Hi Lisa, I recently read your book ‘get your head out of the sand’ and am delighted at the inspirational, straight-forward way you have dealt with financial issues, I usually get 2-3 books out from the library each month to keep me focused on my financial goals. Sometimes I do not relate to them easily, perhaps the topic might be beyond my current goals, or just the way the book is written, so it was great to read and re-read your book and recommend it to other women. Your step by step tasks and constant inspiration made it for me. Write More!
I have no investments, no savings, -at present, but I will have -and that is my success. I am 50, parenting alone my 2 children aged 11 and 8. I work fulltime and am finishing a post-graduate diploma in health sciences. Five years ago I discovered my husband had re-mortgaged the family home to finance his gambling. I was devastated. I separated, got back together and eventually separated for good 2 years ago. When first separated I had a credit card and over 18 months booked up $2062 just buying groceries when I ran short. I became appalled by this and when I received a tax refund for $2064.64 I decided!!! I paid off the card, gave it to a friend for emergencies only and vowed to live within my means no matter what. 18 months later I told my friend to chop up my card and I cancelled the account.
I have found it hard, especially, last year 2005 when I suddenly had to find $100 a week for after-school care, but I did it. Food is always the flexible option and often I would have $120 to spend on it a fortnight, I shop only fortnightly, apart from fruit/veges. I shopped at Savemart for clothes, and made coffee out a special treat. At the beginning of 2005 my children, a friend and I decided we would go to Auckland in Jan 2006 -see the Lionman, and all the Auckland kiddie things. As hard as it got during the year I stuck to my saving plan $75 a fortnight and reached my goal of $1400 for the trip. We had a great time and no debt, and no Xmas debt, so now as I enter 2006 I feel free- no back bills !!!
I’ve knocked $30,000 off the mortgage in the last 5 years AND replaced the roof and painted the house. ($14,000) I have an old house and do a lot of other repairs myself. I aim to be mortgage-free in September 2009. Then those mortgage payments I will use for retirement savings- I have no ideas about how to do this, so will need to learn. I am considering doing a Masters in health sciences but there is little career structure which would repay my time and increase my income, so I am wondering if I need to put that 20 hours a week I would study into developing another income source-what, I have no idea and, obviously now, no resources, but am willing to explore this.
My kids have done it hard not having the latest gadgets as their friends but are learning the value of money. This year I have decided to involve them in the fortnightly finance planning/decision-making. I set up education funds for them 5 years ago, not much, and will increase this as I can. I feel in control of my finances. In the middle of the night I do wake worrying I’ve left it too late to save much for retirement and really have to ‘pull my head in’ as I am determined to do as much as I can and be as wise as possible. I have copied your goal-setting and completed the exercises in your book AND in the middle of the night re-read these.
Thank you so much for your inspiration. I look forward to your next book.
C G, Christchurch