Finance


Whale Songs in Tonga

***Featured Post***

Tonga, also known as the friendly island, a beautiful island with a plethora of untouched nature for us to experience. It’s still so raw and compared to the other islands less “touristy.” Tonga has always been my place of ancestry and identity. For me as a kid, when we went to Tonga we just did the normal things like go to the market, swim in the dirty water in the city, go to the haa’monga a maui (sunrise rocks) and play with the cuzzies. But going back next time, whenever that is… will be a completely different experience. I have so much on my bucket list that I want to do there, and swimming with the whales is definitely one of them.

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In the post Whale Songs in Tonga, Millie Slater describes this wonderful experience of swimming with the wales. She goes on to describe this experience with her family as “one of the greatest experiences of our lives”. One can only imagine this experience of being able to swim with these magnificent intelligent animals that rule the oceans.  While their everyday life consists of crunching numbers at Slater Chartered Accountancy in New Zealand, being able to escape for a few days and take their office to the ocean made for a well-deserved holiday.

Her beautiful account of their sea adventure gives us a firsthand experience of becoming one with the ocean and its creatures. I love the way she explains the mutual respect and love for the animals. After reading her mesmerizing article I want to book a flight to Tonga right away and have this experience for myself.  I love the idea of creating memories with family and this is definitely one that will never be forgotten To read more about their wonderful family adventure and for their recommendations on which tours they took, head over to their blog.

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Have you thought about your Retirement?

bigstock_Past_Present_Future_Time_Co_4799792We all want money to be the last thing we are worrying about when we are 65, and have health problems and other things in life that are have higher priority. However have you actually sat down and tried to calculate how much it would cost for you and your spouse to retire. As of late this has been my husband and I dinner table discussions. Just imagining the horror of not being able to afford your doctors or utility bills at 65 and you can’t work to make extra money you need. That enough is giving me nightmares!

Retirement is definitely a subject that should be thought about when you hit your twenties. We can’t just solely rely on pensions or social security to provide for our needs. It just won’t be enough especially if you are use to living pretty comfortably. There are plenty of tools out there that can help us out if we don’t know where to get started!

1. Find and Use a retirement calculator. You need a basic overview or idea of what you will be roughly looking at. You will be able to easily see the amount you will in the bank by the time you retire, and how much you need  to save now to reach that amount.

2. Make some estimations of how much you will be spending on a monthly basis then calculate it for a year then times that by how many years approximately you think you will be alive for.

Considerations – Inflation rate always changes, interest rates are changing as well. How much your pension or social security will be and other sources of income you will be receiving when you are retired.

I averaged that my husband and I will need approximately 35,000 a year to maintain the standard we are living now.  So I calculate if we retire at 65 and will live till 95 that’s 30years times 35,000 which comes to $1,05000 in today’s dollars. So pretty much we will have a million dollars in the bank. (But our ultimate goal will be enough in the bank so we can live on the interest but let’s save that story for another day. )

4. Find somebody reliable that you can discuss your situation with. I have saved this for the last step, because you need to learn and do as much as you can first. You don’t want to meet with the financial guy and just agree to what they say is good for you. You need to have a good overview of your financial goals and how much you can afford before you go into the meeting. They will be able to help you figure out the best strategy of investing your money with the highest returns on your investment. You may also want to shop around with different financial people as you may find you prefer working with somebody is personable. This is your money and you don’t want it in just anybody’s hands. Conner and I are both trying to work this out and are currently in the process of this.

If anybody else has tips on ways to prepare for retirement comment below and share your ideas. We would love to all learn as this can be a daunting topic for most people.

 


Money Goal Ideas

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Do you need some help setting some financial goals in your life?  Weather you have accomplished all your goals or just getting started I have compiled a list of financial goals you can choose from to apply to your life.

When my husband and I first got married I made us talk about our financial goals and lay everything out so we both understood what we were wanting to achieve, what our expectations were financially in our relationship. This helped us be on the same page and helped us plan ahead and set goals to achieve those things we wanted. At the beginning we set pretty lofty goals that by the end of the year we didn’t achieve and some goals that we achieved pretty easily. Of course it doesn’t always go according to play so be flexible and have fun!

Categorize your goals into SHORT, MID, and LONG TERM.

  • Pay off specific debts
  • Create a monthly budget (spending and earnings)
  • Create list of needs and wants
  • For one month only buy needs
  • Sell or get rid of unnecessary things
  • Start Grocery Plan
  • Save up for household item (instead of buying it immediately)
  • Set Up an emergency fund of at least $1000
  • Save 10% of all earnings
  • Start a retirement account
  • Save for a house deposit
  • Set up a Education Fund for the kiddies
  • Set up a Vacation Fund
  • Save for Car Deposit (instead of getting a loan)
  • Pay off all large debt
  • Max our retirement contributions
  • Pay off student loan
  • Double your Mortgage Payment
  • Maintain Emergency savings of  $2000 or more
  • Start saving for your first INVESTMENT
  • Research into Passive Income Sources
  • Increase your Income Sources

What are some of the financial goals you have with your family? Share and comment below I would love to hear!


 


July Goals

My favorite month of the year!! Why you say.. because its my birthday month!!! Yay even better living here in the US its summer time and it feels like the whole country is in party mode this month! Fireworks and all!!!

So I have decided to set monthly goals to work on as I am all about personal development learning and growth. Because what better birthday present to give myself than a better me!!! I decided to set a goal for all 4 areas faith fitness family and finance, if it’s to much next month I will probably just cut it down to two.

Faith – 21 day Book of Mormon  Testimony Challenge (our stake leaders challenge for us)

Fitness – Junkfree July (i know no birthday cake for me haha)

Family – No Social Media between 5-9pm – want to make sure I have QT with the family.

Finance$20 Weekly Grocery Budget – So it can help me buy the necessary things at the grocery store to prevent wastage. (Usually there are lots of things at the bottom of the fridge that I forget about and end up having to throw away because I don’t use!)

What are your goals for this fabulous month? Would love to hear and see your progress! Wish me luck. Don’t forget how beautifully amazing you are!


9 tips Before Buying your First Home

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It’s been awhile since I have posted but it’s because we have had lots of house projects going on…But all that aside today I have decided to write about my learning experience while buying our first home. We officially moved in on valentine’s day so it’s nearly been 4 months.  Below is the time line of the whole process, a lot longer than most realtors would prefer, but was perfect for us!

Timeline 

Started House Shopping – August 2014

Found this house & Applied for Grant and Mortgage – November 2014

Put offer in – December 2014

Grant Accepted – January 2015

Closed – January 2015

Moved in – February 2015 YAY!!

Seeing it was our first time there were lots of unnecessary drama than I would have liked. Looking back to save us the hassle I would have preferred working with a realtor, but seeing the owner was going to just make us pay for the realtor by including it in the cost of the house   we decided to forfeit on that idea. Luckily we had a awesome mortgage lady who helped us out a tonne!!!

Here are my 9 tips for Before you buy your first home!

1. What can you afford? You decide what you canNot what the bank tells you you can afford!! Go over your expenses and your income. Seeing my husband is still a full time student and working full time, and assuming eventually I will become a stay home mum we only factored in one income. This was a safe option for us because we never wanted to be estimated on two incomes just incase one of us lost our jobs.  Good rule of thumb for us was to keep our house payment between 1/4  to 1/3 of our monthly income. So if I earn $4000 a month then house payment should be approx $1000. (I know I am being extreme with this staying on the safe safe safe side.)
2. Location. This comes in handy once you decide to sell your house. A key selling point is if there are good schools in the area many families look to this as one their top priorities when buying.
3. Duration of Stay. My husband and I decided that we were wanting this house to be ours between 5-7 years. If you don’t stay in a house long enough you end up losing more money with all the transaction costs that are involved. So ensure that you are in it for at least 3 years or rent until you are certain about your purchase.
4. Goals. We set a goal that if we were to buy a house we were going to rent out the basement. This was an important criteria to us because my husband was working and studying and I would eventually be staying at home with the kids so we needed some kind of replacement for my income. Researching the renting market in our area we figured that renting out the basement would cover our monthly mortgage payment and all we would have to pay for would be utilities. To be honest it was extremely hard finding a house that met this criteria and within our budget but we managed to compromise a little to find a house that we could rent out the basement.
5. Emergency account.  I cant stress this enough make sure you have some cushion in this area. We set aside at least 6 months of savings just in case something broke in the house a car or a emergency trip to NZ. haha  If you don’t have a good chunk of savings you could end up kissing that house goodbye before you know it.
6. Investment not a love affair. Use your head rather than your heart to buy a house. Yes it needs to feel right but at the end of the day your house is an investment asset. The colour of paint or carpet or location of the kitchen will not add to the bottom line.
7. Newer isn’t always better. There are many out there that flip houses don’t get me wrong I love them shows! But when a slab of paint and new carpet can justify them increasing the price $40,000 HECK NO!!! Let me do the work for $5000. We all love the feeling of walking in to our house already done ready for living but calculate how much you would be saving if you did the work yourself. And TBH who really wants to move into a fixer upper NO ONE! But if you are like me and have the time on your hands and have awesome family members who are kind enough to help out it may be worth saving you $35,000 or more!
8. Savings. You need to have a good chunk saved up for emergency money AND  your down payment. We calculated how much downpayment we needed by working out how much we wanted to spend each month.. Because we wanted our monthly payment to be lower we had to put in a higher down payment. So be prepared with your savings! Make sure not to put all your money in your down payment and then nothing for emergency try find a good amount for both.  Another thing we also did was we stayed for free at an elderly lady’s house and did work around the house for her for a year. If you don’t mind a situation like that, you may be able to rack your savings up faster or just live at home with the parentals!
9.Funding Programs. Last and final tip is do your research for FREE MONEY! We applied for a housing grant that gave us $5000 which was awesome, they do have some requirements as in you need to earn under a certain amount and the house needs to be your primary residence. But that helped us out significantly for our down payment.
Are you looking to buying or do you prefer renting? Have you recently just bought a house what would your tips be? Comment and share your thoughts below!

DIY Baby Room

imageSince I can remember I have always been excited about being able to deck out the baby’s room than actually having a baby! (is that bad?) I guess I did to many babysitting to put me off wanting my own… but my fate was determined and I was to have my own!!

Upon our arrival at our newly carpeted and painted house the baby room is where I eagerly started on her room but then had to put it on hold… Unfortunately living room and kitchen had to take precedence. Slowly I had been working on little projects for the baby room. Everything was always on a budget so it took a little longer than I wanted it but yippee we are halfway there… Here is the progression of this DIY journey
Project 1. I love you alphabet. I saw it on Pinterest and fell in love with it so initially I looked for a free printable online but I couldn’t find one that i liked so I jumped on to word and whipped up this little baby. printed it off and popped it into this frame I had lying around. easypeasy Cost $0

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Project 2.seeing these little pompom things are popping up everywhere and I had lots of tissue paper from the baby shower gifts. I saved them all to make these pompom ball things. here’s the tutorial I followed. Cost $0

Project 3. Re-Upholstered Rocking chair! We got a steal with this rocking chair $10 from a yard sale and then I bought fabric to cover it for about $5. I quickly took off the old covers and traced around it on the new fabric. Looking back now I would have bought a different fabric fluff gets stuck to this one rooky mistake! Cost $15

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Project 4. Painting Baby’s crib. Blessed to get a hand me down from Conners sister so all I did was sand it, paint it and varnished it. all up cost for supplies $20.

 

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Project 5. Blessing dress in frame. (above) Found these frames on the side of the street they were initially mirrors but we popped them out gave them a coat of paint at the same time we painted the crib and voila! just hung her dress behind it. Cost $0

Project 6. Fabric Toy Box. I had a few extra boxes from the move lying around and I bought a couple of pieces of fabric I thought I was going to use for cushions but ended up making these instead. Simply cut enough fabric to cover around it and used spray glue which made it super easy peasy. Cost $2image

So this is the end result…. Stay tune for the other half of the room….

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Dream Fearlessly

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Taking that leap of faith or risk into uncertainty can be a little bit on the uncomfortable side. Many of us are hesitant to live life outside the “norm” and eventually just stick with the average because of fear… fear of the unknown.  Fear of the what ifs… Here is my simple advice to you Just Do It!!!!!!!!
Chase that Dream whatever it is no matter how impossible it may seem!!!

Let me guess you are automatically thinking of 101 reasons why you  CANT! STOP thinking of how much money are you going to lose… how much of your time you are going to invest in this… what are your family and friends going to think? What if it goes wrong?… STOP! before you have even started you are  planting all the many seeds of doubt and turning them into reality.

Instead ask yourself… If this worked out how will my life look 10 years from now…? Once I become successful how happy would my family and friends be…? Will I kick myself in 10years for not giving it a go…?

If I have learned anything in my short life time it’s this… things that come easy have little to no rewards. That which challenges, and  pushes us of the edge bring rewards both internally and external which outweigh any sacrifices made. No great thing has ever come easy.

But if you want just average and enjoy the comfort of security than by all means continue to live as the rest… But for those who don’t want to just watch life pass by! Those who wish to determine their own possibilities and their own Destiny join us on this journey…

Greater calculated Risk = greater rewards!!!

Share with us a dream that you have been wanting to pursue but have been making to many excuses one of mine is making this blog but I’m doing it now YAY!!!!!

 


We don’t want Jobs!

1654617_10151943251358590_1289625797_nNo we are not a beach bums or lazy citizens who wish to live off the hard earned money of the working class aka social welfare benefits… (Although some days it does seem tempting.)

All my life growing up my parents taught me to concentrate on school so I can get a good education then I can get a good job… then my life will be all sorted…
So I went to school got a degree then got a job and realized this stinks…WHY?
– I wanted to pick my hours of work and to be flexible
– I wanted to be creative and work at my own pace and do projects that I wanted to work on.
– I don’t want to be a slave to a job and to a certain income that someone tells me I am worth
– I want to take a holiday or be sick without having to explain myself to anybody
– I don’t want to retire when I am 60 I actually want to enjoy my life as I work and have the option to retire early
– I want options and freedom!!

I knew that a job wouldn’t give me any of this so I decided I have to find a way to make money on my terms.  So I had to do some serious research through this research I came across this book Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki and this cash flow quadrant.  E stands for Employee, S is Self Employed, B is Big Business and I is Investments.

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This book and chart was an eye opening experience little did I know the advice of my parents to get a job would mean that I would be poor my entire life. My parents stayed in the E & S side of the quadrant meaning the day that they don’t go to work they won’t get paid.  But we are sick of being on this side we  want to move to the B & I quadrant so that I even if we quit  our job we could still get paid with passive income. Sounds crazy but it’s real it’s what the wealthy survive on that’s how they are able to go on several holidays, spend time on their yachts or at the golf course or in africa doing humanitarian work and get paid.  Their money is doing the work for them! Once your passive income = total expenses you have reached Financial Freedom!!!  Although we still both have our jobs we are working on eventually working at this model so that we both can give up our day time jobs. This is the formula to attaining financial freedom and not being stuck with a job my entire life.  Now the interesting fun part how do we get to accumulating enough passive income? … Any suggestions?


Is money evil?

 

Growing up in a poor-middle class society, I never wanted to be rich because of the idea that I had were that rich people were mean, greedy and selfish. But as I have gotten older and started to see this idea in a new light…

Ask yourself are you just going after money and accumulating as much of it or are you accumulating money to use for a specific purpose? The saying goes that money can’t buy happiness, just having money itself won’t bring you happiness. But actually using money to do things you enjoy, go places, buy things may make you happier.

I have seen the key to not letting money take over your life is keep your ultimate goal in mind the WHY? For me money is a way that I can stay at home with my baby, having money allows me to live comfortably in a house and have all the necessities of life. It will allow my children to visit their grandparents in NZ and help me give more generously to those in need.

Depending on the person whether greed and power is their motive. If you change your motive to the idea of service and love of others money can be the branch to much good.

Here are some ideas of what good things money can do…

  • If you have money you can buy time so you will have more time to spend with family, friends and serving in church service
  • If you have money you don’t need to get paid for your church service you can give it for free
  • If you have money you can use it to set up good causes in the community
  • If you have money you won’t have the excuse of needing to go to work to pay the bills you can spend it doing more meaningful things in society

I know the list can go on and on but you get the point. You can choose to be poor and be a slave to money where you don’t have as many options, freedom and flexibility that those with money do have. I know that just because you don’t have a lot of money it doesn’t mean that you won’t be of use to community or society I am only saying there are more limits.

So go out there don’t just settle for the bare minimum, God did not just give us 1 talent so we can hide it for safe keeping, God has given us 1, 3 or 5 talents so we can double and triple it so it can be of benefit to build up his kingdom wherever you may be in the world.

Now I know why my immigrant mum always told me to get a good education (in her broken English) so I can get a good paying job so I can be of service to my family and those around me. So kids the moral of the story is go get a good education OR get a good paying job where you will not be a slave to money and money can work for you!


HER money story

11751303_10153069068833590_1771038102_nGrowing up, mum and dad both worked full time in the evenings dad would go to school. They worked their butts off like crazy which meant the only time we were all together was Sunday. I know they made so many sacrifices so they could give us the opportunities they never had. We played tennis, netball, rugby and cricket. We had piano, guitar, violin, cello lessons. (Obviously not all at the same time) But the downside to this was we didn’t get the TIME with our parents and family that we wanted and needed as children and teenages.

My Parent’s were one of the few in their family that knew how to somewhat keep money in their hands so because of this my family was the income source of my extended family whenever they were in need. (Being Poly this is the normal) It even came to a time when my 16 year old meager part time income funded relatives cost for petrol, diaper and food needs. No way am I saying not to help out!!!  But the saying goes give a man a fish he will live for a day teach a man to fish he will eat for a lifetime.

I also saw firsthand many kids in my neighbourhood being raised by older siblings, by grandparents, aunts and uncles, because their parents were working to make ends meet. Who was there to help them with their homework, who was there to make them dinner, who was there to make sure that got to bed on time? This obviously snowballed into the kids education which then affects too many things in society I won’t even touch on right now!

Money was always a struggle all around me! I knew I didn’t want to be working crazy all day 9-5pm, 5 days a week and then whatever is leftover use that for the family. Therefore I decided that money would not be a barrier to me and my family. We have set a goal to attain financial freedom so that we can live comfortably. (not luxuriously, not that living luxuriously is bad.)   Financial Freedom will enable me to be available to have time to be with, bless and help those all around me. I want to be around to raise my kids to be independent hard working, service oriented citizens. I want to be with my family to build lasting memories. I want to serve in my church with my family in any way possible without limitations. This will only happen if I aim to achieve financial freedom!… To me..

financial freedom = more time & lots more options

Financial freedom is different for everyone. But one way or another we are going to get there somehow sometime! There are many many ways people have achieved this lofty goal it is not a mere dream! Watch this space for ideas and ways we are working towards our financial freedom goal!

What is your money story? Why do you want to achieve financial freedom? Comment and share below!!!



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