stress points
I speak a lot on domestic violence and made the decision this year to scale back. It is a point of stress for me.
Getting ready for school in the morning was at times stressful. I put up the list of what my daughters need to do every morning, afternoon and evening. Now they pack their own lunch, get ready for school and do pretty much everything themselves, only asking me if they need help with something.
Cleaning has been a sore point. I have looked into hiring a cleaner (although getting them to respond in a timely manner has been a stress on it's own!). We have outlined everyone's chores and each night everyone goes through and helps tidy up, then at other times we spend an hour as a family cleaning deeper. This reduced my workload and makes for a cleaner, happier home. 

6.) Take care of yourself
Having been a single mum for a while, it was hard for me to take care of myself. I would ask for babysitting from family for me to attend work events, yet struggled to ask for any other reason. I worked during school hours and often after school, in the late evenings. I did everything I could to provide for my family. This meant I put myself last. 

After health issues last year, I take better care of myself. I have used my health insurance to get dental all up to date. I work out. I eat better. I get massages when I can (usually from a gift voucher or through my health insurance.)

I started looking at what I pay for and what opportunities there are for me to use what i have already to take care of myself such as what is available in my building, parks close by, health insurance, gifts I get for birthdays etc. 

7.) Ease the financial pressure
Set yourself a budget. Track your spending. Reduce spending where possible and learn to live within your means. Get rid of your debt and save to have an emergency buffer. If you don't earn enough, look at ways you can make more money such as online surveys, mystery shopping, cleaning, ironing, lawn mowing, blogging etc.

How do you reduce stress? 

Monday, April 4, 2016

Do you get treated differently if you have private health insurance? Yes! #Sponsored

This is my personal experience, speaking to others it appears to be fairly common. It is sponsored, however I have strong feelings about health insurance and this story is one of many as to why I think everyone should have it.

Last year, my youngest daughter had a rare and severe reaction to some medication she was prescribed and not easily identifiable but I knew something was wrong.

I called the health hotline and was advised to go to Emergency. The nurse assessed her and we were taken through to the emergency area. After a few hours, some tests and my eldest falling asleep on my lap the doctor came back.

He said the reaction was such that they could discharge me if I felt I could monitor it myself at home and come back if it got worse. As a single mum who was exhausted and with another child to care for I said I doubt I could monitor her properly on my own.

Since I was single and I had private health insurance they admitted her. When she was seen by the paediatrician in the morning, I was informed she would be staying a few days, she never should have been prescribed the medication she was and that she will be having at least a week or two off school after she was discharged and discharging her last night should never have been considered.

Had I not had private health insurance, we would have been sent home and my daughters reaction could have caused significant issues. 

On top of that, there were a few other differences between my care and that of a public patient.

My phone went flat not long after we arrived and because I hadn't thought about anything other than getting my daughter to hospital, I had no charger. I had my eldest daughter with me and had I been a public patient they would have called a social worker to come get my eldest daughter and take her away for the night until a family member could be contacted.

Because we have private health insurance we were put in a private hospital room with a couch and extra bedding was provided so we could all sleep, along with a nurse providing a charger for my phone. In the morning I was able to connect with a family member and have my eldest daughter looked after while my youngest and I stayed in hospital.

The difference between being a public patient and a private patient was significant. I used to want to believe that we were all treated equally and that should anything happen to my kids they would get the treatment they needed. Because the people on call when my daughter was admitted weren't specialists in the area, had we not had private health insurance, we would not have got the treatment she needed and I am scared to think about what could have happened.

Health insurance is a personally choice, for me, it is essential. I used Compare The Market recently to see if I was on the best deal, and I am. If you don't have health insurance already, I highly recommend getting some and if you do have it, check to see you are getting the best deal you can.

Do you have health insurance? Have you had any experiences like mine?

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Self insuring vs paying for health insurance #Sponsored

"Why don't you save the money you would spend on health insurance instead of paying the premium and only pay for issues as you need?"

"My parents/friend/cousin/uncle/whoever had private health and it cost them $10,000 anyway!"

"I don't need health insurance. I never get sick."

I have heard all this and more in discussions about health insurance. Lately, the most common one seems to be that people would rather save the money and only use it if the need to. That is a good idea on the surface for many, dig deeper and it's usually not so great.

Self insuring vs paying for health insurance
When you self insure, you are paying yourself the premium. My premium is about $3,000 per year. If I had a mortgage I could sit the money in there and redraw when needed, saving myself interest. It is great idea in theory, however there are many flaws.

1.) Most people don't save it
When it is deducted as a premium you sacrifice other stuff or move things around in your budget because it is a bill that has to be paid. When it is your own savings, people often let it slip, then after a while forget it completely. Or once they have saved a bit, it gets spent on home renovations, a holiday or upgrading appliances. Then something happens, they don't have savings or health insurance.

2.) Choice and speed
Last year I had a few procedures done quite quickly. They were essential and if I had gone public I would still be waiting, almost a year later. With my private health insurance I got in straight away, with my choice of doctor and these doctors do not operate on public patients. Some doctors will let you pay privately, however many don't because they view the risk too high without private health insurance.
They suspected I had the cancer my mum died from last year. I saw the urologist on Tuesday and was operated on that Friday. My mother didn't get as fast treatment years ago when she had cancer and passed away. I could not have handled waiting.

3.) Cost
I added up the amount I have paid in health insurance over the past 4 years plus how much my health insurance has paid out for various treatments for my daughters and I. I'm costing them money, especially last year. My premium was $2880 for the year and they paid out $7171.15 for my treatments. I did have some out of pocket expenses anyway such as $500 excess for the first hospital visit, the rest were free.

Weighing up the cost of what you expect will happen isn't the same as dealing with what actually happens. For me, knowing that if I didn't have it I would either be on the waitlist still or I would be out of pocket thousands more than I am by paying health insurance.

Everyones circumstances are different, but for me, when I weighed up self insuring vs paying a premium, health insurance won every time.

If the cost is an issue, look at ways to save money, live a healthier lifestyle and make sure you do a comparison. I used Compare The Market to ensure I was on the best rate possible and since rates are set to rise on April 1 by an average of 5.8% I highly recommend you compare and get the best health insurance for you.

Do you have health insurance? What are your thoughts on it?

This post was done in conjunction with Compare The Market based on my personal experience. 

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Making Your Fortune by Trading Stocks

No matter where we come from or what our background might be, I firmly believe that most of us share one single goal. We all want to be millionaires. If not for the sake of it, then as a means of achieving our other primal goals in life. But let’s face it - except in some very few rare cases - a millionaire status is not something that is just going to be handed to you on a silver platter, you’ll have to work for it, and I mean work.
Well, maybe you don’t even need a 7-figure bank balance, some people just want to have a pleasant life with lots of free time to take care of what really matters to them, without having to deal with constant work-related stress. Either way, just having a nice job is not going to cut it, we will need to take risky leaps of faith into unknown territories to have a real shot at financial security and independence.

What are Smart Investments?
If you really want to achieve financial security, then you’re going to need to stop thinking about money. Sounds like an oxymoron, but it really is the key concept. You shouldn’t work to make more money, you need to start thinking about how to make money, work for you. And that is what a smart investment is really all about. You don’t even need large amounts of capital to do it, let me explain.
In this rapidly changing economy, the market is also evolving in order to survive. With all these changes, new opportunities blossom and it’s time to take advantage of that. Now more than ever, online trading is available to all of us, so let’s take a closer look at stock tradings and what we need to know before we venture into it.
It used to be that in order to trade stocks, you needed the services of a broker, which required large amounts of capital to invest. Not to mention that they weren’t always readily available, and stock trading was limited to few selected countries, due to all existing laws and regulations.
However, this all changed with the introduction of Contracts for Difference, or CFDs. In this new concept, you don’t need large sums of money to invest. Instead, you just open a contract and trade on the price movement of said stock, and since it’s just a small percentual value of the entire transaction (sometimes as low as 2%), you can open some CFDs with just a few dollars invested. CFDs give you a much higher leverage than traditional stock trading, they could potentially maximize your earning, but this also magnifies the losses.

How to Make Smart Investments.
Making your own fortune by trading stocks is a perfectly achievable goal, but it requires discipline and lots of it. Online trading might seem mystical and complicated, but its behaviour can be predicted by using information as our primary tool. The more we know and understand, the better choices we will be able to make.
Of course, you can also venture in stock trading without it, but then it wouldn’t be much different than a night at the casino. You could go from King of the Hill to horribly broke, in the blink of an eye. In games of chance there is nothing you can do that would have an effect on the results. But with online stock trading, when you fully grasp all of its dynamics, you can make huge profits even at the downfall of some markets.
But what if I don’t even know where to begin? Don’t worry, that usually is the case for most of us. Luckily there are several companies that specialize in CFDs trading, and my recommendation is that you take a look at CMC Markets.
Registration is free, and with it, you get access to several hours of educational content. They walk you through from the very beginning and make sure you have all the needed pointers to make smart and safe investments. Now you can finally let the money work for you. Note from Aspiring Millionaire - this article was provided by Tom Hawkins. I love investing and stock trading has been one of the things I have done while building my fortune and have discussed on this site regularly.