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Preparing for the Future.

Preparing for the Future.

Now I don’t want to come across as all doom and gloom. I do believe that we can all have shiny bright and beautiful futures, but we need to prepare ourselves for them and design them the way we want.

We also need to ensure we have ourselves covered for any situations that are out of our control. Some of our nannas would have just said “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket” type comments.

You see there is another financial crisis skirting us. So we not only need to ensure that we have created passive incomes for our older years, we also need to ensure that we are able to create an income and weather a change in financial outlook over the next few decades.

I look at our relatives who are in their 70’s and 80’s. The first generations who were expected to be self sufficient in their retirement. With the help of compulsory superannuation, there are many who are in a strong financial position and with the boom in the housing area, the homes they bought for $70 000 in the 80’s are now worth close to a million dollars.

But I also remember listening to their sobering stories about how they had taken a massive loss in their superannuation. I sat quietly as we were fortunate that our little pot of super had hardly experienced a scrape. And I hate to say it, but I see the signs around me that indicate there will be another round of problems in the financial market in the coming years.

So what can we do?

Prepare. Actually look at your superannuation and plan for the next twenty or so years. I’ll hazard a guess that you don’t know how much is in your account, nor do you know how much you actually need to live a life you love in your older years. I have a vague idea, but I know that it’s something we need to get sorted this year – a Superannuation check up, passive income streams and an idea of where we want to be in the future. I know that we’d be better at this point investing in property rather than in stocks in a Superannuation fund. We worked that out a few years ago.

So now the kids are growing up and leaving you room to pay attention to other things, it’s time to pay attention to yourself. Do a life audit.

Assess your income for the next 20 years.

Assess your required funds needed for retiring. Where is all that paperwork, when was your last superannuation checkup? Is it time to change where and how you invest? Is your superannuation set up to pay out a lump sum or be drip fed to you?
Will you have to pay tax? Click here for more info on tax.

Assess what health supports you may need and get those niggly things attended to. Build a health village around you. That might include a doctor who is curious about you, not just dealing with the obvious symptoms and willing to look into the cause of any issues you may have.

Assess your happiness bank. Seriously look at how often you have smiled and felt satisfied this week. Some of the poorest nations in the world are the happiest, people live to be a ripe old and active age, because they are happy. It’s actually a medical bonus as the endorphins and hormones released when we are happy contribute to a healthy body!

This isn’t a project or assessment to do over just one weekend, unless you completed one in the past year or so, then this will be just a tweak session. Make it a priority over the coming months.

  1. Start by collecting all your paperwork.
  2. Investigate how much money you’ll need to live in in 20 years time.
  3. Consider your lifestyle, is there anything you can introduce into your life now, that will make for a smooth transition later.
  4. Have a health check and book a double consultation with your health practitioner so you can discuss what you’ll need to keep an eye out for and what to expect as your body changes.
  5. Discuss with your family, what they’d like to see happen over the coming years, what their plans might be. Things will change, I never expected my older children to move out of home within a few weeks of each other and with less than a months notice. It was terrific to see them take flight into the world, but those changes lightened the routines of our home. I suppose with kids, we need to expect anything and prepare our options. Create those non – negotiables though.

So don’t be caught out. Watch the interest rates, if you see them creeping, book in with your loans broker and capture a low rate and ensure your family do to.
Work out how you can create a few independent streams of income to see you through the next decade without taking a massive hit. When you are looking at your fifties, you don’t have the luxury of time to recover from a major financial or health disruption.

Tune into financial commentators that you trust and create a soft place for your family to fall.

It’s called a ‘nest egg’ for a reason. Best to have a few nests to fly to!

 

When the kids aren’t there.

When the kids aren’t there.

I don’t often get a photo of them all together. This one was pretty random. They were all home at the same time!

I have two kids who have left home. It was an interesting process, mainly because it was unexpected. The morning I was laying in bed, wondering how much of a hassle it would be to add an upstairs to this place if we bought it and within a few days of each other my two eldest children informed me that they were moving out.

I didn’t replace their rooms with other things quickly or pack up all their stuff as I half expected them to come back at some point, but it was six months later I realised that they weren’t. Well, not permanently.

At first, contact was at a minimum. They were revelling in their independence. Hubby and I would call them when we were together, we’d have ‘Google Mum’ type text messages, but they were enjoying this new taste of life. They weren’t alone, living with friends. They weren’t on the other side of the world – just down the road and another a few hours down the highway. 6 months later I accepted that indeed, they were not going to return anytime soon. Some of our flock had flown the coop.

It was wonderful to see, I kept smiling as I learnt of their adventures.

Some parents don’t have it so easy. I will admit there were times when I was a little miffed by their dump and run tactics (coming home causing disruption and off they go) but I’d look at my husband and see the pattern he had created with his parents. We weren’t getting off too badly lol.

I’d hear stories from friends and family of their children leaving home and some mums were distraught. They didn’t like their children leaving. I think they were just unprepared.

Having spent so much time with families with children of all ages, I have seen a pattern. Those children whose parents put their heart, soul and budgets into the kids seemed to have come off the worst. Their kids are unhappy, they aren’t coping with living independently and aren’t taking off in leaps and bounds. It’s almost in some cases, that their parents are pulling them back and when the kids are home, things can get volatile.

The families where the kids have experienced a loving release, tend to come and go without the angst. They ask their parents about things, they share what is happening in their work or study and seek guidance in an informal storytelling manner. It’s nice to see.

When your kids leave home, they need to leave with your trust in their backpacks to thrive.

When you meet a challenge in life and you can’t see the answer yourself, you’ll often seek advice or just consider “what would  . . . so and so . . . do” a mentor, a parent, a teacher.

Those imagined conversations are like the monkeys on your child’s shoulder, if it’s not a positive voice – your child can waver and fall.

So let them leave with your trust that they will excel in life and almost always, they’ll rise to that belief.

Let them leave with your belief in them, that you know they can handle anything and when they need help, they know how to find it.

Let them leave with your love – unconditional. No expectation of when they will call or visit.

Mine drop in regularly, because they feel comfortable and have learnt that if they want a meal or bed here, book in with the hotel management! They are never rejected, it’s simply a courtesy and there have been times where they’ve arrived with friends and had to endure watching us eat a scrumptious pork roast.

Which means that you need to live a life without conditions too. Go where you want, eat what you want (food that meets your goals – flavour, nutrition etc), do what makes your heart sing, it’s the little things that will make you happy.
If your children walk in at dinner time to your mini pork roast, you don’t need to share and give up your food. It’s your company they have come for, not your food – that’s just a bonus.

Love your kids and above all else, love yourself and your relationship with yourself. It’s the most important one in your life.

Marina’s Menopause Makeover. 1.

Marina’s Menopause Makeover. 1.

HE STORY SO FAR . . . 

9th May 2017

Hi. I’m Marina. A 48 year old mum with four fabulous kids and a fairly happy husband. We have a bunch of chooks, two dogs and a carpet python around here somewhere. The two oldest kids have flown the coop, and after having a steady recovery from a back injury over a year ago I have some spare time to take things to the next level. 

You see through my recovery, laid up, I had the time to look at my life. Time to consider what it was I actually wanted and what I wanted my future to look like. It was an interesting process, especially when I realised in the middle of all my health chaos, I was going through menopause!

Suddenly a whole lot of random and weird symptoms I had ben experiencing could be linked back to menopause and hormones, and not my back injury and nerve damage. It started to all make sense. The heart palpatations, the burning feet, the tinny tongue, the blood pressure drops, cramps, aches, pains, migraines and more. No hot flushes though, which was nice.

So I did my research, appalled at the info available about Menopause and what I should just expect and accept – and I flipped my lid. The straw that broke my patience and tolerance for the information I was reading was that I would lose my libido.

Now I have friends who call me Prude, because I’m not one to share what goes on behind closed doors with hubby, but I’ll be blowed if I was going to accept a boring bedroom simply because I’d run out of eggs! I knew enough about hormones and women, from caring for new mothers for thirty years, that this little bit of information may not apply to me, or have to apply to anyone really. So I called the brainstrust. My girlfriends. My contacts, which included a few fabulous women who look after ladies and their plumbing and libidos.
I have to say, doing tuckshop duty and learning how to do a proper pelvic floor muscle exercise is pretty cool. I’m all up for multi-tasking lol.  
 

From all the stories I heard and research I did reading studies, not just opinions, I realised that Menopause is a moment in a woman’s life where she get’s to pause, reflect and plan.

The future needs to be funded, or it will be limiting.

My body needs to be in good shape to age well and that means a few changes have to take place NOW! Prevention is SO much better than cures.

SO that’s what my makeover is all about.

Setting up our financial future so we can travel and spoil our grandkids.

Getting our bodies into shape so we continue to be resiliant and flexible.

THE NITTY GRITTY

Health wise, I need to continue to see Magic Malcolm who has taken my back recovery along in leaps and bounds, getting my muscles back to where they should be. It’s a process moving slowly. But I need to commit to seeing him more regularly, now I’ve had a bit of a break. 

I am guessing I am about 120kg. I’ll jump in the scales somewhere this week and find out the real number. I’m no short stuff, but even at 172cm, that’s way too heavy. I feel like an oompa loompa most of the time. My belly fluctuates with my pain levels – more pain, I blow up like a blow fish. 
Not moving much and being in pain has been the main contributing factor to my weight gain, and the fact I keep putting bread in my mouth! And too much. It’s been my soft pillowy blanket. 
I don’t drink, don’t smoke, don’t gamble – this is my ‘life softener’. Food. So now I will find softness somewhere else and release the need to hide from emotions. 

So my diet will have not so much an overhaul, but will reduce the white fluffy stuff and replace it with more nutrient dense food. 

You see that is where so many of us gain weight, because we are feeding our bodies when they are hungry, but we are just filling our stomachs, when what we need to do is to fill and feed our NUTRITIONAL hunger, which is what drives our appetite. Sure have the chocolate, but ensure that your greens are going in too.

When we feed the nutrition our bodies needs, they function better. If you are experiencing a brain fogginess,  increase your Omega 3’s and watch the difference. It’s incredible when you adjust a few nutrients, just how much your body will react. Energy increases, clarity becomes part of every day not just a few days a month, and your skin and muscles will thankyou. You become more resilient on many levels. You know what your body needs, your eyes tell you, your mouth salivates when you are near great food. No more restrictions on great food if it means a greater benefit for your body. 

I also need to be committed to my skincare. Hormonal fluctuations have meant blind pimples have come up and my skin has become ‘thicker’ and needs more regular exfoliation and moisturising.
I’m working on it. And neck exercises which have my kids laughing. Often.  

Weight   ?   kg /    ? lbs       Bust 126cm / 49.5″        Waist 115cm / 45″          Hips 132cm / 52″

For the finances, we have over $100K of debt that is not building equity. We borrowed to see us through a few crisises and have left over debt from a house sale where we lost money. Lesson learnt. We’ve had a brilliant credit rating, we know how to save and pay off debt and manage it well, though now is the time to clear it completely and create a substantial nest egg for our future. Having me not working for the past few years has had a major impact on us financially. So now it’s time to change all that. 

Outgoings are higher than our income. We are only on one wage at the moment and we have 3 personal loans, a credit card and two lines of credit.
THAT’S CRAZY and it’s time to turn it around. It would make sense to roll it all into one loan, which is what we have done in the past, but we have spread ourselves thin. If you have lots of loans and debt sources, be grateful that they trust you to pay them and then work out your best strategy to pay them off. You’ll find some tips here. 

The only way for us to turn our debt around is for me to bring in an income again. A consistent income. A rather large income to pay down our debt and buy this fabulous house we live in. 

I have put in job applications and called a company I used to work for where I had flexibility in hours, but that also meant flexible numbers coming in too. The great thing is I do have the potential to earn a few extra hundred dollars a week. And I can sit in the recliner if my back is playing up. But I’ll need a new computer to do the job well. 

While I wait to hear what is happening on the job front, the first step is to clear the vehicles and ‘things’ we have around the place that we don’t need.
At one point earlier in the year we had 2 of my son’s cars here, my car, hubby’s Landcruiser and my Dad’s old ute that my whole family love. Ironically, there is only one driver here during the week – me. 

We’ve had a jiggle around and now my son own’s hubby’s Landcruiser, I have one of my son’s cars, he’s sold his ‘spare’ and I’ll be selling my little ‘run about’ to fund restoring my Dad’s car. By the time the ute is done, my second son will have gained his Learners, so he’ll use one of them too.
So we’ve reduced the number of registrations we have to pay, the number of cars to maintain and have less cars to move when I’m mowing. Phew. 

Next up is cleaning up and reducing everything around here. If it doesn’t have a purpose, is broken and not easy to fix, it needs to go. Clutter can reduce your abundance on many levels, it takes up your attention, it needs maintaining and can just make you feel ‘less than’. 

I have had a plant stand ready to sell plants from our front gate (we live on acreage a few doors up from a busy road), but haven’t sold anything yet. I’ve taken cuttings of Rosemary and planted them. Within a few months, I’ll have substantial plants to sell for $10 – 15 !!!
I have about 40 of them, so that’s a rego repayment right there!
Seedlings and herbs are in demand around here and I love growing things, so it’s just one small project to help trickle in an income. We might even increase the number of our chooks and get some eggs down there too 🙂 

In the past I would have picked up the cleaning cloths and organise people’s homes or care for their kids for quick money, but my body is not quite there yet. So this is all very new to me and I’m thinking outside my comfort zone. I haven’t had to apply for work in over 20 years. Usually the phone rings and I am requested somewhere.  

So I have five things to sort out this week. 

1. Get some more income in. Now.

2. Clean out the house and yard and store things better. 

3. Ensure I eat a large amount of leafy greens, so I’ll plant a bathtub with my favourite rocket to save some money and it does taste better straight from the garden. 

4. Clean my car out and put it up for sale. Do some vision work seeing it sold for a great price 🙂 

5. Book in to see Malcolm when I get my income sorted out. 

Well, it’s a short list. Shouldn’t be too hard! 

One of the ways I got through my recovery without going crazy (I’m SO not a sit down and do nothing kinda girl) was to create a few vision products to keep my goals right in front of my face and keep my motivation fresh. I was able to do alot of research and lay out my plans for living a life full of fun, laughter and rewarding experiences. 

We live a simple life, but I have lots of projects I want to achieve. So this helps me to keep things in order. You can read more about my ‘Mum’s Almanac’ here. 
See you next week 🙂 

The Power of Choice

The Power of Choice


Our world is just how we created it, through choice.

I’m sure there are times in your life where you made some pretty significant choices that let you to where you are now. Some you will be grateful for, others not so much.

Even those times when life served up a bitter pill – we still had a choice – in how we reacted and overcome it or delved into it and later released it – or there may be still things we are holding onto.

Reflection is something that is coming up more and more for me and those around me, as we reach an ‘age’. It’s like we are wanting to declutter our thoughts & feelings, our bodies and homes as we enter a new phase of life.

This afternoon my husband reminded me of something I experienced long before we met, I thought I had released all those old memories, but some feelings came up as fresh as a daisy. They were constrictive and made me feel like withdrawing immediately.

Great timing, we were about to enter the shops and I had tears streaming down my face – they’d come from nowhere. But through practice of over 30 years, they disappeared by the time I found a parking spot!

Those choices shape our lives even when, like me, you don’t want to admit it.

Sometimes it feels like you are giving power to the past. We may not be able to alter the past experience, but we can alter our reaction and perspective, and learn from them.

Think about the good experiences you have had, your accomplishments, those fabulous memories that make you breathe in deep and remind you that it feels good to be alive. You keep those memories and experiences because they reward you in some way.

The experiences we would prefer to forget can do the same.

It takes some work, a safe place to think it out. But seriously – they can uplift you. Not because you ‘got through it’, ‘survived’ or whatever description you care to use.

But by being honest with yourself. Honest about your experiences. No one else matters, but you and your perception of it. Don’t be afraid of them. Don’t shy away. If you leave it hidden, they’ll hold you back. As you discover the power of choice, those old memories – the good, the bad and the downright ugly will come to the surface for you to consider whether they need to be held onto any longer.

Be kind to yourself when your past choices may cause you embarrassment.
They once served a purpose.

Be understanding when your past choices may cause you to feel shame.
They once served, most likely to protect you in some way.

Be brave when your past choices served to hold you back from a dream,
consider if those same reasons that shaped your past apply in the present.

And revel in those past choices that brought you joy, happiness, contentment and a sense of satisfaction, and embrace them for how they brought you forward in life.

As we get older, whether it’s purely reflection on the past as we have a plethora of memories filling our brains and more to look at, or it could be that as we reach our menopause years that we look around to consider if we are, or have experienced everything we want in life, those old experiences are going to come to light at some point.

Free yourself from your past experiences, through choosing your future path.

Your Power of Choice is always with you.

And the Power of Forgiveness is at it’s peak when we gently apply it to ourselves.

Here’s to a bright shiny and rewarding future. If you dare to choose it.