Friday, October 21, 2016

4 steps to get paid what you are worth!

Ever since the recession back in 2009, many people have been a little nervous to move away from their safe, secure job. This is quite understandable since our work is very important to us. The salary we earn allows us to put a roof over our heads, food in our stomach, and the job really gives us a sense of purpose each day. However, without you even knowing it, your job could be paying you a pretty meager wage compared to jobs just like it in other parts of your state. Since the economy has stabilized, you should really reevaluate your position and make sure that you are getting paid what you’re worth.

Check is a wonderful site where anyone can anonymously enter in their title at work along with their base salary and any bonus that they typically receive. I would encourage you to first look for your title with your current company. There are likely others that have a very similar title to you at the company and might be getting paid more than you (considerably more). If you find that this is the case, then there may be grounds for you to ask for a raise, or explore your options with another company.

If the salaries are pretty even at your work, then I would next look at the salaries of companies nearby. Since they are in the same area, you know that the cost of living is the same, so if the salaries are quite a lot more you again have grounds to ask for a raise or pursue your options elsewhere.

Evaluate Your Daily Work vs. Your Job Description
As you work your job for a few years, it is not uncommon for you to start taking on new projects and responsibilities that are beyond your original job title. It might be a good idea for you to write down all of the things you currently do and compare these bullet points to your original job description. If you are doing double the work than originally expected, then it is most definitely time for a raise.

Do You Add Major Value to the Company?
If you work in a job where you are constantly making the company money or saving them hundreds of thousands of dollars in expenses, then it might just be time for a salary bump. In other words, if you are earning your company $500,000 a year, but are only paid $50,000, this is a little unbalanced and should be corrected slightly. I’m not saying that you should earn $500,000, but something a little closer to $100,000 might be adequate.

How to Approach Your Boss For Your Raise
If you go through these exercises and find that you are grossly underpaid, then it is most definitely time to approach your boss and ask for a raise. So how do you do this? It’s quite simple actually. You need to (1) show your value to the company, and (2) display the hard work that you’ve done for the company.
In order to show your value, it is best to quantify your efforts. In other words, show how your actions have either produced a huge surplus for the company, or have saved them from great expenses. If necessary (and only if necessary), show your boss the typical salaries in the area, but at the same time express your love for your current company. You really don’t want to leave, but the salary difference is quite overwhelming. Chances are that your boss will understand your position and give you that raise. If not, you could always start looking elsewhere and get that raise on your own terms!

Are you getting paid what you’re worth?

Friday, October 14, 2016

Is Your Car Keeping You Broke?

Have you ever sat down and figured out how expensive it is to maintain and pay for your car? Whether you realize it or not, I bet that your car is one of your biggest expenses. I mean think about it, unless you pay cash for your car you are making a monthly payment, an insurance payment, putting money into the fuel, and also to maintenance! How much do you figure your car is costing you? $500 a month? $700? Maybe even more? 

The Average Cost of Our Cars 

The average price of a new car today is about $28,000, which makes the average loan payment about $470 a month. Then, you need to insure that car, and typically when you get a loan for a vehicle, it is a requirement of the bank that you get full coverage insurance, which will cost you upwards of $150 a month. So already, you’re at $620 per month, and you haven’t even put gas in it yet! With the high prices of fuel, it is not uncommon for a single driver to spend $300 at the pump each month. Add a couple bucks for your oil changes and random fixes and you’re at a cool $1,000 a month. That’s right, it costs you $12,000 per year to drive your car. Surprised? I know I am! 

How to Keep Your Vehicle Costs Down 

Some personal finance sites suggest doing without a car altogether, but that’s really not all that practical (unless you live in New York City). You still need to make trips once in a while, get a load of groceries, and maybe you’re nowhere near a bus station. Let’s assume that you absolutely need a car. How can you save on your vehicle expenses? 

First of all, you definitely don’t need a brand new car. By purchasing a vehicle that between four and eight years old, you will be buying a fairly reliable car and avoiding all that depreciation that comes with a brand new ride. Plus, by owning a less expensive vehicle, your insurance costs will decrease. 

Here is what I deem the ideal vehicle purchase if you put on quite a few miles each month. Find something that is eight years old and only one style behind the most up-to-date model. Purchase the car with just under 100,000 miles on it. If you buy a small Honda or Toyota, you will get another 100,000 miles out of it (at least). Plus, these cars are extremely cheap on gas.  

Instead of making payments on a brand new car, you can buy a slightly used one with $6,000 in cash. This makes your total monthly payment zero dollars – we’re off to a great start already! The insurance on a smaller vehicle is still pretty high – we’ll say $100 a month – but it is still better than a brand new car. Then, there is the gas. With the smaller vehicle, I bet you could get by with $250 in gas instead of $300. Finally comes the maintenance. Many of you might be squawking right now because you assume the maintenance costs are going to be huge, but quite honestly, with the many Hondas and Toyotas around, the parts are very attainable and cheap. My friend owns a 2001 Honda Civic and has only paid $300 in maintenance over the past two years. To be fair, let’s just say that maintenance comes to $50 a month (which is 4 times what he has experienced) 

By purchasing a smaller used car, your monthly cash outflow comes to $400 (instead of $1,000). Over the course of the year, you are spending only $4,800 compared to $12,000! That is one huge difference! 

Are you ready to drive something different and save thousands of dollars per year?

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?