Pearler Review: Why we’ve moved to the new kid on the block ‘Pearler’

Really excited to finally be sharing this news with you. We joined Pearler last year, however we delayed investing until they had joint accounts available. We are now all set up and I’m looking forward to sharing my experience to date so far.

What is Pearler?

Pearler is an investment platform founded by 3 friends in 2018 who had the desire to create an investment platform that made it easy for Australians to invest in shares and ETFs. The platform aims to decrease the stress of investing, and empower Australians to improve their financial literacy. To find out more on the Pearler founders click here.

Is Pearler CHESS Sponsored?

100% yes !!!!!! Pearler is a CHESS Sponsored brokerage platform which means that you own your investments directly.

Are my investments safe given that Pearler is a relatively new start up company?

Pearler may be a start up, but your investments are as safe as any investments you would buy on other plaforms such as Commsec, SelfWealth or any other big online broker. Pearler have written a great article which details why your investments are safe with them, and I encourage you to read it.

What are the key features of Pearler that makes it stand out in comparison to other brokerage platforms?

Click on the link above to find out more on the Auto Investing function within Pearler, and how to get the best out of this functionailty.

Although we are not using this feature ourselves as our ETF’s aren’t included in the list of brokerage free ETF’s I think this is a great idea. Click on the link above to find out more on what ETF’s are included.

Pearler is a lower cost brokerage option in comparison to many online brokers out there. I was quite impressed by the price in comparison to my broker, and considering the addition features I receive. Click on the link above for current pricing.

Brokerage Free ETFsPurchases <= $17,500Trades > $17,500
Pearler Brokerage Pricing as at 10th April 2021

Click on the link above to see the FI Resources that Pearler has available to use. This includes 3 calculators including one which is aptly named Financial Freedom Calculator. There are also a number of awesome and informative resources via the Simplifi section of Pearler. Pearler have also published the stories of others on their Financial Independence in their own FREE for download AussieFI eBook. I strongly encourage you to check out their resources even if you don’t end up investing with Pearler.

I really love the community feel of Pearler which allows you to follow other investors and see what they are up to. Click on the link above to follow me and see my portfolio (Note: Remember to do your own research before buying ETFs/Shares that others have as my circumstances are likely to be different to you). This community feature is something that is nothing like what other online brokers I’ve seen offer. When you join up with Pearler you can update your own profile (optional), follow others, and track your progress to your financial independence goals.

Our Profile Page on Pearler, feel free to follow and be my first follower 🙂

How do I set up an account?

Signing up with Pearler is so easy simply head on over to their online site (click here for link). The online sign up process for me took less than 10 minutes (and we did a joint application). The user interface is really simple and clean. Once you have completed your online sign up you will have access to your Pearler account, however you will have to wait for email confirmation before you can start trading (this normally takes a couple of days).

I wish Pearler was around when I started investing. When we started investing we chose to invest through our bank (which is what we felt comfortable with at the time). The experience we had with applying for an online share trade account our first time was not easy or simple at all. We submitted our applications on the clunky online portal (which took ages), and then had to come into the branch to submit further paperwork. All up it took about a month to get it all sorted.

Why did we move to Pearler?

  • Automated Investing

The ability to auto invest was 100% the main reason we made the move to Pearler. As we’ve progressed and refined our financial plan towards financial independence we’ve found that automation has been a key foundation for building our own portfolio to date. Prior to Pearler we had an automated transfer of funds each payday to our share trade account, however we still had to pull the trigger and invest the funds ourselves. This may not seem like a bad thing, but often I’ll admit I would delay investing for the ‘perfect’ day (eg. I tried to time the market sometimes). Auto investing takes the decision out of when to invest, and promotes dollar cost investing. Time in the market beats timing the market any day.

  • Save money on brokerage costs

Although our ETF’s aren’t on the brokerage free list we are saving $12.45 each month by moving over to Pearler. This doesn’t sound like a lot, but if we continue investing over the next 31 years that equates to just over $17,000 !!!!! (Assuming we invest the brokerage savings and get a return of 7.5%).

  • Not just a number

With the community features, helpful investing articles, and attentive customer help I have never just felt like a number with Pearler. I feel that the relationship is more than just customer and business, its a relationship where Pearler want our family to actually reach our investing goals.

Feel free to drop a comment below with a link to your Pearler account I would love to follow you.

Note: Please note that the links to Pearler are referral links that will result in you (and me) getting one free trade if you sign up to Pearler.

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Side Hustle Income – March 2021

Following our side hustle series detailing the side hustles we participate in we have decided to track and detail the income we generate each month. This is the first of many and you can find them all here.

Year to Date – Month by Month Comparison

These charts are from my Income and Expense Tracker click on the image for the link.

March 2021 – Side Income Breakdown

These charts are from my Income and Expense Tracker click on the image for the link.

Total Side Hustle Income – March 2021 = $898.10

Our side hustles for 2021 are broken down into 5 categories currently.

Please note that the numbers below and above don’t include tax so these are less spectacular when you take this into consideration (these are pre-tax figures).

Gardening = $613.60

Hubby continued to run his side hustle this month despite his teaching work ramping up. Next month will be a little less than this month as we took a weekend off to go camping for Easter. If you want to find our more on doing Gardening as a side hustle I cover it in this blog post here.

eBay = $60.00

After 2 years doing eBay selling on the side I’ve decided to call it a day as it just wasn’t a passion for me any more. I initially started on eBay by selling down my own wardrobe and kids toys. March is the last month we will expect to have any income from this side hustle.

Airtasker = $0

It was a slow month here for Airtasker as I’ve been extremely busy with creating more products on my Etsy. I’m hoping to get back on in April, but we’ll see. The good thing with Airtasker is that you get to control what you apply for, and if I don’t like a job I don’t bid for it. If you want to find our more on doing Airtasker as a side hustle I cover it in this blog post here.

Etsy = $89.50

It was my best month here, and every time I get a sale I get extremely excited. Not for the money, but for the fact that someone might be getting value from a product that I created. I use all of my own Etsy products myself so I know the value they bring me, but its another level knowing that other people are using my products. If you would like 10% off any of my Etsy items click here.

Other (including Market Research) = $135.00

This consisted 100% of market research gigs through Askable and Research Connections. You will find links to all of the Market Research companies I’m signed up for here. I’m also in the process of applying for a study worth $460 so fingers crossed I get this one.

Notes: I track my Income and Expenses via my tracker available on my Etsy Store Link Here . My Income and Expense Tracker has recently been modified so if you have previously purchased it and would like the new version get in touch and I will send it to you free of charge with proof of purchase.

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Purchasing our first home at 19 on a 35k income

Today I’m covering off on the story of buying our first home 15 years ago (pre-GFC). This is a story of misadventure, and I hope that by sharing this story that it may remind us all that we all make some crazy decisions on our money journeys. No-one’s journey is perfect least of all ours.

Let’s go back in time to 2006, I was 19 and my boyfriend (now husband) at the time was 20. I was in my 1st year of university and after just over a year of dating we were ready to move out of home together. At the time I had been living with him in his mum’s home for almost a year. She had kindly taken me in when she realised that I was couch surfing with friends or sleeping in my car to avoid a bad home situation. My boyfriend was working fulltime in an entry level job making just under 25k per year (pre tax), and I worked casually as a barista between university commitments making approximately 10k a year.

We initially planned to rent a small townhouse or unit close to family and spent our spare time perusing rentals on My research led me to look at how much the cheapest houses in metropolitan Adelaide were, and I was pleasantly surprised by my searches. In 2006 you could purchase a 3 bed, 1-bathroom home on 500sqm for 100k less than an hour from the city. 100k didn’t feel like a lot of money so I decided to investigate how much mortgage payments would be. After finding an online calculator I discovered that the mortgage payments were slightly less than what we could afford to pay for rent (even with the 8% interest rates which were the norm at that time). I also discovered that we were eligible for the first homeowners grant worth $7000 at the time. At this point I decided to take my research to my boyfriend and present my case for buying a house together. In hindsight my boyfriend had very little option but to go along with my crazy plan (I was a girl on a mission), so he said yes to at least going to a mortgage broker.

Our first experience with the mortgage broker wasn’t great…. in fact, the meeting ended up with him laughing at us, and us leaving feeling a little sheepish. Looking back on this response it shouldn’t have come as a surprise to us that we received this treatment. We were a terrible investment to any bank. We were just kids earning under 35k a year and didn’t even have a deposit.

The first experience didn’t deter me in fact I remember it spurring me on. We then found another mortgage broker who ran the numbers with us and explained our options. He was very young much like us and plotted a path for us to make home ownership a reality thanks to a product available at the time called no deposit 100% home loans (remember this is pre GFC). After our meeting we were granted a borrowing capacity of 125k and started house hunting.

Armed with our home purchasing budget we looked a little more closely at the suburbs that were in our price range. We looked specifically for houses that were walking distance to the train station and to local amenities (such as healthcare and shopping centres). We then started viewing houses that matched our very low requirements. In the end we viewed only one house before we purchased our first home. I feel comfortable telling you now that we had no idea what we were doing, and what to look for in a house. We picked our first house through gut instinct, it had less cracks than the last house we saw, and the bathroom wasn’t pink.  

Although we were proud of buying our first house not many around us felt the same when it came to sharing our news with family / friends. I can’t blame them. It was the worst house in an area with a bad reputation, we were moving away from where we had grown up, we had only been dating for a year, we had no idea how to renovate, and had very little financial security.

Despite our lack of experience in buying a house, we managed to haggle the price down by 6k to 114k and paid a very small holding deposit from our tiny emergency fund. We were also fortunate that the real estate agent recommended we put the sale down as subject to finance and a building / pest inspection. Like I said we had no clue what we were doing and are fortunate that we didn’t get into trouble here. After negotiating a price, we quickly learnt that we required a person called a conveyancer to assist us in the purchase of the house, and were referred to one by the real estate agent (we are still with our conveyancer to this day after multiple purchases).

Our next learning experience was being told that our first homeowners grant wouldn’t pay for all the fees and stamp duties that come with homeownership, so we had a shortfall. We didn’t have savings and we had already used our emergency fund, so we sold both of our cars (including my husbands prized Celica 1991 with pop up lights) and became a one car family.

By some miracle the rest of the home sale went through without any other problems, our finance was approved thanks to our mortgage broker (and pre GFC lending), and settlement occurred within 30 days. Funnily enough this purchase remains to be the smoothest home purchases we’ve made to this day (but that’s another story).

As I write this post, I have lost count of how many times I’ve cringed at my own naïve actions, how many times it could’ve gone so wrong, and how many basic home buying rules we broke. That said I have no regrets buying our first home as it provided so many learning experiences that have shaped us to this day.

Our 10 biggest takeaways from buying our first home have been:

  1. Make sure you have a deposit to avoid Private Mortgage Insurance or PMI (not like us).
  2. Make sure you have a Fully Funded Emergency Fund (We always keep 3-6 months these days because something always breaks or costs more than expected when purchasing a new property).
  3. If you buy a property requiring renovations then budget this out in advance and have these funds saved (or at least a portion saved).
  4. Make sure to do a pest and building inspection and write it in your contract.
  5. If you require finance then be sure to consider writing a subject to finance clause (in case your finance falls through).
  6. Don’t forget to budget for additional costs besides the mortgage. Just because you can afford the mortgage payment doesn’t mean you can afford the property. Home ownership comes with additional costs like maintenance, additional insurance, council rates and water rates.
  7. Discuss your future relationship and financial expectations, wants and dreams before buying a house with a significant other. Our relationship is still going strong, but we could’ve avoided a lot of finance related arguments if we were both on the same page from day one.
  8. Find a good conveyancer or lawyer before you purchase your property.
  9. Find a mortgage broker who has your back and cheers you on from the side-lines is important.
  10. Lastly make sure you visit any potential homes at different times of the day / week to really scope out the neighbourhood (Unknown to us our street had weekly fight nights, all night party music playing, street racing, and regular visits from the police).

Do you have any crazy first home buying stories? Feel free to add them in the comments.

Our First Home – We never had a celebration shot in front of the for sale sign. It was in such a bad suburb that it didn’t even have a sign (as they kept getting covered in graffiti)

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Free Competition Random Winner Generator

I recently held an Instagram competition and built a randomised Competition Winner Generator in Microsoft Excel. I’ve decided to share it with you for your own use for free (no email sign up required – unless you want to follow me).

How to Use the Microsoft Excel – Competition Winner Generator

  1. Ensure that you are running Microsoft Excel 2010 edition or newer.
  2. Ensure that you enable macros when you open the file.
  3. Enter your competition entrants on tab 2 named ‘Entrants’ (Please don’t rename the tab names).
  4. To enter an entrant simply use the button named ‘Add New Row to Table’.
  5. Then to randomly generate your winner simply click on tab 1 named ‘Winner Tab’ and select the button ‘Generate Winner’.
  6. The Winner will then be generated.
  7. Please don’t change the names of the columns on the tab named ‘Entrants’ as this will impact on the macros.
  8. Although you cannot change the names of the tabs or the names of the columns you can alter the colour of the sheet to suit your needs.

As you will likely know I build spreadsheets and other items within Microsoft Excel as part of my day job. I’m also now doing this work in my spare time as a side hustle (link to my Etsy Page here). If you would like something custom build for you feel free to contact me directly, and I would be happy to discuss further.

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$100,000 invested in 17 months

This is the story of how we invested 100k in 17 months

In late 2019 we set ourselves a huge goal of investing 60k in 2020, and worked steadily towards this until March when COVID-19 put our 2020 travel and entertainment plans in limbo. With our plans in limbo we decided there was an opportunity to reduce our expenses significantly, side hustle , and invest even more so we upped the goal to 100k invested by the end of 2020.

When did we start investing?

We made our first share purchase (of an Exchange Traded Fund or ETF) on the 17th of July 2019 where we purchased 17 ETF units for $957.46.

We made our last trade on the 17th of December 2020 when we bought 126 ETF units.

Why did it take you 6 months to invest 10k as opposed to 12 months to invest 90k?

They say the first 100k is the hardest, but for us the first 10k was really hard. It was made harder by the fact we were a one income family until January 2020 (but didn’t get our first two income paycheque until February).

We also found our first 10k hard because we weren’t on the same page as a couple. My husband is very conservative by nature financially speaking, and was concerned about losing our hard earned dollars in the share market (which is a real risk by the way). So the first 6 months were really us finding our feet as a couple investing and becoming financially literate together. Initially to get my husband on board I convinced him to follow the path for 6 months without question as a trial, and after this time if he was still not convinced with the plan we would opt out.

6 months went past and although we still had a lot to learn (still do) we were more confident in the path ahead, and decided to push even harder in 2020.

What was your investment rate?

The investment rate of our regular incomes was 60% (we lived 100% off my husbands and invested 100% of mine). In addition to this we side hustled like crazy (read about it here) and invested almost 100% of these funds.

Full Disclosure – In addition to our regular and side hustle income over the last 17 months we had 6.5k in tax refunds, and 2.6k in dividend income which we reinvested into more shares (via DRP – if you want to know more about DRP check out this article I wrote called ‘What is a Dividend Reinvestment Plan’). The 100k doesn’t include any capital growth in our shares so our portfolio is over 100k – at the time of reporting it is 107k.

What side hustles did you do?

Casual Teaching – My husband took on an additional casual teaching class which resulted in an additional 6k.

Gardening My husband has a side hustle doing gardening in our local area and made between $100-400 a week in additional funds (this is pre tax). He has run this business for 4 years, and has regular and adhoc customers. If you would like to read about in in our Side Hustle Series here.

Reselling – I’m an eBay reseller and although its not a huge money maker I currently average $1800 a quarter (before postage and fees).

Market ResearchI started an account with Askable in 2019 and have on average made about $50 in vouchers a month. These go towards our food shopping which allows us to then transfer the money saved to our investment account. If you would like to start doing Market Research I have written all about it in our Side Hustle Series article (including all my top research companies to sign up with).

Flipping Trash – People throw out things all the time in our area and so hubby and I have flipped a tonne of things. Our latest item was a rabbit cage which we got for free and flipped for $120. It looked amazing when we finished with cleaning it up and painting it.

Plants – I’m an avid gardener and propagate my plants. I also raise from seeds to seedlings to sell. To find buyers I joined a few Facebook gardening buy / sell groups. I sell my plants for $5-$10. Its not a huge money maker but I do love it, and if I can make money doing what I love then I’ll take it.

What do you do for jobs?

My husband is a first year teacher who works 4 days a week, and I work for the government full-time in an IT role. Both of us have roles that are under an award, and therefore we no ability to negotiate our pay. Our award rates are also freely available to view online.

Does the 100k invested include retirement or superannuation?

No. The 100k invested excludes our retirement contributions. 9.5% of our income is invested into our superannuation (retirement) accounts every pay by our employer.

Have you wanted to quit whilst on this journey?

Yes. 100% it has not been easy. There have been many times I’ve questioned myself, the plan and have wanted to quit. Every time I wanted to quit I developed a bit of a routine to manage my feelings. The routine involved a walk, listening to a podcast, and reminding myself what we have achieved via our Goal Tracker on the fridge (Free Link to the Printable Here).

It hasn’t been all smooth sailing along the way, we’ve had some bad luck along the way. We were fortunate to have a fully funded emergency fund and without it we wouldn’t have met our goal. This bad luck included many unexpected events in the form of vet bills (5k), boat repairs (1k), home repairs (3k), and laptop repairs ($150).

How are you going to celebrate?

We plan on going out for a nice dinner as a family, and I’ll likely splash out on a bottle of wine over $20. We are also looking at a weekend getaway in early 2021 dependant on COVID-19 restrictions of course.

So what’s the goal for 2021?

With the first 100k invested we expect the next 100k to be a little bit easier. That said although we will be working towards our next goal of having a 200k portfolio we are not sure yet of the timeline.

What we do know for certain is that we will continue to live off one income, invest our second income, maintain our investment rate of 60%, side hustle and live our best lives within our means.

Feel free to get in touch with me if you have any questions about our journey to 100k either here or via Instagram @frankonfire_

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5 simple ways to save money on your electricity bills

Do you want to save money on those nasty electricity bills. Here are 5 simple ways I save money on my electricity bills.

  1. Do a yearly electricity company review

Time to complete – Approximately 30 minutes

What do you need – Your last electricity bill. If you receive them online as a PDF you won’t need to print it out.

How does this save me money? – Grab your last electricity and / or gas bill and head on over to Energy Made Easy . This is an Australian Government power comparison website where there is no email sign up required to get a price comparison. I saved over $1000 in one year by making the switch to another provider (and I didn’t even go with the cheapest).

Make sure you use this government website (‘Don’t google electricity comparison website’) and avoid other energy comparison sites which may be paid a fee from energy providers to find you, and will also likely result in spam emails. Also your taxes pay for the free Energy Made Easy service so why not use it (I mean you’ve paid for it).   

Once you’ve input your details the site will provide you a comparison pricing of all the electricity providers in your area based on your last bill. Then you compare the companies available, and the terms of each one, and let the company make the switch for you.

It really is very simple and easy. I saved over $1000 in one year by making the switch to another provider (and I didn’t even go with the cheapest). If you do select a new provider and it happens to be ReAmped Energy feel free to use my link here for $50 off your first bill (in addition to the any savings you get from switching).

  1. Use Smart Plugs

Time to Complete – 30 minutes (including ordering the plugs, and setting them up)

What do you need? – Smart Plug/s (These can be any smartplug device you would like to use. I personally use TP-Link ones as they are available at my Hardware Store, the price point is reasonable $20 per plug, and the application to control them is free)

How does this save me money? – Have you heard of Vampire electronics? Well Vampire electronics use up electricity whether or not they are actually turned on and in use (eg your Computers, Microwave, Gaming Consoles, and TV’s). It’s estimated that Vampire electronics cost the average home an extra $200 per year (US Dollars) when not in actual use. To reduce the impact of vampire electronics smart plugs can assist you by turning off your electronic items for you. Smart plugs like the ones I use allow you to turn your electronic items off from your phone, and / or put them on timers via an application. This then reduces the vampire consumption of energy, and stops me needing to remember to turn off my electronics at the wall (which can be difficult for some electronics like microwaves).

An added bonus of using smart plugs is that I now have an auto shut down of devices for bedtime so my boys can’t sneakily access devices when they shouldn’t.

  1. Get a thermometer for your fridge

What do you need? – Fridge Magnet Thermometer (Cost between $10-20)

How does this save me money? – Heating and cooling costs likely make up the majority of your energy costs so having our Thermometer on the fridge means that we only turn on

  • Heating if the temperature goes under 18 degrees Celsius.
  • Cooling if the temperature goes over 25 degrees Celsius.

Why a fridge thermometer? Well its simply because its a high traffic zone in our house and its the best place for us to be aware of the temperature of the house.

We also have a few other heating and cooling hints such as we wear extra layers in the cooler months, and in summer we will try the fan first before popping on the air-conditioning.

  1. Be smart with your dryer

How does this save me money? – We all know this, but some of us like me who live in a colder climate may not always be able to avoid having a dryer all together so I have a few dryer tips.

  • Buy a Heat pump condenser dryer – yes the initial outlay may be more but your energy consumption will be less than half the cost of a traditional vented dryer.
  • Throw a dry towel into your dryer load. This will reduce the drying time which will reduce your electricity cost per load.
  • If you have the heater on for your own warmth then use an indoor clothes horse to dry your clothes as well.
  1. Get a Smart Meter from your energy retailer or consider purchasing of your own

Time to Complete – 30 – 60 minutes (including ordering the smart meter if required / or talking to your energy provider, and setting it up)

What do you need? – Smart Meter (Cost between $0 and $124)

How does this save me money? – You know the quote ‘What gets measured gets managed…..” well its one of my favourites and definitely true in regards to monitoring your energy usage via a smart meter (as long as you use it correctly and intentionally of course). The savings from the smart meter come from the idea that by having a smart meter you are more aware of what the energy usage for your electronic items is in your house, and therefore choose to be more intentional with using them. You may even choose to replace high energy usage items, and replace with a more energy efficient model.

Many will already have a smart meter, and therefore you should have access to clear and detailed insights into your electricity consumption. If you have a smart meter and don’t have access to any insights get in touch with your energy provider to see how you can access your smart meters data.

If you don’t have a smart meter and would like one contact your energy provider first as you may be entitled to a free one. Alternatively if like me you are not entitled to a free one then you can get yourself a Smart Meter and install it yourself. My personal favourite is this one called the Powerpal Smart Meter . Installation of this meter is simple and no electrician is required.

There are so many other tips to save money on your electricity out there. Feel free to add your own in the comments below.

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How many goals should I work on at a time?

As many as you want if you are achieving them…..but if you’re not read on

Do you set yourself a number of goals every month and wonder why you might be coming up short from achieving them? Do you set yourself SMART goals but still find yourself falling short? If yes read on.

I had the same issue when I started working towards my savings goals until I made one change, and that change was life changing for me. One day I stopped working towards multiple savings goals and instead just worked on achieving one goal at a time.

Making the change wasn’t easy to do especially when I would see other people set and achieve their numerous goals. I couldn’t help but compare myself, and wonder what was wrong with me.

Over time the idea of tackling just one goal made more and more sense to me. When you have debt the general consensus on the best way to pay off your debts are one at a time (regardless of the debt snowball or debt avalanche method). So why shouldn’t your post-debt savings goals be tackled in the same way.

Tackling one goal at a time allows you to immerse yourself completely in your goal and your steps towards it.

I honestly believe this is one of the key reasons we’ve been so successful in working towards our goal of 90k in shares in 2020:

  • Its the only goal I have to think about,
  • the only one I have to create a plan for,
  • the only one that’s on my fridge,
  • the only one I need to manifest,
  • and the only one my husband needs to worry about as well.

That last one is super important because my husband doesn’t have the world’s best memory, and reaching our goal is 100% dependant on us both being on the same page.

And if you don’t want to take my word for it take it from the many studies that have been done which show that focusing on one thing at a time is one of the best ways to be more productive. When we immerse ourselves fully into a desired task or goal it allows us to give it our full attention. This in turn improves the chances of us achieving our desired outcome for the task or goal.

I know for me that single goal-making as opposed to multi goal-making has resulted in being able to really fine tune the plan to hit our goal, and make adjustments after an obstacle instead of just throwing in the towel. I also know that if we don’t meet our goal it won’t be for lack of effort on our part. Even the best laid plans don’t always work out, and I know we’ve given 100% to this goal. Regardless of the outcome we have reached higher and further than we have before, and I know that this is because we have been singularly focussed on just one goal.

So if you are struggling with hitting your goals I strongly encourage you to try making just one goal, and focus all of your energy into reaching it.

You’ve got nothing to lose from trying this and everything to gain.

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Photo by Engin Akyurt on

5 ways to increase your chances of achieving your financial goals

  1. Track your goals

Have you ever heard the saying ‘What isn’t measured isn’t managed’? Now those who know this saying will know that this statement doesn’t apply to everything. That said I strongly believe that measuring or tracking your progress in regards to your financial goals allows you to visualise your progress better. I believe the ability to track and visualise your progress will increase your chances of sticking with it, and staying the course.

If you are looking to track a financial goal (eg pay off a debt or save money) there are some great digital trackers available including my Personal Budget and Automated Dashboard (with inbuilt debt, savings goal, mortgage, and EF tracker).

If you are looking to track your habits feel free to take a look at my Digital Daily Habit Tracker.

  1. Share your goals

Don’t hide away from your goals, make sure you put your savings tracker on the fridge (or in another visible location). My husband thought I was silly placing our ‘100k in 2020 tracker‘ on the fridge at the start of 2020, and colouring in my progress each pay. Over time he started asking me if we could take turns colouring the progress in, and by the end of it he was 100% on board. We also don’t hide it away when friends come over. I still don’t bring it up, but I’m open to the discussion if anyone asks me about it. I’m proud of our goals, and I’m keen to remove the stigma of talking about finances in the hope that we can all learn and share together.

Use a Savings Tracker like this
  1. Make sure your goal is SMART

By this I mean your goal follows the SMART goal criteria

  • S – Specific
  • M – Measurable
  • A – Attainable
  • R – Relevant
  • T – Time-bound

If you’re not familiar with the SMART goal criteria there are some great SMART goal templates here to get you started.

By using the SMART goal criteria you improve your chances of success by ensuing you have an achievable plan for your goal, and aligning the goal to your values. There is no point coming up with a financial goal that is vague – eg: I just want to save money. Or one you can’t achieve financially. Or one that doesn’t have a timeframe. Or one that simply doesn’t align with your own values.

  1. Reward Yourself

I’m a huge fan of the saying ‘Treat Yourself’ once I’ve reached a goal or milestone. I feel rewarding yourself assists with the positive feedback look that progress tracking starts and then helps you gather up the energy for the next goal sprint.

We will be rewarding ourselves with an dinner in one of the best restaurants in town once we reach 100k at the end of the year (and I can’t wait).

  1. Progress not perfection

No journey to any goal is without hurdles. Hurdles come in all forms:

  • Financial – eg. Car breaks down.
  • Work – eg. Job loss or hours being cut.
  • Animals – eg. Unexpected pet bills.
  • Health – eg. Work related burnout or a new or existing health issue.
  • Family Issues – eg. Sudden loss of a family member/or friend.
  • Unexpected Surprises – eg. a new baby.

When these hurdles come (and trust me they will) you need to remember that its okay to take a moment to review and perhaps readjust your goals.

Let me make this clear ‘readjusting your goals doesn’t mean you’ve failed’

Taking a break, reducing your goal amount or increasing your timeline is the opposite of failure.

All progress towards your goals is still progress even if it wasn’t as quickly as you had planned, or in the way you wanted.

Remember ‘Progress not perfection‘ and let it be your mantra.

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Hello, here’s a short genesis story

First posts are hard, but not as hard as buying your first shares…….

Until mid 2019 I thought I had life figured out. I had ticked all the boxes of what I had been told by ‘everyone’ that I should be doing financially. We were in our dream house, paying our mortgage down, we took overseas holidays, and I had a secure job.

But I wasn’t happy.

My lifestyle was extremely dependant on my job and working on someone else’s terms for the next 35 years. I had no idea how to grow my wealth beyond paying down my mortgage and maybe after that contributing to my superannuation.

Like many of you reading this I wasn’t financially literate enough to understand wealth or wealth building beyond buying a house and paying off my mortgage. I grew up poor, during a recession, and when home loan interest rates were 18%. My parents were very young and did the best they could by teaching me to be frugal, develop a strong work ethic, and to be resourceful.

In High School I participated in the ASX Share Trading Game and managed to lose the most money in the class in the process. Despite no real shares being purchased and no money being lost this experience solidified my desire to never invest in shares. I told myself that the share market wasn’t for me, and I was best to leave it to rich people.

Fast forward to mid 2019 when I discovered the FIRE movement and started my journey towards financial independence on my terms.

I happened upon FIRE by accident. I have always been a big #debtfreecommunity follower via Instagram, and I started to see hashtags for FIRE on several people I followed posts. So whilst scrolling down the rabbit hole that is Instagram I found a post for an upcoming movie called ‘Playing with Fire’ and it was based on a book of the same title. Someone had used the free audiobook deal from Audible to listen to it, and recommended it.

With zero risk I then used the exact same deal to listen to the Audiobook, and I was positively hooked within about 15 minutes (I’ve since purchased the movie worth every cent by the way). For me what stood out about the story and FIRE movement was the simplicity of the concept.

“If you save / invest 25 times your annual expenses you can retire early”

For me this felt achievable as I was already quite good at the saving money to pay off debt side of things, but I had no idea how to grow wealth. The book also introduced me to the term ETF’s (Exchange Traded Funds) which were something I had never heard of before (and not covered in my High School share trade class).

Suddenly I was inspired to learn everything I could about reaching financial independence and decided to start an Instagram account called Frank on FIRE to track my journey (and keep myself honest).

At this early point of my journey ‘I’ hadn’t turned into a ‘we’ yet. My husband didn’t know about my new ‘cult’ as he would initially call it, and it would take a little convincing for him to come on board. I look forward to writing about that experience.

So now that we’ve been on the FIRE journey for over a year I thought it was time to finally have a grown up blog to share even more of our journey.

xx Frank on FIRE

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